Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is Capitalism Immoral?

The Wall Street Journal's popular Deal Journal blog asks that question, pointing to a provocative article recently published in Foreign Policy magazine. Readers responded with waves of comments. What do you think?


At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Steven Schultz said...

Capitalism is not intrinsically moral or immoral. The way in which a society executes and controls its economic system belies the society's moral character. Actually, the FP article's author seems far more alarmed, not that the French and German students are being taught that capitalism is immoral, but that they are being taught that other options exist. Options which can lead to a better outcome for the entire society.

The article starts with the laughable premise that the European economies "continue to be left behind." Would that be the same European economies whose currency is so strong and respected, that it may soon supersede the US dollar as the World's currency-of-choice? Those "left behind" European economies support societies that choose to provide health care for all citizens, worker protections and benefits, and enviable public assets and services. If those are the conditions in the "left behind" category, what's it like in the economy that is "in the lead?"

US citizens are living in it.

Ours is an economy where:
- 47 million citizens have no health insurance;
- the number of workers protected by a union has declined by half during the last 20 years;
- 10% of the citizens control 50% of the wealth, while 12% of their fellow citizens suffer in poverty;
- public infrastructure crumbles (or collapses) from neglect;
- many corporate executives earn 500-times more than their average worker, most of whom have seen little or no increase in their real income for 40 years;
- stock market swindles, banking frauds and war profiteering are widespread due a lack of regulation, oversight and/or law enforcement.

These are the qualities of an immoral society.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: the fault is not in our economic system, but in ourselves….

At 10:07 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's awfully well said. I would have to agree with all of that. I'm so glad you've found this blog, Steven, and I hope you'll keep coming back, and continuing to comment. Your sharp and articulate input is a wonderful addition.


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