Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The fundamental fallacy of the market system expressed in plain language

Quite simply it's this: economists and everyone under the sun acknowledge that the first interest of businessmen and business is to make money for themselves. They then argue that despite this, competition forces businesses to create products and services that people want, therefore mitigating the greed motivation, or at least transforming it into a socially positive thing. Sometimes they acknowledge that regulation is needed to keep greed in check, sometimes they don't. To me all this is highly suspect. I mean, we acknowledge that our economy is founded on people trying to get the most out of others at the least cost for themselves, and then say that that's okay because competition means that the people using the worst methods of conning people will be driven out of business by people, also interested in getting as much as they can, who are offering products that people can honestly use? You can slice it anyway that you want but at the end of the day the point isn't to bring people better products and better services, the point is to make money, and if the market forces some good products to get out there it has a positive side effect, and if doesn't then the motive for greed remains and the side effect isn't present. Oh well.

What would make more sense would be to enforce a system where the profit motive is broken as the primary motivator and replaced by, solely, making good products while retaining a modest profit. And/or a planned socialist economy. But for the moment let's focus on this idea. Businesses should be forced to be socially responsible. Period. End of story. If they complain that the notion of social responsibility is vague and untested I'd counter that the idea that the pursuit of profit above all else as a good for society is something that's vague and untested as well, and that the collective will in this case outweighs the personal profit motive. Or, to put it another way, the collective will outweighs personal greed. And that the rights of minorities against the general will does not include the right to be a greedy bastard.

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