Thursday, March 11, 2010

Problems With The 'Free' Market, Part I: Ethics Follows Profit

It is very hard to do justice to the problems when describing the injustice of the so-called ‘free’ market. There are many layers of deceit. First of all, “free” in this context means freedom of big corporations to pursue wealth and accumulate it. It has nothing to do with civil rights or the well-being and liberty of individuals.

Free market capitalism flourishes just as well in a police state as a democracy, as evidenced by China and the gradual return to dictatorship in Russia. So called “state capitalism” is just free market capitalism where the autocratic government, unimpeded by the bothersome detail of elections, enforces the prerogatives of big business.

The free market should be called what it is: a business tyranny.

Take a few seconds to ponder the implications of putting ‘free’ corporations above the importance of free citizens. This means that society is run by greed, not virtue. That, my friends, is the simple though intransigent essence of our problems in the United States. Ethics is secondary to money-grubbing. Jobs are pared down, people sent unemployed into uncertain futures without a safety net. Why? Because the bankers and buckaroos at the top matter more than the poor and the disenfranchised.

Don’t believe? Try this:

“American business is about maximizing shareholder value,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics. “You basically don’t want workers. You hire less, and you try to find capital equipment to replace them.”

Note that “American business” is singled out in the above quote (by a "chief global economist," what a title!). Not all forms of capitalism are ridiculously unethical. The Swedish system of social capitalism is as close as you can get to paradise on Earth today.

Based on history, reason, and a spirituality of love, it is clear that a society whose morals tremble before the quest for gold will deteriorate. The populace will eventually be cleaved. Either seduced by the dark side of materialism or relegated to languish in poverty. When corporations are ‘free’ to reap, they inflict a grim toll; and since they are not accountable like government institutions, they reign doubly perilous.

No comments:

Post a Comment