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First Principles: Is Capitalism Moral?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

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First Principles is a series of three debates on the moral underpinnings of today's politics co-sponsored by Demos, The Ayn Rand Institute and It's A Free Country. Part one explored the role of government, and part two discussed freedom; part 3 asks:

Capitalism: Is it Moral?

»» Check out our new 4-part capitalism movie clip showdown!

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Comments [41]

Robert Moore from Lower Manhattan

I attended the third of the First Principles Debates "Is Capitalisnm Moral?" last night. I would rate it at best a 'D' for Debacle or even an 'F' for Fiasco. Not only was the motion poorly framed as was observed by the debaters who then went ahead and ignored the motion. Both then proceeded to deliver random views on an issue I was not able to identify. The views lacked any sort of cogence or coherence. I was able to learn nothing of either's viewpoint nor were there any significant points made on either side. The moderation was very sub-standard and the participants were allowed to ramble on without relevance to the question asked and there was no adherence to any sort of equal time concept. The period allotted for audience questions was very poorly arranged. When the audience erupted into 'heckling' I decided to leave as there was no likelihood that things would improve. Pity, this was a chance for the undecided to examine the pros and cons of capitalism and to learn something of both approaches. Debates are a good way to examine different viewpoints and Intelligence Squared have managed to produce effective and stimulating events. Perhaps there is something to be learnt from them.

May. 03 2011 07:03 AM
Douglas Hillstrom from Brooklyn

Why do you keep referring to the representative from the Ayn Rand Institute as an "investment banker" when he said last week on the Brian Lehrer show, no less, that he was a commercial, not an investment banker.

May. 02 2011 10:50 AM
Bill from Mamaroneck

As a loyal Brian Lehrer listener for 21 years, I must commend Brian for convening this discussion. At the same time, it's been maddening to listen to the debate so misframed that the discussion comes so close to the 800 lb. gorilla in the room that is the real issue, the Stalinist nature of contemporary corporate governance, without ever touching it.

It is this frustration that led me to flood this page with the quotes posted below. I hope people find them illuminating and helpful to the discussion and not just annoying.

I am looking forward to tonight's event. I am an alumnus of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and I was introduced to the idea of workplace democracy at a presentation by Boston College professor Paul Bernstein on his book, Workplace Democratization: It's Internal Dynamics, hosted by NYU's Sociology Department in 1985.

Thanks again to Brian for hosting this.

May. 02 2011 09:39 AM
Bill from Mamaroneck

"In the case of England, the Glorious Revolution was an important step on the road to democracy. But it was only a step, for it claimed sovereignty on behalf of the wealthy alone, not on behalf of all. Over time this did change as the voting franchise was extended. but what's curious is that today, more than three hundred years later, corporate governance has not yet made that change. Public corporations are still governed in the name of the propertied class alone.

At root, what really governs corporations is an idea that is the intellectual descendent of the great chain of being: the notion that only those who possess wealth matter. Implicitly, they are a higher class of persons who alone are considered real members of corporate society; hence only they have a vote."

Marjorie Kelly, p.58

May. 01 2011 11:37 PM
Bill from Mamaroneck

Business ethicist Marjorie Kelley argues in The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy that shareholder primacy is a normative law (not a natural law as is currently believed) similar to the concept of the divine right of kings in that it is an unquestioned assumption that has no real justification. It assumes "that the corporation is a piece of property and that stockholders own it" (Kelley, 63). "In like manner, employees are referred to as assets of the corporation, when an asset is something owned. And since stockholders are called owners, the implications are clear - and outrageous. We should express that outrage whenever CEOs say, 'employees are our greatest assets.'

May. 01 2011 11:06 PM
Bill from Mamaroneck

We are taught as schoolchildren that democracy is the fundamental value of the American political system, that our fight for independence from the British empire was based on the principle of "no taxation without representation," provoked by the series of egregious taxes levied on the colonies after the French and Indian War. Political scientist Robert Dahl restates this principle in A Preface to Economic Democracy as "laws cannot rightfully be imposed on others by persons who are not themselves obliged to obey those laws" (Dahl, 57). Dahl argues that if we believe democracy to be a virtue, then it must extend not just to the political sphere but to the economic sphere as well; and to argue otherwise implies that it's not valid in the political sphere either.

In a conflict with property rights, the right to self-government is the superior right, Dahl asserts, citing Jefferson. In Jefferson's formulation in the Declaration of Independence - "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" - 'property' was not present. This is because Jefferson believed property rights to be a social right, dependent on society, rather than a natural right, existing before the existence of society (Dahl, 67). Dahl also notes that the right to self-government is also an inalienable right, meaning it can never be bought or sold - or waived by contract. He concedes that these views are but part of one of "two conflicting visions of what American society is and ought to be" that "we Americans have always been torn between...the other is a vision of a country where [there is] unrestricted liberty to acquire unlimited wealth...and property is the superior, self-government the subordinate right" (162-63). But elsewhere he argues that there need not be conflict between the two: "if a right to property is understood in its fundamental moral sense as a right to acquire the personal resources necessary to political liberty and a decent existence, then self-governing enterprises would surely not, on balance diminish the capacity of citizens to exercise that right; in all likelihood they would greatly strengthen it. Even if property rights are construed in a narrower, more legalistic sense, the way in which a self-governing enterprise is owned need not necessarily violate such a right...it could entail a shift of ownership from stockholders to employees" (112-13).

May. 01 2011 10:39 PM
Bill from Mamaroneck

Albert Gallatin - Secretary of the Treasury, Jefferson Administration, 1797

“The democratic process on which this nation was founded should not be restricted to the political process, but should be applied to the industrial operation as well.”

May. 01 2011 10:31 PM
Bill from Mamaroneck

Young: "During every election you read these heart¬rending editorials about why it's so important to vote for whatever office happens to be on the ballot. Yet no one ever asks the question of why, if it's such a great idea to vote for your senator, it would not be an even greater idea to vote for your boss."

Chomsky: ["No, that's out. A crucial part of the ideology is that you're allowed to criticize Congress, the president, local politicians. You're allowed to say they're all crooks. But you're not allowed to say that the corporate system is at the heart of it all. In fact, you're not allowed to even see that. No, the idea of voting for your boss is just off the agenda.]

"But if you really believed in eighteenth century libertarian doctrine, the doctrine of the Founding Fathers, that's just what you'd be asking. They were not just opposed to a powerful state. They were opposed to concentrations of power. It happened back in their day that the concentrations of power that were visible were the state and the feudal system and the church, so that's what they were against.

“ In the nineteenth century a new concentration of power came along that they hadn't paid a lot of attention to, namely corporate power, that had a degree of Influence and domination over our lives well beyond what the Founding Fathers could have foreseen. Yet their principles would lead you to ask exactly that question: Why should we be subordinated to the boss? Why should investment decisions be in private hands? Why should private power determine what is produced and what is consumed and what are working conditions? Why should you follow orders? Why shouldn't everybody participate democratically and decide what is to be done?"

Noam Chomsky, interviewed by Charles M. Young, Rolling Stone, May 28th, 1992

May. 01 2011 10:27 PM
Bill from Mamaroneck

"It is possible to see slavery and serfdom merely as extreme early forms of autocratic management, in which employees had no voice whatsoever in the work process and were viewed not as human beings but as alienated forms of individual wealth. Slavery, in this sense, did not die; it continues in modern dress in contemporary organizations wherever managers exercise autocratic power, unequal status, or arbitrary privileges, no matter how scientific the terminology or postmodern the image" (29-30).

Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith – The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy (2002):

May. 01 2011 10:14 PM
David Kanegis from Montclair, NJ

Capitalism is consonant with the natural world. (Self-interest, predators, prey, cooperation, competition, consumption, etc.) Nature is brutal. Shall we debate whether nature is moral?

Apr. 30 2011 12:04 AM
Bill from Mamaroneck

David Ellerman:

The late “Great Debate between Capitalism and Socialism” was misframed from the viewpoint of those who advocate an economic democracy. An economic democracy is a private property market economy where the contract to rent people (the employment relation) is abolished, where the democratic principle is applied to the workplace so that the legal members of each firm are the people who work in it, and where the assets and liabilities produced in the firms are thus privately appropriated by the people who create them in accordance with the standard principle of imputing legal responsibility in accordance with de facto responsibility (i.e., the modern treatment of the labor theory of property) [see Ellerman 1992]. From the viewpoint of economic democracy, the capitalism-socialism debate was a debate between private and state capitalism (i.e., the private or public employment system), and the debate was as misframed as would be a debate between the private or public ownership of slaves.

Source:
http://www.abolishhumanrentals.org/history/marxist-mischaracterization/

Apr. 29 2011 08:31 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn.,NY

Trickling Down!

http://econstories.tv/2011/04/28/fight-of-the-century-music-video/

Apr. 28 2011 05:58 PM
ray from red bank. nj

why does the right insist on the wisdom of trickle down economics, by continuely reducing taxes on the richest amongst us and corporations, when it clearly has been proven to be an ineffective program? In recent history, wage disparity betwen the upper-class and the middle-class has widened to rates similar to Iran and Russia. The earnings of the top have increased exponentially while the wages of the middle-class has remained flat. How has the Bush tax cuts benefitted anyone besides the highest earners? In the past year corporations have logged record breaking earnings figures while the unemployment rate is still at 8.8 percent. Some have speculated that it is only at 8.8 because many people have given up on the job market all together. So I ask you, where is the trickle down?

Apr. 28 2011 03:32 PM

Avarice is the root of all our problems and has the potential to exterminate the whole human race. We must stop thinking like dinosaurs and start using our minds to accept the fact that all political systems are anachronisms based on an infinite growth of natural resources. We are reaching the peak of sustainability in all fields of endeavor and we stand in a collective suicide without taking responsibility to realize that our survival depends on a balance of all aspects of human life. Our survival does not depend on a single system or an individual but a collective effort, when all individual human beings process simultaneously what it takes to survive without exceeding our natural resources. We have arrived at a point when we must awaken to the urgency that our planet requires of us.

Apr. 28 2011 12:09 PM

An United States dominated capitalist economy is not good for emerging democracies around the world. The real issue as Noam Chomsky points out in his "Hegemony or Survival" is to question the morality of America’s quest for global dominance.

Apr. 28 2011 11:59 AM
Ricardo Morin from 10019

An United States dominated capitalist economy is not good for emerging democracies around the world. The real issue as Noam Chomsky points out is to question the morality of America’s quest for global dominance.

Apr. 28 2011 11:44 AM
JMGiannone from NYC

If T. Boone Pickens claim that (one) difficulty (shortcoming) of democracy is that it takers too long to get things done/
or needed things do not get done, then, either way, Brian ought to have reminded him of the affects of money on our elected representatives. The difficulty is not democracy, but rather
its details here in America.

Apr. 28 2011 11:11 AM
Roscoe

BRIAN, please! You let Nan Hayworth slide by; don't let those who support Ayn Rand, uncritically. Discuss the value and contributions of hedge fund managers, and their concomitant pay scale. They're intelligent folks...and they're contributing what to society? And will the Ayn Rand supporter only say, 'well, it's up to hedge fund managers to give to charity,' 'cause I'll bet they're paying minimal taxes, if they can. Ask searing questions, Brian; if not these, others. You're better than this!

Apr. 28 2011 10:58 AM
Darin

How can anyone say that the 1800s American society was freer that our current society? Slavery and institutionalized racism... Doesn't sound very free. I know the guest is speaking in terms of "Economic Freedom," but he only means that businesses were more free to do whatever they want. Women and blacks and lots of other ethnic Americans were not allowed to participate in society in a productive, economic manner. Your guest lies about America being freer in the 1800s than present day.

Apr. 28 2011 10:53 AM
B. McElhone from NYC

Why ask the morality of capitalism? Why not ask the morality of socialism, both National Socialism and International Socialism, which is responsible for a hundred million murders the last hundred years?

If one includes the impoverishing effects of socialism, the deaths via starvation, poor health, and delayed development are innumerable.

Apr. 28 2011 10:14 AM
Kressel Housman from Monsey, NY

I'm currently reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's THE LONG WINTER with my teenage son. I recently discovered that Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, is considered one of the founding mothers of libertarianism, along with Ayn Rand. She was also her mother's editor, and the book raises many interesting moral questions about capitalism.

Here's the plot: The town is starving because a series of blizzards has kept the supply train from coming in. Almanzo, who Laura would later married, has wheat seed of his own, which could feed people who are willing to grind it at home, but he won't sell it because he needs it for his crop next year. Meanwhile, rumor has it that someone 20 miles south of town also has a store of seed wheat. Almanzo and his friend Cap Garland risk their lives traveling the 40 miles both ways to buy the seed wheat. Because, like Almanzo, the farmer wants to save his wheat, they end up paying him an enormously inflated price. They lug the wheat back into town, and then when the storekeeper whose money bought the wheat wants to charge an even higher price, the people, led by Mr. Ingalls, have a wonderfully heated argument about freedom, doing business, etc. It's worth reading. (pp 380-384).

Notably, Almanzo and Cap Garland did not take a penny for their labor. But heroic as they were, Almanzo was not entirely pure. True, he saved the town, but he got the other farmer to sell his wheat - something he was not willing to do himself. And by doing so, he eliminated some of his future competition. I'm glad the town was saved, but I hope that the farmer left some seed wheat for himself.

Apr. 28 2011 10:12 AM
geTaylor from Bklyn.,NY


BTW:

Can anyone advise where the film clips suggested by the capitalists can be found?

Apr. 26 2011 04:24 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn.,NY

@Geo from Astoria:

I don't think that any of your natural examples, hungry lions, rampaging tornadoes, or destructive earthquakes, have anything much to do with the "voluntary trade at a mutually agreed upon price" aspect that is the cherished characteristic of the capitalistic system.
In fact the hungry lion looks more like the self-righteous moral predators that roam society, seeking to devour the products of the labor of others to satiate their own need to feel worth.

Apr. 26 2011 04:20 PM

(Continued from previous.)

That's what rights are. They're a moral concept. It is right for us to have our life. It is right for us to have liberty. It is right for us to own property (that we've earned). It is right for us to pursue happiness. To protect these rights means to protect those conditions in the face of others who you interact with. (And of course, these conditions must be upheld for every human, or what guarantee do you have that they will be upheld for you?)

Once you understand this, you can see that Capitalism is the only moral social system. Because it is the only social system that protects those conditions. Those inalienable, righteous rights. It is the only system that is -right-.

Apr. 26 2011 08:30 AM

Capitalism is the only moral social system possible to mankind. And by capitalism, I mean laissez-faire. Not the mixed economy we have now.

As you can already tell (probably) by the above paragraph, I'm an Objectivist.

If it is right for me to live (I believe it is), then it is right for me to pursue my own happiness, my own rational self-interest. Then there's certain external conditions that I need in order to do so.

Man's mind is his primary tool of survival. Even if I don't think about how things work, my survival is still made possible by human thinking. Everything man-made around me took some process of thought by someone to make possible. Yet even though the thoughts of others have made so much possible, I still have to think for myself in order to make use of these things. So in order to survive, and thrive, I must be able to think, and I must be able to act on my judgment. The more I do so, the more I can thrive. That's the first condition: We need to be able to act on our judgment in order to thrive.

But what if I think and act on my judgment, and by doing so, I create/earn the things I need/want? If I don't get to keep and use those things, then what good is it? That's the second condition: the ability to keep what we earn/create and use it to our own benefit.

But just the ability to think, act, keep, and use isn't quite enough. (Though the ability to keep and use is a very important one.) There's one more condition. The ability to decide what we want and to act to gain it. If you have the ability to act on your judgment, and you have the ability to keep what you create or earn, yet you aren't able to plan what you want to act to gain/use, then what good is it? That's the third condition: We need the ability to set goals and act toward them, to pursue values.

You can conclude these requirements of human life by examining the nature of human beings. And the founding fathers of this country actually had the right idea. They, perhaps implicitly, saw that the afore-mentioned conditions were right. They had a word for the first condition: liberty. They had a word for the second condition: property. They had a phrase for the third condition: the pursuit of happiness. All requirements of life.

When I say that we, as humans, need these rights, it's the same kind of statement as "That plant needs water and sunlight." It's a generalization about a being's needs based on an understanding of the nature of this particular being (man) that we're talking about. And if it is right to live, then it is right to have these conditions protected.

On a desert island, you don't have to worry about protecting these conditions. They're already there, in the absence of anyone who might interfere with them. But in a society, you need these conditions guaranteed against people who might want to violate them.

(Continued.)

Apr. 26 2011 08:30 AM
Geo from Astoria

Capitalism is not moral.
Here is why.

Capitalism is a very 'natural' system. What I mean when I use the word Natural is that it has many complicated parts interacting together, it changes all the time, it evolves, it is unpredictable, we have limited control over it, it affects everyones life and it can bring joy and/or destruction with out notice, just like nature.

Therefore this argument also states that nature is not moral.

When a large lion chases, kills and eats a baby antelope is that moral? When a tornado crosses the path of a town in the midwest causing death and destruction, is that moral? When a earthquake causes a tsunami that wipes away a whole coast line in Japan is that moral? No it is not. Nature is not moral. It is nature. It is the hard reality of our physical universe.

Human beings are a part of nature and through out history have participated in their own forms of destruction and brutality. That is why humanity created religion, to bring some order out of chaos, to bring morality to our actions.

Capitalism needs a moral check as well. That is what the government is for. Without a check Capitalism will live like a wild animal. It will do whatever it has to do to survive and to feed. Its food being profit.
Corporations, the biggest and wildest beasts of Capitalism, have shown in the past that they will do anything for profit without judgement, without remorse, without morals.

Government needs to be the moral compass of Capitalism. Just as Religion is the morla Compass of Humanity.

Apr. 25 2011 12:20 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn.,NY

@"IAFC" Producer:

Still waiting for those promised future pairings.

But of course, as in most systems, one gets what one pays for; but does not necessarily get what one's taxes are collected for.
N'est pas?

Apr. 23 2011 11:18 AM
Kressel_H

Trying to add a video clip from "The Gods Must Be Crazy" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRGJGNXijMA&feature=related

Apr. 22 2011 11:20 AM
Raymond

Capitalism as defined by Random House:
"an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."
socialism as defined by Random House:
"A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole."
To consider capitalism compared to socialism, one system(capitalism) relies on a small segment controlling activities of business and owning the profits for a smaller number of people or investors and exploiting the workers as an expense in the name of carrying on business activities.

The other (socialism)relies on the whole community as a group for they own the means of the business to direct business activities and the group shares in the profits. As in say, a government program that provides a service for the people, their goal is service, not short term profits as a goal, helping people is the goal.
There are varying degrees of each of these two systems.

Apr. 21 2011 09:35 PM
Frank Church

I put on the scene in Good Will Hunting, where Will talks to the NSA dude. The single greatest political rant in movie history.

Apr. 21 2011 10:12 AM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

@IAFC Producer:

"IAFC" - sounds important; what does it mean or is that your first name?

I tried to submit a YouTube clip from Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life"; (and if I had access to a film library, I think there might be something interesting in "Raisin in the Sun) but I guess the Capra clip didn;t get past the committee's anti-capitalist filter.
(Did anyone submit any other clips? Honestly, my paucity of computer savvy has left me unable to locate them.)

Apr. 20 2011 05:48 PM
A Flug Brand from Monaco

The wisdom of 2500 years says that the State is the collectively created and agreed construct that best protects the social order and all rights to life and property through a little legitimate coercive power carefully applied.

That coercive power is only used when an individual chooses to violate the trust of that civil society which otherwise offers to protect him too.

Rand is "miso-sophia". She attacks the core of what collected wisdom of ages determines is the best way to organize society to stay out of the otherwise Hobbesian "state of nature" where thugs rule! Capitalists love Rand precisely because they need to do away with the Democratic State that mitigates capitalism's evils.

Rand's work attacks the core of civil society. She was plucked out of obscurity precisely because clears away their only obstacle to absolute rule, the product of 1000s of years of human wisdom. Like Callicles in Plato, they don't want to submit to the Demos, but instead want to be tyrants.

This "state of nature" is very similar to what arises in the US today, a weakened state after 5 decades of Rand pushed out by rich people who serve themselves with everybody else's property.

They are right all people could be virtuous. But, only when economic resources are shared, and no one is in a better position to manipulate others out of fear of survival, and to incite them to violence. History shows time and time again that war and violence is the only recourse for those on top to keep their grip on the stuff! Libya now for Brits and Yanks who dismantled productive economies and blew up their speculative ones! Afghanistan and Iraq to lift the US shareholders out of the speculative bust 10 yrs ago! WWII the Great Depression. Korea and Vietnam when the industrial consumer "miracle" showed signs of petering out!

What is in store for the USA now? A Reactionary "cultural revolution" since there is no evident opposition under this SCOTUS? Only the old families with a few reinforcements for appearances seem firmly in charge...and driving the Reactionary politicians...

It is precisely these weak states that led to the horrors of the 20th Century. Weak poorly constructed constitutions and gamed institutions led to Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. States torn apart by Reactionary wars for Royals against equitable sharing resources with labor that makes them all possible, like Franco, or Condor (to protect US and xGerman Pluto Reactionaries). "Cultural revolutions" to destroy the Educated Middle Classes like Mao, Pol Pot to pave the way for new Pluto Uber-Menschen to manipulate the peasants. Today in Honduras for Chiquita Brands using School of the Americas trainees to take out the Middle Class. Bahrain?

Mondragon or Henry George have ideas worth resurrecting today, if we could find a hedge fund manager to fund a symposium, we might learn something useful building on the Wisdom of the Past, not destruction of it!

Apr. 19 2011 11:58 PM
A Flug Brand from Lord Krishna to Arjuna

“ ‘The greed that distorts their reason blinds them to the sin they commit in ruining the family, blinds them to the crime of betraying friends.

How can we ignore the wisdom of turning from this evil when we see the sin of family destruction, Krishna?

When the family is ruined, the timeless laws of family duty perish; and when duty is lost, chaos overwhelms the family.

Krishna, we have heard that a place in hell is reserved for men who undermine family duties.

I lament the great sin we commit when our greed for kingship and pleasures drives us to kill our kinsmen.’

Saying this in time of war, Arjuna slumped into the chariot and laid down his bow and arrows, his mind tormented by grief.”

Apr. 19 2011 11:07 PM
Frank Church

Being rented by a boss is not freedom, especially when that boss has the freedom to pimp you out at the lowest price, putting the pinata of outsourcing over your skull.

Is selling crack immoral? Sure, it's illegal, but laws are arbitrary. Crack selling is capitalism in a pure form: Greed at all costs, let the externalities lie at the nape of the dirty river.

Apr. 19 2011 08:14 PM
Mark from Bronx

Capitalism is neither moral nor immoral. To ask such a question just displays the overwhelming intellectual poverty of the socialists.

Apr. 19 2011 06:56 PM
David from New Hampshire

The problem with this question and this debate wil be the issue of defining what capitalism IS. The ARC will be defending capitalism as a philisophical/moral/political system which is grounded in individual rights. I'm not sure what DEMOS's definition is, but there is the danger of attacking what is NOT capitalism as capitalism, and hopefully ARC will be able to call them on it. Cases in point: Bernie Madoff (NOT capitalism), Financial and Housing Crises (NOT capitalism).

Apr. 18 2011 04:27 PM
Jennifer

I love the Polish proverb under the collected quotes link. The question facing people today is whether any system predicated on the imposition of work (capitalism, socialism, despotism) is the way to achieve positive, meaningful development and prosperity. Capitalism is parasitic. It looks for the creators on the margins and offers them a Faustian bargain. Corporate R & D can never replicate what the truly motivated, independent thinker arrived at himself or herself through passion, creativity and the freedom to pursue his/her interests. This is one system in the course of human history. There are other possibilities. There will be other ways of people coming together to create a healthy, positive society.

Apr. 16 2011 10:33 AM
Caleb Matar from Free America

To me, the question is -- is capitalism done? What if capitalism was one of history's great success stories and it has run its course and capitalized our world? What if global capitalization is sufficiently that an economic philosophy premised on capital growth led development policies as a prosperity driver is no longer necessary? If not now, when will we declare victory? What will we do when we are done making machines to make machines to make goods?

Apr. 12 2011 11:08 PM
IAFC Producer

@geTaylor
Who is on the committee? You are! We're asking for suggestions for movies - feel free to suggest more and stay tuned for future pairings.

Apr. 11 2011 10:41 AM

Who was on the committee that selected these movie clips from "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" - Bernie Sanders? Gus Hall? William Ayers? Vivian Schiller? Come on, Brian, couldn't you at least pretend to enforce a smidgen of your usual progressive faux fairness?

Apr. 09 2011 01:52 PM
Philip Traversa from Montclair, NJ

I think this is a great topic for discussion. Although I believe capitalism is great for promoting new ideas and making processes more efficient, I am often left wondering, "how much is enough?" It seems companies are never satisfied with the amount of profit they make and when they are unable to develop new products or become more efficient, they create more "profit" by taking money away from the employees. There needs to be a better balance between making money and treating people with respect and fairness. Money is not the be all and end all in life.

Apr. 08 2011 07:17 PM

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