Wednesday, January 05, 2005

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

This is the fruit of arrogance and greed--Capitalism as it is practiced today. Capitalism could have different fruit if it was rooted in a different baseline philosphy than this: that greed is good and not only good but the primary Good that can and would generate goodness for all if it was only given free reign. But this runs counter to every single spiritual tradition and wisdom tradition which ever thrived on this earth. How many more times must the human race relearn the lesson that greed is an invidious soul-sucking compulsion that bears only bitter or rotten fruit. It destroys both body and soul of both perpetrator and victim even when it seems to provide a surface prosperity to its practitioners.

Capitalism could be a force for Good and bear sweet fruit imbued with the vitality of life if onlly its practioners would change their definition of success to include the comprehensive wellbeing of the community (and today that means the global community) and not just the right of a few to a short term profit. A profit whose very calculation is made with skewed facts often refusing to take into account the true costs of production and other times inflating to disgraceful heights the monetary worth of any one person's contribution to the endeavor. i.e. CEO compensation packages worth 500-1000% of the pay and benefits packages of the lowsest paid contributor of value added. And yet the illusion of profit provides its owner with the resources to generate more profit on his own behalf. Even when that profit was calculated by leaving out the costs of damage to the environment, depletion of resources, shifting costs of production to the taxpayer (thruough the variety of incentives offered to lure companies to a locality or keep them there and other corporate welfare practices, and keeping the pay of some laborors so low that the community has to cover some of their living expenses) and then claiming ownership of the resultant 'profit'. Completely forgetting that it took a very large community indeed to make that 'profit' possible.

Capitalism as the concept of pooling money and resources in order to finance things that one person's resources could not is not an evil thing in itself. But when we see the evidence of the bitter fruit of millions of children dying needlessly every year because of the blowback of capitalism as it is practiced today, we should be convicted of the imbalance between our ideals and the reality and we should each be asking ourselves how we are contributing to the proliferation of that bitter fruit.

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