Capitalism’s worst enemy

Amid the mayhem on world financial markets, it is becoming clear that capitalism’s most dangerous enemies are capitalists. No one can have watched the “subprime mortgage” debacle without noticing the absurd contrast between the magnitude of the failure and the lavish rewards heaped on those who presided over it.

Contrast this to Commodore Vanderbilt who built a huge fleet of steamships and railroads in the 19th century. While other steamship owners paid huge amounts for insurance, Vanderbilt never had insurance and never lost a ship. Why? Because he paid employees well, treated them fairly, and kept his fleet in top condition. He was known for keeping prices low, and when he achieved a monopoly in railroads he, are you ready for this, lowered prices (which of course led to increased sales and greater profits.)

How unlike too many greedy, grasping CEOs of today.

One comment

  1. Adam Smith’s concept of the self interest that drives the capitalist system is widely misunderstood these days as greed. He’d be horrified. Rather, self interest meant to him sound communities, trusting relationships, and a small enough gap between rich and poor that the poor need not turn to violence.

    I’ve said it before: this global greedfest ain’t capitalism, it’s anarchy.

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