Throughout History, Economists And Philosophers Have Theorized

1533 WordsFeb 13, 20177 Pages
Throughout history, economists and philosophers have theorized and implemented a multitude of different systems as an attempt to overcome scarcity. Most American children are taught from an early age to believe that capitalism corresponds to opportunity and democracy, and that it effectively battles scarcity. In this sense, many would argue that capitalism has been the most successful economic system in history. While this may be true, pure capitalism has fundamental flaws that lead to a variety of social issues. As society continues to evolve, it is imperative to improve our economic philosophy to defend against the elimination of competition and ensure equal opportunity for all. If the weaknesses of modern capitalism are addressed, it…show more content…
According to Smith, society imposes the belief that power and riches lead individuals to greatness. This creates a propensity towards self-interest and actually drives the economy forward (Smith 2017). The constant desire to get ahead is what leads to innovation and in turn, benefits society as a whole (Smith 2017). This “invisible hand,” created by selfishness, is what forms the basis for capitalism. It is clear that as societies change over time, so too does the economy. There is strong historical evidence suggesting that the weaknesses of capitalism must—and will—be addressed, just as with previous economic systems. Capitalism is defined by its lack of government intervention and private ownership of means of production. This provides plenty of room for economic freedom and growth, as well as creating an incentive to be as efficient as possible. Despite this, many people throughout history have pointed out capitalism’s flaws. John Stuart Mill, a utilitarian, outlines some of his objections to capitalism in “Principles of Political Economy.” In Mill’s time, the economy was dominated by the factory system, which notoriously exploited laborers for capitalist profit. Because of this, there were revolts against capitalism all over Europe (Mill 2017). One of the systems proposed by opponents of capitalism is communism. In the “Manifesto of the
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