January 17, 2004

Philosophical Trickery

While reading this article on capitalist morality I was reminded of a very frequently used trick by anti-capitalist moralists. They take the ideal of their moral system filled with highly developed practitioners of the moral arts and compared this platonic ideal with the real world of capitalism where people do not always act ideally. In fact, they're sometimes downright loathsome.

This double standard is, of course, unfair. But it is also deeply rooted in most discussion regarding moral capitalism. I think the difficulty is that capitalism, with its constant emphasis on finding truths through competition, applies that same logic to morality. Any moral system will do but practitioners will bear the consequences of their actions and they may not initiate force to achieve outcomes to their liking. This leads to a situation where the cream rises to the top. In this, the theoretical capitalist is as indifferent to the competitive result between moral systems embedded in buddhism and hinduism as he is to the competition between Reebok and Nike. As long as none of the four competitors arms themselves and gains customers by force or fraud the theoretical capitalist is content as a capitalist though he might have a preference for one brand of footwear over another or one moral system over another as an actual participant in these competitions. Thus we end up with the fiction of the amoral capitalist when, in reality, what we have is a moral participant who is optimistic and confident that the open, even rules of the free market will result in his side winning the race and becoming a natural monopoly.

Posted by TMLutas at January 17, 2004 02:17 PM