For the last week of December, we’re re-posting some of our favorite posts from 2011.
In this 26-minute talk, philosopher Gerald Allan Cohen offers a wonderfully eloquent critique of capitalism. His critique revolves around common defenses. He suggests that even the existence of people who have earned their riches legitimately and through their own wit and work do not justify a system of private property. He contests the idea that we are all better off under capitalism compared to other economic systems, suggesting that capitalism retards the human potential of workers nefariously and by design. And he disagrees with the claim that economic inequality is inevitable. Economic inequality, he contends, will someday be seen as an injustice. Capitalism was an important stage, he concludes, and one that we need to outgrow.
I recommend that everyone take a listen, though I’ll admit it starts off kind of goofy:
Thanks to Chris Bertam at Crooked Timber for putting these videos up.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.