Re: [OPE-L] Nobelist: Capitalism is justified

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Oct 16 2006 - 23:07:09 EDT

Don't miss this paragraph:

Yet the tone here is wrong. As Kant also said, persons are not to be made
instruments for the gain of others. Suppose the wage of the lowest- paid
workers was foreseen to be reduced over the entire future by innovations
conceived by entrepreneurs. Are those whose dream is to find personal
development through a career as an entrepreneur not to be permitted to
pursue their dream? To respond, we have to go outside Rawls's classical
model, in which work is all about money. In an economy in which
entrepreneurs are forbidden to pursue their self-realization, they have
the bottom scores in self-realization--no matter if they take paying jobs
instead--and that counts whether or not they were born the "least
advantaged." So even if their activities did come at the expense of the
lowest-paid workers, Rawlsian justice in this extended sense requires that
entrepreneurs be accorded enough opportunity to raise their
self-realization score up to the level of the lowest-paid workers--and
higher, of course, if workers are not damaged by support for
entrepreneurship. In this case, too, then, the introduction of
entrepreneurial dynamism serves to raise Rawls's bottom scores.
Entrepreneurial capitalism justified in terms of the subjective magnitude
of self realization!  It's hard to see how the self realization and the
happiness and the civic and cultural participation of the least advantaged
are not set back by the rising wealth inequalities of entrepreneurial
capitalism in a so called winner take all society. I guess we'll need to
be persuaded that the least advantaged don't want much in terms of their
own self realization to believe that they are not damaged by being left so
far behind. Perhaps their present time preference is too strong to invest
much in the project of self realization, so the little self realization
they have is all they wanted in the first place???


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