Monday, August 3, 2009

Capitalism and Equality

Their are only two way to see things: The way you want them to be and the way they are. No matter how much we want it to be different, people operate in their own self interest. Morals and Rights are a result of pragmatism. Equality is a pragmatic concept.

If we go back into history we see far more gender inequality than we do today. Why? Because in the past physical prowess equaled economic prowess. The economies of the past were either hunter gatherer or agrarian based. Both of these rewarded brawn more than brain power. Because men are typically bigger and stronger than women (it's genetics, don't shoot the messenger) they were more valuable in economic terms than women. This leads to a society which treats women as inferior. As societies move away from economies based on brute strength to those based on knowledge, the inherent economic advantage men have deteriorates. This leads to societies that treat women as equals. It is not because people are better in any absolute moral sense, but from pragmatic self interest.

If you want to promote the cause of equality, it is not enough to decry inequality. You must accept the causes of inequality and change the structures that support it. To look at prejudiced man as simply an immoral being is too simplistic. That immoral man cannot be both the cause and the solution. That man is an actor playing his part in an environment. He will not change unless the environment changes. We need to change the environment to promote his good and mitigate his evil.


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