I've thought a lot about it & have concluded that market capitalism is actually conducive to evil. It's not just a talking point.
Here's why. The system requires winners AND losers. It is- by design- zero sum. This creates two serious moral problems.
The 1st moral dilemma of capitalism is that it demands that its adherents not only have stake in their own wins, but in your losses.
That is the seedy underbelly of competition. Winning at any cost. Depriving my opponent of whatever I must, even dignity or life.
The other moral dilemma of capitalism creates & perpetuates what is basically a form of mental illness in people with consciences.
No person of conscience can enjoy the spoils of wealth/capitalism without some guilt.
But that same person also realizes it is impossible to see that everyone shares in the wealth of the system. There MUST be losers.
So the natural instinct in a painful situation that seems impossible to change is to go into denial.
We disconnect from the humanity of other people. We withdraw into our own small worlds and justify it as fair or right.
And we console ourselves by saying if others were as righteous as us, they would have what we do. They must deserve suffering!
This entire endeavor puts our souls in peril.
Capitalism has serious potential to do damage to our capacity for empathy and compassion. It's a dehumanizing system.
I believe our addiction to the system of capitalism requires us to imagine it can bring us happiness.
What is the point of desiring excessive wealth, if not that we think it generates happiness?
But because of dynamic already described, with each increment of happiness bought, another piece of one's humanity is sacrificed.
In other words, it is impossible for a person of moral conscience to become happier through the accumulation of wealth.
So this means 1 of 2 things. Either we're a civilization lacking in conscience or we're a civilization lacking in true happiness.
What's especially ironic is that the language of capitalism is conflated with the language of liberty and empowerment.
But capitalism is actually a very oppressive system. Either you're denied dignity and liberty by being a "loser" in the system...
Or you're asked to deny your own human instincts of compassion and empathy for other people by being a "winner" in the system.
Either way, by participating in the system, you've given up some of self-sovereignty.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The "Twitter" Critique of Capital (in 140-character bites!)
By Cynthia Boaz, via HuffPo :