Friday, 1 June 2007

The Inherent Value of Capitalism

A discussion with my dad sparked off a reflection on the inherent value of capitalism. We're both fundamentally pro-capitalist but he said that capitalism wasn't inherently good, it simply worked.

It's true, it does seem to work but I was quick to point out what intrinsic value capitalism does contain, at least to me. It allows an individual to work and profit from their own labour. It allows someone to have an aspiration and, through their own efforts, achieve that goal. In this way it provides inspiration and purpose to life. Work is not simply something that has to be done in order to provide for other goals in life, it can be a goal in itself.

Capitalism has the inherent advantage that people can balance for themselves the value that their labour has for others and the value that it has to themselves. What is more, it doesn't need to be a selfless act of considered charity, it is built into our everyday lives. We work for money but money is others' gain. If someone is willing to pay for something or pay someone to do something then it is valuable to them and so, by working for them or selling something to them we are giving back to the community without ever requiring us to think in any way selflessly.

Capitalism allows us to benefit society by benefiting ourselves and so is inherently a good thing.

Disagree? Let me know.

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