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markets3 - iss225 markets3 March 2 2005 p.1 Ethics and...

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iss225: markets3 March 2, 2005, p.1 Ethics and Capitalism Ethics and Capitalism 1 In previous lectures, I have talked about two values by which markets might be evaluated: 2 Efficiency : 3 Evaluated in the short-term, a competitive market should be expected to produce final outcomes which are maximally efficient. 4 This means that there should be no further opportunities for trade which leave at least one person better off and no one worse off. 5 Adaptability : 6 Evaluated in the long-term, a competitive market should be expected to be very adaptable to changing economic conditions and technologies. 7 In this lecture, I will present arguments that capitalism also has some Moral Virtues . 8 My lecture is from: Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (1982). Novak’s Review of the Common Ethical Complaints Directed toward Capitalism: 9 I want to emphasize that Novak is simply reviewing this list of ethical complaints; he is not endorsing them. 10 In fact, his general argument is that whatever merit there is to these arguments, capitalism has some overriding virtues. 11 What are the corruptions of affluence?: 12 Success corrupts moral discipline: 13 Hedonism, decadence 14 Borrowing and spending rather than saving. 15 Acquisitiveness becomes an obsession. 16 Advertising to sell products appeals to the worst in citizens. 17 Encourage credit card debt, convenience purchasing, the loosening of restraint 18 Structural irresponsibility: 19 Political leaders are forced to compete for office by promising benefits they cannot pay for. 20 The declining status of aristocracy: 21 Those of great merit -- moral, religious, artistic, cultural -- are accorded lower status. 22 Dominant class is the commercial class.
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cis225: markets3 December 19, 2000, p.2 23 Envy: 24 Intellectuals develop resentments about their lower status and income than performers in athletics and entertainment. 25 Taste: 26 Masses of people have vulgar tastes 27 In addition: 28 Skies, lands, and water are polluted. 29 Toxic wastes pollute the countryside. 30 The wealthy get wealthier, while the poor are oppressed by an unfair criminal justice system.
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