• Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In    
  • Create Account
              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans

Adverts help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. To go ad-free join as a Member.

- - - - -

Capitalism is killing our morals, our future

capitalism politics philosophy

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 william7

  • Guest
  • 1,729 posts
  • -1
  • Location:US

Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:53 PM

Something I've known for a long time. It doesn't take a Harvard Philosopher to explain that. Nazi capitalists and gangster politicians are the biggest threat to longevity if you ask me.


April 29, 2013, 10:14 a.m. EDT

Capitalism is killing our morals, our future

Commentary: In a Market Society, everything is for sale

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, capitalism is working ... for the Forbes 1,000 Global Billionaires whose ranks swelled from 322 in 2000 to 1,426 recently. Billionaires control the vast majority of the world’s wealth, while the income of American workers stagnated.

For the rest of the world, capitalism is not working: A billion live on less than two dollars a day. With global population exploding to 10 billion by 2050, that inequality gap will grow, fueling revolutions, wars, adding more billionaires and more folks surviving on two bucks a day.

Over the years we’ve explored the reasons capitalism blindly continues on its self-destructive path. Recently we found someone who brilliantly explains why free-market capitalism is destined to destroy the world, absent a historic paradigm shift: That is Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, author of the new best-seller, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” and his earlier classic, “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?”

For more than three decades Sandel’s been explaining how capitalism is undermining America’s moral values and why most people are in denial of the impact. His classes are larger than a thousand although you can take his Harvard “Justice” course online. Sandel recently summarized his ideas about capitalism in the Atlantic. In “What Isn’t for Sale?” he writes:

“Without being fully aware of the shift, Americans have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society ... where almost everything is up for sale ... a way of life where market values seep into almost every sphere of life and sometimes crowd out or corrode important values, non-market values.”

Sandel should be required reading for all Wall Street insiders as well as America’s 95 million Main Street investors. Here’s a condensed version:

In one generation, market ideology consumed America’s collective spirit

“The years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008 were a heady time of market faith and deregulation — an era of market triumphalism,” says Sandel. “The era began in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher proclaimed their conviction that markets, not government, held the key to prosperity and freedom.”

And in the 1990s with the “market-friendly liberalism of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who moderated but consolidated the faith that markets are the primary means for achieving the public good.”

Today “almost everything can be bought and sold.” Today “markets, and market values, have come to govern our lives as never before. We did not arrive at this condition through any deliberate choice. It is almost as if it came upon us,” says Sandel.

Over the years, “market values were coming to play a greater and greater role in social life. Economics was becoming an imperial domain. Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone. It increasingly governs the whole of life.”

Examples: New free-market capitalism trapped in American brains

Yes, it’s everywhere: “Markets to allocate health, education, public safety, national security, criminal justice, environmental protection, recreation, procreation, and other social goods unheard-of 30 years ago. Today, we take them largely for granted.”

Examples ... for-profit schools, hospitals, prisons ... outsourcing war to private contractors ... police forces by private guards “almost twice the number of public police officers” ... drug “companies aggressive marketing of prescription drugs directly to consumers, a practice ... prohibited in most other countries.”

Why should you worry? Capitalism breeds corruption and inequality

But the 2008 crash challenged our faith in free-market capitalism: “The financial crisis did more than cast doubt on the ability of markets to allocate risk efficiently. It also prompted a widespread sense that markets have become detached from morals.”
Then comes the big question: So what? “Why worry that we are moving toward a society in which everything is up for sale?” Two big reasons concern Sandel:

First, inequality: “Where everything is for sale, life is harder for those of modest means.” If wealth just bought things, yachts, sports cars, and fancy vacations, inequalities wouldn’t matter much. “But as money comes to buy more and more, the distribution of income and wealth looms larger.”

Second, corruption: “Putting a price on the good things in life can corrupt them ... markets don’t only allocate goods, they express and promote certain attitudes toward the goods being exchanged.” Also “corrupt the meaning of citizenship. Economists often assume that markets ... do not affect the goods being exchanged. But this is untrue. Markets leave their mark.”

Warning: Morals are new commodities auctioned to highest bidder

Sandel warns that our new dominating capitalist mind-set is crowding out “nonmarket values worth caring about. When we decide that certain goods may be bought and sold,” they become “commodities, as instruments of profit and use.”

But “not all goods are properly valued in this way ... Slavery was appalling because it treated human beings as a commodity, to be bought and sold at auction,” failing to “value human beings as persons, worthy of dignity and respect; it sees them as instruments of gain and objects of use.”

Nor do we permit “children to be bought and sold, no matter how difficult the process of adoption can be.” The same with citizenship ... jury duty ... voting rights ... “we believe that civic duties are not private property but public responsibilities. To outsource them is to demean them, to value them in the wrong way.”

Many things should never be commodities.

America transforms from mere market economy to new market society

Sandel’s core message is simple: “The good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities. So to decide where the market belongs, and where it should be kept at a distance, we have to decide how to value the goods in question — health, education, family life, nature, art, civic duties, and so on. These are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones.”

Unfortunately, we never had that debate during the 30-year rise of “market triumphalism. As a result, without quite realizing it — without ever deciding to do so — we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.”

And “the difference is this: A market economy is a tool ... for organizing productive activity. A market society is a way of life in which market values seep into every aspect of human endeavor. It’s a place where social relations are made over in the image of the market.” The difference is profound.

Not only did the debate never happen. It may never. Why? Because politicians aren’t up to debating values, may be pushing us past the point of no return.

Today’s “political argument consists mainly of shouting matches on cable television, partisan vitriol on talk radio and ideological food fights on the floor of Congress,” says Sandel, so “it’s hard to imagine a reasoned public debate about such controversial moral questions as the right way to value procreation, children, education, health, the environment, citizenship and other goods.”

Dysfunctional politicians pushing Americans past point of no return

Can we change? “The appeal of using markets to put a price on public values, is that there’s no judgment on the preferences they satisfy.” Debate is unnecessary. Markets don’t “ask whether some ways of valuing goods are higher, or worthier, than others. If someone is willing to pay for sex, or a kidney ... the only question the economist asks is ‘How much?’ Markets ... don’t discriminate between worthy preferences and unworthy ones.” Markets may never draw the line, but do politicians, in secret?

What is certain: Capitalism is eliminating moral values, as Nobel economist Milton Friedman and capitalism’s philosopher Ayn Rand had been preaching to the generation. As Sandel puts it: “Each party to a deal decides for him- or herself what value to place on the things being exchanged. This nonjudgmental stance toward values lies at the heart of market reasoning, and explains much of its appeal.”

But unfortunately, market capitalism “has exacted a heavy price ... drained public discourse of moral and civic energy.”

The good professor is a great teacher, with only one glaring flaw in his logic: he’s too idealistic, too quixotic. You don’t have to be a fatalist to know that without a total economic collapse, market capitalists — including 1,426 billionaires, Wall Street bankers, hedgers, lobbyists and every other special interest getting rich off the new market society — will never voluntarily surrender their control over the American political system.

Rather, they will blindly continue down their self-destructive path with an absolute conviction they are divinely guided by the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith, and perhaps even God.

Meanwhile, we have no choice but wait patiently till the collapse, anxiously aware that our bizarre political system will just keep degrading America’s moral values, pricing, buying, selling, trading morals like commodities, because in the final analysis everything has a price and everyone has a price in our hot new exciting Market Society.

Paul B. Farrell is a MarketWatch columnist based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @MKTWFarrell.

#2 Julia36

  • Guest
  • 2,267 posts
  • -11
  • Location:Reach far
  • NO

Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:21 PM

hi William 7,

good piost.

I think capitalism will dwindle as the age of zero cost products increases (it;s already here)

There'sll still be some capitalism but less and less.

It was incredibly useful and stoked industrial revolution, technology, then medical and lastly robotic revolutions.

Evenetually information will dominate everything as I see it.

information has always been power,
b ut if it;s available freer as it is obviously trending, there is no competition, which is the battery of capitalism.

No competition, no money.

#3 william7

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 1,729 posts
  • -1
  • Location:US

Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

Thanks for responding. I tend to believe that a new communal religion will develop out of the mess we're in that will give us the character and morals necessary to make the right use of science and technology for the betterment of all instead of the few. I hope to get a hold of the book mentioned in the article and see what the author has to say.

sponsored ad

  • Advert

#4 Julia36

  • Guest
  • 2,267 posts
  • -11
  • Location:Reach far
  • NO

Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:47 AM

New global religion Ho!

What is religion?

It is as well to define what we mean.

Before the internet there was no group way of being together.
We had to gather physically.

Now groups whose members are thousands of miles apart interact.

As a philosopher religion is something I dont understand.
Hope becomes faith,

Ethics, duty to the supernatural

Conjecture belief and dogma.

And the fantastic an clearly false, accepted as part of membership entry.

We are not static but ever changing and we have no destination just MORE.

I hope we get laws to force compassion and goodness and sharing.

But mainly freedom to live

#5 1kgcoffee

  • Guest
  • 737 posts
  • 253

Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:57 AM

Don't confuse corporate welfare with capitalism.

American has many problems, but too much economic freedom couldn't be further from the truth.
  • like x 2

#6 zorba990

  • Guest
  • 1,308 posts
  • 184

Posted 15 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

I cant imagine anything more harmful to people than the magical thinking that religion promotes. I think in the US the current problem is greed. More food , new car, new house, more attention, with less effort. Its a weak house of cards. The Mortgage collapse was a warning sign. The very rich have too much power and they greedily lust for more. Look at Mark Zuckerberg lobbying for a cheaper workforce under the guise of immigration 'fairness'. If the ultrawealthy simply had to pay the same amount of taxes that the middle class does it would go a long way towards evening things out.

#7 Julia36

  • Guest
  • 2,267 posts
  • -11
  • Location:Reach far
  • NO

Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:02 PM

Posted Image

Well how to we address greed?
Leaders find they cant keep order without draconian measures without religion.

At least that used to be true: Europe won the nobel peace prize and most are socialist/aetheist

Scarcity is ending.

How much is a mobile phone to ye10 years ago, a microwave, a kettle.

These are chore enders/freers.

Our grandparents spent hours cooking, washing trying to wrote a letter to someone.

Films/movies are free etc

There's huge lists of how life for people in civilisation has improved.

The issue of the rich is incentive...I dont care about people being zillionaires when they're creating wealth.

Many are.

The money wasn't there before them.

Europe and US sparked by Switzerland is pushing for a universal basic FREE income for everyone.

Europe is going first and if this petition gets 1,000,000 sigs it'll get debated in its parliament:

(minimum number of signs needed by Jan 2014 to get EU parliament to consider it).
Its obvious to futurists this will come in:

Formally called “Unconditional Basic Income – Exploring a path toward emancipatory welfare in the EU”, the initiative was accepted by the European Commission on January 14th.
The initiative must now collect one million signatures before January 14, 2014, while reaching a minimum threshold in at least 7 member states. If we succeed, the European Commission will have to examine the initiative carefully and offer a public hearing in the European Parliament.

sponsored ad

  • Advert

#8 zorba990

  • Guest
  • 1,308 posts
  • 184

Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:16 PM

Socialism doesnt work because of the lazy/entitled people. UK donates much of its income to increase the Queens wealth..so not really interested in that model. My personal solution is to be happy with less, and not to give away my work for free. Movies arent usually free unless you are stealing / pirating them.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: capitalism, politics, philosophy

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users