Many people associate capitalism with such a human feature as greed. Interestingly, some believe that socialistic societies have nothing to do with greed. Nonetheless, I tend to see greed as a purely human feature that cannot be applied to the entire economic system. Hill and Rae (2010) stress that greed may flourish in any economic system. I definitely agree with such viewpoints.
Milton Friedman has a very specific vision. He believes that greed is not only typical for all societies. The famous economist claims that greed is the force that makes the world go round (Friedman & Friedman, 2002). The writers argue that development does not come from authorities or governments. People simply find new ways to prosper. Any invention or technical (or any kind of) advance is due to humans’ greed.
In fact, I agree with Friedman’s ideas to a certain extent. I also think that some personal motives make people move on and develop. In some cases, it is greed. However, I would differentiate between greed and ill greed. By ill greed, I understand the desire to hold resources depriving others of accumulating some resources. The ill greed leaves no place for fairness.
Notably, fairness has already become a utopian notion. For instance, if people have claimed that capitalism and fairness are incompatible, few people took into account the other side of other economic systems. Friedman and Friedman (2002) note that fairness, as well as freedom, has peculiar features in socialistic (and capitalistic) societies.
Thus, fairness is an illusion for socialistic societies as the resources are not distributed fairly. More so, the authors emphasize that freedom is also rather restricted as people are too concerned with certain financial issues and they are rather free to strive for capitalism (Friedman and Friedman, 2002). At the same time, those living in capitalistic societies enjoy more freedom as they do not need to strive for economic freedom, they try to pursue other issues.
As for me, I have to agree with Friedman and Friedman (2002) again. I also think that fairness and freedom cannot flourish in human society as there are far too many people who are led by greed or even ill greed. Now we can talk about some restricted fairness and freedom. People can enjoy freedom in specific areas. Only a few people, those in power, enjoy unlimited power and freedom. Of course, fairness has nothing to do with such kind of freedom.
As far as those enjoying unlimited freedom are concerned, these people are also policymakers in societies, be it a capitalistic or socialistic society. Rose (2005) claims that corporations and governments have ceased the power and left no freedom to people. I believe that a lot of policymakers are led by ill greed and often pursue their own needs when creating the policy. Of course, some people try to develop societies and improve people’s lives. However, in the majority of cases, those who have unlimited power and freedom tend to forget about the overall good. They are more concerned with gaining more power.
Hopefully, people still can make a difference. Rose (2005) claims that the public can also become a potent power. In other words, people still can influence policymakers. The public can and should take control over those in power. The public is the restrictive power that limits the freedom of those in power. The public is the restrictive force that can free policymakers from ill greed.
Friedman, M., & Friedman, R.D. (2002). Capitalism and freedom. Chicago, Il: University of Chicago Press.
Hill, A., & Rae, S. (2010). The virtues of capitalism: A moral case for free markets. Chicago, Il: Moody Publishers.
Rose, J.D. (2005). Rescuing capitalism from corporatism: Greed and the American corporate culture. Bloomington, In: AuthorHouse.