John V. C. Nye on American capitalism

John V. C. Nye on the New Deal in The American Interest:

Even in America, where visceral support for individualism and self-reliance remains strong, [the population tends to distrust capitalism]. In good times, economic systems are supported by inertia and utilitarian compromise that appeal to the broad center. In hard times abstract convictions tend to melt away. The American preference for the free market is neither as common nor as “American” as many suppose. There are always strong minorities in favor of a more communal, even socialistic approach to the economy, especially among elites, who complement populist pressures in segments of the public at large.

The idea of “inertia” doesn’t get much play in the literature, but I think it explains a lot of modern politics.