Monday, November 13, 2006

Capitalism (My comment in Mark Shea's combox on this post)

True, man was not made for the market, but neither was the market made for man. In fact the market was not "made" at all.

Capitalism is not a system that's imposed on anyone. Rather "the market" is simply the epi-phenomenon resulting from people pursuing their own economic interests. It seems to be a fact that you can, by political means, impose constraints into the market for purely economic reasons (I say this to distinguish this act from what may be the perfectly laudable suppression of markets in, say, recreational narcotics or pornography), when some one complains that the rich are getting too rich. But once the market corrects itself, blindly, by the individual actions of the multitude of economic actors, you simply end up with the the rich still just fine, poor a little poorer, and nobody happy.

Go ahead. Raise the minimum wage high enough so that everyone's rich. In the short run the poor will be out of work and products will be scarce until their prices rise enough for businesses to hire workers again. In the long run the purchasing power of the raised minimum wage will be no more than the power of the old minimum.

The thing about selfishness is that Capitalism is the one system that selfishness does not break. No one is saying you have to be selfish otherwise capitalism won't work. We should encourage unselfishness. We should encourage people to make wise use of their money to raise themselves and their children to be close to God. But this is all outside of economics and no amount of your mucking about to ensure that the wealth of the poorest subtracted from the wealth of the richest ends up being the smallest number possible is going to help that. I have no idea why that's a sensible goal anyway.

If you want, you can impose communism (There's a system that must be imposed). Then everybody's poor....

(except the rich).

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I'd be a blackguard and a cad, if I weren't so ineffectual. The less said "About Me", the better.