Is Capitalism Moral?

Many people believe that free market capitalism is selfish 甚至可说是不道德的
even immoral. 他们说它关乎贪婪,关乎对金钱和权利的渴望
They say it's about greed, about a hunger for money and power 而它帮助富人,伤害穷人
that it helps the rich and hurts the poor. 他们是错的
They're wrong. 自由市场不仅在经济上更优越
The free market is not only economically superior 它在道德上也比任何其他经济组织行为更优越
it is morally superior to any other way of organizing economic behavior. 以下是原因
Here's why. 自由市场主张个人之间的自愿行为
The free market calls for voluntary actions between individuals. 这里面不存在强迫
There's no coercion. 在自由市场
In a free market 如果我希望从你那里得到什么,我必须为你做些什么
if I want something from you, I have to do something for you. 比如我修剪你家草坪,你支付我20美元
Let's say I mow your lawn and you pay me twenty dollars. 这20美元究竟意味着什么呢?
What does that twenty dollars really mean? 当我去一家食品杂货店说:“我想要四磅牛排”
When I go to the grocer and say, "I would like to have four pounds of steak" 实际上,他对我说
He, in effect, says to me “你希望很多人来为你服务
"You want a lot of people to serve you 牧场主,卡车司机,肉商,包装商
ranchers, truckers, butchers, and packagers. 所有这些人都得得到报酬
All these people have to be paid. 你做了些什么来服务他人呢?”
What did you do to serve your fellow man?" “好吧,”我说,“我帮人修剪了草坪。”
“Well," I say, "I mowed my fellow man's lawn." 然后这个杂货店主说,“证明一下。”
And the grocer says, "Prove it." 接着我给了他这20美元
Then I offer him the twenty dollars. 把你赚到的钱想作是你表现的证明
Think of the money that you've earned as a certificate of performance. 这是你为他人服务了的证明
It's proof that you've served your fellow man. 人们指控自由市场是不道德的
People accuse the free market of not being moral 因为他们说这是个零和博弈
because they say it's a zero-sum game 就像扑克牌,当你赢了的时候,这意味着我一定输了
like poker, where if you win, it means that I have to lose. 但自由市场不是零和博弈
But the free market is not a zero-sum game. 它是正和博弈
It's a positive sum game. 你为我做了些好事,比如给我那块牛排
You do something good for me, such as give me that steak 那我就也为你做好事—给你20美元
and I'll do something good for you — give you twenty dollars. 因为比起那20美元,我更重视这牛排,所以我的境况更好了
I'm better off because I valued the steak more than I valued the $20 而因为这个杂货店主比起牛排,他更重视那20美元,所以他的境况也更好了
and the grocer is better off because he valued the $20 more than he valued the steak. 我们都赢了
We both win. 讽刺的是
Ironically 是政府,而不是自由市场,在我们的经济中创造了零和博弈
it's the government, not the free market, that creates zero-sum games in our economy. 如果你利用政府得到了食品券,农场补贴或商业救助
If you use the government to get a food stamp, a farm subsidy or a business bail out 你将因此受益—但你的同胞为此买单
you will benefit — but at the expense of your fellow citizens. 要求人们为他人服务,以得到他的服务的回报
Isn't it more moral to require that people serve their fellow man 而不是什么都不做却依然能够索取,这不是更有道德吗?
in order to have a claim on what he produces rather than not serve others and still have a claim? 但,很多人问,那么大型企业呢?
But, a lot of people ask, what about giant corporations? 难道这些企业不是拥有太多控制我们生活的权力吗?
Don't they have too much power over our lives? 在自由市场不是这样的
Not in a free market. 因为在一个自由市场,我们人民,决定希望做我们生意的企业的命运
Because in a free market We, the People, decide the fate of companies who want our business. 自由市场资本主义会惩罚一家无法满足客户
Free market capitalism will punish a corporation that does not satisfy customers 或者没有做到有效利用资源的企业
or fails to use resources efficiently. 希望兴旺起来的商业
Businesses, big and small 不管其规模大小,都会受到用钱投票的人们的约束
that wish to prosper are held accountable by the people who vote with their dollars. 而且,还是它,政府才是那个能够抵消这效果的组织
And, again, it's the government that can undo this. 拿美国汽车工业来说
Take the example of the American automobile industry. 2009年它还在挣扎着生存
It was struggling to survive in 2009. 为什么?
Why? 因为它们生产的是无法令足够多人满意的汽车
Because they were producing cars that did not please a sufficient number of their fellow men. 在自由市场,他们将因此破产
In a free market, they would therefore have gone bankrupt. 市场会说
The market would have said, “看啊,你完了。把你的工厂和设备卖给能做得更好的人吧。”
"Look, you're done. Sell your plant and equipment to somebody who can do a better job." 但当克莱斯勒和通用汽车失败时
But when Chrysler and General Motors failed 他们去了华盛顿特区,让政府帮他们脱离了困境
they went to Washington D.C. and got the government to bail them out. 政府经济援助对他们来说本质上意味着
The government bailout essentially meant to them “你不必对客户和股东负责。”
"You don't have to be accountable to customers and stock holders. " 不管你的产品有多劣质
No matter how inferior your product is 不管你效率多低
and no matter how inefficient you are 我们将用你同胞的钱来帮助你继续运营
we'll keep you in business by taking your fellow man's money. 当政府以此种方式干涉时
When government interferes in this way, 它从人们手上夺走了权力
it takes the power away from the people 奖赏那些无法在市场竞争中获得成功的公司
and rewards companies that couldn't compete successfully in the marketplace. 这对于政客,大型工会和企业高层人员来说非常管用
That may work out very well for politicians, big unions and corporate officers 但对于纳税人来说通常并非如此
but it seldom does for the tax payer. 这就是为什么自由市场只有在小政府的前提下才行得通
That's why a free market system can only work if there is limited government. 小政府意味着你和我决定什么企业生存
Limited government means you and I decide which businesses survive. 这是国父们所设想的美国
That's the America that our Founding Fathers envisioned 只拥有在美国宪法第一条第八款里稍微具体提到或列举出的权力的小政府
a limited government that has only a few specifically mentioned — or enumerated — powers that are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. 高明的小政府概念才是产生这个历史上最富裕的国家的原因
It's this brilliant, limited-government notion that produced the wealthiest nation in history. 在自由市场,是公民的雄心和自愿的努力
In a free market, the ambition and the voluntary effort of citizens, 驱动经济发展,而非政府
not the government, drives the economy. 那就是
That is 人们尽自己最大的能力打造他们自己的命运
people, to the best of their ability, shaping their own destiny. 对我来说这听起来很道德
Sounds pretty moral to me. 我是乔治梅森大学的沃尔特·威廉姆斯
I'm Walter Williams of George Mason University for Prager University.

  1. About bail out packages..what you have discribed is a very idealistic situation..but in reality..there are mamy more lives dependent upon the "big corporate"..
    For example in my country india Jet airways has stopped their operations and grounded them temporarily putting future of 20000 families at stake…
    Government has a responsibility to those…..
    Your theory just assumes that everyone has enough lawns to mow and earn 20 $…
    But unfortunately that is not the case..

  2. i wish to point something out. Professor Williams takes extraordinary thought to explain why the governmental bailing out of the auto industry, banks, insurance companies, etc., means government is taking power away from the people. While ignoring the fact that governmental policies (aka deregulation, lax trading policies, and general who gives a f**k) caused the mess in the first place. Also, these financial entities are predominantly owned and operated with a Republican (aka hands off business) leadership. when left to their own devices, nothing good comes of it. Laize faire policies created the Great Depression. Reaganomics and Bush policies created the disaster of the 80s. And lets not forget our most recent Depression (Bankrupting the US housing market) under Bush II. Any ultra capitalist system left unchecked causes death, destruction, and marginalization of the majority of the population. Start with the Electoral College. It wasn't put in place so every state had a say. It's function originally was to make sure that all rich people had a say in who represented their interests in governing the majority. When enacted, it primarily was to the benefit of states that had about as many slaves (not human, not allowed to be literate, can't vote) as they did citizens. Later, it became a way of making sure that no one with ideas or proposals to marginalize the ruling (aka Rich) class could find a way into leadership. This is why we have a two party system. Even when you do vote, the choices ultimately serve the business, ruling, elite, and upper class. Any system where money is a factor in deciding who is to lead, is ultimately a plutocracy. Even those who gain, and are thankful for it, are peons. Consider this, Capitalism at its foundation, REQUIRES a portion of the population to be poor, uneducated, self-destructive, and marginalized in a broad spectrum of socioeconomic factors to even resemble functionality. If that floats your boat, time to look in the mirror.

  3. Under capitalism innovation is wasted on increasing output rather than improving people's lives. It's mainly greed, partially a luxury trap; a particular innovation meant to make work easier soon becomes a necessity, then a need, which causes work to become just as tiresome as or more tiresome than before.

    Like Email; it was once just an energy saving system of sharing information which made life better for people, now people are receiving tens of Emails daily, each expecting a reply soon, innovation is exploited for profit, fueled by competition.

    Increasing output rather than improving the lives of workers is ultimately valued more under capitalism. There's no doubt capitalism can inspire and has inspired innovation, but how it is used needs to be regulated in order to benefit workers as much as it benefits output.

  4. You can't blame anyone but ourselves…capitalism or no capitalism, humans are bound to their envious and egotistical ways unfortunately. There will never be equality in this world and that isn't because of capitalism, it's because of US.

  5. Let us also take a moment to acknowledge the drawbacks of a free market, just like we criticize socialism. The Wall Street Crisis was one of the biggest blunders of capitalism, followed by the Great Depression. Some sort of government intervention is justified in order to prevent a situation of total chaos.
    P.S. I am not a socialist either. I believe in a mixed economy.

  6. Free market doesn’t work for 88% people where 12% control the 80% global resources ! It doesn’t work in under developed or developing nations, what does is coerce and corruption ! And your analogy of corporate is also delusional, they already manipulate public by commodities pretty much everything !

  7. I am poor, yet I support capitalism. Just because I'm poor doesn't mean I want to make everyone else poor. I also don't want to put my country at the mercy of the government.

  8. Capitalism is not a Zero Sum game but the capitalists class, the wealthy, the business community are against any development in workers rights?

    They know that their income depends on maintaining the workers divided and the salaries the lowest possible.

  9. Cool video.  I would steer clear of using the dream and vision of slave holders as a talk track in the objective of capitalism.  It perpetuate the idea that capitalism keeps people in bondage. Just a thought.

  10. Capitalism is evil, but when a group pf stupid people and selfish exploiters lobby for it and support it, it is obvious it will win. Why do I say it is evil? Because capitalism manages to kill around 20 000 000 people a year. 8 000 000 people die because they don't have access to clean water, 7 665 000 people die of hunger, 3 000 000 people die of vaccine preventable deaths and over 500 000 people die of malaria. These are all preventable deaths, but it isn't profitable to prevent them. In the black book of Communism it is said that Communism killed around 94 000 000 people since 1917. Then capitalism killed more than Communism in just 5 years.

  11. Capitalism may have once been met for good, but it always devolves into selfish corporate run states, Look at EA, Disney, The Robberbarons all them have one thing in common, they wanted money and they did whatever it took to get it, including ruining careers and lives of thier workers

  12. So capitalism it's the solution to the country's problems for people who wanted to fulfill their goals and generate satisfying wealth yet people in the government, small businesses and giant corporations made a bad impression in ones' economic practices of capitalism that it blinded us the entirety of our lives about capitalism…. We should encourage better services with the righteous, morally and intelligent mindset of endeavors to help out people reaching their potentials and most of all be kind and respectful to our neighbors to be a strong and morally responsible individuals to our neighbors and ourselves

  13. Ironically, people think the key to fixing corporations and such is MORE government control, as though they can come up with some kind of law to tell corporations "Don't suck at your job!" They need to see this to realize that the solution to breaking up bad business and corporations is less government control!

  14. Yes people should have to imput Labour to get income however what I see happening all the time in big business capitalism is people people being exploited out of there labour. HOWEVER we can solve this by getting rid of big business and only have smaller family run business

  15. Democrat has won. They have convinced the dumb and lazy American by baiting them with free stuff and they want to steal it from other hard working American. Most people vote for the Democrat and just want to get handout for their entire life.

  16. So how many thousands of lifes has Brad Pitt saved? Yeah, maybe he 'served' people by entertaining them and distracting them for 2 hours. But why does he has more than 20 times of "proof of work" than a doctor who does have saved many thousands of lifes. ¿?
    Does the free market really rewards how much you serve to your fellow men?

  17. Capitalism is immoral, but it is constrained by the framework of morality, sometimes religion (although one rarely goes without one).
    Here are just these frames all thinner.
    Anti-Utopia "1984" – turned out to be unrealizable and unrealistic.
    But the "brave new world" already seems not so distant.
    Modern leftists in the United States are the project of the largest capitalists, in order to tear people away from moral principles. Then they will become more vulnerable, and will consume more goods.
    Look at the modern left in America, compare them with the left in Europe and Russia in the early 20th century.
    Porridge from various adulterers, crazy, teenagers, lazy people unwilling to work and so on.
    And when the left was – workers who work for 14 hours, soldiers who are tired that they are sent to unnecessary wars, peasants who are in desperate poverty.
    Remember the roots, about morality, about God, and about the dangers of monopolists, comrades.

  18. A capitalist society where there is a ( for example ) a 15% flat tax on every dollar earned.

    Whether you earn $5,000/year or $5,000,000,000/year, you pay no more and no less than 15% on every dollar you earn.

    The more dollars I earn, the more tax revenue I generate for society. The richer people are, the richer society will automatically be.

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