Culture of Capitalism: Peace, Progress and Prosperity
“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
The legal banning of the initiation of physical force from all relationships would not make every person moral, nor would it prevent every injustice.
But imagine what it could do.
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.
It would result in a society of goodwill and benevolence, where each person sees his neighbor not as part of a tribe ready to plunder one in a “dog-eat-dog” world, but as a trader, from which one can exchange material and spiritual values, to mutual gain and mutual benefit.
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 has the freedom to 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 of free-thinking and free-acting individuals, and not a society of one “collective mind,” ruled by a dictator (whether a despot or a democratic mob) has monopolized the title of the “voice of the people.”
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.
In a capitalist society, education is not state-dictated 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.
Capitalism is the basis of human flourishing
Capitalism results in human flourishing with improving quality and quantity of life, health, and prosperity for all, limited only 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.
Culturally, when freedom is applied to personal relationships, the arts, technology, and the sciences, it leads to human flourishing, peace, prosperity and progress.
In sum, capitalism consists of five essentials:
- Rational Self-Interest: Capitalism leaves the individual free to act by reason in the pursuit of their self-interest (happiness).
- Individualism: Capitalism regards the individual as a sovereign, independent being with an inalienable right to their own life.
- Objective Law: Capitalism operates under a legal system whose purpose is the protection of individual rights (freedom).
- Free Market: When freedom is applied to the sphere of production and trade, it results in a free-market in the material and spiritual realms.
- Human Flourishing: When freedom is applied to relationships, the arts, technology, and the sciences, it leads to a culture of peace, progress, and prosperity for all.