Crony Finance and the stimulus

Here's an interesting read by Simon Johnson, the former head of the IMF, that compares the current problems on Wall Street with the problems that the IMF continually dealt with in the third world.

The banking-and-securities industry has become one of the top contributors to political campaigns, but at the peak of its influence, it did not have to buy favors the way, for example, the tobacco companies or military contractors might have to. Instead, it benefited from the fact that Washington insiders already believed that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets were crucial to America’s position in the world.
One of those little peeves I've acquired over the last year is the continual confusion by pundits on both sides of the aisle between "capitalism" and "free markets" -- terms which are not interchangeable. Capitalism is a legal structure that enables capital to be pooled into a single legal entity. Free markets are simply free to the extent that they are unregulated. Capitalism can be a decidedly unfree system, as Washington is proving once again.