November 12, 2008

A Quick Thought on Capitalism...

I wonder how much of the evils of capitalism are actually the evils of wealth. The Renaissance popes, for example, were materialistic and greedy without any help from capitalism. Is it because we have the goods and services that we are greedy and materialistic? If, as in Soviet Russia, the supermarkets are nearly empty or you have very little choice, then won't there necessarily be less greed and materialism? Is it because capitalism is successful in reducing poverty that it increases spiritual ills? I'm just asking, hence all the questionmarks.

How about a few more: At the very least, doesn't capitalism take on the flavor of the time and culture it lives in? Wasn't turn of the century America, still enraptured by social Darwinism and endowed with only the fittest survive philosophy (it was in the air back then; see Margaret Sanger), more amenable to child labor and other labor abuses because of that rather than something inherent in capitalism? Aren't the corporate sins of today, shown so spectacularly by Enron and others, less imaginable during the '50s in which America in general and corporate leaders in particular were more apt to play by the rules even without the hoovering eye of the Securities and Exchange Commission watching them?

No comments: