Cronyism Out of Control

 WASHINGTON – Apologist, scholar, and intelligent design advocate Jay Richards presented his new book, Infiltrated: How to Stop the Insiders and Activists Who are Exploiting the Financial Crisis to Control Our Lives and Our Fortunes, on Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute, arguing that the 2008 financial crisis stemmed from "full spectrum cronyism," the collusion of big business and big government, rather than Wall Street greed.

"Saying that greed caused the financial crisis is like saying gravity caused a plane crash," Richards said. Citing greed, he explained, brings up a "constant" general problem, but fails to account for the real reasons behind the financial meltdown, shown by the "variables" involved.

The established wisdom about the crisis, the apologist noted, is that it was caused by unfettered competition. But, as in the subtitle of his first book, Money, Greed, and God, Richards argued that capitalism is the solution, not the problem. Having recently become a visiting scholar at the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, which ties Christianity to wealth creation, he devoted an entire chapter of his book to the Christian debate over usury, the practice of money-lending.

Rather than a few abstract Wall Street bankers, the true culprits are all around us, Richards alleged. For-profit and non-profit businesses, media, and the government each played a role. The book narrates the stories of the rich who marketed dangerous loans to those with low credit scores, and the non-profit and government policies promoting them.