Saturday, April 23, 2005

Acquisitiveness & Capitalism

I think some of the critics of capitalism, particularly those from religious traditions, misunderstand its nature because they mistakenly see an immoral acquisitiveness to be necessary for the success of capitalism. Michal Novak, in his book Catholic Social Thought and Liberal Institutions offers deeper understanding:
"This word [acquisitiveness] confuses two quite different motivations. Truly, the miser is acquisitive; he hoards, holds, wants to possess. The miser's behavior is quite different from that of the investor, the entrepreneur, and the inventor. . . . It is not having and grasping that characterize the capitalist spirit, but letting go and venturing, creating and rendering obsolete. . . . .What does define a capitalist order is, rather, the habit of abstaining from consumption and from miserly hoarding, in order to invest in creative ventures." (p. 9-10)

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