Culture of Capitalism: Peace, Progress and Human Flourishing
Culturally, when such freedom is applied to personal relationships, the arts, technology, and the sciences, it leads to human flourishing, peace, and progress.
- Capitalism leads to peace
- Capitalism leads to progress
- Capitalism leads to human flourishing
“Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man’s well-being is not their goal.” — Ayn Rand
Historically, to the extent that society embraces capitalism and its principle of individual rights, the more it will experience peace, progress, and human flourishing.
Capitalism is the foundation of peace
Capitalism is the basis of peace: by banning the initiation of physical force domestically and replacing it internationally with the freedom of trade in spiritual and material values, capitalism creates a ‘harmony of interests’ between individuals and by extension countries. A society where the initiation of physical force is banned from all relationships would not make every person moral, nor would it prevent every injustice. But, think about what it could do? It would result in a society of goodwill and benevolence, where each person sees his neighbor not as part of a gang ready to rob him in a “dog-eat-dog” world, but as a potential trader, from which one can gain material and spiritual values, to mutual gain and mutual benefit in a world with a “harmony of interests.” A society where each individual is judged not by their group affiliation (race, gender, religion, age, etc.), but by the content of their character, that is, as an individual. A society where each person can live, speak and act according to their own beliefs (philosophical, scientific, religious, and otherwise) so long as those beliefs do not entail violating the rights of others.
Capitalism is the foundation of progress
Capitalism is the fountainhead of progress: intellectually in knowledge and materially in wealth as the power of reason is unleashed in the artistic, scientific, technological, and productive spheres. A society where education is not state-schooled brainwashing but becomes a mind-expanding experience. A society where a life of imaginable, increasing wealth, is not just a possibility, but a reality — for everyone who is willing to think and act on that thinking — where anyone can rise as a high as their will and ability may take them. A society of free-thinking and free-acting individuals, and not a society of one “collective mind,” ruled by a despot who has monopolized the title of the “voice of the people.”
Capitalism is the basis of human flourishing
Capitalism results in human flourishing with an improving quality and quantity of life, health, and prosperity for all limited only in potential by the greatest “natural resource” and the fountainhead of all achievement: the individual’s ability to think. A society of individuals living in harmony with reality, guided by the process of reason. This is what is possible in a society based on the sacred principle of individual rights.
Capitalism is the progressive ideal because it is the only social system that leaves one free to pursue — and achieve — their own happiness. Capitalism is the ethical ideal because it is the only social system that leaves human beings free to be moral — to live by the use of their mind. Capitalism is the objective ideal — because it is the only system that is true, both in moral theory and in economic practice.
For an in-depth presentation on the philosophical, ethical, political, legal, and economic foundations of capitalism take the Capitalism Visual Tour. The Capitalism Visual Tour is the most popular feature of this site. The rest of the capitalism site assumes you are familiar with the material provided in the tour.