Poor Defenses of Capitalism

One of the most frustrating things about being a capitalist is hearing all of the weak excuses folks offer as a defense of capitalism. The biggest pitfall of them all is to use altruism as a defense of capitalism.

Altruism used to defend capitalism can be readily observed by the unfortunate popularity of the book “Conscious Capitalism” by John Mackey. It is so popular in fact, that it is currently Amazon’s Free Enterprise #1 Best Seller.

I have not read the book. I read a review or two on the book, including one posted in Modern Casting magazine (which prompted me to start writing a letter to the editor), and flipped through the book at my last visit to Whole Foods. The underlying principle is clear: capitalism is good because it benefits society.

I take issue with this statement, not because it is false, but because it reflects a conflict that many budding capitalists cannot seem to overcome. Capitalism is good because it benefits you. Capitalism is good because it does not require a sacrifice. Capitalism is good because, when practiced to its completion, it harms no rational being.

The defense that is given in books such as “Conscious Capitalism” is that Capitalism is good because it benefits others. While there is nothing wrong with an action that benefits others, one should look deeper into this statement: Which others? Who decides what is a benefit to others? What if it benefits you?

I’ll address each of these questions in turn over the next few posts.

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: