The newspapers love to make a splash about greedy capitalists, who have overstepped the mark, got carried away with their wealth and abused their ‘power’.
Many, particularly on the left, like to pick on the immoral capitalists, lumping most business people into this rather broad brushstroke.
I do think that they are, as ever, labouring under false assumptions. There seems to be an almost puritanical basis the idea that anyone who tries to make a living as an entrepreneur is somehow evil and not to be trusted. Another message that falls neatly into the emotional argument camp.
Yet, I would argue that while socialism is an ideal that can, should you wish, be sought after, the assumption that capitalism too is an ideal, is patently wrong.
For me, capitalism – the desire to make enough money to provide for your family and, if possible, work within the wider community to share your talents to bring growth and prosperity to all – is nothing more than the result of humans simply doing what humans need to do to survive and, if left alone, would just do anyway without any zeal or guidance to pursue it. It evolves over time, always flexible enough to cope with the changes the arise in life.
Left-wing thinking is fundamentally the attempt to control that process. The intellectual observes many facts (but never all) and concludes that the extended order of our society must have a some kind go guiding hand. It would be illogical to think otherwise. If you reject God from the equation then, rationally, it must be humans controlling things.
And so the intellectuals look for the underlying structures, find some that look promising, and start to tinker, without the means or the full understanding to really appreciate what they are doing. When they see people actively chasing money or power as a cause in itself, they assume that this activity must be an underlying principle of capitalism, when it is nothing more than misguided fools abusing their success and authority.
These fools may be motivated by greed or selfishness, yet they are really no different to those more socially minded types who try to control society. These greedy fools often use the authority of their wealth and status to coerce people to do their bidding, much as the power invested in the structures of socialism is rife with abuse. These are not the motives of the average person, who simply wants to get by, live their life and see their family and friends prosper, the main driving force behind the extended order.0