Is Capitalism Moral?


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airplanes crash, ships sink, cars collide and people drown

The hew and cry is, "Capitalism is moral". I agree that it is. Voluntary agreement vs the force of a gun. Perhaps its a "kiss" proposition, either accept the principle or not. )

I parsed historical references from the 1850's-1929, in "The Lords of Creation, The History of Americas 1% written in 1935 about the captains of industry, monopolies, and anti trust, etc. I found a parallel in the PC story.

"The railroad’s charter was signed in 1846, and by 1858 its main line was completed between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the New York Central was created by Erastus Corning who consolidated ten upstate railroads into one Albany - Buffalo system. The Central was acquired by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who also controlled railroads connecting New York City with Albany. Before buying the NYC, Vanderbilt drove the price of its stock down by stopping his New York-Albany trains on the east side of the Hudson, forcing passengers connecting to the NYC to walk across the river on a cold, snow-covered bridge. This tactic caused the price of NYC stock to fall, until Vanderbilt acquired control of the railroad for some $18 million. The excesses of the late 19th Century’s so-called “robber barons” led to changes in the industry. About a fifth of the nation’s trackage was operated by bankrupt companies by 1895, and rail workers began forming unions in response to low wages and poor working conditions. In 1887, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was created by the federal government to regulate the industry. After peaking in influence and mileage during the early 20th Century, the railroad industry entered into a period of decline starting with the Great Depression of the 1930s and continuing after World War 2 with the diversion of passenger and freight traffic from rail to road, and to a lesser extent, to air. One response by the railroads to these new competitive threats would be to seek economies of scale through mergers."

My concern stems to some degree from ignorance or from not quite being willing enough to say in no case is govt or criminal law to get involved (absent judicial,military, police). In the case of "accidents" cited theres personal injury case law that holds transporters responsible for the safety of passengers, its good company policy and probably a moral obligation from where I sit.

In the WaMu example, no amount of incompetence is "enough" to find Killinger and his cronies legally culpable to "pay" up personally for their deeds that resulted in devastating losses. They were protected by corp law, I guess. Apart from there being no money to pay out they walked away unscathed apart from being summoned to Capitol Hill.

In the Vanderbuilt example above, thats no example of force used to influence markets bringing the price down.

Ive tried to delineate the different concerns bearing on each instance but you can see. Is there no difference to you morally, as an advocate of Capitalism in the $ magnitude involved at WaMu? I put bank operators on the same playing field as drivers/operators, in regard to keeping clients safe, doesnt mean you wont get bounced around. )

My guess is that for years, likely decades, statists will be using the 08 financial crash as "the" reason why govt is needed. Even advocates of Capitalism who arent ardent believers (current crop of candidates) will have a tough time convincing people its better to roll with free market punches than let govt get involved.

Im going to take time to answer this for myself.

If Capitalism is moral, what happens when immoral businessmen make grave mistakes? Practically begs the question, if C is to remain a moral economic concept, isnt it practical to condemn immoral businessmen and their practices and take punitive measures? What would it take to make it practical? Imo, immorality shouldnt simply exact its own price on the player, as it seems to be in the WaMu example, but should bear sanctions.

Rameriez, the sub prime mortgage guy is doing fine and still in business. Killinger also is free.

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Criminal intent and action gets retaliatory force under capitalism properly done. This is the philosophy of law put into effective law. What else should we strive for and why? Governemnt doing something outside that context? That would be initiation of force to some extent. I'll keep trying to understand what you're about. Something to do with (as you said) "the moral being the practical"--not!? I guarantee you'll never run out of (faux?) examples out of the history of the American mixed economy. It's the only kind we've had.

If you're worried about your money in the bank, think your way out of your worry. Even start a business for people who worry about it so they can sleep at night.

--Brant

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what happens when immoral businessmen make grave mistakes?

They go out of business, lose reputation, customers, credit, control of assets and future opportunity.

retaliatory force under capitalism properly done is the philosophy of law put into effective law

Nope.

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what happens when immoral businessmen make grave mistakes?

They go out of business, lose reputation, customers, credit, control of assets and future opportunity.

retaliatory force under capitalism properly done is the philosophy of law put into effective law

Nope.

Some of them make a lot of money and die rich.

--Brant

there's a problem, you see, with the protective corporate structure--actually, problems

your "Nope" doesn't mean anything Wolf unless you explain it (you should have asked me to explain my statement and since you didn't that ball is now in your hands)

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what happens when immoral businessmen make grave mistakes?

They go out of business, lose reputation, customers, credit, control of assets and future opportunity.

Are we speaking of the ideal outcome, Capitalism fully realized and what might happen to immoral businessmen? I suppose that its possible.

While I had hoped that would happen it didnt. Its been reported by Grind on John Batchlors show that Ramirez, the sub prime loan writer is still in business and Killinger has his houses. Immoral businessmen may in fact be emboldened to do worse. Apparently what I refer to as immoral was not seen as having criminal intent. Reading the article its difficult to understand why.

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Without going into the particulars of what happened at WaMu , how much of the 'blame' should go to the immoral businessmen and how much to 'system' ? Is it a case of nefarious individuals duping the public into doing business or a consequence of the state of the housing 'market' and how people could be in positions to take advantage even recklessly with the knowledge that those positions would protect them from personal consequences? How far is/was the housing market corrupted by government intervention and corporate cronyism? It seems the price to be a fall guy was worth it, I doubt the two named people were the only ones to profit personally.

Didn't part of the bailout deals involve the condition that taking money was tied to 'buying' WaMu's assets/liabilities?

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"Criminal intent and action gets retaliatory force under capitalism properly done. This is the philosophy of law put into effective law. What else should we strive for and why? Governemnt doing something outside that context? That would be initiation of force to some extent. I'll keep trying to understand what you're about. Something to do with (as you said) "the moral being the practical"--not!? I guarantee you'll never run out of (faux?) examples out of the history of the American mixed economy. It's the only kind we've had."

--Brant

_____________________________________________

As close as I can get to it heres the non practical aspect that might occur in an otherwise moral economic system. I guess my concern is how is a moral system implemented in reality with rights respecting laws that compel behavior which restrains the harm done by some. Its said, in economics one person wins and another loses. When the loss is substantial enough to qualify as harm a line is crossed into the others right to voluntarily trade, compete and win regardless of a loss someone sustains. Maybe smarter or wealthier creates opportunities for bigger risk. Risk for innocent bystanders that entails harm.

Just food for thought. Stipulating Capitalism as being moral within the guidelines and application of proper law doesnt mean there are never situations where immorality occurs. It just means it gets sorted, eventually, hopefully.

I thought WaMu was a good example of this. Mortgage buyers were given free reign to voluntarily sign for something that backers had full knowledge was eventually going to cause harm despite disclosing all the particulars. This isnt moral, imo. Though maybe it isnt an example you would use. There should be plenty to choose from.

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Without going into the particulars of what happened at WaMu , how much of the 'blame' should go to the immoral businessmen and how much to 'system' ? Is it a case of nefarious individuals duping the public into doing business or a consequence of the state of the housing 'market' and how people could be in positions to take advantage even recklessly with the knowledge that those positions would protect them from personal consequences? How far is/was the housing market corrupted by government intervention and corporate cronyism? It seems the price to be a fall guy was worth it, I doubt the two named people were the only ones to profit personally.

Didn't part of the bailout deals involve the condition that taking money was tied to 'buying' WaMu's assets/liabilities?

JP Morgans Diamond, got WaMu after waiting long enough for the share price to be worthless.They got it for zero. A settlement sought $1B from executives. $60M was paid out by WaMus insurance.

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turkeyfoot writes:

...and what might happen to immoral businessmen?

Excellent question. :smile:

Immoral businessmen are not Capitalists.

They're liars, cheats, extortionists, swindlers, and thieves... but they're not Capitalists.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "immoral Capitalism".

Greg

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turkeyfoot writes:

...and what might happen to immoral businessmen?

Excellent question. :smile:

Immoral businessmen are not Capitalists.

They're liars, cheats, extortionists, swindlers, and thieves... but they're not Capitalists.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "immoral Capitalism".

Greg

We can accept this for those who aren't capitalists though they operate within a capitalist system. There will, after all, always be bad actors. But as there are always bad actors as private individuals there will always be bad actors both in government and in law. A functioning capitalist system cannot be perfect but it can be close enough to perfect that the resultant economic activity, in the aggregate, can be reflective of a dynamic and moral capitalist system.

--Brant

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turkeyfoot writes:

...and what might happen to immoral businessmen?

Excellent question. :smile:

Immoral businessmen are not Capitalists.

They're liars, cheats, extortionists, swindlers, and thieves... but they're not Capitalists.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "immoral Capitalism".

Greg

We can accept this for those who aren't capitalists though they operate within a capitalist system. There will, after all, always be bad actors. But as there are always bad actors as private individuals there will always be bad actors both in government and in law. A functioning capitalist system cannot be perfect but it can be close enough to perfect that the resultant economic activity, in the aggregate, can be reflective of a dynamic and moral capitalist system. This is still true enough of America today, but everything is creaking and groaning as it claws its way along.

--Brant

Farmer Brown: "Just as I got that mule a workin' without water and hay he went up and died!"

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retaliatory force under capitalism properly done is the philosophy of law put into effective law

Nope.

Wrong.

You belong at the kid's table, incapable of understanding a first principle.

I hereby certify that the law cannot catch or deter a clever evildoer. That's not the purpose of law, which exists first as a means of restraining mob violence, ignorant prejudice, and statist tyranny. If we apprehend a callous predator, from time to time, that's laudatory. But ending systemic, wholesale injustice is far more urgent, especially the heavy lifting of securing constitutional rights, which are few in number — no summary punishment, fair trial by jury, no perjury, no secret evidence, and the right of appeal to ensure fundamental fairness. [COGIGG, p.66]

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A functioning capitalist system cannot be perfect but it can be close enough to perfect that the resultant economic activity, in the aggregate, can be reflective of a dynamic and moral capitalist system.

--Brant

I have difficulty with the sentiment that champions, not a real world example with objective evidence, but an ideal supported by beliefs in a Capitalist system being only what we say it is and not what it might become in practice. What I mean by that is by removing govt force and adding rights respecting ground rules there is nothing to prevent immoral acts. Laws would deal with those aspects but wouldnt prevent crime. Imo, then, crime or immorality is part and parcel of the actions of the players in the system known as Capitalism

The source of my difficulty probably is, what is moral. Im asking. Theres another interesting quirk, can two people agree on what is moral?

Is it moral, for example, for WaMu's personnel to have written mortgages to people who couldnt afford them? Ive formed a temporary opinion related by the authors article from her observations of the people involved. My opinion is that if an action I take results in harm to me or my interests then its not good. Clearly the results in WaMus case were not good. But were they attained thru immoral methods? I tend to exclude stupidity, the CE was known to be a financial wizard.

Isnt it fair to ask, were their standards of work moral? Im asking.

This presents another problem for me. Proponents of C to a man unswervingly support the ideal, I rarely hear criticism. But at the root of many financial stories gone bad, sometimes if you look hard enough, peel away the layers, problems appear. Its issues as in the above example that need to be given honest exposition.

Thx

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turkeyfoot writes:

...and what might happen to immoral businessmen?

Excellent question. :smile:

Immoral businessmen are not Capitalists.

They're liars, cheats, extortionists, swindlers, and thieves... but they're not Capitalists.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "immoral Capitalism".

Greg

Youre parsing the word to smithereens. Theres nothing imo, in C that defines it as being free of crime. Its a framework that provides for good behavior not a promise. C cant work well or at all in an environment free of law. Can it?, he asked. )

See Michael Milken.

We have to leave realistic room for the law to be wrong or the morality of an action to have been misinterpreted, imo.

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Brant writes:

We can accept this for those who aren't capitalists though they operate within a capitalist system.

...and the converse is also true.

Where I live in California, it's 84% liberal Democrat. I operate within a liberal socialist system without being a liberal socialist... and not because of it, but rather despite it.

It is possible to generate your own moral and economic microclimate within your own personal sphere of influence. It's like having a moral diving suit where your own internal pressure equalizes the pressure of the world to keep you from being crushed and leaves you free to explore and to learn. :smile:

Greg

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turkeyfoot writes:

See Michael Milken.

Michael Milken was certainly NOT a Capitalist. He was a Creditist.

Milken peddled junk bonds which are debt, not capital. And he was "indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 in an insider trading investigation." (Wiki)

Debt is NOT capital.

Debt is a LACK of capital.

It's like matter and antimatter.

Greg

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retaliatory force under capitalism properly done is the philosophy of law put into effective law

Nope.

Wrong.

You belong at the kid's table, incapable of understanding a first principle.

Nope. That's you. You're a poseur and pretender.

I hereby certify that the law cannot catch or deter a clever evildoer. That's not the purpose of law, which exists first as a means of restraining mob violence, ignorant prejudice, and statist tyranny. If we apprehend a callous predator, from time to time, that's laudatory. But ending systemic, wholesale injustice is far more urgent, especially the heavy lifting of securing constitutional rights, which are few in number no summary punishment, fair trial by jury, no perjury, no secret evidence, and the right of appeal to ensure fundamental fairness. [COGIGG, p.66]

And "I hereby certify" that you don't know the first thing about "philosophy of law." You merely constantly quote yourself giving unsupported personal opinions and stating non sequiturs and falsehoods. When you're "hereby certifying" this or that, and coming to conclusions based only on what you can or can't "empathize" with, you're such an uncritical and unlawyerly thinker that you stumble into self contradictions, then dodge and evade that fact when they're pointed out to you.

Amateur hour. Just like "Rex's" LFC image design that Bill posted. Tacky posing, bluffing, blustering, and bullshit. You're much more interested in trying to appear to others to be something you're not than in the ideas that you're shallowly opining about.

You don't even belong at the kiddie table, but in a high chair in the kitchen with a nanny.

J

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turkeyfoot writes:

See Michael Milken.

Michael Milken was certainly NOT a Capitalist. He was a Creditist.

Milken peddled junk bonds which are debt, not capital. And he was "indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 in an insider trading investigation." (Wiki)

Debt is NOT capital.

Debt is a LACK of capital.

It's like matter and antimatter.

Greg

Diminishing returns, so Ill end with this.

See Gekko Echo by David Kelly

Debt evidently created wealth.

I figure finding of guilty against Milken is at least suspicious, certainly questionable and possibly wrong.

The law isnt always right especially in a mixed economy amongst socialists agendas with an altruist morality.

I dont mean to be argumentative for its own sake but present views of mine, some sorted and some not so much.

IN A WORLD........................https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=O0wYchCT_1U

If you can create your own bubble of Capitalism, then perhaps you dont have to consider the effects outside of your personal interests.

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A functioning capitalist system cannot be perfect but it can be close enough to perfect that the resultant economic activity, in the aggregate, can be reflective of a dynamic and moral capitalist system.

--Brant

I have difficulty with the sentiment that champions, not a real world example with objective evidence, but an ideal supported by beliefs in a Capitalist system being only what we say it is and not what it might become in practice. What I mean by that is by removing govt force and adding rights respecting ground rules there is nothing to prevent immoral acts. Laws would deal with those aspects but wouldnt prevent crime. Imo, then, crime or immorality is part and parcel of the actions of the players in the system known as Capitalism

The source of my difficulty probably is, what is moral. Im asking. Theres another interesting quirk, can two people agree on what is moral?

Is it moral, for example, for WaMu's personnel to have written mortgages to people who couldnt afford them? Ive formed a temporary opinion related by the authors article from her observations of the people involved. My opinion is that if an action I take results in harm to me or my interests then its not good. Clearly the results in WaMus case were not good. But were they attained thru immoral methods? I tend to exclude stupidity, the CE was known to be a financial wizard.

Isnt it fair to ask, were their standards of work moral? Im asking.

This presents another problem for me. Proponents of C to a man unswervingly support the ideal, I rarely hear criticism. But at the root of many financial stories gone bad, sometimes if you look hard enough, peel away the layers, problems appear. Its issues as in the above example that need to be given honest exposition.

Thx

So, what books by Ayn Rand have you read?

--Brant

let's get started, but we have to know where you are

_________________________

Okay, you read the books and aren't a youngsteer.

In law immorality is violation of individual rights only, qua Objectivism. There's a lot more to immoral behavior than that. If that's the area you're in make a list of examples from your own life experiences with behavior you think is immoral. Never mind WaMu. I assume you never had any direct experiences with WaMu.

The problem is trying to objectify what starts out as a subjective, personal and surely emotional reaction. If you want to start with initiation of force or rights' violations that's the best way to objectify. Once that is done ask if there outta be a law or is it too minor--or something. Fraud was defined by Rand as a form of force initiation.

Dishonesty is what I try to avoid with relationships. It's a good area for investigating what dishonesty is just immoral and what should be recognized as illegal as in causing fraud in trade.

You cannot have evidence for what will happen, only an expectation of some consequences as to what had happened--say in 19th Century America--projected into the future. That's the way it is.

The source of your difficulty is armchair philosophy. I don't think there is any respecting your personal life. If you have a problem that can be solved by writing a check you don't have too much of a problem. Coming up with ideas and analyses is writing checks. After a while you'll think yourself dizzy for you didn't start with your feet on the ground. No. You saw a WaMu floating by and grabbed it. When I got bullied a little in junior high school I asked myself what happened? Someone used force against me. (Obviously no one is calling the cops.) I started with that was wrong, not right and immoral. Then I asked why? I asked what was in any one man [biologically or otherwise] that gave him a right to do that respecting any other man? What was he born with I was not? Nothing. There was nothing in any man that differentiated him from any other man qua man [as a concept].

Notice how my feet were always on the ground even when I got abstract. Unfortunately, I then got too much into victimhood and justice without knowing enough to deal with them comprehensively and appropriately.

--Brant

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