Saturday, April 20, 2013

Muller Capitalism (1)

Jerry Z Muller has published an important article called Capitalism and Equality: What the Right and Left get Wrong in Foreign Affairs (March/April 2013). Jerry Z. Muller is currently a Professor of History at the Catholic University of America. His message parallels that of Guy Standing, but whereas Standing leans towards socialism, Muller is a conservative. He is the editor of a book called Conservatism.

Muller is concerned about the link between capitalism and equality, and is worried that conservatives just ignore the problem.

Inequality is indeed increasing almost everywhere in the postindustrial capitalist world. But despite what many on the left think, this is not the result of politics, nor is politics likely to reverse it, for the problem is more deeply rooted and intractable than generally recognized. Inequality is an inevitable product of capitalist activity, and expanding equality of opportunity only increases it -- because some individuals and communities are simply better able than others to exploit the opportunities for development and advancement that capitalism affords.

Despite what many on the right think, however, this is a problem for everybody, not just those who are doing poorly or those who are ideologically committed to egalitarianism -- because if left unaddressed, rising inequality and economic insecurity can erode social order and generate a populist backlash against the capitalist system at large.

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