Monday, April 30, 2007

Capitalism, the Human Person, and America (Part II in a Series)
In order to appropriate an answer to this question, we first must ask the opposite, “Precisely what aren’t acceptable systems for work development?” Since the main lens through which we are viewing this problem is that of individual freedom and self-development, I would say that the most appropriate three categories of non-acceptable work systems would be: (1) Socialistic, (2) Totalitarian, and (3) Egalitarian.

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I would find any sort of socialistic schema to be unacceptable for the human person. However, in this age in which socialism is given such saccharine treatment, it would do us well to take a look at its necessary unacceptability. The fundamental presupposition of Socialism is that the individual (to varied degrees) cannot be trusted with his or her self-development without the control of the society. The only way for “social justice” to be enacted is by the socialization of labor and capital, thus making them common goods held by the society at large. In doing thus, the individual is robbed of liberty to choose and therefore becomes merely a cog in the large machine of the given society. For this reason, socialistic systems of corporate governance are insufficient for proper human development.

I don’t think it takes much for someone to admit that a totalitarian regime lacks the elements necessary for dignified work. Since totalitarian systems do not allow the latitude for viewpoints separate from those in power, the individual is silenced in an unacceptable way. Once again, there is little chance for self-expression and self-development in such a system which does not permit differing choices to be made by the worker. Therefore, no matter how soundly structured and efficient, the totalitarian regime remains at best a materialistic solution for the corporate world which ignores the primacy of the spiritual capacities of man.

We come at last to egalitarian systems, a subject which endeared by so many people who perhaps have bigger hearts than I do. I hold nearly equal contempt for socialistic and egalitarian systems, although for different reasons. The fundamental assertion of egalitarianism is that we are all equal in all ways. This assertion plays well to our ears because it is a distorted truth at best, for we are all equal in opportunity and dignity. The individual person, no matter what he or she shares with the human species in general, is also a person of grand contrast and difference in strengths and weaknesses. Egalitarian systems fail to address these differences and therefore level off all of humanity into a single category. This is a double-edged sword of unacceptability. First of all, it remains to be seen who decides what this single category of acceptability is and how low its expectations ultimately are. Worse yet is the aforementioned fact that the assertion that all of us are equally special is tantamount to declaring that none of our free choices are special and extra-ordinary and are therefore unnecessary.

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