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2/17/2009

Selfish capitalism

A reality check In today's troubled times, Singapore's political leaders and businessmen may do well to read what is published here. The Times UK. Feb 16, 2009 By Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester Pride, avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth: sometimes it feels as if Britain is in the grip of the seven deadly sins. There are arrogant politicians, greedy bankers, lecherous television presenters, furious trade unionists, obese children, competitive shoppers and an underclass of people who do not work. To the doom-mongers, British society is not broken, it is shattered. According to the Archbishop of Westminster, the economic downturn could be the very thing that brings us to our senses. “It's the end of a certain kind of selfish capitalism,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said. “This particular recession is a moment - a kairos - when we have to reflect as a country on what are the things that nourish the values, the virtues, we want to have ... Capitalism needs to be underpinned with regulation and a moral purpose.” ... "It has been difficult to bring up children with the kind of values we want. Let's face it, we now have a ‘me, me' society, a more consumerist society, a utilitarian society, and our values and virtues have become diminished." “Some of it has got to do with having too much. If your worth just depends on your wealth, that is not healthy. Your worth should depend on who you are.” Nothing exemplified this better than the bonus culture in the City. “I hope people have come to their senses. I don't know why they got such big bonuses. I would cut them out altogether.” Bankers, he said, “were just wanting to make profits but in ways that were rash, and they thought they could continue on this bonanza without querying their excesses. "The industry is so focused on money. Unless that is underpinned with a moral sense and regulation that makes it clear money is only a tool for living, then it is wrong. I think sometimes there weren't enough controls on the City. The above is an extract of an article posted in www.littlespeck.com. The full article, though about Britain, is a good reflection of the woes and sickness of the capitalist countries we are in today.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whilst such wise words may sink into the heads of those who treasure values and virtues, I am afraid it makes little sense to those who equate 'who you are' with power and wealth.

And the only reason they are here in this world is to accumulate power and wealth. Nothing else matters. Religion is cast aside, until they needed help.

Lost Citizen

redbean said...

may god help them. amen.

Anonymous said...

The article is rubbish.

I don't know why these archbishops are being paid either - especially to comment on things which they have no idea about.

Dare we say greed?

This is an awesome comic from The Economist:

http://maddruid.com/wp/images/20090207WWKalEconomist.jpg

Anonymous said...

This is also a nice article by a Wall Street insider:

http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom

However, I would claim it's "alright" to be greedy and selfish - these are but human qualities, and some of those who have been elected to power can be the most greedy for power over the lives of others. The question is, who abetted such behaviour?

Real capitalism would have ensured that such behaviour was "punished" - quickly and swiftly.

To suggest that "capitalism needs a sense of moral purpose", by being regulated by those who lack moral purpose... you get the idea.


Hayek's Road to Serfdom in comic form:

http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

Freedom is lost in small steps.

Anonymous said...

To date I know not of a single economic evil who was not wrought by government "regulation".

Matilah_Singapura said...

Capitalism is a hard, fast and brutal game played in "The Jungle". Basically it is a game which involves the attainment of "chips" (success, happiness, money, love, fame, respect, honour etc etc). And the object of the game is to WIN — i.e. to get as many "chips" as you can before you die.

If you "wake up" in time before it's too late, you will realise that people are unpredictable, life is uncertain and certain 'truths' are simply facts of existence and unshakable facts about the universe, and objective reality. Everything that you consider to be of a 'value' to you — whether it is material, spiritual or intellectual has to be 'bought' and 'paid for' at the going market price.

Any "analysis" biased in the negative is unlikely to have any effect. Govt intervention — beyond the protection of private property and individual rights — only makes matters worse.

You can complain that life is unfair, the government is evil, people are greedy and selfish, business sector exploits, bankers are dishonest, corporations pollute... whatever bullshit other people believe and continue to spread, but the question remains the same for everyone: Can I Win? — regardless of all the 'obstacles'.

Once you are born, you are responsible for yourself. Nothing is provided free. Even life, is not free. To be 'free' one has to apply consistent, intelligent effort. And occasionally you have to fight other people, evade the authorities, avoid unnecessary conflict and often initiate the attack to avoid problems later.

'Absolute moralists' are always the people who have failed in the market and decided to play The Victim.

EVERYONE without exception fails in the market. You choose friends who betray you, your parents don't understand you, you boss doesn't respect you, your spouse might have cheated on you, someone ran into your car... call it bad luck, bad choice or whatever... the fact remains what are YOU going to do about it so that you can eventually WIN?

People who rail against capitalism (especially the selfishness and greed) and free markets are a regular source of comedic entertainment for me.

Anonymous said...

Capitalism is the worst economic system in the world,it is the only one that works,so far.


Democracy is the worst political system in the world,it is also the only one that works,so far


Sinner-Spore

Jaunty Jabber said...

Talking about Human Greed, I have made some comments on this blog which has a post on Greed. Just to share, busy then don't click, it is just a simple post.

http://informationreadbyme.blogspot.com/2009/02/greed-is-human-nature.html

Regards

Anonymous said...

As my hero, Gordon Gecko, played by Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" said:

GREED IS GOOD!

Everyone, without exception is greedy. It is just a matter of degree.

Cordon Immortal Tan

redbean said...

moderation is the balance that keeps one from slipping into the darkside.

Jaunty Jabber said...

To moderate, one will need a great deal of self-control. Self-control is something that work against greed.

redbean said...

yep, not easy to fight against temptations esp for human beans. but can we expect a little more from the demigods and immortals?

Matilah_Singapura said...

Here we go again with the big same-o same.

You motherfuckers don't get it. Still trying to discuss the 'morality' or lack thereof in capitalism, and cast your tired, centuries-old absolute judgments and so-called condemnation of capitalism — which is the very thing that is providing you with the means to continue a discourse on the internet.

If it wasn't for private enterprise, you wouldn't even know what a computer was,let alone use one to help you have the quality of life you now enjoy.

You really are a bunch of dumb arseholes — can't you even come out with something original to say if you are going to dis capitalism? Instead you quote one-line platitudes or sermonise like the hypocritical boy-raping priests at their pulpits on Sunday.

You losers!

Anonymous said...

Is Matilah Singapura scolding J....?

redbean said...

matilah will scold anyone, including me, when he is drunk. just leave him alone in this drunken stupor. when he stops drinking he will be alright.

but if you ask him, he will say it is just a general comment not address to anyone. that's why he used the word losers in a very lose way.

those of you who are not comfortable with this never grow up old man, just ignore him or only engage him when he is sober.

cheers.

oh, vulgarity is his second nature. he doesn't even know it.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Know this, audience:

redbean never fails to deliver his analysis. Fucking hell, if I didn't exert some 'attitude' now and then, poor old redbean would get bored!

Just to show him up as 'clueless' when it comes to describing my moods and behaviours — I'm perfectly sober these days. Why? Because I'm back in The Peoples' Socialist Union of Australia, and I have to drive...and the poe-leese are always out there to bust people. In Asia I had the luxury of cheap cabs and abundant transport. Here — different story.

redbean said...

matilah, before you frighten away everyone, i have to try to explain away their fears. and my analysis is as good as any of the shrinks.

you are suffering from schizophrenia. one moment you post like an academic, the next moment you storm in like a drunkard. two totally different personalities.

crocodile dundee looks like an aristocrat when you are around.

Anonymous said...

haha redbean's funny

Jaunty Jabber said...

Congratulations to Redbean, you are at the 16th place of Google Analytics chart.

http://singaporedaily.net/2009/02/18/state-of-the-daily-outbound-traffic/

redbean said...

thnaks jaunty, and thanks to everyone for contributing to make this blog interesting to the viewers.

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean, hallucinating and impersonating a medical professional:

> you are suffering from schizophrenia. <

WOW! 'Free' diagnosis from a fraud psychiatrist on the net!

> crocodile dundee looks like an aristocrat when you are around. <

Now redbean is trying to 'angkat' me by paying me a compliment.

Anonymous said...

You better not hope he's preparing a straitjacket for ya.

redbean said...

redbean only sell koyok on the road side and beating the gong. if you want i can give you a Pingkat Pandai Angkat. as Emperor of WBA i have the honour to do so. : )

so matilah, other than being the King of Southern Blogosphere you can add PPA to your name too.