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CAPITALISM AND GREED: Earth satisfies every man’s need but not greed

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” 

Socrates

That is what our elders teach us, but capitalism destroys all that values and belief system and makes life miserable by engaging our minds in excess competition for getting higher standards of living. But what really is higher standard of living just having luxurious car, more and more homes, fully furnished houses, latest fashion clothing etc. or is it give us pleasure? No, they do not even satisfy us rather they increase your greed to attain more and more material goods and that is how they increase demand. The Schumpeter’s innovator is the same guy who is presenting any creative idea to attract demand and increase human greed to attain profits whether this is needed or not by that man. And that is currently marketing do to create an illusion of choice. Adam smith presents self-interest in a very elaborative way; He ascribed it as the core principle behind our actions in his renowned book, The Wealth of Nation;

“It is not from the benevolence (kindness) of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

He in his book explained the role of this self-interest in making people decent and he envisaged the role it will play in putting more people out of poverty. He assigned self-interest with sympathy which is much debatable and he does not take into account the exploitation of the powerful elite into the common man.

The Market mechanism is another virtue of capitalist society but deep investigation of it shows that it kills morality. Although markets are the source of better price mechanism provided that there is no speculative activity. But since the markets are running with huge volumes and have exposed to ever increasing volatilities due to the greed we have to earn more and more money and to see our short-term interests. This all is discussed by many economists as a problem they called “Financial economy”.  Khalid Hussaini highlighted this inherent characteristic of money in his best seller novel “The Kite Runner” as:

“That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow. The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife's slain body in his arms.” 

The cost of greed on capitalist economy can be seen through marketing expenditures. Only in USA, Companies spent $140.2 billion in 2013. If this money is not spent on advertising and rather diverted to public directly, the price of the goods will decline. And not only this, the major marketing expenditure was done by Procter & Gamble, General Motors, AT&T and Pfizer whose products are the parts and parcel of our modern life. In Pakistan, Since, many FMCG companies are not listed so their information is not public, while, Nestle Company which is listed spends PKR 5.529 billion; this cost was higher than the salaries expenditure. Just suppose if this money was used in reducing price of the goods see how much it will benefit to the society however on the contrary, it creates the real deadweight loss, which economists do not consider. And this is what US President Roosevelt once realized:

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.” 

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