I came across the following anonymous comment, and it made me think…
Free market capitalism is the most powerful tool for creating wealth in the world today. By focusing our energies on the most valuable use of our time, the most valuable use of existing resources and rewarding those who find ways to turn lead into gold, we create a system that rewards generative development of our society.
Capitalism is powerful. Sadly, power corrupts through giving those with it the delusion of creating unsustainable value for themselves at the expense of others. And it makes them drive big enough cars and live in big enough houses to perpetuate the illusion that such things are actually of any importance. The dot.com era was a great example of this delusion, as is the current focus on residential real estate in Brisbane, as was the oft-cited Tulip bubble in Holland so long ago. The creation of perceived demand without the presence of a commensurate underlying demand leads to market fluctuations and inefficiencies.
Yet, none of this excuses the actions of those who have violated basic principles in the pursuit of their objectives. Let us put aside for a moment that America has been well known to support (at times) brutal dictators and regimes perpetrating human rights abuses: it is economically, that America maintains tariffs and subsidies is the most blatent example of hypocracy that I recall – and in doing so, they ensure their eventual destruction and loss of power. America is weak: Militarily, they retain their might, though emotionally the nation seems to have lost much of its spirit. No longer does America stand behind the ideals that it purports to advocate. The 300 million people of America are no match for the billion in India or the other billion in China. The contemptable offences that have been committed will be paid for in full…
The value, to me, is not in criticism of America. The value is in recognising what is admirable and seeking to make it our own, and recognising what is flawed and seeking to amend it within ourselves. The same hypocracy that is undermining global capitalism is the hypocracy that we possess within ourselves – that it is okay to have a messy backyard as long as the public park (and our neighbour’s front yard) are clean.
Australia lacks the inertia that will, from where I sit, condemn America to a steady decline over the next 50 years. Yet, it lacks the passion, energy and integrity that ensures China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the like’s dominance in the coming years.
The only way to create sustainable value is through contributing more than you take. The only way to maintain such an attitude of service is to have a sense of compassion and love for our fellow creatures, and to look to make their life better while finding ways to serve our own interests… in aligning our interests with those of the people around us.