Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!

I had a wow moment while responding to someone’s blog post today. The writer described the invisible hand of capitalism as a better alternative to having countless flawed humans in public service scrambling to enact their individual views of what’s best for everyone. I interpreted his opinion essentially as:

The role of perfect capitalism is to socialize human frailty.

If capitalism were executed perfectly by perfect humans, with no lobbyist-driven barriers to anyone entering the market with a new 200 MPG car or a shinier pet rock, the invisible hand would accommodate people’s willingness to buy either product, “flawed” or not. In short, capitalism would ensure that we all bask in the glories and share in the pains of our collective human decisions.

Okay I get that, but there are no assurances that capitalism will ever be perfectly executed. Both public and private systems hire from the same pool of flawed humanity, and we have ample evidence of what can happen when greed and fear enter the picture, regardless.

Our “flawed” willingness to buy into the heavily protected oil industry has created a situation where producers can expect the public to shoulder their ecological disasters simply as our share of the cost of doing business, which under pure capitalism could not be further from the truth. Under pure capitalism, today there would likely be no more BP.

So to me, the bigger question is this:

Is capitalism-as-great-equalizer really how we want to conduct our human affairs? My love of the human spirit tells me there are much better ways for us to go than by delegating pure capitalism, if we can ever get there, to Gort-like [1] enforcer status.

References

  1. Klaatu (The Day the Earth Stood Still)

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