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 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 a society embraces capitalism and its principle of individual rights, the more it will experience…

  • 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),
  • progress (intellectually in knowledge and materially in wealth as the power of reason is unleashed in the artistic, scientific, technological, and productive spheres), and
  • human flourishing (with an 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.

Can you imagine what would be the result of a society where the initiation of physical force is banned from all relationships? It would not make every person moral, nor would it prevent every injustice. But, think 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 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 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.

A society where education is not a state-schooled brainwashing but becomes a mind-expanding experience.

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.”

And in time, 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.

“To save the world is the simplest thing in the world. All one has to do is think.” — Leonard Peikoff, quoted in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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