Yesterday we discussed how we can be moral without Religion and Tradition. Having shown earlier that neither Religion nor Tradition can ground the decent behavior required by society, we had to take a detour to answer that question.
Today, we resume our main task by taking out the next Major Myth of conservative thought —the Myth of Capitalism.
Free-market capitalism supposedly the best of all economic worlds
The Myth of Capitalism has captured most of the world, and is especially powerful in America. This Myth, put most simply, is: Free-market capitalism is an unquestionably beneficial and moral economic system.
Those who believe this Myth tend to think that the whole of history was prelude to the discovery of the Capitalist system. Slowly, out of the fog of the Middle Ages and the early mercantile experiments of the Renaissance, people figured out how to invest in companies, how to hire laborers, and how to make profits most efficiently and most effectively. Then America brought Capitalism to its final culmination. With its discovery of general freedom, America added the last necessary element to the Capitalist formula: the idea that all markets should operate freely, without interference from outside forces like government.
Almost everyone in America believes some form of this Myth. Conservatives live and die for it. Most of them are completely oblivious to any negative consequences that arise from Capitalism. Liberals too believe the myth, although some of them may be more circumspect about the negative consequences. But then they blame some error in the system or some bad actor. Ultimately, they too see nothing essentially wrong with the system. In their view, if something bad comes out of Capitalism it must be because the good system is being used badly.
Unfortunately, as we shall starting with the next installment, the unquestioned beneficence of Capitalism is completely false. The Myth is as wrong as can be. Capitalism is intrinsically immoral; the immorality cannot be removed; and Capitalism only acts relatively well when its intrinsic immorality is controlled, restrained, and minimized.
Tomorrow we will show that Capitalism is inherently and ineradicably immoral.
Until tomorrow, then.
27 December 2012
by Alfred George filed under