Description - Why Not Capitalism? by Jason Brennan

Most people believe capitalism is a compromise with selfish human nature. As Adam Smith put it, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Capitalism works better than socialism, according to this thinking, only because we are not kind and generous enough to make socialism work. If we were saints, we would be socialists.

In Why Not Capitalism?, Jason Brennan attacks this widely held belief, arguing that capitalism would remain the best system even if we were morally perfect. Even then, private property and free markets would be the best way to realize mutual cooperation, social justice, harmony, and prosperity. Socialists seek to capture the moral high ground by showing that ideal socialism is morally superior to realistic capitalism. But, Brennan responds, ideal capitalism is superior to ideal socialism, and so capitalism beats socialism at every level.

Clearly, engagingly, and at times provocatively written, Why Not Capitalism? will cause readers of all political persuasions to re-evaluate where they stand vis-à-vis economic priorities and systems—as they exist now and as they might be improved in the future.

In this expanded second edition, Brennan responds to his critics throughout the book and provides two new, final chapters. One argues against egalitarianism in a capitalist utopia because egalitarianism frequently misdiagnoses the problems (for example, the problem with poverty isn’t that poor people have less but that they don’t have enough). The other new chapter shows that we don’t need to be angels in an anarchic utopia, but merely decent people who are willing to adhere to four undemanding moral principles.

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