Apr 062009
 
Authors: Marlize van Romburgh Mustang Daily Cal Poly

(UWIRE) — In an era that is beginning to define itself as so decidedly anti-business, there’s more of a need than ever to re-examine the very principles of the economic system in which we live.

Headlines, blogs and talk shows abound with the notion that people unlike ourselves — “they” — are the root of our current financial conundrum.

The urge to rail against a free market system is hardly a new concept. Hating on the very people who turn the wheels of capitalism — the bankers and lenders, the entrepreneurs and industrialists — was in vogue at various other times in history as well.

Just as the notion that the world was flat was generally accepted then, so was the foolish notion that profit-seeking and “greed” corrupted society. Plato criticized money lenders in “The Republic.” Jesus expelled moneychangers and livestock traders out of the temple in Jerusalem, and Solomon warned in the Proverbs that wicked people are “greedy for gain.” The very lowest circles of Dante’s Inferno were reserved for usurers and alchemists.

It wasn’t until 1776 that father of modern economics Adam Smith and his “The Wealth of Nations” came along that an economic principle freeing profit-seekers from guilt and societal scrutiny existed. In other words, capitalism was born.

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