Capitalism Is About Love (Jeffrey Tucker - Acton Institute)



so this first time in my my my my history of working department maintenance was ever in mind introduction to a speech but actually you know I as I think back about that job that was when I first began to realize just how valuable everybody is in a market economy because it was my job to well had two main things that I felt primarily responsible for in that job one was changing the toilet paper in the restrooms and you know it occurred to me one day I thought if I don't do my job right very bad things could happen and this department store could lose all of its customers very quickly so I had a profound sense of responsibility another thing that I had to do in that job this is very interesting you have changing rooms and department stores and people take the pens out of clothes and they hurl them on the ground you know like that and then they walk away so I had to go through the changing rooms every night with my hands very carefully trying to find the stick pins on the ground and I knew that if I missed one that the very next day somebody could come in and step on a pen that could shoot through their foot and they'd have a big bloody foot it would be a disaster right so I had a profound sense of responsibility so I was I was a lowly and pathetic young man earning the minimum wage which at the time was was very low but I had a profound sense of responsibility it's like it's weird I thought I in a weird sense my this whole fate of this department store rests on on the job that I do and it was kind of an amazing revelation for a young man I felt really valuable that's what markets do to us I mean they they encouraged us to find value within ourselves and to live out that value were in a responsible way and I think that was the moment when I first fell in love with markets because otherwise he knows today in public school I mean you're not really very valuable to anybody you know but if you have a job and people are depending on you to be responsible and the outcome of that business enterprise rests and very much so how you do your job that changes your outlook towards the world which is one of the great tragedies that I think of at our time that young people no longer have the opportunities that I had when I was that age because now the enforcement of child labor laws is so severe like I could just lie right when I walked into the purpose for this is well you are you 16 as I was sure I was 13 you know but nowadays you can't get away with that because everything's so strict so people are excluded from the job markets they're excluded from any kind of contact with commercial society and it's also weirdly unfashionable among the bourgeoisie for the children to work it's like no you must stay in school and make straight A's you know well so then they graduate from college at the age of 22 with no experience whatsoever with with no sense of like what's how the world works or anything going on and they don't understand how to be valuable to others and how to value other people you know they just understand how to live within a machine a bureaucratic machine that's been constructed for them and I think it's a calamity really I don't know of all the public policy changes I'd like to see I'd like to see child labor laws like completely repealed actually you know I was at a speech the other day and I've been speaking for two hours since somebody said yeah but what about child labor but he gonna do about that problem and I was just exhausted I said well I'm actually for it and took the next question I sort of am actually I think I think I think Commerce provides a wonderful training ground for life it's something that that helps us understand value helps us understand other people helps us understand how to get along how to appreciate and as the topic of this lecture says how to love now I know that the lecture sounds like it has an implausible title and it truly did take me many years to warm up to publicly talk about what I have long believed inside my heart which is that capitalism and love are bound up with each other but it's such an outrageous thought and I was a little bit embarrassed to state it publicly well you turned 50 you know you started telling the truth I don't know what to say so I'd like to tell that truth but also to first thank the Acton Institute for having me which is a wonderful honor in some way you know it's true I've known father since since very very early on before the accident Institute was founded and it was a brilliant flash of insight he he had about the unity of liberty and and religion maybe it's obvious to all of you yeah they go together sure of course we have to have a thing taped but why is Acton the only one I mean how come it didn't exist before father created it you know because nobody really had thought that through and yet the whole history of particularly the 20th century bit all of history is about those two subjects it's about the striving for for human liberty and the right to live out your faith in a way that informs your commercial and public life I remember reading a was a kind of biography of one of the early American tourists to the Bolshevik Revolution what at one of the early socialists in America these these beautiful idealists that imagine that they could just get rid of all traditions and all property and all religion and create a glorious utopia so they traveled over to the Bolshevik Revolution and this guy had stayed around for about ten years afterwards and was mortified at what he saw and he wrote in his memoirs he said at some point he and all of his colleagues had this horrifying thought okay they were there to help the Russian people it turned out all they were doing was taking away from them the three things they loved the most their liberties the property and their religion like that's the worst thing you could ever happen to people you know and yet their intellectual delusions led them to do this so liberty and property and faith all go together they're inseparable they're part of human history and they're part of the fabric of who we are and what we want to do and what we want to believe I think they're more bound up than we think we tend to think of these things as separate categories people often ask me things like yeah but how does your Christianity impact your economics or how does your impact how does your economic understanding impact your own faith and I'm always slightly confused by the question because the question presumes these separate boxes you know they're like separate categories like here's religion yeah and here's economics but I don't see it that way I mean if something is true it should be true in every field of life if somebody is true it should be true for your faith in your religion that something is true in economics it should be integrated well with your faith if something is true in your faith it should be integrated into your economics I have no shyness whatsoever about seeing all these things as a as a unity and the Acton Institute sees it that same way the only thing that's troubling about coming to the accents dude I don't know if you experienced this but you walk in in so many books right so many and and you look at the shelves and you and you just be kind of kind of your mouth begins to water you know you're like oh I'd love to read that oh but I'd love to read that oh and that one too and so then you you sort of think I could actually live here for years doing nothing but appreciating the great writings so I'm so grateful for this institution so capitalism in love can I first lay out some definitions of terms because as you've undoubtedly noticed there's a lot of confusion about what capitalism is and I like the term for reasons I'll explain and I'm not willing to give it up I'd be happy to give it up if that's the only way we can make progress I'm not wedded to it in some sense but but I like it I think of capitalism well imagine the scenario somebody comes up to you says you know I hate chicken I go well to each his own why don't you like it well I don't like it because because of all the it's the meat is brown and the animal that it comes from moves and it's got this this and I choose grass at some point you realize I think you're not sure what a chicken is actually and how its distinguished from a cow right so you want to kind of clarify to the person I feel this way when people talk about capitalism a lot of times they talk about capitalism well what's wrong with capitalism well it's a system by which the rich exploit the poor and get bailed out you know as it happened in 2008 or brings war to people it steals property from from the poor and exploits people it excludes women and minorities and you just want to say well hold on and stop right there are you talking about the current system or you're talking about actual capitalism because those are very different things when I speak about capitalism I'm not talking about bailouts I'm not talking about war I'm not talking about exploitation and exclusion I'm talking about a system a social system I don't even like the word system I like to think of it as an emergent order that's rooted in two fundamental principles free association and the private ownership of property and that's it there's no more to it than that you can associate with whom you want on any terms that you want and the property that you're exchanging with others is yours and you're free to trade it that's it that's how I define capitalism so you might ask well in light of that why don't we call it something else and we want you to call it the exchange economy I'm okay with that that's good call it the exchange economy or free enterprise if you want or or just really society which is really well all it is the reason we call it capitalism is because that word capital it the capital is a very specific thing and the economics literature is exactly right about this capital is that produced products is is is the production of products designed not for consumption but for a further production that's all capital really means it means that you're busy making things not to be immediately consumed but which are designed to make other things and produce other things so that you can have an extended order of production that's what makes possible the division of labor and friends capital is absolutely and empirically and historically essential to growing prosperity without capital we would not be able to feed eight billion people without capital we would not have doubled the lifespan in the last hundred years without capital the world would be unrecognizable as as it is today so capital is an absolutely essential institution and that's why I like the term capitalism to describe the exchange economy because this is an institution is really great lots of people are friendly to the idea of exchange and peaceful Association but somehow don't get it through their heads that you have to have capital in order to have prosperity you go to any poor country in the world what do you observe you see people who are creative hardworking sometimes ridiculously hard working much harder harder working than all of us in this room they're trading a lot they're exchanging a lot there are markets everywhere why isn't wealth happening why aren't they getting rich it's because the absence of capital because every time somebody begins to accumulate capital and investor of a long term some other jerk comes along and loots it that's basically it it could be a private party a private criminal gang or it could be a public official a very little difference actually for the most part these days whatever it is that's attacking capital they're attacking the fundamentals of prosperity so that's what I mean by capitalism if by capitalism you mean something else then I would like to change the term because that's that's all it really comes down to yes the history of capitalism has been replete with privileges for the elites corporations would long been linked up with government to do bad things there have been terrible the terrible history of government and business working together in the name of capitalism I don't consider that capitalism I consider it somebody else there are many terms you could call it crony capitalism is one term thrown around I don't much like the term crony capitalism because it's not capitalism so just because you have the word crony – it doesn't you know that's a very strange usage I actually prefer the firm to the term fascism to describe non capitalistic non socialistic systems so it's not total socialism but it's not capitalism either fascism it sounds like I'm cursing like I have some fascist right it sounds like a bad word Axios is a system it's a real system that was invented in the 1920s it had a huge influence all over world economies it was tried in Italy tried in the u.s. tried in the UK tried in Germany tried Spain and still the remnants of it are still with us today I'd like to get rid of those remnants but I think that's the best term to describe what people call today a mixed economy so what does capitalism come from and you know I I think this is an extremely important thing for us to think through so I'd like to use it just a few minutes that I'm sad about how little time we have together but I would like just use a few minutes to tell you a little bit of a conjectural history of the origin of exchange and I think it helped you understand something about why we have to have private property and why we have to have free association and exchange in order to have prosperity and the the history I'm about to tell is not entirely conjectural it actually is the same story the anthropologists have told us from their research actually really happened and the story is this there's the small tribe of people and they have needs just like we have and it's food clothing and shelter shelters not that big a problem if you find a good cave it can last for generations even clothing it's not read fool if you're willing to wear animal skins those can last for many years it's not a daily thing you don't have to constantly create clothes but food well that's another matter that's something we need every single day it's terrible it's oppressive it's it's the worst thing that happens this is why this is the valley of tears the lacrimal and poly because every day we're going to need food it's one of the great ironies to me today that capitalism has given us the problem of obesity I mean first road problem right I mean come on most all of human history has been afflicted by an absence of food but it wasn't always that K Elva always that way anthropologists have told us there's certain spots in the world in certain tribes in which food was readily available just because it was granted to us by nature so imagine a small tribe and there's plenty of things around to eat so every tree had lots of berries on it there are lots of slow moving animals you can't catch the fast ones because you don't have cars or bikes or anything like that so you gotta have sloven at moving animals like like goats or turtles or ideals you know and they lay eggs and you know so and there's so there's plenty of food for everybody and there's no reason to to have anything like a systematic sense of private property under those conditions because there doesn't seem to be scarcity there's enough to go around but inevitably in this community like this where everybody's being well fed there's a lot of reproduction and the population begins to grow and what develops is what's called the tragedy of the Commons since there's no private property there's no distinction between mine and thine people began to consume too much and take more than they probably should relative to the needs of the whole community it happens very quickly once people see the food supply begin to diminish there's a massive raid on it and it all goes away and anthropologists have told us this story this is what happens so you wake up one day and you're like there's no food and I'm pretty darn hungry what am I gonna do you have to look out further for food and further for food but in this community there's one guy you know he's Bob the caveman I don't know what his name is but he figures out that you know this whole idea of living hand-to-mouth and hunting and gathering and foraging out for these relatively disgusting tasting leaves on the ground and these bugs I'm sick of them I'm going to capture some goats and put them near my cave and encourage them to reproduce and from them I will get milk and meat and I will see them multiply and that way I can provide for my family but in so doing you have to kind of fence them in and domesticate them this is the origin of the domestication of animals and it works suddenly Bob the caveman is wealthier than anybody else around him so how do his neighbors respond to this looking over and seeing this guy with goats enjoying fabulous butter and milk you know every single morning and wearing very cool goat skins and eating big goat legs every night you know there's two ways you can respond to this you can hate his guts and say he's got too much and that's evil and I envy him and let's gang up on him and kill him and steal his goats and he might do that several times right until at some point somebody figures out you know other than just attacking him and hating him why did we learn from him and become friends with him this is an entrepreneur so somebody else says you know he's got ghosts but doesn't have a lot of vegetables maybe I'll raise some vegetables so he two fences in a small area outside of his cave and begins to grow things and discovers that he can trade this is Jim the caveman without trading with Bob the caveman and they've got a burgeoning economy and pretty soon everybody learns listen we've got to have a system of ownership around here because if we do that we can cooperate together and generate real wealth that's amazing that's a great insight people ask what's the greatest invention in history private property that's the best invention anybody ever came up with it's a technology it's a technology that generates wealth and leads to human association and with that comes for the first time in this world of scarcity the origin of affection that people have for each other suddenly Jim sees Bob is valuable and Bob sees Jim as valuable that alone is amazing it's something that you and I experience every single day and it never fails to inspire me every single exchange that I engage in in my daily life inspires me the reason is somewhat mystical and magical because if you think about it Jim has these vegetables bob has his goats they come together trades a goat for a big bunch of vegetables they go apart one says thank you the other one says thank you they are both better off than they were before they are both wealthier than they're before because Bob had a goat that he values less than Jim's vegetables Jim had vegetables he values less than Bob's goat so they make a switch this nothing has changed about the physical world but something else has dramatically changed it's internal it's something about the human heart and the human mind that has changed you feel and believe yourself better off than you were before that is a form of wealth creation that's the first form of wealth creation that happens without any change in the physical availability of goods and services it happens because there's a change in the human heart that's extraordinary and this goes on in our lives every single day all day it happened to me this morning when I bought a cup of coffee at the hotel a perfect stranger that's just true it's Grand Rapids everybody's nice to everybody right but but beyond that we have a special relationship with each other because I'm giving of my property I looked at the two dollars in my wallet and I said I value this but I'd even value a cup of coffee more and he's looking at my two dollars and he's thinking that looks pretty good I like this cup of coffee but I haven't valued that two bucks more than my cup of coffees we arranged this deal just looking at each other's eyes we see a chance for us to get together and develop a temporary little association in which our lives are made better off that's a beautiful thing it happens all the time happens every day happens trillions of times a day that's what exchange is all about it's about about seeing value and what other people have an arrangement and voluntary terms a way to enhance our lives to make our lives better off therefore increase the wealth and the community again without any physical change in the surroundings that is the generation of value and that's amazing that was beautiful and we take it for granted so much and it's pathetic we shouldn't we should walk around every day with a sense of growing ever wealthier because of the chance to engage others people in exchange I think it's a very beautiful and magical institution and by the way the way I just described it the exchange David sounds – it's as parently as not because the ancient philosophers seemed to miss it they'll like even Aristotle when he writes about exchange he sees it as just being a like a zero-sum game you know you trade one thing for another everybody's moving stuff around he thinks that all exchanges consists of equals for equals well I have some stuff you have some stuff if we exchange this because they're equal you know this is just a fallacy and you know we we love Aristotle he was very smart guy but he missed this point it's not about equality it's about inequality we have unequal valuations it's just that they're reversed the coffee and the two dollars are not the same the coffee is more valuable to me that was to him and my two dollars are more valuable to him than it was to me so it's precisely because we have unequal valuations of our respective property that the exchange takes place at all Aristotle missed this point this is extremely important because you know actually opponents of the market economy tend to look at all the of a market activity that goes on every day in the financial markets or they look at malls or they look at Walmart they look at big commercial districts and they just they're just disgusted they look at I go look at all that what these people do is run around spinning stuff greedy things you know materialism they're grasping for money desperate for food whatever its it there's this mortified by it and they're disgusted you know they're looking at the same things we look at but they have a totally different impression of it and the reason is that they don't understand that there's something about the act of exchange itself that is wealth generating the every exchange that takes place at least people believe that they're going to get more value out of that exchange before it after it happens then if it never happens at all that's I think a big difference between the people who have fallen in love with capitalism as I have versus those who haven't okay let's move on now to define what I mean by love and here I'm just going to rely on CS Lewis's was a very traditional to do so four types of love right four types of there's that first level which storge all from the Greek right it's a type of what he calls affection and he says this in his book the four loves that the most basic kind of affection you can develop for somebody else is when you have a commercial relationship with them and it's true I think it's really true I mentioned earlier that merchants and consumers tend to say thank you to each other you know that's really wonderful it sometimes happens when we go to the store and and and you check out and go hey thanks and they go no problem there's somebody rubs is wrong about that right we're like yeah okay I'm glad it wasn't a problem for you but it'd be even better if you were grateful you know so that's why we have a tradition of saying thank you thank you thank you we're giving gifts to each other it's beautiful you know I've been to birthday parties right you give a gift and the person has to pretend to be grateful even though they're I have one and they go Thanks you know this is really great I really like thanks AB you don't say thank you I guess you could thank you thank you for your life or somebody but it's not conventional right but in the market economy we have this ongoing birthday party with every single exchange except it's like birthday for both types for both people it's like thank you no well thank you no thank you thank me this this is life in Grand Rapids I think that's a wonderful thing it's a type of love it's a type of a love that there grows out of having affection and appreciation for another person's role in life there's nothing to make light of that's unbelievable that's how come people become valuable as how we become valuable to others and it's how we understand our own value to others it's not the only source of value but the existence of exchange itself it's a way of validating our dignity as human beings and seeking out others who similarly value us and I find it just magical and we should never make light of it because we've come to expect it in commercial society and for the most part we do I'll talk about this later but you know have you ever been involved in a completely non commercial setting and your life is like completely non-commercial like there's nothing there's no exchange involved at all I'm sure I think this might what was an example of that post office man right standing in line at the TSA got to get on an airplane you know Department Motor Vehicles maybe public school the court system ouch right you're always happy for a friendly bureaucrat that's great you know person of good character the nice to you I'm sure you have more of those in the Midwest than they then exist in New York you know we probably have more in the south although it's it's iffy you never know Oh customs there's another case you know you you can't really expect that what CS Lewis calls affection to emerge out of those systems you're just kind of glad to get through them it always amuses me at airports you know because you know you're standing in line for the security and really you just endure it really you know you're being broadcast whose message say something do something to say something whatever the little slogan is and and you're always doing something wrong hey don't stand over here stand over here sorry you're supposed to take that bottle out of your bag don't you know I'm so sorry you can't take these scissors on the airplane and so on what has happened to me recently I'm sorry that gigantic bottle of basil vodka the spot just can't go on the plane yeah well that's just the way it is and people kind of act like people don't expect affection to arrives in those conditions they just want to survive they just want to get through them then immediately when they cross over the the line of the of the TSA and enter into the beautiful exciting commercial space of airports which are so wonderful right you can get everything and people want to sell you stuff and you can munch on fries and buy jewelry and you know get some new pajamas or whatever and and immediately the consumers in charge right but there on a bad mood because they just had to go through this TSA thing so you order a order an upset if I've done this have been at bars before the guy orders a hamburger and it comes out the guy said look I ordered a medium this is well done take it back and they're like obso sorry sir you know the consumers get extremely demanding you know at a commercial setting this is pretty funny because these same people we're acting like sheep you know just like five minutes earlier in face of the TSA they're like yes sir whatever you say you know they have rights they have rights of the commercial space and there's an opportunity for for human engagement and an opportunity to be kind to each other you know let's go back to this case that I told you earlier of Bob and Jim because Jim could have just raided bob's cave at night and stolen all the stuff an act of hate an act of resentment an act of indie an act of redistribution that doesn't produce wealth instead he became creative who looked within his heart and said maybe there's some way that I can be made better off without making him worse off I've got it I'll find something to do some way that I can become valuable to him so he'll value me I'll value me and we'll become valuable to each other we'll begin the basis of love itself which begins an affection the first level of love the second level of love is CS Lewis defines this philia or friendship and it's a much deeper a source of Association and affection and we all know what this is I mean how is commercial society related to our friendships and we know the answer to that reflected on our lives we've all worked in commercial spaces we began to develop really intense friendships we start carrying about at a deeper level people's well-being it's not just the passing thing you sell me a cup of coffee something you're worried about like how's your family wins your birthday how's your health where you from do we have any mutual friends in common there are your business associates I mean we've all worked in businesses it's not possible to work in a business and not develop meaningful lasting friendships that's just what we do I'm sure Acton holds birthday parties and and for its employees and and as every business does when an employee leaves we're sad to see him go we give them a party they're their family members are coming around it at Christmas and holidays and and you develop a deepening sense of association and friendship the second level of ophelia its commerce is a as a font of this kind of friendship very deep my grandfather on my mother's side was a wholesale grocer in southwest Texas and I've never known a man with more friends in my whole life this guy was incredible everywhere he go everybody would love him and he seemed to love everybody and every time I would go visit them we'd always be going to some big dinner with just you know endless numbers of friends within the commercial space it's like this gigantic civil society that just began to develop over the lifetime of being a wholesale grocer it's a beautiful thing and without commerce none of this would be possible so in that sense capitalism definitely leads to a deepening form of friendship called philia now I want to talk about the third form and this is where I get really interested and I'm going to ask you a slightly personal question because as I'm talking about this I want to know whether or not I can sort of tap into something you know if I may so and it's a kind of an exciting question how many or who in this room has ever been in love like like like real like you know what I mean by love like okay there's some people I'm gonna ask again because there's some people that didn't raise their hands I want to give them an opportunity to do that how many of you have ever been in love okay okay so that's so you know so you know then what I mean okay what we mean in English by in love is eros and it's weird I mean it happens to you and everything changes right suddenly the world was born but how it's exciting spring used to just come now it's spring and the birds used to ignore you now they're singing beautiful songs and there's something about being around the person you're in love with it just gives you a certain lift it changes you internally and changes your perception of the world and you can't sleep at night it lasts two or three days and and your life takes on a different meaning it's a kind of form of insanity really and it's so insane that men actually cough up you know years worth of salary to buy women diamonds I mean that's how that's how crazy lovely so it's a very beautiful institution and I think it's something we're constructed to do I think it's possible that there are people who live their whole lives and never experience love on that level eros I feel bad for them because when it happens it's like always a shock it's like I had no idea how good life could be before I met this person before this idea popped in my head that I adore this person this person makes me feel valuable and I valued this person just infinitely for that reason maybe but for other reasons too it's just this thing called love one time I was browsing through a bookstore and I picked up a book it was called something like vignettes about love or something like that it was a collection that was assembled in the 1890s there's nothing but a big collection of what everybody has ever said about love that the guy could possibly find and it's a great book you know you like infinite ways to describe it well I don't need to tell you that listen to the radio right I mean the the number of descriptions of love that exists well anyway the reason why it's important to reflect on on this aspect this this thing called eros is because did you know that this precise feeling this feeling of imagining something new and throwing yourself into creating something you see that doesn't yet exist by chasing this thing that suddenly entered your head that wasn't there before and changes your life and set you on a new direction this is the driving force behind entrepreneurship it is it's not the desperate love of money if that were it entrepreneurship for the most part would be a stupid thing to do because most everybody fails most every new business fails it's not money it's the love of an idea it's imagining some value some thing that you might be able to create that doesn't yet exist that will make the world a better place and you can't stop thinking about it until you do the ridiculous and insane and stupid likely to fail thing of starting a business it's the only reason you would ever do it if you were fully rational you would never do it merchants craft is almost always likely to fail almost always but entrepreneurs still persist and they love they're crazy they're crazy people they have fallen in love with an idea the idea is to make the world a better place to participate and the great project of bringing an element of progress to the world and if you know entrepreneurs this is exactly what happens to them the idea begins to dawns one day and then it grows then it gets more consuming and then pretty soon that's all you can think about and some of the you're dissatisfied with the thing that you're perfectly satisfied with before and you're willing to give it up and you're willing to make massive sacrifices of your time and your money and everything your life your reputation everything you're willing to give up and risk to chase this preposterous idea of making the world a better place by creating something new that is eros that's what it's all about and as I say it's not something we can take for granted you look at a downtown Grand Rapids and look at all the fur companies and businesses try to remember that every one of them began with a wacky idea it was a moment of love I can do this I have to do this this is what I was born to do this idea it's possessing me I can make the world a better place I can I can do this and you go out you seek funding you risk it all you sell your home there's not a single successful entrepreneur in this country who who didn't go through massive massive suffering going into it and you think about the origin of every business it's it's it's it's it's implausible I mean long before the company is successful Ana capitalist entrepreneur has to pay everybody so they borrow massive amounts of money to pay the workers to pay the suppliers help a building contractors to engage in advertising there's a long structure of production involved before the first profits arrived and even then you know profits are almost impossible to make you know in the real world most everything you all the revenue you ever make as a business is going to pay the debts that you have to pay your other workers all the entrepreneurs I know they always give the advice in businesses work CEOs should pay themselves first you know what it never happens it never happens business people stay poor for a lot longer time than the people they hired it's just true just that sense of ownership this is my company is enough payment even if it means massive amounts of party for years and years and years and I'm marvel at this institution again made possible through capitalism by the way but some years ago there is a a car plant that opened up in Georgia when Korean cars began to move their factories to the deep south and move them out of Detroit and everything and there was like practically a facility the size of a city being built to house the key in new Kia Factory I forget now how many employees that it employs it it seems like it must be five to ten thousand I could look it up but they began this construction it was and in this plant extended over essentially a three mile radius and they have their own water tower and had to have their own highway infrastructure built and I was driving along there looking at the thing that all the workers are busy and hundreds of cars were out there and I'm thinking you know what this can't possibly work it's gonna take like a year to build this factory you know and then they still have to make the cars then they have to ship them off to the showrooms and then they have to actually sell them and then you know the margins are caught our cars are not so great it's gonna be years before they make any problem it this could be five years it could be 10 years and even then they won't even know if they had made there's a lot of competition out there they will never know if they made the right decision until the first customer walks into the first showroom and buys the first Kia and that's probably three or four years from now meanwhile all of this activity is taking place that's amazing I'm sure enough its enormous ly profitable now we look out and go yeah look at that cat that big car company and all their wealth you know we should probably tax them you know this is the working out of a dream it's the working out of love of arrows it's the same thing that you felt in your heart when you met that very special person in your life that's what entrepreneurs feel it's it's it's like crazy juice it's the stuff that makes that causes something to enter your brain and into your heart that seems so real and so possible and such a mission for you personally but nothing else has changed about the physical world and probably nobody else shares that it's yours and it's obsessive and it's crazy and it's wonderful and it's the source of progress and beauty in the world an improvement it's why we live in a world of bounty it's love that gives rise to this glorious institution called entrepreneurship oh wow look at my time it is so evil what time does right time is so scarce can I just I'm just going to wrap up here so one thing I like to do when I think about this when you think about this element of love do don't want to say some about agape I think I will and my original article about this topic in a minute there's a fourth level of love called agape that c ester's talks about the perfection love it's a love that God has for us and that we ideally and there are moments when it to has happened it's not probably sustainable and maybe it is for some but that same love you give back to God it's a beautiful moment when that happens and it's a perfection of love it's the culmination it's everything you know that love that God has for us that we feel in special times in our life and we give back to God that is the love from whence all other forms of love come everything else is an imperfect reflection of that fullness so there's a linkage between these four kinds of love between agape and and a narrow some philia and storage a you know all the way down a structure of production of love if you want to say but what's the source of it all the source of it all is that special spark that God put in our hearts and our souls as our Creator the thing that he gave us when he made us that's who we are that's why animals don't feel it that's why human beings do lower than the Angels in the image and likeness of God these things that allow us to feel and to be creative and to be rational and to develop these kind of intense associations and to dream and accomplish things this is all a reflection of of the eternal that's in us and I know that sounds a little bit mystical which is why I didn't put in my article on this topic but I'm telling you because I think you can possibly understand so let's imagine a world without Commerce I think in many ways it would be a world without God I do this in my own mind I like to imagine going into a community and say wow what's cool about this company what's cool about this community what's cool about the cut' about this community are it's it's it's shops at shopping districts it's bustling commerce that's true all over the world where this Vienna or Salamanca Spain or tenez a Costa Rica New Zealand Detroit Atlanta even the rural communities you have everything from county fairs to country stores and gigantic shopping malls and huge corporations that everything in between this is this is what's but this is what life and fun and beauty is all about so I like to imagine everywhere I go what would this place be like without Commerce without this instantiation of love all around us and what you see is a barren and dreadful and terrible world of suffering privation repetitive stasis and sadness it's like if you've ever lived in a town where the economy is declining you know where businesses are shuttering and where homes are going down in value and people are moving out and the young are not staying around anymore if you've ever lived in a town like that it is so depressing because they were not progressing we're going back because Commerce is becoming less and less active and it's terrible I mean puts you in a bad mood and towns like that everybody's a little bit grumpy actually that's true Commerce is the source of life it's the source of our hope it's what gives us a living reality of the possibility of progress and improvement in our short lives we need to credit it most of all we need to stop we need to credit it that's really important I'll watch the State of the Union – I didn't hear anything about the beauty of Commerce than that never have these guys stand up they tell us how the world should work how they're responsible for all good in the world not responsible for your bad the responsible for all good but you never hear any celebration of the commercial world and the contribution that gives us – we need to celebrate it and appreciate it most of all I think it would be very wise for us to have systems of government that decline to attack it that would be beautiful every regulation every tax every war every prohibition every imposition every act of public violence that prevents exchange that puts barriers to the realization of our dreams to me is fundamentally an attack on the civilization of love which is so beautifully instantiate 'add in the world of Commerce in the Middle Ages there was a phrase I'd be interested to know if anybody's ever heard it before it goes Oh admirable a commercial do you know the phrase have you heard it anyone ever heard it before the medieval composers used to love to set it to music because it's so pretty right Oh admirable Commerce Oh beautiful Commerce why would we sing that on Christmas what is that about the reference in the Middle Ages was to the it's amazing the exchange that happened between heaven and earth that gave birth to the savior so time got together with eternity and traded and we got the incarnation there's a trade it was an exchange oh i'm mirabile commercial beautiful that's where we get the word Commerce and if you look at Jesus's parables how many of them deal with Commerce I mean almost all of them there's a guy growing grapes and a father passing on money to his son and one weights the money the other doesn't and there's a pearl merchant he's buying low and selling high and and there's a guy building a house in good jerky building on sand what was he thinking you know and the Jesus is drawing on Commerce the whole of his teaching ministry because it's it's something that's real and important in our lives because it's an expression of love it's a template by which we can work out our values and also because Jesus knew something about exchange the son of God you know with a father to exchange time and eternity and then at the end of our lives were going to and with salvation possibility salvation we make that exchange back again the end of our lives we're going to experience the other side of things this is a beautiful exchange that's what Christianity that's a major theme with Christianity it's a theme of our commercial lives we've let us treasure it let us value it let us learn about it and thank goodness for the Acton Institute for building this institution to broadcast these themes to the whole world thank you very much thank you very much Jeffrey very much and we're not done we have about 15 minutes thank goodness that's good so you get to hear more from him so if there's a question that somebody would like to ask this microphone works really good the only thing you have to do is put your mouth very close to the top of it won't work so a very very nice presentation that's all I'm gonna get to questions in but I'll be fast you can answer them both if you can answer them fast one is and I ask the dumb one first I've heard you speak about Bitcoin before it'd be fun to hear if you've got an update on that yes all right all done with that now I want to move on to the other one there was a book that I read many many moons ago I can't think of the name of the author I'll bet you can it was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie who asked this guy to go interview all his wealthy friends Carnegie of course was the first billionaire on the face of the planet and he said go see if you can dig up all the common denominators than rich guys have right and one of those became a chapter in this guy's book and it was called eros and he not the point that you made and I have not heard that point made 130 years I know whoa okay that's really cool you know do you remember the name of the author okay what year was written okay there's another author I really like as the founders Success Magazine it's called or since sweat marred Mardon and he wrote a book called how they succeeded and it was every chapter covered one of the one of the great Gilded Age entrepreneurs and looked into their lives and to their history I highly recommend I put it up on free online actually how they succeeded as by orson Swett Marden and he had interviewed all these guys and they all lived you know just amazing lives and and found you know all these similar traits I mean massive massive massive personal sacrifice crazy obsession a huge amount of creativity of willingness to learn from other people to be humble to serve others you know what you get from that book is like if you're not willing to serve others you're never gonna get rich you know it's just never gonna happen if you're an entrepreneur you've got to be obsessive about the needs of others you're the most outward directed person in the world greedy come on really you're gonna be greedy you're gonna be poor all right so that's just the way it is I mean that parable of the two sons you know well I don't want to go into that hey let me just leave you with one quick thing about the parables can I just tell you something he's very interesting did you know the Good Samaritan was a merchant he was all the clues are there he was on the road this long road that nobody would ever be on because you'd most likely to be robbed and loved why would you be on that road he didn't have any attendants with him so he wasn't Statesman he was carrying some extra money and some extra bandages he knew the local hotel owner and he had a credit line of credit with its owner you know this guy's a merchant yeah he's a traveling salesman that was and people people act like this is some social worker guy well the good social no I was a social worker probably selling pots and pans or so ya know quickly about Bitcoin you know five years ago nobody ever thought that there was a possibility of commodifying information and entitling it and transporting it across geographically non contiguous lines anywhere in the world and a way that was non for durable and non reproducible through the internet and that the blockchain that makes that possible would have attached to it a currency unit which itself would obtain a market value if I told you that would happen five years ago you'd say get this guy – he's out of his mind this has happened bitcoin is only one there's I counted this morning on a beautiful site called brave new coin 65 different alternative coins that are available from pure coin – dark coin dog you know dogecoin one of my favorites it's got a dog on it I don't know what yeah this is the most exciting innovation of our time it just it just is it holds out the possibility of replacing national currencies which have been a source of menace to civilization for 6,000 years so yeah the idea of privatizing currency is pretty extraordinary we're just at the beginnings of it but it's really exciting if you've ever used Bitcoin you just immediately realize I you know I was talking earlier about that feeling of love this would happen the first time I use Bitcoin oh you know I stood up from the table and just danced around and sang a song I've seen the future you know that's that's the bitcoins about other questions yes hi there um is the son I'm a physician probably know where that markets are most more messed up than in medicine and we're kind of at the point now where for a physician to ask for a payment it's not considered loving it's probably considered immoral and that it's not even that's not it's the patient's that's actually physicians as well I work with medical students and there's probably no group of people are more compassionate in utterly clueless than first-year medical students and there's almost universal support among medical students for single payer free health care and I don't know if medicine is completely exempt just because we've given over to care for our patients or if there can be if there if I would consider that having a market in medicine to be the most compassionate way how would you how would you snow I agree and we have weird views towards this we think that if we get money mixed up on it that somehow it becomes corrupt as if money is not involved in public systems of medical care you know you know what the story is I mean the more state involvement there is in medical care the worse the system is is getting and that's been true for the last 50 years actually it's been true for the last hundred years ever since the first Commission came along to regulate medical schools and say who can get in who couldn't who couldn't I prefer a massive free-market we are so far from doing that although the more state and government dominated the medical sector gets the more you're starting to see the emergence of these private alternatives right and you know we could surgery got paid in Bitcoin that's cool that's it maybe I'll go into surgery that's sure that I'll tell you another sector and look at your story makes you sad I don't know what to say about it that's why that's why the accidents do does what it does it tries to educate people about the beauty of markets but the further we get away from markets the more we get like the post office you know when Linda was asked you know in the early days of socialism they think you have a little your revolutions fun everything you love it's really really fun to have a revolution everything what happens afterwards how you going to like have an economy said look it's an assignment problem but it set up the economy the same way the u.s. does the post office you know we just have the whole economy operate that way and to him that was a no-brainer I mean this is a mistake essentially I tell you another area it's very very frustrating to me I was I wish we had more time together if you watched Obama's State of the Union address he was convention about the problem of child care well that's too expensive you know we don't have enough of it so we should have a giant government program to give everybody to give it to everybody for free okay so I begin to think about this that's like but that's not the only answer in fact that's not an answer at all a much better answer would be to figure out why is there a shortage of child care I mean does anybody ask that question why is there a problem I mean every empty-nest mom has a business ready-made for her she got a home he's got talents the skills and experience she could make money taking care of people's children why isn't that happen it's regulation daycare and this country is one of the most regulated sectors around you can't get into the market and the level of regulation is unbelievable at the federal level at the federal level at the state level at the local level and they regulate all three aspect to the business to the point that they it's a massive discouragement for ever anybody or anybody to get into the industry it's so Carla and so ruined by government that there's a massive shortage there's no reason for a massive shortage in daycare anymore there's a reason for a shortage and carrots or tennis shoes or a software I mean there should be an exact meeting of supply and demand in the sector when that doesn't happen there's a problem and that problem is massive government regulation and will somebody please do some work on the subject I mean it's it's unbelievable how little writing there is I wrote an article yesterday all deregulate daycare I think I have the only article in the internet on the subject now and why why is nobody care about this this is a human rights violation this is an outrage somebody needs to do something about this subject we need to at least start the debate which is not even taking place I went through all the scholarly literature and the topic of daycare not one person raised the problem of the economic costs of regulation now what everything I look through it's a scandal this is a problem that can be fixed today without a problem we're not fixing it because we don't understand it but one more question I don't I don't mean to sound like cynical or like critical or anything yeah none of us are cynical beside beside to you okay well it was just like the the point you made about how like the the virtues of Christianity are the same as the virtues of capitalism to me in my own mind before this that was not the case that Christianity is about altruism and capitalism is about individualism yeah so it seems paradoxical in a way that altruism leads to individualism or vice versa well this term altruism is became very popular eyes on our own world today bye-bye-bye the brilliant and visionary Iran whom I have I'm personally devoted to her that's why um that's particularly who I had the understand yeah so I think she had a you know I think she had a distorted view of Christianity really and wow there's so much to say about that because you know she was alive at a time in the 20th century where there's this big battle think communism and capitalism and she reduced the great ideological struggled as a struggle between collectivism on one hand and individualism on the other and I think that was a valuable rhetorical apparatus and say 1950 in the 1960s stuff like that I think we're kind of moved beyond that I'm not sure that that's the best apparatus to understand it and you know this term altruism itself you know where she got this right it's from a sociologist named Augusta caught a comped I guess the CEO m/t II and he called his philosophy all tourism and that guy was a disgusting totalitarian communist I can tell you so that's where understanding of altruism comes from so that kind of altruism I'm against but if altruism by altruism you just mean having affection for others I don't think Rand would disagree with with that and in fact I don't think Rand would disagree with anything I said here today I really don't I'm in a weird position of admiring her personally more than I do philosophically actually I think she's a great hero I mean this is a woman who was born destined to go to the gulags you know and in Stalingrad and she escaped came to this country at the age of like 17 and landed in Chicago penniless didn't see any opportunity got on a bus and went to Hollywood and began to write screenplays and without any formal education any support whatsoever became one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century writing the second best-selling book of all time compared in the Bible how do you do that that's kind of amazing so we all have her complaints about Iran but look this woman was was amazing nobody's perfect I'm so against intellectual hero-worship why can't we read people agree with what a lot of what they say and disagree with other things they say why don't we do that why are we always looking for godlike figures among the intellectuals I think it's stupid I think we should stop we should read everybody and learn from them were the right and reject them where they're wrong how difficult is that you know




Comments
  1. Free markets does not solve every issue. Short term gain replaces common sense tasks which will almost always cost more and bring more cruel societal situations. Free markets is not Love, it's love of self.

  2. Tucker talks NONSENSE. The real love is government and socialism, you insulted the government, DEATHCAMP! OR BEEING FORCED TO GO TO THE BATTLEFIELD IN WAR, THATS LOVE!

  3. I'm 23mins in so far.

    It's a nice story. It's a nice encapsulation. It's neat and linear as a narrative. Thus our minds can follow what Jeffrey is saying and all along the way think ,"cool , this makes sense." But the neat linearity should be the first tip off that something is amiss. What Jeffrey is describing is an idealized socio-economic trading system. This idealized version may or may not be what we encounter day to day in our economic lives. Markets have different structures up to and including no structure, i.e. market failures. Jeffrey is describing a balanced equilibrium, an academic premise. The actual world of economic exchange is often not in equilibrium, not just from a technical sense but from a marked gross sense too.

    Because of what I've said above Tucker's lecture feels aspirational to me, like wouldn't it be great if I could get most of my market experiences, or all of them, to this ideal story that he's laying out.

  4. Capital is the production of products for the purpose of further production, I love it. A perfect definition of capital. People think it means profits and it doesn't. I really should try to take some of the Mises courses.

  5. Not for me. Just as idealistic as communism or any other "ism". To each his own. I do agree forcing people to give up religion is a bad idea. It's like telling kids not to smoke pot. They'll do it just to spite you. I'm not sure which one I would rather have my kids involved in. Neither I think.

  6. Click to minute 14 to start his talk
    So first 4 minutes, education bad_____child labor good. Next dripple about freedom and faith, and random talking about the communist revolution, up to minute 8. After that random definitions of capitalism. bloviating on capital to minute 13.

  7. 44:10 is where he begins to loose it when saying that human beings are a divinely created species. All species have creativity and feel most if not all the same human emotions, we are not special and this only makes Libertarian/AnCappers seem more unstable in their views of social unity.

  8. Had me till 45mins Jeffery: no systems of Government are viable, any form of Government would always turn to predation- it simply cannot exist without using violence to sustain itself. Freedom naturally decentralizes & starts business to solve problems, not centralize, nor requires a rulers- it simply self organizes around supply / demand.

  9. It's kind of interesting that nowadays people complain about how commercialised Christmas has "become" these days. But according to Tucker's ideas here it seems that this is actually the natural and good state for a celebration of the market and how it relates to the faith of Christianity.

  10. I own the air of the United States yet this guy has not paid me the $10,000 a month rent I demand for use of my property, the fallacy of the commons sob. Sure made a jerk of himself. Private property in land is no difference that private property in air. None of these landowners go to war, they expect you to go to war for them (volunteer army), they end up at the Mises Institute because they have nothing better to do with their rents taken by violence.

  11. I seriously can't watch past the first minute. Market economies make people feel valuable? So do communist and socialist societies. Feeling valuable isn't owned solely by capitalism.

  12. Excellent speech! A bit of criticism though: I think there is a  catagory of entrepreuners that doesn't act on the market because of love at all, but in the cause to survive/make a fortune. If love is the motivation at all, it's the love to Money, if anything. It's not a threat to our prosperity, because this kind of people (which is the most of us if you think about it) will put their effort in spaces of the market where the prices are high and their labour will have the result yhat goods and services in those high-priced areas will become cheaper/better.

    Unfortunately, in this statist reality we have today, there is areas where prices are artificially high and Money-loving individuals will put their effort in providing goods and services nobody really asks for in the amount the current prices are showing us. Politics and drugdealing, per example, are very profitable, but in a free world the income in those bransches would be very moderate- to say the least. Now they are a highway to status and wealth and has become very appealing to a certain kind of selfish individuals.

    A free world uses selfishness  as an instinct to provide for everyone in the long run. A statist one makes selfishness a flaw that might ruin us all in the end. Crazy.

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