Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Moral Case For Capitalism

     The people of the United States of America are the most generous on the planet, giving a combined total to charity around the world that dwarfs all other countries combined. This is not a function of the American people being morally superior, but rather operating under the morally superior system of free market capitalism. Capitalism, in and of itself, is the most moral system devised by man, and it allows for the truly moral act of giving to thrive.
     Stripped down to its basic activity, capitalism is one party supplying a good or service to another party who desires or needs that good or service. The two parties agree on a price that is fair to both. If the price is too high, a sale does not occur, thereby requiring the provider to drop the price or cease doing business. If the price is too low, demand for the good or service will outstrip supply, causing a rise in production or price or both. The natural law of supply and demand keeps a balance that benefits both the consumer and provider. This system breaks down when a central authority, such as a government, artificially stimulates supply or demand, thereby causing rationing of a good or service and an unfair price for that good or service. A recent  example of this is the government's subsidy for ethanol production. The subsidy caused an artificial rise in the production of corn and an equal drop in the production of other grain crops. This caused a general rise in the price of these commodities, which would not have otherwise occurred in a balanced free market. This phenomenon is also occurring in the health care industry as a result of the new health care law. The government is artificially increasing demand while reducing supply with lower reimbursement rates to health care providers. This will necessarily lead to rationing because of the immutable law of supply and demand.
     Capitalism also allows for the greatest number of people to acquire wealth, which leads to a greater amount of charity to those who are in need. It is free people, unencumbered by the heavy hand of government regulation, working in their own self interest, which creates opportunity for other people. A person who starts a landscaping business, does so to support themselves and their family. If they provide a quality service at a reasonable price, their business will grow and they will have to employ other people. But they don't start their business with the goal of employing other people or even to provide customers with well-manicured lawns. They start their business to feed, shelter and clothe themselves and their family. The employment of others and happy customers are a result of that basic self interest. It is a simple economic rule that the more employed people there are, the less stress there is on public funds and society in general.
     An individual who voluntarily gives to someone in need is performing a moral act because the beneficiary feels grateful and the benefactor feels rewarded for having helped a fellow human being in need. When government confiscates wealth from that same individual and gives it to another, the one who has his money taken is angry and bitter and the one who receives it feels entitled. This removes all the morality from an otherwise moral act. A capitalist society will always breed more happiness in those who benefit from it. There have been multiple studies performed that reveal a higher level of happiness and contentment in those who are able to use their talents and ambition to support themselves. Free market capitalism provides the best opportunity for this to ocurr. People who feel they haven't earned what they have are much more likely to be unhappy. This is why there is so much anxiety and unhappiness among lottery winners. Capitalism is a moral system because it uplifts the human spirit and provides the best way for people to participate in something greater than themselves.

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