capitalism

I think a major reason why intellectuals tend to move towards collectivism is that the collectivist answer is a simple one. If there’s something wrong, pass a law and do something about it... The argument has always been made that the trouble with capitalism is that it’s materialistic, while collectivism can afford to pay attention to the nonmaterial. But the experience has been the opposite. There are no societies that have emphasized the purely material requisites of well-being as much as the collectivist…it is in the free societies that there has been a far greater development of the nonmaterial, spiritual, artistic aspects of well-being.

Why has there been so great a shift in the attitudes of the public [toward accepting free market ideas]? I’m sorry to confess that I do not believe it occurred because of the persuasive power of such books as Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom or Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged or our own Capitalism and Freedom. Such books certainly played a role, but I believe the major reason for the change is the extraordinary force of factual evidence.…The great hopes that had been placed in Russia and China by the collectivists and socialists turned into ashes.…Similarly, the hopes that were placed in Fabian socialism and the welfare state in Britain or the New Deal in the United States were disappointed. One major government program after another started with the very best aims and with noble objectives and turned out not to deliver the goods.…Ideas played their part. But they played their part not by producing a reaction against the spread of government but by determining the form that that reaction took. The role we play as intellectuals is not to persuade anybody but to keep options open and to provide alternative policies that can be adopted when people decide they have to make a change.

Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant relatively little to the wealthy. The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing : running servants replaced running water. Television and radio? The Patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading actors as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets - all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. The great achievements of Western Capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful.

It is a striking historical fact that the development of capitalism has been accompanied by a major reduction in the extent to which particular religious, racial, or social groups have operated under special handicaps in respect of their economic activities; have, as the saying goes, been discriminated against. The substitution of contract arrangements for status arrangements was the first step toward the freeing of the serfs in the Middle Ages. The preservation of Jews through the Middle Ages was possible because of the existence of a market sector in which they could operate and maintain themselves despite official persecution. Puritans and Quakers were able to migrate to the New World because they could accumulate the funds to do so in the market despite disabilities imposed on them in other aspects of their life.

To speak of 'limits to growth' under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society. The moral pieties, that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalists, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative. Capitalism can no more be 'persuaded' to limit growth than a human being can be 'persuaded' to stop breathing. Attempts to 'green' capitalism, to make it 'ecological', are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth.

Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes

There's nothing wrong with capitalism that ethics wouldn't cure.

Natural capitalism is not about making sudden changes, uprooting institutions, or fomenting upheaval for a new social order. Natural capitalism is about making small, critical choices that can tip economic and social factors in positive ways.

Reasonable men are not reasonable when you're in the bubbles which have characterized capitalism since the beginning of time.

Capitalism as a social order and as a creed is the expression of the belief in economic progress as leading toward the freedom and equality of the individual in a free and open society. Marxism expects this society to result from the abolition of private profit. Capitalism expects the free and equal society to result from the enthronement of private profit as supreme ruler of social behavior.

But we don’t have an example of a democratic society existing in a socialist economy – which is the only real alternative to capitalism in the modern world.

The Church's social doctrine is not a third way between liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism, nor even a possible alternative to other solutions less radically opposed to one another: rather, it constitutes a category of its own.

The fundamental idea of modern capitalism is not the right of the individual to possess and enjoy what he has earned, but the thesis that the exercise of this right redounds to the general good.

Journalism has already come to be the first power in the land.

Most people who start out with the idea of organizing women desire to do it wholesale, and my experience is that while a number of them may be organized, the elements of permanency and success are lacking for the same reason that many organizations fail among men . . . namely, the failure . . . to recognize the absolute necessity of making each Union protective in its character. In other words, that the members of the Union should be required to pay higher dues into the Union, to receive a considerable benefit from it and thus enlist the material interests of the members in the Union; not so much for the sake of this material interest but for the sake of keeping them in the Union. When that is once secured progress can be made in any direction to the interests of labor.

Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness.

The thought of being under absolute compulsion, the plaything of another, is unendurable for a human being. Hence, if every way of escape from the constraint is taken from him, there is nothing left for him to do but to persuade himself that he does the things he is forced to do willingly, that is to say, to substitute devotion for obedience. ... It is by this twist that slavery debases the soul: this devotion is in fact based on a lie, since the reasons for it cannot bear investigation. ... Moreover, the master is deceived too by the fallacy of devotion.

There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.

The men who can manage men, manage the men who manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.

What we must think about is an agriculture with a human face. We must give standing to the new pioneers, the homecomers bent on the most important work for the next century - a massive salvage operation to save the vulnerable but necessary pieces of nature and culture and to keep the good and artful examples before us. It is time for a new breed of artists to enter front and center, for the point of art, after all, is to connect. This is the homecomer I have in mind: the scientist, the accountant who converses with nature, a true artist devoted to the building of agriculture and culture to match the scenery presented to those first European eyes.