Friday night, I watched the Michal Moore film, Capitalism: A Love Story. In it, he describes some of the excesses of modern capitalism, and asks some priests what they think of it. They call capitalism ‘evil.’
Well, thank you! I’m a capitalist, and I’m proud of it! I run a small business; I earn a good living at it (not ‘riches,’ but it keeps food on the table, a roof over our heads, and power at the socket); I have enough demand for my services that I’m contemplating the next step: hiring others to help me accomplish more and better things. Am I evil, too?
Probably not. Moore talks about his upbringing in Michigan, as the son of an auto worker. Capitalism put food on his table as a kid; as a filmmaker, he is one of the obvious beneficiaries of the free market.
But something happened. Once, capitalism supported vast industries, employing millions of people, and getting useful work done. Now, capitalism has become an end in itself, consuming everything it touches and not leaving so much as fertilizer behind.
About 20 years ago, I came across a book about ‘the coming economic crisis.’ It posited a world in which the dollar would implode from deficit spending, driven by ‘the Acquisitors,’ who would suck all the money out of the economy and leave nothing for the rest of us. At the time, it seemed a little silly: after all, the economy was so vast, how could a small group of rich people simply take it all over?
But it actually seems to be happening….