Utne Blogs > Politics

Conservative Capitalist Cries: Greed Is Not Good!

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Politics, Spirituality, neo-conservative, greed, capitalism, The American,

Global GreedGreed in American society is often named as the cause of the financial crisis and a fundamental aspect of capitalism. Both staunch defenders and firebrand opponents of the free market believe that capitalism is based on the idea that “greed is good.” Conservative capitalist Jay W. Richards disagrees. Writing for the business-cheerleading, neo-conservative magazine The American, Richards argues greed is not good. It’s not even capitalism. 

Capitalism works because it “channels proper self-interest as well as selfishness into socially desirable outcomes,” Richards writes. He quotes Adam Smith, saying that capitalism leads people toward the public good “in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity,” rather than because of it. 

The reason why Richards attacks greed is to defend capitalism from the likes of Jim Wallis and others who argue that people must choose between capitalism and Judeo-Christian values. What Richards doesn’t address is how society can rein in the greed he decries as “not good.” 

Source: The American 

Image by Peter Taylor, licensed under Creative Commons.