Capitalism : A New Value System and way of Life
I watched a documentary related to Ayn Rand a couple of days back. It sort of talked about how her prophecy is coming true. So what exactly did she prophesize? Well she said that if the government starts regulating and starts becoming a socialist state, that would cause the civilization to eventually be ruined. She said that the moral code of man helping his brother at his own expense can never lead to a fruitful result. She said the moral code of “I must work harder to take care of not just me but everyone else in the society just because I am more intelligent then them” would eventually lead to a stagnant and dead world.
I totally agree with her on this. If it becomes an individual’s moral responsibility to take care of the society by being more hard working since he is better, then it would eventually lead to the destruction of the thinking man. Everybody would want to take part in the value created by one individual. There would be only a handful who create and the rest would consider it their birth-right to just consume because the moral code of today’s world stipulate it.
If you want to see an example of the countries defaulting and starting at fiscal disasters, its the European states to start with. They have always been socialist in their regime. Social welfare states which have been spending too much on taking care of the poor man has led it to spend more than it can earn and this leads to the high debt caused by high moral values. On the other hand if a society were to only spend what it can earn would be comparatively well off because it would never be in debt. The creators would create and then consume but this would be balanced.
But if you start accepting a world of pure capitalism, its hard to imagine if relationships and society would exist. Its hard to imagine inter-personal relationships starting to develop if I just care about myself. That has always been my problem in accepting ayn rand’s philosophy word to word. How does one inculcate the emotional into capitalism because you cant deny the value of emotions.
The other thing that stops me in believing in capitalism as it exists today is the blind desire of earning money. What Ayn Rand visualized as value, we understand as monetary right now. But maybe monetary is not the correct judge of value. Carbon fuels have been and would probably be quite profitable in near future too. We have seen an immense technological revolution because of carbon fuels. But then is this value actually worth what profits it generate? Given that it is causing the global warming to some extent and hence might lead to death of human species? So if pure capitalism says that these businesses should just go about creating value at whatever cost, i wont be willing to agree to it. How do you judge the value?
So the current understanding of capitalism as the ultimate way of life has 2 major opponents for me: inter-personal relationships and value being linked to money. I keep on thinking on how to resolve this? Maybe we need to create a new value system to start with. A value system that not involves the monetary cost but the environmental impact, short and long term economic impact and maybe other factors. So if I want to setup a new coal based power plant as an entrepreneur I should come to the understanding that it does not really create major values. I should rather try to invest in a solar plant maybe.
The other thing is greed is not part of capitalism. An ideal capitalist understands the value of what he creates but he is not greedy. He understands the fair value that obviously includes his profits. But there is a fine line after which it is greed. If market condition show me that I can get $100 per kg of a new item I produce and there is no other competitor, I can charge $120 per kg so that I invest it back into business but charging $200 is greedy, bribing the government to manipulate market price of the item to $250 is wrong and faking demand to drive your stock price up is wrong too.
So if the world embraces fair value capitalism I think we can avoid a lot of problems of current capitalism and the socialist state. Government is to represent people not to regulate them I think. SO the more regulations taken by government, the more its likely for us to reach closer to our doom.
I still wonder how emotional values in capitalism. But as I said if we take a new value system that involve my happiness as a high value, happiness of other people around me based not on moral code but desire as higher value too, then we would move closer to integration emotions and money. Because at the end of life, we wont take this money with us. Hence what matters is what we make of our life and so if someone matters to us, then their happiness becomes a factor of values for us and a real capitalist would understand how these emotional values are part of our life.
Obviously nothing is perfect, neither is my thinking. But I hope someday I can find a consistent theory of the best possible way to live. As of now I feel that Captialist state with absolute freedom and a new, more integrated value system might be the best way forward. Remember that it is a sin to be forced mentally to embrace or do something and it is an equal sin to force another human being to do the same thing!