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Greed is good

December 10, 2010

Although this isn’t the exact line of one of Michael Douglas’ most famous characters (the actual line being “greed-for a lack of the better word- is good”), the saying has stayed in society ever since.  The saying has created a negative connotation on the ideas of capitalism; it has become innate for politicians and political news networks to talk about greed and its negative influences on society.  The word has become synonymous with bankers, who are usually described as pigs, or with others seeking their own self-interest, but is it correct? Has the free market aspect of society corrupted society?


Similarly Marx and Engels describe a world that is being exploited by free market capitalism. According to Marx and Engels:


Free Trade is “exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation” (800)


Furthermore the “horrors” of capitalism have also:


“It has made barbarian and semi barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois”(801)


Has free trade caused more harm than good? Has it made poorer countries dependent on the wealthier countries?


If we look at just India and China alone, both nations have over a billion people and both have recently, and in particular China, opened themselves up to free trade. Has India and China suffered from this and would India and China be better off without free trade?


China appears to be becoming more free market every year, its GDP, the value of all final goods and services produced in an economy within a given year, is increasing at a far greater rate than many other countries and by all measurements its people are becoming wealthier, even if some of the wealth is diverted to the still communist state in power. But perhaps the greatest comparison one can make with China is with Hong Kong listed as the most free market nation on earth. Not long ago Hong Kong was as desperate as many other currently developing nations, but this small state was divided from China. There were armed guards stopping people leaving one and going to the other, but surprisingly it was not armed guards stopping people from Hong Kong going to China but the reverse. So many people were willing to leave a nation they had lived in their whole lives with nothing more than the things they can carry in order to escape the starvation people experienced in China. But if one were to examine the people leaving China today, it is unlikely to be because of the economic restraints than from the lack of freedom of speech to be their reasons.







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