Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How Capitalism Civilizes Greed 资本主义制约了人性的贪婪

Ayn Rand on Moral Principles of Capitalism 安. 兰德论资本主义的道德原则/视频


"Free Beings" vs. "Chinese"


人对权力的贪欲要用宪政制度与言论自由去制约。 人对物质金钱的贪欲要用资本主义制度去制约。 这两种制约都是基于自由的道德原则上的。 现今中国并不存在基于个体自由的“资本主义”。 现今中国的制度是“共儒官僚商业体”。

Kai Chen's Words:

Greed is part of human nature. Therefore, human greed for power must be restrained by a constitutional democracy with separation of powers and freedom of speech. By the same token, human greed for money and material gains must be restrained by capitalism. Both systems of controlling human greed are based on the moral principle of individual freedom. Today's China does not have a capitalist system at all. Today's China is following a mutated collectivism, what I call "Communist Confucian Despotism" (Neo-Fascism) that degrades human beings into governmental slaves and plunders the world for the interests of government bureaucratic interests.


How Capitalism Civilizes Greed


(NPR Commentary)
By Dinesh D'Souza

Suddenly we are hearing the word “greed” again. The 1980s were dubbed the Era of Greed—it was the era of Ronald Reagan and Michael Milken—but wealth in the nineties was perceived as more virtuous, because it was associated with tech entrepreneurs who were making new things. Now in the aftermath of the Microsoft trial, and with Al Gore running for the presidency, we are seeing a revival of the charge of greed.

Most surprising, this accusation is being leveled by some in the tech world. “When greed becomes this prevalent,” telcommunications mogul Craig McCaw says, “something bad always happens.” Kim Polese of Marimba worries about what she calls “the greed factor.” And in a recent article in Fast Company, author Jim Collins complained that Silicon Valley used to be about inventing new things and developing “insanely great” products, but now people mainly come there to get filthy rich.

What this rhetoric proves is that capitalism has won the economic war but it hasn’t won the moral war. The failure of socialist planned economies has convinced most people that technological capitalism is the best way to create wealth. But there remains the long-standing belief that the capitalist is a greedy, selfish person. This is a very old accusation that long predates Marx. It goes back to the Greeks and Romans, who saw the trader as a contemptible, low figure, and to the Bible, where it is written that “love of money is the root of all evil.”

But is this prejudice against money-making justified? Adam Smith, who first made the case for capitalism in his book The Wealth of Nations, acknowledged that capitalism is based on self-interest. The reason for this, he said, is that human nature is self-interested. In Smith’s view, it is ridiculous to expect farmers in rural England wake up at four o’clock in the morning to tend cattle and plant potatoes so that Londoners can have steak and potatoes for dinner. What motivates the farmers is the desire to benefit themselves and support their families. This is not a base motive, it is a decent one. It is rooted in self-interest, but it is self-interest ennobled by filial attachment and responsibility.

Smith pointed out a further paradox of capitalism: although it is motivated by the desire for personal gain, the way that the entrepreneur maximizes his profits is by focusing his everyday attention on meeting the needs and wants of others. So greed leads to empathy. At Wal-Mart, for example, Sam Walton became rich by developing an efficient inventory control system so that he could monitor consumer preferences and satisfy them as promptly and cheaply as possible. The most successful entrepreneurs do not merely identify and gratify people’s wants, but they anticipate desires before people have them. Think about the portable computer, the Palm Pilot and the cell-phone: entrepreneurs figured out that we would want and benefit from these things even before we knew we couldn’t function without them.

The moral argument for capitalism is that it makes us better people by regulating the vices of greed and selfishness. Capitalism civilizes greed in much the same way that marriage civilizes lust. Greed, like lust, is part of our human nature; it would be futile to try to root it out. What capitalism does is to channel greed in such a way that it works to meet the wants and needs of society.

More than any other social type, excerpt perhaps the clergy, the capitalist is, in his everyday conduct, oriented to the task of helping and serving others. There is no reason for entrepreneurs to feel bad about doing well, because their success is proof that they have effectively met the wants and needs of their fellow human beings.

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