When describing American, many adjectives and characteristics come to mind, both positive and negative, but what is often associated with our system is capitalism. Capitalism, simplified, is an economic system where the means of production are privately owned and operated in hopes for profit. However, many people criticize capitalism to be a greedy system that helps the rich and hurts the poor. This critic draws out the common concern of morality. The mind is one of the key features of an individual. Morality is about an individual and their pursuit of self interest. The only system that allows individuals to use their mind, reason and pursue their own values is capitalism. As we dedicate the New Hall, the campus got the chance to listen to Dr. Gohmann speak about the morality of capitalism, particularly give reasoning to how capitalism is moral. Point one of Dr. Gohmann’s speech, involves the word coercion. What exactly is coercion? The term coercion means to persuade an individual to do something by force or threats. Capitalism’s connection to coercion is that there is no coercion. In order for a free market to run, there must be voluntary actions between individuals.
In other words, what I do for you, you have to do something for me in return. Capitalism is moral because it allows individuals to maintain their liberty. This point stood out to me because I am an individual who appreciates and sometimes take for granted the freedoms we have in America. Of course freedoms come with a cost, and that cost is rule, which is also why we have government. It’s comforting to know that these rules are not being coerced on me. The second point Dr. Gohmann laid out is the idea of extended order. Extended order basically states that one stranger can benefit from the actions and knowledge of another stranger. In the beginning of Dr. Gohmann’s lecture he said, “If you care about people, then you use capitalism to serve those fellow people” (Gohmann, 2019).
This point stood out to me because of the eye opening analogy he used. Dr. Gohmann held up a pen and asked the audience if any of us knew the name of one person that was involved in making the pen, none of which had an answer. In his power point, he had a bullet that said that we always say “thank you”, but why do we do that? Because in a time of exchange, what we trade makes us better off as well as make the provider better off. That’s the just of the freedom of choice. One of the points Dr. Gohmann had on his last slide perfectly summed up the arguments of the “yeah, buts”. Any argument against capitalism, should be applied to other systems to see evaluate if the issue is any better there. For example, not all people are moral, but this is completely true under any system. Another example Dr. Gohmann used was pollution and the competitor system was socialism. Many socialists argue that the decline of the environment was in line by the logics of capitalism because of the desire for profits, yet evidently occurred under socialist countries like Cuba or the Soviet empire.
I thought this point was important because our current society is dealing with a lot of hypocrisy and this proves that any information provided to the public should respectively be returned to the source to be checked as well. The next point Dr. Gohmann presented, he posed the audience the question of “What does it mean to be moral”. He used the “Golden Rule” to better explain what is means to be moral. The Golden Rule tests the idea of reciprocity, in that what I do to you, you can do back to me. Dr. Gohmann continues to use a quote by his friend who wrote a book about morality and capitalism, craving out the point: you do not compel unjustly. So of the economic systems, socialism, capitalism, and others, capitalism seems to be the only one that does not compel unjustly. We also have to realize that the government is made up of people too, and people won’t always do what we want. I think this point is really important in recognizing the reality of this world. It’s good to step back and see that people won’t always do what we want them to do, but force is not the right incentive either.
The last point I took away from Dr. Gohmann’s speech was the point he began with. The point that we are all socialists. How? We live in two worlds in terms of relationship with people. In a capitalist system you can be a socialist but in a socialists system you can’t be capitalist. The only difference is who has the knowledge and who owns property. This goes back to the quote earlier about how caring for people but using capitalism to serve people, in that, we are all investing in the social safety that this country needs and wants. I believe that this is important because it proves that although many are against capitalism, it is actually more woven into other systems than we think. The foundation and the one that works proves again to be capitalism and proven in a way to show that we care.In conclusion, capitalism is not immoral, instead is the superior system that encourages morality.
Capitalism says that producers have to make what demand calls for therefore we have to care aka we the people have the power to decide the fate of companies who want are business. When we deal with each other over and over again, that is enough incentives to treat each other well. It is more moral to require that citizens, or people in general serve their fellow man to claim what other produce than not serve others and still have a claim. In a capitalist system, it’s the ambition of entrepreneurs, not the government that drives the economy.