“Capitalism cannot coexist with the morality of altruism.”
That was a statement1 made by Ayn Rand in 1967 on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (at 22:12 minutes).
Considering her well-documented admiration of unregulated capitalism and her disdain of altruism, she meant it as a commendation of capitalism. But when we look at the “ways and means” of capitalism over the past century, perhaps the truth about capitalism is the reverse of what she intended. That is not to say that capitalism has been a total failure. Many significant innovations have come out of the spirit of competition, though it is this writer’s contention that the spirit of cooperation2 would have resulted in every benefit we now enjoy, (plus untold others that competition crushed), while at the same time avoiding numerous capital sins.
Perhaps (ironically), the greatest use of capitalism has been its amazing ability to test every soul’s altruism and their gradation of maturity beyond the terrible two’s of “Me & Mine.”
Does it not seem equally amazing and ironic that so many die-hard capitalists cling to the “Me-Mine” philosophy that sprang full-fledged into the mind of Ayn Rand when she was but 2½ years old3?
In retrospect, are these die-hard capitalists but déjà vu age 2? An age group that:4
▪ may play with other children for a short time, but aren’t yet capable of true sharing
▪ can be easily frustrated
▪ can show feelings of jealousy
▪ can be extremely demanding and persistent
▪ is very possessive – offers toys to other children but then wants them back
▪ can find it hard to wait
▪ may have frequent temper tantrums
▪ can have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy
▪ enjoys make-believe play
▪ can’t understand reason or control their impulses
▪ can show aggressive behavior and the intent to hurt others
▪ can be destructive to objects around him when frustrated and angry.
If Ayn is right that “Capitalism cannot coexist with the morality of altruism” (which I suggest she probably is considering the evidence), then why are we so surprised at the state of our economics? Isn’t it a case of cause and effect; truth and consequence?
If seeing, we would but see; and hearing, we would but hear the truth and consequence of capitalism!
2. The spirit of cooperation is not communism. Communism is the spirit of coercion and one of the extremes of economic theories. When that continuum of economic theory is bent into a circle, the extremes share more than we care to admit.
3. See the reference source for her words at http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2012/11/betraeus.html
4. Sources for age traits: http://www.nncc.org/Child.Dev/ages.stages.2y.html http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Child_development_(6)_two_to_three_years There are many others.