Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Being a Capitalist Fundamentally

The American capitalist system grew out of democracy based on the fundamental principles of freedom. There is within it a profound belief in the free market which corrects itself by choice, that is the customer's right to choose what is desired, balancing the system through a kind of basic freedom. The core beauty of the system reminds me of Scripture which refers to the "perfect law of liberty."

But with freedom comes responsibility that of the corporation and the customer. The "perfect law of liberty" is the law of love which encompasses "do unto to others as you would have them do unto you." This is the fulfillment of the law, "for the law is fulfilled in one word, even this:'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Love is discipline, creative, tough, responsible, persistent, long-suffering, strong, accountable, passionate, innovative, thoughtful, compelling, and decent.

"If you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another."

Capitalism was born of freedom. But we have a responsibility to act justly. If not, we will find ourselves yet again in a financial crisis with even greater consequences. The whole world now groans and tithers on the brink of financial disaster. We must do better or things will get increasingly worse.

Fundamentally we, capitalists and all others, in fact, must begin with the "perfect law of liberty" summed up in one word: love.

4 comments:

- A - C - said...

The "perfect law of liberty" is the law of love .
now that's talking!
You should be counseling those of your fellow americans dwelling somewhere down Wall st.
Sustainable development is possible through capitalism provided , as you say, we act justly.

More and more this Judith Ellis is touching the core of our
society, conscience and existence. Lucky be the one who shares the day with her... when will we see "Being J. Ellis"?

love
A.

judith ellis said...

Ah, AC, you are very kind. Thank you for your vote of confidence, really.

Much love to you, my friend. As you know, I love your blog, The Dusty Lens.

The photos of late are remarkable. Thanks, AC. You are a most talented photographer and poet, not to mention that you are a scientist.

You are wonderful!

wmmbb said...

What do I know? But I suspect that money is the precondition for capitalism, and consequently that the love of money is a motive force of capitalism.

The more ignoble European history was distorted by the prohibition on usury, much as American capitalism was distorted by the prohibition of alcohol, and more recently on other hallucinogens, other than constant advertising.

I am not knocking you Judith. I just wish what you say was true, and perhaps it is up to us to make it true. Otherwise what AC said.

judith ellis said...

Wmmbb - Thanks for your comment. You are always, thoughtful, indeed. I appreciate you. Yes, Scripture does say that "the love of money is the root of all evil." (I have written of this here and on the Huffington Post.) But it is not money that is the root of all evil but the love of it which replaces it with a many things. The thing becomes the substitute of love. The object or action becomes essential and not people; people are often objectified. There are a great many things that we replace love with. Many of us replace love with sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. These things replace love and become destructive. Money in and of itself is not an evil. It is the love of it.

But the necessity of freedom stills remains and that of evolution too. We are all evolving. The only thing that you can't love too much of is love itself. But even love has restraints. Love bears responsibility. Anytime you deal with people in any system there will always be abuses because we are dealing with imperfect people with a great many propensities. How many times have you had to ask for forgiveness? The American system based on freedom is an awesome one. But freedom without restraint causes massive consumption without responsibility.

The American capitalist system, as with all systems, is made of people and we are all imperfect, often going too far in one direction of the other. This directly goes to your comment about “the more ignoble European history,” which I must admit to laughing out loud, considering the history of Europeans across the planet. They were a most brutal bunch, as the history of America, Africa, and Australia all bear witness to--nothing noble there. But we all have been there and all can yet be. This is not my particular point. LOVE IS. The beauty in the law of love is the necessity for self regulation. Scripture makes it clear: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "Love you neighbor as yourself." But within these are the necessity of the freedom to act and choose, hallucinogens or not, and the very real reality that we are all evolving; this includes systems.

What has been said can be true. It's up to us. We are the system; the system is us.