Friday, July 6, 2012

An Almost Overlooked Gem

Don't know how you handle your email box, but it's typical for me to have stuff in there that goes back a ways. I'm sure a lot of other people do what I do with some stuff that arrives . . . you glance at it, see it's something you want to read, but simply don't have the time at the moment. So you just leave it where it is. And there it may sit for some time. A friend sent me this piece about two months ago. And I finally got around to reading it today, part of my program to clear out the mail as much as possible before Susan and I take off for vacation to the Canadian Rockies for a week tomorrow.* More on that in a moment. But just for teaser's sake, here's the title of the piece in question: "Capitalists and Other Psychopaths." What great stuff. Want a few nibbles?
  • Enron, BP, Goldman, Philip Morris, G.E., Merck, etc., etc. Accounting fraud, tax evasion, toxic dumping, product safety violations, bid rigging, overbilling, perjury. The Walmart bribery scandal, the News Corp. hacking scandal — just open up the business section on an average day. Shafting your workers, hurting your customers, destroying the land. Leaving the public to pick up the tab. These aren’t anomalies; this is how the system works: you get away with what you can and try to weasel out when you get caught. 
  • There are ethical corporations, yes, and ethical businesspeople, but ethics in capitalism is purely optional, purely extrinsic. To expect morality in the market is to commit a category error. Capitalist values are antithetical to Christian ones. (How the loudest Christians in our public life can also be the most bellicose proponents of an unbridled free market is a matter for their own consciences.) Capitalist values are also antithetical to democratic ones. Like Christian ethics, the principles of republican government require us to consider the interests of others. Capitalism, which entails the single-minded pursuit of profit, would have us believe that it’s every man for himself. 
And so forth . . . I'm glad I saved this article. I have an affection for writers who don't bite their tongues.

On the trip, best thing will be getting away from the news for a week. I don't intend to check on anything political while I'm gone. I told Susan just the other day that I'm thoroughly sick already of the presidential campaign and its vapid mindlessness. Plus, I'm an absolute fatalist about the results. No matter who wins, Wall Street wins and the rest of us lose. 

I'll see you all in about a week. Stay cool.

*Yes, I am going to be gone for the next week, so no blogging. I trust you'll hook up with me when I get back, and I promise to post some nice pictures of the trip.
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