The U.S. financial meltdown has undermined two pillars of America's identity -- its version of capitalism and its image as the champion of democracy, says Francis Fukuyama, a Johns Hopkins professor. "Restoring our good name and reviving the appeal of our brand is in many ways as great a challenge as stabilizing the financial sector. ... And we cannot even begin until we clearly understand what went wrong -- which aspects of the American model are sound, which were poorly implemented, and which need to be discarded altogether."

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