Be Greedy.

Anna Grace Votteler

Period 2 – Honorbound

The first thing that comes to mind for many when they think of capitalism is greed, and for good reason. The first thing that came out of my big mouth in class during our discussion was how capitalism is driven by power hungry, greedy people whose only incentive to work their hardest is because they want to make the money to buy the luxuries. But that’s pretty close minded if you think about it, even if I hate admitting I may have been wrong. Capitalism is, simply put, run on self-interest and money. Yes, money in my opinion plays the biggest role, but it wouldn’t survive without our own interest in what capitalism can offer as a whole. As human beings we want what is best for us, whether that be the luxuries, or the laughter.

Yet, just because a capitalistic society is made up of people who happen to be greedy, does not mean that it therefore is based on greed. A point to keep in mind is that self-interest and selfishness are not the same things. Though someone (cough, me) can easily say that they are tied very closely together and may even play off of each other, it is incorrect to state that they are the same.

Capitalism is most commonly based on the idea that people are acting out of selfishness when they are in fact acting upon self-interest.[2] As human beings, we function in regards to our own self-interests all the time. I realized that simple things like eating healthy foods or looking both ways before crossing the street are all actions taken out of self-interest. It seems like common sense now that I think about it. But it’s hard to see the correlation sometimes.

People only engage in economic activity if it is mutually beneficial. One of the biggest examples of capitalism being the opposite of just greedy is actually America.[1] The United States itself is the most generous country in the world along the lines of charity to others. Capitalism encourages kindness and charity most of the time despite being viewed as a world power, power leading to an image of supremacy. As a capitalist country, we choose to not only act based on our own self-interests to flourish in the working world and at home so that we can spend our hard earned money on luxuries, but so that we can provide what we can for those who need it most. Though that being said, I realize that not everyone is quite so hard working and out for the good-of-all-people. But, I put weight on the fact that the only people who are giving capitalism a greedy image are those who sit at the top and get drunk on power. But I don’t believe power is capitalism, but that’s an argument for another econ student. Thank you and goodnight.

[1] The Independent. Accessed December 05, 2016. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/america-new-zealand-and-canada-top-list-of-world-s-most-generous-nations-a6849221.html.

[2]  “Self-interest: A Powerful Force for Good and Evil.” Values & Capitalism. Accessed December 05, 2016. http://www.valuesandcapitalism.com/self-interest-a-powerful-force-for-good-and-evil/.

 

 

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