The Seven Capitalist Virtues

Capitalist entities co-opted the seven deadly sins and turned them into virtues
by Staff, Utne Reader
January-February 2011
Add to My MSN

Travis Lampe / www.travislampe.com


Content Tools

Related Content

The WoW Battle to Save Journalism

In the quest to save journalism, some media experts have wandered into a mythical land of elves, ork...

A Real World Plan for Obama's Second Term

Obama has proven he can reach out to Republicans. Now he needs to reach out to the American people.

It’s Not Easy Being Filthy Rich

In a new, uniquely intimate survey, the very wealthy reveal their most personal fears and anxieties…

Wealthy Americans Volunteering to Pay Higher Taxes

Here’s a refreshing change of pace: Wealthy people stepping forward and volunteering to pay higher t...

Greed is good. That bit of twisted moral logic, popularized by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street and seemingly adopted on real-life Wall Street, is what David Korten, in Yes! (Fall 2010), calls “the most incredible moral perversion.” So steeped are we in this topsy-turvy view that we don’t even notice that those no-no’s of the Christian faith—the seven deadly sins—have been co-opted by corporate and capitalist entities and turned into virtues. Although Korten speaks in terms familiar to Christians, he sees values that cut across spiritual lines and believes that “the true moral values are innate in our mature human nature.” The fact that most people know what is right and still participate in the role reversal shows just how powerful the manipulation machine has become.  

That’s not all that’s amiss, though. Unlike many economists who have spent the past couple of years examining what went wrong, Korten calls a spade a spade and recognizes the difference between phantom wealth and real wealth. The latter includes tangible things like food and shelter, while the former is based on a game of speculative values. Take the housing bubble: “It means absolutely nothing in terms of houses,” Korten writes. “An increase in real housing value would, for instance, provide more comfortable shelter.” How about the stock market, that gauge of economic well-being? “Well, the fact that the total value of stock market assets can go up and down by trillions of dollars day by day is a pretty powerful indicator that it has no relationship to any underlying real value.”  

Now, before you go writing Korten off as just another anticapitalist agitator, it might be useful to know that he pursued a career in international development precisely because he was spooked by the specter of communism, which he saw as a very real danger to the American way of life. The way he sees it now, though, the choice does not have to be between uncontrolled capitalism and rampant communism. Rather, there simply needs to be “an economy comprised of locally rooted enterprises owned and operated by people who live in the community and function within a framework of community moral values.” Main Street, in other words, should trump Wall Street.

jan-feb-2011-cover-thumbnailThis article first appeared in the January-February 2011 issue of Utne Reader.








Post a comment below.

 

interrobang_3
2/16/2011 9:33:58 AM
This is a bit of a bait and switch with an abbreviated reworking of an (interesting) article previously published on-line. I was actually hoping to read how Capitalism hijacked the "seven deadly sins" and turned them on their head as the headline would lead one to believe.

Lauri Lumby
2/16/2011 8:08:02 AM
Yes, Capitalism runs rampant with the condoning of "the seven deadly sins." In the end, this is all reflective of the unhealed wound of humanity - the wound of separation. We falsely believe ourselves to be separate from eachother, separate from our highest self and for those of a theistic mindset, separate from God. The cure of all that ails us is in healing this false perception of separation. As work toward remembering our Oneness, only then shall we know true peace,harmony, contentment and joy! Lauri Lumby http://yourspiritualtruth.com








Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!