One of the main Big Lies against capitalism is it consists of is rewarding greed – capitalism is all about greed.
Brooke McIntyre of the Colson Center addresses this lie in her video Is Capitalism All about Greed? Video is embedded at top of this post.
The core lie in that false accusation hides the reality that the only way to make money in capitalism is to satisfy someone else’s need or desire.
Several people want fresh baked pastries in the morning so if you can get up at four in the morning, make donuts, and have them ready for the morning commuter crowd you will make money.
If you can design an app that people enjoy it will make a bunch of money.
If you can handcraft beautiful furniture with a pleasant finish that people enjoy, you will make enough money to live well.
If you can develop software that makes work easier for tens of millions of office workers you will make a fortune.
Video points out three powerful rebuttals to the lie that capitalism is all about greed.
“Taking responsibility for your own interest is not the same as selfishness.”
Adam Smith said:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
The butcher, brewer, and baker all want to feed their family so they work hard to provide you with food to feed your family and in return you pay them so they can provide for their families.
“Capitalism encourages altruism.”
Video explains that if a carpenter wants to pay his rent he needs to figure out how to make a customer happy by building a cabinet the way the customer wants it built. He has to satisfy the customer so he can make money so he can pay his rent.
To cover costs and have enough left over to live on, a business owner needs to figure out how to satisfy a large number of customers, in other words meet their needs – that is altruism.
“Capitalism can foster virtue and channel even our bad motivations into actions that benefit others.”
To succeed in business, the video points out an owner must develop the attributes of
- hard work,
- creativity, and
Without any one of those positive attributes, the business will fail.
Greedy people are everywhere in every system.
Video explains the reality that there are greedy people everywhere.
There are greedy business owners. There are greedy police officers. There are greedy doctors. There are greedy bureaucrats. There are greedy politicians. My, oh my, are there a lot of greedy politicians.
In capitalism, the business down the block providing better service a better price (in other words someone who is not as greedy) will generate more sales and slowly force the greedy business to curtail their greed or the greedy business will go out of business.
In socialism the greedy people are in power. They will extract lots of money from the people in the system. There will be no force to counter their greed.