Friday, May 08, 2009

Resentment, Envy, Jealousy, And Self-doubt

As I was reading the comments to some blog posts around the net I came across one that suggested a read of Ludwig Von Mises' book The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality.

So I looked at the reviews and found an interesting one.

This book explains the basis for the American (and Western) fascination with non-capitalism despite an increasing standard of living that has come about precisely because of capitalism. Mises explains how little, if any, of such fascination is grounded in intellectual arguments. After all, it can hardly be admitted that non-capitalist systems offer the same type of prosperity and lifestyle that have been enjoyed by capitalist societies. Nevertheless, animosity towards capitalism abounds and some still look towards non-capitalist ideologies to save us.

But one must ask: Save us from what? An increasing standard of living? Enjoying commodities that had been reserved for the wealthy only a generation before? The mass availability of goods and services? The freedom to choose goods and indirectly control production? In posing such questions, Mises shows how absurd the anti-capitalist mentality is. But he does not leave the reader without an explanation for such sentiments. He shows how this continued fascination with anti-capitalism it rooted in emotionalism - particularly resentment, envy, jealousy, and self-doubt. And how those that despise and disparage entrepreneurs and "the wealthy" are doing so not for valid reasons, but because they feel cheated since they have less and believe they somehow have a right to more absent any effort on their part.

Yet, anti-capitalists never entertain the notion or possibility that effort and sweat may have gone into such achievement and prosperity among entrepreneurs and "the wealthy." Neither do they recognize the importance of such individuals in increasing the standard of living for all people. It is quite amazing how much "punch" this book packs considering it is less than 100 pages in length. I definitely recommend it to those who are dumbfounded by the continued existence of anti-capitalist sentiments within the most prosperous nation on earth. I also recommend the book to anti-capitalists who will either "see the light" (doubtful) or will become even more emotional in their screed against capitalism (emotionalism that can only damage their cause in the long run).
It seems there is a lot of that resentment, envy, jealousy, and self-doubt going around.

The big advantage we have at this time in facing and defeating anti-capitalists is that they have decided that another small slice of the salami is not enough. They want a huge and noticeable slice. There is a very good chance that they want so much that they will choke on it.

And as always, may I suggest a work also along these lines that is over 60 years old and more popular than ever. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

1 comment:

Neil said...

They are already choking.

"Foreign" (read "Chinese") purchases of Treasury debt is down, just at the same time that the Treasury is having to sell larger quantities of bonds. The Fed is having to buy bonds (read "print money") in order to keep the rates down. The reason they have not had to intervene more is because there is still a significant demand for "safe haven" investments.

But if people decide at any point that U.S. government debt is not a safe haven, then it's "katy bar the door."

Please note that I don't say this with any particular glee--this is going to be truly awful for every one of us.