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I’m continuing my reporting on the current installment of Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.

Yesterday Mr. George showed us how the profit motive stands more or less in constant conflict with the Good.

Today he examines the way in which this conflict can erode personal morality.

If you will join me over the orange swirling flags, we will go over his argument.

Mr. George begins by noting that thinking like a profiteer, if you do it long enough, can become a habit. And habits are difficult or impossible to resist, except by those with an indomitable will.

But how many people fit that description? Do you have a character that strong? Isn’t there some desire or craving or weakness that you will give in to under most circumstances? Or are you a person of iron willpower who will never succumb to temptation?
Mr. George then suggests that a candid response to that question must, in all probability, be negative:
If you are being really honest, you must confess that you are not one of the very few who have passed beyond all temptation, someone who is utterly impervious to being cajoled by flattery, seduced by sex or money, corrupted by the notion that you can do something immoral without being caught.
He goes on to say that most people must make the same confession, and that we must conclude that the profit motive will erode the moral sense of most people.
[N]early everyone is like you. So you can be sure that given the pressures of living in the world of business, the profit motive will begin to eat at most people’s sense of morality. If you can resist, it more power to you. But it would foolish to expect that of most people. And it would be far safer for you to expect them to submit to the temptation rather than resist it.
You can read the whole post here.

Tomorrow, Mr. George takes on a slightly different topic: he shows us how the Myth of Capitalism gives us a very twisted image of the world, because of its twisted notions of human behavior.

I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Keepin' up with the Joneses! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter, a2nite, carver

    We've been brainwashed into submission.  We want a bigger, better, faster, etc., than our neighbor.  We sell our soul to be first on the block to have, have, have.  The constant distraction of consumerism has had the desired effect.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:52:57 AM PST

    •  One can de-program self, many due to Mother (0+ / 0-)

      Nature disasters, bankruptcies, health crisis learn that Less is More fairly quickly and eventually feel freer with Less Stuff.

      "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

      "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

      by roseeriter on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:49:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed, roseeriter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It is unfortunate, however, that it takes such catastrophic events to awaken people to this truth.

        being mindful and keepin' it real

        by Raggedy Ann on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:59:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The kick in the butt, slap on head only works for (0+ / 0-)

          slap-stick comedians..

          "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

          "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

          by roseeriter on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:28:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  it doesn't TAKE a catastrophe to shake our framing (0+ / 0-)

's that most people, as Churchill observed, will pick themselves up and carry on as if it had not happened (and usually, just as quickly as possible)...which makes any voluntary effort seem...peculiar.

          Matters of life and death and danger trip away the crap from what's actually important to us, and "clarifys the mind wonderfully".  Pre-Christian cultures had ways of handling this on a more deliberate, intentional basis, and their societies benefitted from it.  Since, it's all been hidden behind terror, obedience, 'sin', 'evil', resulting in broken people, wretched relationships, insane families, creepy towns, unfriendly cities, mad cultures, and marching horror.

           Better days WILL happen by accident, eventually...but that leaves a lot of time for a lot more pain.  Better to set an intention and keep to it with eyes open, than to shut one's eyes, hold on tight and hope against the fear.

          But then I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody (outside of a small circle of friends...)

          "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney
          "[S]omeone needs to tell Boehner that he isn't King" - lawstudent922

          by chmood on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:45:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Very Good Post (0+ / 0-)

    Gosh, as a former biz owner of S-Corps, C-Corp, as a former corporate employee, and my previous plethora of writings paralleling your diary.... there's just too much to say.
    So ... I won't

    and frankly, it was a good reminder of this topic.

    People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

    by downtownLALife on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:03:10 AM PST

  •  It's the Correct Way for People In Such Positions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, theboz, carver

    to think because 30 years ago we eliminated compressive taxation.

    Before that, beyond a few million a year, most of additional gains went to the tax collector, so extreme compensation wasn't sought or offered, and so there was no point to hyper profitability. There was then more money for suppliers, labor, and long term safe business growth.

    The problem isn't with personal morality, which hasn't changed. It's with our governing morality which we changed radically to foster capture of society by the very rich.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:49:49 AM PST

    •  Personal morality has changed. (0+ / 0-)

      At the time I started my career 40+ years ago, the company I worked for took pride in paying it's workers a living wage and providing generous benefits.  It took pride that even their workers in factory, clerical, and other lower level jobs could make enough to support their families and send their kids to college.

      That is not longer the case.  Over the years they have felt the pressure from Wall Street and the peer pressure from the cartel of CEOs to deliver an unending growth in profit and ever more compensation for executives and one of the ways they have done that is to outsource and offshore jobs and cut wages and benefits for lower level workers.

      The morality of the people running the company changed.  There may be reasons why it changed, but it did change.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:21:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I was consulting I saw this (0+ / 0-)

    Basically, I began thinking of time as money.  As a result of making a great hourly wage, I stopped doing things that would have not been worth my hourly wage.  For example, if paying someone to cut my grass was 25% of what I made in an hour, why would I cut it myself?  The same mentality would go to purchases.  How many hours would I need to work to pay for this new tv?  The problem is that money becomes your default standard of value.  How long until it becomes a question of how long would it take to make the money to visit your family?  Would it be worth it financially to contribute to your dad's cancer treatment?  I never got to that point, but it seems like some do.

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