Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is There an Honest Man (or Woman) to Be Found? How Cheating Damages Capitalism

Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute and Real Clear publishing (home of Real Clear Politics and Real Clear Markets) tells the story of New York Times Edmund Andrews as an illustration of the increased acceptably of cheating and how a culture of cheating neccessarily. Andrews tried several techniques of dubious moral fiber to acquire a house in the middle of this decade. but Malanga points that lender American Home Mortgage was equally at fault for enabling and even encouraging Andrews' behavior. Malanga also contrasted that America's willingness to turn a blind eye to cheating to sociologist Max Weber's experiences 105 years ago when fraud was considered not only ethically wrong but a failure to live up to one's duty.

I still believe that capitalism is the best economic system that imperfect humanity is capable of and that even government regulation of capitalism must be viewed carefully to compare costs and benefits (an example of where such benefits exceed costs would be reasonable "MPG" standards for automobiles). Having said that, capitalism has little or no moral underpinning in and of itself; the same capitalistic system which has created great choices for consumers at grocery stores is also capable in a morally unsettled environment of rewarding child pornography. Has our choice to extract God from much of public discourse come home to roost? You make the call.


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