is an ironic reference to an economy in which
market forces are subsumed to political interests in Washington. The term
is derived from Karl Marx's term
for a private enterprise-based economy, Capitalism, and the name
of the building
the U.S. Congress meets, the Capitol.
Similar to crony
isn't capitalism and it isn't quite socialism, but combines
some of the worst aspects of both systems. A business that makes decisions based on what will earn it subsidies
from Washington, rather than supply and demand, is capitolist.
To avoid bankruptcy, General Motors must make business decisions based
not on the market, but on the tens
of billions of dollars in subsidies it seeks from Washington. Once
a prominent example of capitalism it is now one of capitolism.