Is Capitalism Immoral? An Interview with Father Robert Sirico
Indeed, one's view of human freedom and virtue can affect how one views a "moral case for a free economy" and also the morality of governance.
People who are virtuous will see the market as a means, not an end. Their moral formation will impact their economic choices and the institutions (whether charitable, cultural or economic) they build. They will also understand the wisdom of Alexis de Tocqueville, who said: "Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.... How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed?"
If we can achieve higher levels of morality, government can be easily limited. The paradox is that if we cannot achieve a higher level of moral culture, this is all the more reason to limit the government, because those who govern are not immaculately conceived.
Yet, some who govern act as if they are "immaculately conceived." They may even have a stronger propensity to advocate for a kind of "government-commanded" capitalism.
This kind of "capitalism" is the most egregious because it enables the most politically powerful and politically well-connected to become the most economically powerful and to escape the disciplines of free competition.
Throughout American and European history, we have seen plenty of what is really "managerial capitalism" and "crony capitalism," witnessed their distorting effects upon markets, and how they cause people to misunderstand the true nature of truly free markets.
Joseph E. Gorra is the Managing Editor of Philosophia Christi, the peer-reviewed journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He has also interviewed other philosophers, theologians and other theorists on virtue, economics and the free society for EPSOCIETY.org. At Patheos.com, he recently interviewed Stanford anthropologist, Tanya Luhrmann, about her research regarding evangelical religious experiences. Twitter: @GorraResearch.
You can learn more about Fr. Sirico and the work of the Acton Institute, including their various publishing efforts, educational programs and online resources, by visiting www.acton.org.