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Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

November 19, 2008

A no-brainer, right?

Templeton_logo_smThat question is the basis of the fourth in a series of conversations among leading scientists, scholars, and public figures about the "Big Questions" sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. The answers may surprise you:

  • "To the contrary" (Jagdish Bagwati -- author; professor of economics and law, Columbia University; senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations)
  • "It depends" (John Gray -- author; emeritus professor, London School of Economics)
  • "Yes, but..." (Gary Kasparov -- author; politician; former world chess champion)
  • "No" (Qinglian He -- author; economist; former senior editor, Shenzhen Legal Daily)
  • "Of course it does" (Michael Walzer -- author; co-editor, Dissent; professor emeritus, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study)
  • "No! And, well, yes" (Michael Novak -- author; George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy, American Enterprise Institute)
  • "Certainly. Or does it?" (Bernard-Henri Levy -- author; philosopher)
  • "Yes, too often" (Kay S. Hymowitz -- author; William E. Simon Fellow, Manhattan Institute )
  • "No, on balance" (Tyler Cowan -- author; Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics, George Mason University)
  • "We'd rather not know" (Robert B. Reich -- author; former secretary of labor)
  • "Not at all" (Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- author; politician; human rights advocate)
  • "It all depends" (John Bogle -- author; founder/former CEO, Vanguard)
  • "No" (Rick Santorum -- former U.S. senator senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center)

Interesting stuff. Now it's your turn. Who offers the most convincing argument? Will the current financial crisis kill globalization? Should it? And what is the appropriate relationship between the free market and philanthropy? Discuss.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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Posted by Carl  |   December 03, 2013 at 06:19 AM

No, but capitalism does. Since many people think free markets and capitalism are synonyms I'll prove them wrong. Free markets distribute wealth equally among their participants - Adam Smith's "invisible hand". In free markets prices converge towards cost price, due to competition. No profits can be generated in those circumstances and profits are exactly what capitalism requires.
Capitalism is the collusion between governments and corporations. Corrupt governments and the corporations they serve steadily increase their power based on their win-win relationship. In exchange of the taxes paid (on profits) by cartels and monopolies governments provide all sorts of protection and subsidies.

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