Never have I spent so much of my thinking energy on trying to understand, question, assess, debug, and dissect a value system that I had, for years, accepted as a fundamental principle of my life.
This series, I hope, will provide a forum for many of us experiencing the same period of questioning, an opportunity to discuss.
Let’s start with a definition by Capitalism’s high priestess, Ayn Rand:
“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.
The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.”
Today’ we’re seeing the government take a role well beyond this rather simplistic definition, and we’re even discovering that some of it is desirable.
Rand also goes on to say, “When I say “capitalism,” I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.”
Yet, regulation, clearly, has become necessary, to control one of the basic forces of human nature: greed, especially that greed which is unconstrained by ethics.
My personal analysis suggests that while in Rand’s definition, greed is good, and a part of the capitalistic equation, she missed one of the essential ‘bugs’ in the system: lack of conscience in human beings.
Greed that is coupled with a strong ethical value system – a moral code – is the ideal. But unbridled greed, unconstrained by morality, is the ‘bug’ that requires checks and balances in the system.
And that is where regulation comes in.
And it is quite obvious, today, that it needs to come in.
This segment is a part in the series : Capitalism 2.0