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Capitalism @ Christmas: A Market Failure of Family Values


Imagine a proud young graduate of one of our leading business schools being asked to help clear the table after her family's Christmas meal. "Sure," she beams, "that will be four dollars, please."

Any capitalists who support the young graduate's behavior care to justify this example of market failure?

Plato and Aristotle believed markets polarized "...the rich versus middle and poor, breeding envy and thereby undermining the social cohesion that sustains community."

Not to mention Family:

"Markets work to bid up the prices of scarce goods and services. Then only those with enough money can afford them. Polarizing gentrification and unequal public schools result from scarce land in preferred neighborhoods going to the wealthiest. Markets distribute much of the best output to the richest. Is that distribution consistent with community or 'family values'"?


2. The Long Fight to Free Economies from Feudalism’s Rentier Legacy

"'If you do not own them, they will in time own you. They will destroy your politics [and] corrupt your institutions. — Cleveland mayor Tom Johnson (1901-09) speaking of power utilities Classical economics was part of a reform process to bring Europe out of the feudal era into the industrial age.'

"This required overcoming the power of the landed aristocracy, bankers and monopolies to levy charges that were unfair because they did not reflect actual labor or enterprise. Such revenue was deemed 'unearned.'

"The original fight for free markets meant freeing them from exploitation by rent extractors: owners of land, natural resources, monopoly rights and money fortunes that provided income without corresponding work – and usually without tax liability"