Capitalism Doesn't Have an Image Problem; This Guy Just Has an Eye Problem
Sunday, August 12, 2012 9:17:41 PM
It starts with this quote: "Capitalism has lifted the world out of poverty because it gives people a chance to get rich by creating value and reaping the rewards."
Interesting idea but I'm unconvinced. An unabated free market also gave us child labor and slavery like work conditions.
He continues in that same paragraph: "Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?"
Well, if the vast majority of the American public believed that were true they would probably like him better. But we don't... he didn't get rich by being a brilliant capitalist, he got rich by being born rich! Not filthy rich but CEO of a Car Company and Governor rich. His dad was a millionaire and he went to the nicest schools because of it (7th grade he went to a Prep school, Stanford, Harvard.
He may have gone on to become a great businessman but he was already rich. He had rich friends. In other words, it smells like his buddies took care of him and he takes care of his buddies.
Mr. Murray then adds, "The creative destruction that is at the heart of a growing economy is now seen as evil."
Well... yes, if you lose your job because the jobs are outsourced to another country, lose your retirement, lose your health care, can't feed yourself or your kids you might feel "creative destruction" is evil. I mean, hey, it could happen.
Capitalism is only great for those at the top. As Mr. Murray mentions 'collusive capitalism' - the so called crony capitalism and the government collusion of earmarks and subsidies (not to mention friendly regulations).
The problem is these are all completely acceptable under the basic premise of Capitalism: Profit. The "Greed is Good" mantra. There's no morality there and if you skimp on taxes (and then don't want to release your tax returns) or you encourage friendly government regulations it's all fair in Capitalism!
This is the same relativistic bullshit of the Ayn Rand followers believe. Greed is good, profit is good and everything else is secondary. Government intervention is almost always bad and morality is secondary.
Mr. Murray seems to have a sense of all of this but he's unwilling to indict the free-market and capitalism for their part in inducing immorality. It's easy to be rich and never have to care or deal with the poor. It's easy to justify anything if your bottom-line is profit and includes no calculations on morality.
Being rich is no crime, being super-rich isn't either. You don't even have to give to charity (Hi, Steve Jobs). You do have to consider the moral implications of your decisions. Fighting against universal healthcare when you know firing a sick worker means bankruptcy and not being able to afford treatments, how is that moral? You've signed their death warrant as surely as if you kicked them out of a high-flying plane for being dead weight.
Mr. Romney may have never personally kicked someone out of a high flying aircraft but that's because he can hire people to do that for him.
Ultimately, Mr. Murray's defense is unconvincing because it fails to appreciate anything about human nature and the nature of capitalism. Capitalism worked so great at the beginning of the 20th century and beyond because our population was small enough that large swaths of the population were lifted up with you -- manufacturing work, especially -- but now that manufacturing can be done elsewhere and service work is not valued nearly as much.
Further, Mr. Murray's love of capitalism and "financial investors" fails to appreciate one big difference in the type of capitalism. Personal conviction to others.
Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, George Romney, et al. all worked in businesses where they had a connection to more than just the books, they had a connection to everyone working under them. Each one of those individuals involved themselves in the whole process and as a result looked after their employees (at least as long as they were employees). From profit-sharing to high wages, they had to look the people they worked with in the eye.
Wall Street Bankers don't. Their "creative destruction" is done without any regard for the lives it may impact because they don't know those people, they only know dollar signs and decimal points. This type of capitalism is literally soulless. They don't have to see the wife of the man they just fired in the supermarket. They don't have to see the tears. They have no personal stake, only a financial one.
That lack of soul combined with the capitalistic drive for profit justifies anything. From lobbying for less clean-water protection to closing a manufacturing plant with no warning.
Hopefully, Mr. Murray will get his glasses checked soon.