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Review Of Capitalist Manifesto
#1
While almost everyone knows of the Communist Manifesto, little is heard of what is called The Capitalist manifesto, by Andrew Bernstein. It is due out in September 2005, but here is an excerpt from the introduction of the forthcoming book, that clearly points out why "Capitalism" promotes freedom, and "Statism"/Collectivism promotes tyranny. It is clearly more thatn just an economic issue, but a moral one as well, which clearly favours Free Enterprise over Collectivism.
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The system of freedom and wealth is repeatedly and savagely attacked by many intellectuals and other highly educated individuals -- worse, by men and women claiming to be "liberals," humanists, lovers of man, i.e., the very individuals who should function as the protectors and preservers of human life. There is an enormous disconnect between the facts of capitalism's nature and history – and the evaluation of these by many "progressive" writers and the millions whose thinking they influence. The facts of capitalism's nature and history are not unknown. Certainly the educated critics are well aware of them. Capitalism's enemies are simply unimpressed. Why? What is responsible for the great disconnect? The reason is that the objections to capitalism are not based on factual grounds – and all the evidence in the world establishing the freedom and prosperity of those living under capitalism will not influence the system's critics to the slightest degree. The criticisms are motivated solely by moral and philosophical theories.

Since long before capitalism's 18th century inception, moral theories antagonistic to egoism and profit-making have been dominant. From its birth, therefore, capitalism was an intellectual anomaly: a great boon to human prosperity that was unsupported, even opposed, by men's dominant moral and philosophical codes. Hence the tragic historical spectacle of capitalism providing abundance for the first time for untold millions while sustaining repeated intellectual blows from its moral and philosophical enemies -- from thinkers who claimed to care about mankind. For example, socialists – whether of a Marxist or non-Marxist variety – insist that it is an individual's moral obligation to sacrifice himself for the state. Capitalism, they accurately point out, is not founded on principles of self-sacrifice. Rather, capitalism rests on an egoistic moral code – on the inalienable right of each and every man to his own life. The freedom that capitalism offers an individual to pursue his own personal, selfish happiness is, to socialists, anathema. To them, individual rights and political-economic freedom are appalling because they follow logically from an egoistic moral code that they regard as "disgusting".

As a further example, modern egalitarians seek equality of income. But, contrary to their wishes, the freedom of the capitalist system will always lead to enormous disparities of income, because, in fact, individuals are not equal. They are not equal in talent, they are not equal in initiative, they are not equal in capacity to satisfy customer demand. Left free, some individuals will cure cancer, some will make the baseball Hall of Fame, some will drop out of school, some will work in the local grocery store, some will refuse to work and sponge off of families, friends and private charities.

The enormous general prosperity of the capitalist countries – the ability of capitalism to inherit widespread poverty and then proceed to create a vast middle class – does not and will not begin to impress egalitarians. The principle of economic equality – not universal prosperity – is their moral god. Consequently, they admire the "equal" destitution of Cuba's citizens and repudiate the unequally-shared wealth of America. To them, it is morally superior if everybody subsists roughly equally on $1,000 annually and morally inferior if some possess millions while others live on "merely" $15,000 or $20,000 or $30,000. Rational men prefer to earn $15,000 in a country where others are millionaires to $1,000 in a country where others are equally poor. But egalitarians loathe the economic inequalities necessitated by the freedom of the capitalist system.

Finally, to a devout religionist, such as contemporary Islamists, what matters the earthly riches and comforts enjoyed by those in the capitalist countries? To them, all that matters is salvation in a higher world. If Allah repudiates the secularism, selfishness and materialism of capitalism, if such a life leads to eternal damnation, then the religionist must abjure it, even seek to annihilate it. Islamic terrorists, after all, did not destroy the towers of the World Trade Center simply because they were tall buildings. For years, they targeted those buildings because they were the nerve center of the world financial markets, located in the Wall Street area of New York City, the world's commercial center. Those towers were, in terms both practical and symbolic, at the heart of global capitalism – and this is exactly why they were destroyed.

Too often, freedom's supporters have limited themselves to responses that demonstrate capitalism's unparalleled ability to increase men's prosperity. While true and important, such defenses miss the essence of the criticism. It is as if a great dialogue regarding the most momentous issues held across a span of centuries has been conducted at cross purposes. The critics argue on moral grounds; the supporters on economic grounds. The critics, wedded to a moral code of self-sacrifice, are oblivious to capitalism's practical success. The supporters, equally wedded to such a code, are morally disarmed against the onslaught of their antagonists -- and are reduced to the citation of empirical facts and figures. The supporters, unable to break free of the conventional creed urging selflessness, have too often regarded capitalism's inherent pursuit of self-interest as a guilty secret, akin to an unsavory skeleton in a family closet.
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And here is the earlier version of a completely different but earlier version ofThe Capitalist manifesto, by Kelso, which first appeared in 1958, but was pointedly overlooked by modern economists of the Keynesian school.

It is free for download on PDF format at that site.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#2
The morality of capitalism is awfully limited. It is not a complete system. This is on purpose as capitalism, unlike collectivism, does not purport to be a complete solution to the problems of life. Thus the capitalist/collectivist comparison always suffers from an apples to oranges comparison problem. Capitalism is a highly efficient way of arranging material goods and services that maximizes utility better than any other system ever discovered.

Any christian who knows the parable of the talents will recognize that the efficient use of resources given is a moral imperative. Thus capitalism cannot be described as immoral, per se. The problem arises when people who examine capitalism view its purposeful moral voids in an improper manner. Too often people think that if they are to be capitalists and capitalism has nothing to say on a moral issue, say, the dignity of the unborn that the dignity of the unborn must not be important to capitalists.

This is simply not true. You can hold a moral system, be a good christian, jew, muslim, hindu, or whatever and still be a good capitalist because no religion is out there that encourages waste and profligacy. The moral implications of capitalism need accommodation with your other system but how such accommodation will play itself out varies (think Islamic banking, for example).

Comparing capitalism to collectivism on the moral plane is unproductive. It is essential to compare like to like or define the terms very well if you are to avoid confusion.
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#3
I hate to revive old threads, but awsome post John. I never knew one of these existes haha.
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#4
There is all kinds of neat stuff back in our archives. Happy hunting. Wink1
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#5
What an entrancing mix of hair-rising nonsense, half- and complete truths. Would be pointless to pick some single phrases and argue them, the result of a mix of lies and truth is a lie. Anyway, for the fun.
Quote:Capitalism is a highly efficient way of arranging material goods and services that maximizes utility better than any other system ever discovered.
The only purpose of capitalism is to maximise profits of capitalists. Everything else is a byproduct. In some cases desirable.
Quote:Any christian who knows the parable of the talents will recognize that the efficient use of resources given is a moral imperative.
In reality, an enormous waste of resources by the residues of competition, first of all however, to satisfy the by capitalists created, absurdly exaggerated eagerness for consumption.
Quote:Too often people think that if they are to be capitalists and capitalism has nothing to say on a moral issue, say, the dignity of the unborn that the dignity of the unborn must not be important to capitalists.
Of course they do, they oppose abortions because it reduces the numbers of consumers. No one gives a sh*t about 'dignity', though the capital's servants in church and politics might use the empty phrase.
Quote:and all the evidence in the world establishing the freedom and prosperity of those living under capitalism will not influence the system's critics to the slightest degree.
I recommend to lecture this to the 15% Americans (45,000,000) below the poverty line. And to a few billions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This is hair-rising bullshit. A small minority of mankind has a good existence under capitalism.
Quote:insist that it is an individual's moral obligation to sacrifice himself for the state. Capitalism, they accurately point out, is not founded on principles of self-sacrifice.
Had you stated this while being a member of your defence forces, you would have been sacked at once, in disgrace. :lol:
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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