A brief exchange with a young friend of mine who has asked me for advice for the paper she's writing on social justice and human rights:
Ilse How would you tie in public goods to human rights and social justice?Excelsior!
Ron How are you using the term "public goods"?
Ilse Free market
Ron I would argue that capitalism, and its accompanying profit motive, are so widespread, so utterly dominant, in politics, in the culture, in the mass media, and on and on, that profit and money become a value unto themselves. Indeed, for many, the SUPREME value. Money, having it, and making even more, this is all a moral position.
Needless to say, such "morality" is in hopeless conflict with actual morality, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Did you know that the African slave trade, as an economic institution, started because English investors knew they could make a mint with sugar plantations in the Caribbean, but no self-respecting Englishman would work under such conditions? Thus, slavery, completely born of the profit motive. Racism, of the white supremacist variety, came only a bit later, in order to justify the obvious immorality at work with slavery.
So it wasn't racism that started slavery. It was money. And the racism was just the rhetorical excuse. The Bible really is right when it says that "the love of money is the root of all evil." And we have crafted a society where loving money is the greatest moral principle of all.
It's pretty disgusting. And not many Americans appear to understand.