Point: Regarding morality and capitalism

Society’s state of being governed consists an objective, natural law — this is the state of nature where it is every man for himself. Thus, if man wants to leave the state of nature he enters into a social contract and a government is born.

Global progression, therefore, is derived by the public’s necessity to govern their particular spheres of influence. This monumental selfishness helped transform society into an individual-based, power-hungry, domineering society of controlled competition: capitalism.

Individuals, acting as an organized unit, succeeded in declaring “natural rights” — life, liberty and property — to themselves as human beings. At times, these inherent rights have been historically difficult for various groups of people to achieve.

Even though many of these rights are not even honored by systems of modern government, the term “progress” has become intimately entwined with an individual’s unrestricted freedom of choice.

This, then, becomes an important issue within capitalism. The economic system is devoted to freedom of choice and uses mankind’s weaknesses as his assets. It harnesses his constant struggle for power and transforms it into societal progression.

It has allowed for better living conditions through the economic law of supply and demand. It has provided the means of various kinds of individual improvement, allowing a previously impoverished individual, through a manner of smart investments and hard work, the chance to become extraordinarily wealthy — a relatively new societal phenomenon.

Historically, exploitation and alienation both have been popular rhetorically among capitalist critics. If liberty is associated with unrestricted freedom of choice, and since capitalism inherently maintains systems of tiered relationships, is the entire capitalist system innately unjust?

In simple terms, yes.

What, then, should society do regarding social classes? Hopefully, society will accept the economic foundation of capitalism, even though there will be class disparity.

The selfishness capitalism supposedly “maintains” is a mirror image of the selfishness within every individual.

Ideologically, there is no class disparity in socialism, but this is normally not the case, as has been shown in numerous countries. It does not turn man’s selfish and competitive abilities into a good thing. Rather a socialist economy, where either the government or a community owns the means of production, requires man to put his neighbor before himself. But because man is selfish, socialism will never work.

Morality and societal law not only maintain order, but also create a map by which fiscal success can rightfully be achieved.

In the market-controlled economic playing field that is capitalism, moral decisions provide the foundation for a system of ethical judgment. Without this, capitalism becomes nothing more than Social Darwinism.

Every system of social organization, therefore, has its flaws because an imperfect human being ultimately creates every system ever designed.

Social organization and governance are nothing more than society’s attempt to progress — to eliminate modern capitalism is to eliminate virtually every major leap in global progress since the 18th century.

Whether or not exploitation has occurred, then, is unimportant. Of course it has occurred, and it probably will always occur. But the progress we have made far outweighs the exploitation that is inevitable.

What is more important is overlooking capitalism’s inherent flaws and marveling at the amount of wealth it has created for so many people.

Reach this columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu

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