Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Defending the Ethical Enterpriser in an Anti-Business Climate

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, “EpicTimes,” on “Defending the Ethical Enterpriser in an Anti-Business Climate.”

 I argue that while capitalism may “deliver the goods,” but it remains the target for moral condemnation and distain. Reasonable and rational defenses of entrepreneurial enterprise and the free market, however, rarely are made by actual enterprisers in the world of business.

I suggest that there are several reasons for this. First, taking a stand in defense of capitalism is considered “bad for business.” It is better to remain quiet or join the bandwagon of anti-market fads and fashions.

Second, too many businessmen do not know how to persuasively articulate a defense of their own actions in bringing to market more, better, new and less expensive goods in an arena of peaceful competition and voluntary exchange.

Third there are, unfortunately, too many entrepreneurial immoralists, that is, those who intentionally wish to use government to advance their own business interests, while maybe consciously knowing that they only can do so by plundering others through subsidies and anti-competitive regulations.

Fourth, there are those who may be labeled the entrepreneurial amoralists. That is, those who have so long lived in the interventionist-welfare state that they have lost (or never had) a notion of a distinction between earning income through the free transactions of the marketplace versus through the redistributive tools of political power.

Fifth, there are those who might be called the entrepreneurial ethical pragmatists. That is, those who may not wish to be involved in the lobbying intrigues for power and privilege, but find themselves forced to as a “defensive” tactic, since if they do not gain a privilege or a special benefit, someone else will to their market position detriment.

Nonetheless, the case needs to be made for the ideal of the morality of the free market system under which there would be favors and privileges for none and, instead, equal individual rights to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property for all.

If one wishes have a glimpse of the entrepreneurial hero in a world of anti-business and anti-capitalist attitudes and policies, a good place to look is in the world of black market enterprise in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Enveloped in political systems of government power, privilege, plunder and corruption, these entrepreneurs operate “underground” at great risk to their freedom and fortunes, to bring to market the vast number of everyday goods and services without which daily life would often be intolerable for multitudes of ordinary people.

Guided by the self-interested profit motive, they are the innovators, marketers, and risk-takers who undermine and weaken the control and power of those determined to plunder others for the benefit of those closest to government authority.



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