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← A response from Shermer

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by SPS

From Shermer's article at Huffingtonpost: "This gets to the point of my work in evolutionary economics (the subject of The Mind of the Market). The evolved psychology behind trade does, in fact, makes us better people. Nonzero exchanges between strangers ("you give me that which I want and I'll give you this which you want")..."

He forgot to include the third guy who gets screwed over by both of them. This is also part of trade.

When a capitalist's/trader's main concern is growing profits/materially, there's plenty of room for unethical behavior. This isn't very different from a religious adherent whose goal is to obey god by an act of charity one day and murder the next. Whatever benefits trade/capitalism may bring, there is something wrong with a system that is willing to leave people behind, considered deserving of their lot, for not being stand out participants in that imposed system. And, yes, capitalism is an imposed system. Capitalist systems are treated as the things to be protected and nurtured over the well-being of the populace. The benefits of capitalism need to be wrestled away from it, and taken in spite of it, rather than willingly provided by it. Anyone whose lived paycheck to paycheck, and this is likely a large percentage of people, knows that the main goal is to keep an income and not piss off your boss. Living to pay your bills, putting aside your thoughts, opinions, abilities, and essentially throttling back who you are to fit into an occupation so you won't have to live in the street is hardly freeing, despite the fact that you can buy x, y, z when you get paid. What Shermer seems to outline is positive change through trade, but more accurately there is positive change through lack of fear and want and an expansion of freedom. This needn't be achieved by capitalist reign or promotion of trade as a {pseudo)cure all. We are willing to seek solutions and make changes when something doesn't work the way we think it should, why should an economic system be any different?

Sat, 04 Sep 2010 04:26:09 UTC | #511041