Think about that title for a minute. It takes a while before you understand what it’s really saying. I had a long discussion with a dear intellectual adversary the day I posted my last post about the definition of Capitalism, and I stand by my belief that Capitalism is not greed. He doesn’t agree. He holds the standard view that Capitalism is greed. The problem is, that we realized an hour into this debate that we were arguing two different things. I was arguing that you can be a Capitalist, while not being greedy. He was arguing that Capitalism turns you greedy.
What’s the difference?
The difference boils down to the difference between a compulsive gambler and someone who gambles for fun. A compulsive Capitalist can’t stop when enough is enough. They allow the greed to take control, to make their decisions for them. It’s when you become a compulsive Capitalist that you forget the importance of helping your fellow man. You justify this by telling yourself that the margins just aren’t right, that you can find much more worthwhile uses for your money, uses that will make you a larger profit.
But, is this really a more “worthwhile” use for your money? I think we need to factor in the social equity that we build by helping our fellow man. And I’m not just talking about small projects that solve an immediate need just to get your name in the paper, I’m talking about solving the more in depth socio economic issues of our day, all by knowing when “enough is enough.”
Why Should I Care?
For every dollar you syphon where you could have stopped at “enough” that’s a dollar that cannot be used elsewhere. That’s why I am steadfast against 2,000% margins on pharmaceuticals, even though it earns one of the largest profits of any market. Because when it comes to this specific market, you’re catering to people who are in desperate need. Profit is profit, and as long as you figure all profit in, I find that for the majority of the world, a proper margin is 100%. Even that is high, but it’s high enough that it allows even the most lavish lifestyle, while at the same time being 1,900% less than it was before. Yes, it means you, personally, end up with less right now. But this allows the people who buy your products, the people who spend money on these things, to save their money, to spend it elsewhere.
And How Exactly Will That Help Me?
I mentioned it before, and here it is again, monetary karma. It’s a term I pull from the Buddhist belief that, essentially, what comes around, goes around. It sounds far fetched, but it’s a measurable characteristic of the economy. Owen Zidar of the University of California at Berkeley published a study which proves that a 1% tax cut for the poorest class of American’s provides a largest boost to the economy than a 10% tax cut for the highest class of American’s. He further states that the poorest class, the class of American’s that is living paycheck to paycheck and earning less than $20,000 per year, spends on average 90% of their income. That means they are, in effect, putting $18,000 back into the economy. This helps you because it helps the economy. No, it won’t put that $18,000 into your pocket directly, but it could put that $18,000 into your pocket over-time, by helping every aspect of our economy stay stable.
This all comes back to the title. The only way to change a system, is by embracing the system. I feel the system of unfettered greed is ruining Capitalism, but I have embraced Capitalism–the system–and feel it is through this embrace that I can show my fellow Capitalists that unfettered greed is bad. The days of Gordon Gekko are over, greed is no longer good. As I mentioned above, I love a good debate, so if you don’t agree with me, if you think unfettered greed can work in a Capitalist nation, I’d love to debate you about this in the comments, and don’t forget to Follow, Like and Share this post, so we can get the word out, and do the one thing that will affect change in our world: get the discussion moving forward.