On Friday, we saw that Capitalism is founded on an immoral act without which it cannot exist. Consequently, we have to say that Capitalism is intrinsically immoral.
Today we will discuss how the immorality built into Capitalism can be softened to some extent by concern for our fellow human beings, even though such steps can never remove the unjust origin of Capitalism.
The attempt by decent people to mitigate Capitalism’s immorality
Does the fact that Capitalism is inherently immoral mean that all capitalists are evil? Of course not. Many of them don’t even know about the violence at the bottom of the system. Most of them think that they are dealing fairly with the people who work for them. But their ignorance does not change the fact: The leverage that capitalists hold over workers is the fear of unemployment and destitution. The person who uses that leverage either consciously or unthinkingly is not someone who ought to be considered morally upright.
That is why decent capitalists go out of their way to try to support their workers. Even if they don’t understand the use of force that characterizes the capitalist system, decent capitalists can see the precariousness in the lives of their workers, and they try to protect them out of pure humanity. In the current recession, who hasn’t heard about employers who have taken a financial hit themselves in order to keep paying their workers enough to at least scrape by? These employers show that it is possible to mitigate the consequences of the violence at the root of capitalism. But it is not possible to remove it altogether. And the proof is that such generous capitalists will, in all probability, be driven out of business by others who are willing to treat workers like commodities in order to make a bigger profit.
There may be decent capitalists. But the capitalist system is not decent. Its dependence on economic force makes it immoral, and no amount of decency on the part of its practitioners can remove that stain.
Tomorrow, we will see that, in the tension between workers and management set up by Capitalism, the rights of the workers are always superior to the rights of the capitalists.
Until tomorrow, then.
31 December 2012
by Alfred George filed under