The Morality of Capitalism

Capitalism deserves a moral defense, but even those who appreciate the moral superiority of capitalism sometimes find themselves ill equipped to offer a clear response to critics.

A new book from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Students for Liberty and the John Templeton Foundation aims to provide just that intellectual ammunition. The Morality of Capitalism, edited by Cato Senior Fellow Tom G. Palmer, gathers a diverse group of scholars, writers and business leaders from across the globe to extoll the virtues of capitalism.

I recorded a quick podcast (Subscribe!) with Tom about the book and its authors.

Here’s an excerpt via SFL:

When you look at criticisms of the market, in many cases, what they’re complaining about is interventionism and cronyism, not really capitalism…. On the moral level[, we need to take the offensive and make the case for capitalism. That’s what this book, The Morality of Capitalism, is about…. What distinguishes capitalism is a legal and moral relationship among persons. That people have the right to pursue their dream, the right to do what they want with what is legitimately theirs under a system of the rule of law and equality before the law for everybody, not privileges for some or some have special powers as planners or dictators. But all of us meet in society as moral and legal equals and we trade and exchange. The outcome of that is morally just. It’s not just that it’s more productive… at its base, people have a right to exchange, they have right to transact freely, and the state or self-appointed planners don’t have the right to tell them otherwise.

Student groups can get bulk copies shipped to them from Students for Liberty.

CPAC’s Big(ger) Tent

Here are a few notables from the Conservative Political Action Conference last week:

  • The forces attempting to keep GOProud, a gay conservative group, from sponsoring CPAC ultimately failed.
  • Jerry Falwell’s inaptly named Liberty University law school dropped out of CPAC because of it.
  • The guy from Students for Liberty, Alexander McCobin, got cheers when he wisely praised CPAC for its inclusion of GOProud.
  • Ryan Sorba, the turd who had a little tantrum aimed at CPAC for the same action, was booed. Big time. I can’t fathom what he was thinking. I do look forward to Mr. Sorba’s forthcoming explanation of why natural rights demands that we be intolerant toward gays. Also, can you really speak for a group called “California Young Americans for Freedom” if you’re clearly the least tolerant guy in the room?
  • One percent of CPAC attendees listed “stopping gay marriage” as one of two top priorities. Less than one percent (perhaps no one) listed “stopping gay marriage” as their number one priority.
  • Ron Paul, the anti-war and gay-tolerant Republican, won the straw poll.