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Thursday, February 09, 2006


The Atlantic: "Capitalism: The Movie"

Via Marginal Revolution

The Atlantic Monthly Online has an apparently insightful article called Capitalism: The Movie. Unfortunately, I'm not going to shell out $25 for a subscription right now so I can't read the whole thing.

The thesis seems to be this:
Yes, the system does work, says this culture, and there appears to be no alternative. But what a shame this is, it continues, because capitalism rewards our worst and most selfish instincts. "“Greed is good"” may stock the shelves, but is somewhat less than inspiring.
This is an interesting discussion for those of us who support free-markets, but oppose capitalism. What is it about "capitalism" that Americans have trouble with? Just like the evolution/creationism debate, people tend to conflate several issues when they discuss "capitalism". Do they really dislike markets and economic freedom, or do they dislike the "all or nothing" dynamics that result from the alienation of regular folk from the means of survival?

i get into this a lot with people who claim to despise capitalism. generally, when asked, these people do not have a positive definition of capitalism - rather, capitalism, to them, is everything that is wrong with the world. i often try to counter this argument by explaining that the world's problems (e.g. poverty, war, disease) deserve indidvidualized solutions, not scapegoats.
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