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Forum Post: This is why Capitalism is killing humanity

Posted 6 years ago on May 10, 2012, 2:26 p.m. EST by niphtrique (323) from Sneek, FR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Wealthy people on average are less compassionate while economic freedom is often perceived as a freedom from responsibility and commitment to a society. It may therefore not be a coincidence that psychopaths are over represented on Wall Street and in boards of multinational corporations. The economist Milton Friedman strongly opposed the idea that corporations have a social responsibility. In his work Capitalism and Freedom he wrote:

"The view has been gaining widespread acceptance that corporate officials have a “social responsibility” that goes beyond serving the interests of their stockholders or their members. This view shows a fundamental misconception of the character and nature of a free economy. In such an economy, there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game ... Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible."

The consequence of the position of Milton Friedman is that whenever there is a profit in killing people, corporations have a moral obligation to do so. If it is against the law to kill people, corporations have a moral obligation to bribe politicians into changing the law. Nothing should get in the way of a good profit. This is Capitalism in its purest form. We see it everywhere around us: the destruction of nature, the wars for the benefit of the military industrial complex, speculation in food leaving the poorest prone to famine, the selling of deadly pharmaceuticals and the assassination of leaders that do not generate enough profits for the oligarchy. It is the ultimate result of markets being amoral and traders having stretched their moral values to maximise profits.



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[-] 1 points by atsgm2 (1) 6 years ago

Hello, My name is David, and I have been researching the economy for a year or so now, and I have found a very disturbing problem in the banking system. So serious, that it must be addressed or we will start to see dire consequences in our daily lives. I would like to meet with your group and discuss how We can fix this in a calm and orderly fashion. I have solutions that will work for both sides and not result in our economy crashing otherwise, it is going to. I will tell you everything but I need the support of a lot of people, more than we can even muster, so I am calling out to every group, to from the red cross to greenpeace, and we are going to do something about this and hopefully in a peaceful way. but if I try to do this alone then I will be crushed quickly. So I am asking, please help me by speaking to me, to help others. With love, from David. Oh by the way, I live in Mission. If you wish to help, please come talk to me. My email is aurumenk2@yahoo.com send me an email. I'm not going to be handing out too much information on my system to you because it is much more advanced than this one.

[-] 1 points by niphtrique (323) from Sneek, FR 6 years ago

I just have sent you an email.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

I wouldn't open his trollie reply.


[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 6 years ago

The key is in the phrase "the rules of the game ". I doubt you'll ever be able to eliminate capitalism, but the rules need to be examined and modified.

[-] 1 points by niphtrique (323) from Sneek, FR 6 years ago

You cannot impose rules because of competition considerations. For example, those who take measures to save the Earth will be outcompeted by others who do not take these measures. Money dictates our choices.

There is a way out: which is imposing a tax on money. Instead of giving interest, people should pay for holding money. If the Chinese accummulate US Dollars they have to pay a tax to the US government. This will make them spend it on US goods and services. There will be no trade imbalances then and every country is free to decide for itself.

It can work, example: http://www.naturalmoney.org/example.html

Why it can work: http://www.naturalmoney.org/introduction.html

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 6 years ago

The term "rules" as used by Friedman is general and would seem to apply to any law or regulation. Any tax effecting business would apply. Your problem isn't so much with what the rules are, but wether or not you can get the support to pass them. Tax the Chinese, they raise their prices, the public may see that as paying the tax. As you say competition considerations enter into it.

[-] 1 points by Deadbeat (11) from Austin, TX 6 years ago

Milton Friedman and his perverted ideology was needed to justify the neoliberal policies that was instituted in order to rectify the hyperinflation caused by the Arab oil boycott of 1973 due to U.S. support for Israel.

The oil shock caused enormous economic disruption especially to the profit share in the industrial sector. Rather than change her foreign policy, the U.S. chose to make industrial workers pay for the hyperinflation and pay is what workers have been doing for the past 40 years.

Freidman's ideology came to the forefront in order to justify the attack on workers and in order maintain U.S. support for Israel.

[-] 1 points by niphtrique (323) from Sneek, FR 6 years ago

The core issue is that markets are amoral.

Friedman was right about that.

Capitalism will destroy the planet for this reason.

The Mammon worshippers are busy justifying this.

They are killing us all.




[-] -2 points by field (2) 6 years ago

capitalism has lifted more people up from poverty than any other system.

[-] 3 points by Deadbeat (11) from Austin, TX 6 years ago

Capitalism did not lift people from poverty. It is RESISTANCE to Capitalism that has lifted people from poverty. The fear of the overthrow of Capitalism is why there was a "New Deal". It was the 1970's oil shocks, due to U.S. support for Israel, that ushered in neoliberal policies to get workers to pay for the hyperinflation. In other words more Capitalism via debt and stagnant wages that caused the current crisis exposing the systemic problems and contradictions of Capitalism.

[-] -1 points by field (2) 6 years ago

I now understand your screen name.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

Science is where all our wealth comes from, not capitalism. Capitalism just allocates that wealth unequally.


[-] 0 points by field (2) 6 years ago

capitalism doesnt allocate anything.It is a system that allows people to create, invent, discover. people work for what they have.


[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

That would be Democracy.

[-] -1 points by field (2) 6 years ago

No, capitalism.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

A democratic society that has proper regulation of capitalism.

Any society really - that fairly represents the people and properly regulates capitalism.

[-] 1 points by niphtrique (323) from Sneek, FR 6 years ago

But now it is about to kill us all. The exponential growth of human activities is about to hit the limits of the Earth. The likely consequences are mass starvation, resource wars and ecological disasters. The current political and economic system fail to address those issues. Humanity is on a path to collective suicide.

Capitalism as we know it equals to collective suicide. Capitalists call our roadmap to destruction freedom of choice. Within the Capitalist economy we are free to choose which products to consume, but we are not free to choose for our own survival. Those who take measures to save the Earth will be outcompeted by others who do not take these measures. Money dictates our choices and this can be labelled as a dictatorship of money. According to Prof. Claudia von Werlhof:

The abstract wealth created for accumulation implies the destruction of nature as concrete wealth. The result is a "hole in the ground" and next to it a garbage dump with used commodities, outdated machinery and money without value. The nihilism of our economic system is evident. The whole world will be transformed into money – and then it will disappear. After all, money cannot be eaten. What no one seems to consider is the fact that it is impossible to re-transform commodities, money, capital and machinery into nature or concrete wealth. It seems that underlying all “economic development” is the assumption that “resources”, the “sources of wealth”, are renewable and everlasting – just like the “growth” they create.

Not changing the current economic and political system is suicidal. Mother Nature is not kind to those who destroy their own living conditions. Their demise will be caused by their own unfitness for survival. The Club of Rome already warned in 1972 with its report The Limits to Growth that the current economic system will end in disaster. Many prominent economists, scientists and political figures criticised The Limits to Growth. They attacked the methodology, the computer, the conclusions, the rhetoric and the people behind the project. Despite that their predictions have proven to be accurate.


Defenders of Capitalism are suicidal.



[+] -4 points by monetarist (40) 6 years ago

"Wealthy people on average are less compassionate " - Do you have any data to back that up? How can you make such claims? Morever, wealthy people are responsible for much of the donations to various charities and non profits.

As Friedman is right. The only business of a business is to do business. Everything else is secondary.

Which corporations are killing people exactly? You are just blabbering absurdities.

Get a job. Stop blabbering.

[-] 2 points by niphtrique (323) from Sneek, FR 6 years ago

If you don't like it, why bother reading it. Anyway, if you are rich then your reply supports the claim "wealthy people on average are less compassionate." But hey, it is just Scientific American saying this:


It comes with the nature of trade, which is the basis for Capitalism. See:

The difference between trading and stealing is often obscure. Honest trade is a difficult issue as trade itself implies dishonesty. In trade it is better not to be honest about what you know about the product, what you want to buy, what you want to pay for it or what you are able to pay. This undermines your bargaining position. Most people that have bought a car or a house know this. Traders tend to stretch their moral values to maximise profits and thus moral values come under pressure. This issue is less predominant with shop owners and merchants who have lasting relationships with their customers. It is more likely to occur where trade is anonymous or occasional, such as car salesmen, real estate agents and traders in dealing rooms of banks.

Profit maximalisation often conflicts with fair trade. Fair is subjective measure which creates room for reconciliating immoral behaviour with moral values. The argument is often that the other party is to blame for making errors or being uninformed. The ultimate goal of traders is to get things for nothing like thieves do. The ancient Greeks already recognised the inverse relationship between trade and honesty. Hermes was the god of Commerce and the Market and patron of traders, merchants and thieves. Jesus was also aware of this when he cleansed the temple of the money changers. Trading often means outsmarting other people. Profits are made by using information advantages and differences, which is another phrase for swindling less informed people. Much time, effort and good brains are wasted on market forecasting and trading schemes. Those resources can be used in a more productive way, so less trade can make an economy more efficient.


In many cases trade makes the economy less efficient. Eliminating trade will make the economy more efficient. For example, if there was less trade with China, the US would make more goods it needs and consequently the deficits would reduce and more people would have a job.

This is possible when you raise a tax on holding money (for example 1% per month). Chinese would only buy US Dollars if they need them to buy something in the US. This would balance the trade between the US and China.

[-] 1 points by UndertheCobblestones (5) 6 years ago

I'm going to offer a point-by-point rebuttal of your position, not because I have much hope that you will change your mind, but because I'd be ashamed letting a cheap shot like that go.

Actually, there is recent psychology research that suggests that wealthy people ARE less compassionate. And even less ethical. (http://www.pnas.org/content/109/11/4086.short.; for a simple article, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/rich-people-compassion-mean-money_n_1416091.html).

As the article points out, "Upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed."

And wealthy people might be responsible for the majority of donations to charities and non-profits but the fraction of their wealth that goes to them may well be lower than that of less wealthy individuals.

And here's a great example of a kind of corporation that kills people: defense contractors. Like the ones that hire Ugandans to act as auxiliaries in Afghanistan and then don't give them the health insurance they are entitled to. (Check out the article on this in the May 2012 issue of Le Monde Diplomatique: http://mondediplo.com/2012/05/05ugandau)

So there.

[-] 1 points by monetarist (40) 6 years ago

The way I see it, this ain't the only thing you need to be ashamed of.

However since the research you cited is from my alma mater, I will not contest it.

But rich people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and more than 100 others have pledged to give away 95% of their wealth. That is compassion.

Yes defense contractors. They do kill people for money. But there have been wars even before there were any defense contractors and there will be wars after them too. Besides, people do kill for money, whether or not they are defense contractors.

There are also companies that make barbie dolls and action figures, soaps and chocolates and noodles and they ain't killing people.

So there.

[-] 1 points by UndertheCobblestones (5) 6 years ago

Your point about some rich people being generous is well-taken, but it doesn't do anything to contradict the trend described by the research. But you have a point: since the French revolution, there have been members of the dominant classes who have "defected," out of genuine generosity, out of loss of confidence in the prevailing system, or out of opportunism. It remains true that fabulously wealthy individuals like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are going against the dominant trend when they say that taxes are too low and they give away large amounts of their money. And that is why they receive such attention and recognition when they do so. You seem to suggest that compassion and altruism of that sort is typical of the wealthy. I disagree: those 100 individuals represent an inspiring, but tiny minority, of the fabulously wealthy. (And do I have to remind you that 1% of the population of the United States had 35% of the net worth of the country in 2007, while the bottom two quintiles of the U.S. population had only 0.3% of the wealth? www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html. )

When it comes to wars, I'm willing to postulate that as long as there has been war there has been war profiteering, even if "defense contractors" as we today understand them are a more recent phenomenon. And you're right, not all companies kill people. Nor did I suggest that. But if the only business of business is to do business, per Friedman, if ethical criteria have no place in economic activity and capitalism is unregulated, or if regulatons are detourned for the profit of a minority, then, as the original poster asserted, unethical or murderous behavior that is profitable will inevitably be encouraged.

[-] 1 points by monetarist (40) 6 years ago

Friedman never said 'ethical criteria has no place in economic activity'. He simply says that a business is responsible only to it's shareholders and must do all that is necessary to augment the wealth of the shareholders as long as it's within the ambit of law.

[-] 1 points by UndertheCobblestones (5) 6 years ago

See his quote: "There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game "

You seem to want not to differentiate the very distinct categories of ethics and that of the law. But if you accept that those are different concepts, unless you believe the "rules of the game" he describes are ethical ones, and not legal ones, then yes, he believes ethical criteria are irrelevant, or that a businesses' only ethical responsibilities are to their shareholders (it amounts to the same).

[-] 1 points by monetarist (40) 6 years ago

Legal is a subset of ethical. All that is legal is also ethical, but all that is ethical is not necessarily. Law takes time to catch up with ethics.

All companies have to engage in stricly legal activities but companies choose to embrace different degress of ethics.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

most running a government would be concerned with the peoples well being

[-] 0 points by field (2) 6 years ago

wealthy people have started or funded universities , art museums. and hospitals.

[-] 0 points by regimechange (15) 6 years ago

Wealthy people has also started wars, funded dictators, bombed museums and filled hospitals with the bodies of innocent people.

[-] 1 points by monetarist (40) 6 years ago

Dont shift the blame for wars on the wealthy. You are as much responsible. America needs energy to run it' economy, you are part of America. So you are as much a beneficiary of the wars as me or as someone making a billion dollars a year.

[-] 0 points by regimechange (15) 6 years ago

Wealth and power are the interchangeable commodities the pursuit of which has been the root cause of every war ever fought. And in the end, the rich always get richer while the poor pay the price for their gains.

[-] 0 points by field (2) 6 years ago

what you cited are national events. what i cited were the personal acts of private citizens. can't tell the difference?

[-] -1 points by regimechange (15) 6 years ago

You are suggesting that one somehow justifies or compensates for the other. I say charity to the survivers is no compensation for mass murder.

[-] 1 points by field (2) 6 years ago

who did john harvard go to war against? who did leland stanford go to war against? andrew carnegie? rice? mellon? hopkins? you're really too dense for any further comment.

[-] -1 points by Hamneck (0) 6 years ago

Friedman was a cocksucker.

[-] 0 points by field (2) 6 years ago

so was monica(lewinsky).

[-] 0 points by monetarist (40) 6 years ago

How erudite of you.