Ethical Realism

May 1, 2011

Considerations For & Against Capitalism

Filed under: ethics,philosophy — JW Gray @ 4:45 am
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Is capitalism a good idea? If so, is there any way to improve our capitalistic system? These are the sorts of questions that motivate us to face the challenges to capitalism. Many people believe that our capitalistic system has problems that need to be solved. Either they are wrong, or we should start looking for solutions. I will discuss the nature of capitalism, moral justifications of capitalism, challenges to capitalism, and new problems capitalism is facing. My discussion is based on chapter four of Business Ethics (Third Edition, 1999) by William Shaw.

What is capitalism?

Capitalism is a type of economic system that emphasizes the importance private property including at least some private ownership of the “means of production” (resources and machines). There is no precise definition of capitalism, but a libertarian laissez-faire system (a free market with no government regulation, taxation, or tax-funded public services) is a clear-cut extreme sort of capitalism at one end of the spectrum. The United States has one of the most capitalistic systems insofar as it has relatively little government intervention and regulation. The opposite extreme of laissez-faire is an extreme form of communism where none of the means of production are privately owned (and are instead shared by communities). Most governments are somewhere in the middle of having an extreme form of capitalism and communism because almost all governments have a somewhat free market with some taxation, regulation, and tax-funded public services (such as public education).

There are many key features of capitalism, such as the following:

  1. Companies – Capitalism has companies, business organizations “that exist separately from the people associated with them” (129). The capitalism of the United States is now greatly influenced by powerful companies, corporations, that can fight for their own interests though lobbying, public relations, and political donations.
  2. The profit motive – Capitalists assume that people will be motivated to make a profit—more money than is necessary to run a business—in part because it really is possible for people to do so. The desire to attain riches might have always existed, but attaining profit is now one of the main goals (if not the central goal) in many people’s lives (ibid.). One of the assumptions of capitalism is that being productive will lead to profit, so the profit motive will also motivate people to be productive.
  3. Competition – Capitalism expects and encourages competition because of the assumption that people will have better products and services at a lower cost due to competition (ibid.). Without competition one business can dominate civilization by selling a product everyone needs (such as food) and inflate prices to make more profit. It is assumed that competition will eliminate inflated prices and shoddy products because you can just buy from the company that gives you the best deal. A company with artificially high prices will suffer the consequences. Similarly, a company that tries to exploit their workers can lose employees who find better jobs elsewhere (130).
  4. Private property – Private property is a bundle of rights and rules that assure us that we can own objects (such as food) and abstract entities (such as companies) (ibid.). If you own something, then you have a great deal of control over it, you can give it to someone else, and others can’t take it from you without permission. Capitalism not only requires that many people have private property, but it requires that a great deal of the means of productions are privately owned; such as farmland, factories, and crude oil. Some private property, including the means of production, is capital—investments used to make more money (131).

Moral justifications for capitalism

To decide if capitalism is a morally justified economic system, we would have to compare and contrast capitalism with every other kind of economic system. That is a huge undertaking, but we can certainly consider possible benefits capitalism has over other systems. These are arguments for capitalism that don’t sufficiently prove that capitalism is morally justified once and for all, but they are considerations in favor of capitalism. I will discuss two such arguments: (1) The natural right to property and (2) the invisible hand.

The natural right to property.

John Locke argued that people are entitled to the fruits of their labor. “When individuals mix their labor with the natural world, they are entitled to the results” (121). All things equal, it would certainly seem immoral for someone to seize all your crops after you worked all year to create them. Property rights can keep that from happening, and Nozick’s theory of justice supports our natural right to property.

However, many object to the idea of having any natural rights. Perhaps there is an ideal set of rights that we can discover once we know which theory of justice is correct, but we can’t just assume that property rights as understood by capitalists is that ideal. Consider that everyone agrees that there are limits to property rights. We can’t just claim to own anything unclaimed by others just by calling dibs, and we can’t own other human beings. It might be unethical to own an unfair share of the earth’s resources; or to own intelligent animals, such as great apes, dolphins, or elephants.

Even if every philosopher agrees that some property rights are part of the ideal system of justice, they won’t all agree in the specifics to having property rights. For example, Karl Marx argued that the means of production should not be owned as private property because it would give the owners an unfair amount of power. Those who own the means of production could end up being the rulers who oppress everyone else.

The invisible hand.

Adam Smith, one of the founders of capitalism, argued that a free market could be guided by an “invisible hand” in the sense that property rights, a profit motive, a free market, and competition can lead to a productive and abundant society; even if the government doesn’t intervene or regulate business—as long as people are rational and informed (133). This is one way that selfishness in the form of the profit motive can end up being beneficial to everyone in a society.

The “invisible hand” is caused by the “law of supply and demand.” If there is a demand for a product or service, people will compete to provide it, and we will buy from the person giving the best deal (133-134). The law of supply and demand can prevent price gouging (inflated prices), shoddy work, and perhaps even inadequate worker compensation (134). Businesses can hire the best workers, fire inefficient workers, and compete to hire the best workers through high compensation.

If the invisible hand argument succeeds, then we will have a good reason to endorse capitalism on utilitarian grounds. However, it’s not obvious that the invisible hand functions as well as we would like, even though it’s plausible that it does function to some extent. Competition and free markets might not always provide a fair, just, productive, or prosperous system. Even Adam Smith seemed to agree that at least some government regulation is a good idea. He didn’t seem to think the invisible hand to be infallible. Of course, capitalism doesn’t require a completely free market.

Challenges to capitalism

Challenges to capitalism don’t prove that capitalism is immoral; they are merely considerations for improvement and can be part of a greater discussion about the overall moral justification of capitalism. I will discuss four challenges to capitalism:

Capitalism leads to severe economic inequality.

There is a great deal of income inequality in our capitalistic system. “The disparity in personal incomes is enormous; a tiny minority of the population owns the vast majority of the country’s productive assets; and in the final years of the twentieth century, our society continues to be marred by poverty and homelessness” (134). Inequality has not only lead to poverty, but also oppression, inadequate education, and unequal opportunities. A child born in a wealthy family will probably have better opportunities, a better education, and better medical insurance than a child born into poverty.

Some defend capitalism from this objection in the following ways:

  1. The free market doesn’t cause poverty; it’s caused by government interference. However, “neither theoretical economics nor the study of history supports this reply” (135). Most economists and social theorists agree that redistribution of wealth through taxation and tax-funded public services have reduced poverty and perhaps even economic inequality (ibid.).
  2. Poverty and extreme income inequality can be reduced (or eliminated) in capitalistic systems through political action. For example, we can reduce poverty through taxation and public services (i.e. redistribution of wealth).
  3. Even if capitalism leads to poverty, the benefits of capitalism could outweigh the harms (ibid.).

Capitalism is based on a false conception of human nature.

First, capitalism depends on a conception of people as well-informed rational profit seekers who know how to make decisions to benefit themselves. However, we can’t always be well informed. Many of the products and services we pay for require a high level of expertise and specialization that we are unable to judge appropriately (135). We don’t have the time or resources to be as “well informed” and rational as the capitalistic system demands. Additionally, to make maximally rational and well-informed economic decisions requires us to eliminate our confirmation bias and fallacious forms of reasoning through scientific experimentation and peer review. We don’t always have the resources to have scientific experiments to determine which decisions are best, so we have little choice but to rely on reviews and testimonials (anecdotal evidence) and we will inevitably have a great deal of confirmation bias.

Second, capitalism can effect our personality and values by encouraging us to be “well-informed rational profit seekers,” but that’s a bad thing. In particular, capitalism encourages people to have the wrong priorities insofar as it makes us “materialistic” and greedy (obsess over attaining money and possessions), and insofar as it makes us selfish (and marginalize the importance of other people) (136).

Three problems with competition.

First, capitalism requires there to be competition, but it’s possible and desirable for self-interested profit seekers to eliminate the competition and seize as much power over society as possible. Capitalism has an insufficient defense against monopolies and the elimination of competition, and actually encourages these things. Additionally, capitalism greatly favors the wealthy over everyone else because the most productive businesses require expensive equipment for large-scale production (ibid.). It’s not possible for everyone to compete on a level playing field when the wealthy have so much more power and resources than everyone else.

The challenge to capitalism concerning a lack of competition has been widely accepted and “antitrust actions have sometimes fostered competition and broken up monopolies, as in the cases of such corporate behemoths as Standard Oils and AT&T” (137). However, “such actions have proved ineffectual in halting the concentration of economic power in large oligopolistic firms… Today more than a quarter of the world’s economic activity comes from the 200 largest corporations” (ibid.).

Two, our capitalistic political system favors corporations and the wealthy. Wealthy corporations lobby the government and donate to politicians in the hope to get favors in the form of legislation, tax loopholes, and other subsidies (government funding). Many call this “corporate welfare” (ibid.). For example, “[a]nnual taxpayer subsidies to agriculture alone run between $10 billion and $20 billion (and a total of $35 billion, if the higher prices consumers pay are included)” (138).

Some have estimated that there are around $85 billion worth of direct subsidy programs funded by the US government every year, the Federal Reserve recently gave out $9 trillion in “emergency loans” to powerful corporations, and banks have the right to spend money they don’t have due to our fractional reserve banking system.

Three, competition might not always be a good thing. There are “empirical studies establishing that in business environments there is frequently a negative correlation between performance and individual competitiveness” (ibid.). Sometimes cooperation is much more productive than competition. Additionally, rather than being motivated to attain external rewards (profits) or other external goals (defeating the competition), we are often more productive when we do what we enjoy or value for its own sake.

Moreover, cooperation is often more productive than competition.

When people work together, coordination of effort and an efficient division of labor are possible. By contrast, competition can inhibit economic coordination, cause needless duplication of services, retard the exchange of information, foster copious litigation, and lead to socially detrimental or counterproductive results such as business failures, mediocre products, unsafe working conditions, and environmental neglect. (138-139).

Capitalism leads to exploitation and alienation.

The wealthy sometimes “hold all the cards” and can refuse to hire workers unless the workers agree to work in disrespectful, unsafe, and/or underpaid conditions. Workers have occasionally worked in conditions comparable to slavery, such as many of the sharecroppers.

The wealthy can not only choose to treat workers as poorly as is legally possible in order to maximize profit, but the wealthy often feel morally justified in doing so. The power difference between the wealthy and workers often causes a rift in social status, where the wealthy think they deserve their wealth, and disrespect the workers because they are of a lower social class.

Moreover, workers often compete for jobs, promotions, and raises. This can cause dehumanization between workers who no longer see each other as people who deserve dignity and respect, but rather as the enemy. Workers who are more productive or hard working can be a threat to the livelihood of the other workers. A worker willing to work overtime without pay to get a promotion can end up forcing all other competitive workers to do the same to compete for that promotion; but such hard work can encourage workers to be exploited rather than respected.

Alienation is the psychological separation between two things. Two people are alienated even if they are in the same room when they see each other as external and separate. Rather than an enjoyable and fulfilling life, a life with alienation can be more depressing and oppressive. Employers alienated from their workers see their workers as a means to an end—a way to make profit, rather than as friends and fellow human beings. Workers alienated from workers can see other workers as a means to an end (a way to get products) or as the enemy rather than as friends or fellow human beings. Workers alienated from their own labor see their labor as a separate thing sacrificed for the necessities of life rather than as part of a fulfilling life or a reflection of oneself.

New problems capitalism is facing

I will discuss three problems the United States capitalistic system is facing.

The United States faces slow growth in productivity.

The United States is experiencing less economic growth than it did for a hundred years prior to 1973, and many experts believe it “reflects a declining rate of growth in productivity” (141-142). This can be, in part, because we haven’t been investing as much in factories and equipment. It’s not entirely clear why the United States has this problem and it’s not a universal problem found around the world. The lack of productivity is lowering our standard of living and could lead to lower share of international business.

Some people have suggested that the reduction in productivity could be caused by a preoccupation “with short-term performance at the expense of long-term strategies” (142-143). For example, we should be more willing to lose short term profits for long term benefits, and invest in long-term research and development (143).

The United States has a declining interest in production.

There are a declining number of companies focused on producing goods, and some companies have stopped producing goods (ibid.). Many of these companies are focused on marketing rather than production, and others are now middlemen who do little more than package and distribute goods made by someone else.

The United States faces changing attitudes towards work.

First, some have argued that the work ethic—seeing hard work as part of living a fulfilling life and enabling us to attain the American dream—is being lost (145). Only one out of three people accept the American dream, “down from 60 percent in a 1960 survey” (ibid.). Many no longer think productive work will necessarily “pay off,” and there is evidence that “Americans place work eighth in importance behind values such as their children’s education and a satisfactory love life” and have consequently allowed their professional lives to suffer in order to spend more time with their families (ibid.)

In addition, there are other changes in our values and interests that have an impact on business. One, people are no longer interested in factory work and want more fulfilling and less monotonous work (ibid.). Two, loyalty to employers is declining and loyalty to other employees is increasing (ibid.). Three, people’s jobs are often taking a back seat to their “personal needs” (ibid.). Four, employee sabotage and violence are on the rise. Five, theft, absenteeism, and low productivity is increasing as drug use at the office is increasing (ibid.).


We often take it for granted that capitalism is morally justified, but there are philosophers who prefer some kind of socialism after considering the arguments for and against capitalism. I have discussed many of those arguments here in addition to some specific problems the United States capitalistic system is facing today.

Update (9/28/2011): I added more information about the invisible hand argument concerning the assumptions the argument makes.


  1. If I may add, one typical point in favor of capitalism is that it spurs innovation, invention, and economic dynamism. Capitalist societies tend to create far more newer products, services, and ideas that less capitalist ones.

    An emergent drawback, however, is the commercialization of innovation. In other words, capitalist societies are more likely to endorse or invest in what makes money, as opposed to what might be more beneficial but not as profitable. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, puts more of it’s effort into finding the sought after cures rather than the ones that won’t bring as much money.

    Comment by Romney — May 6, 2011 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

    • I think that probably falls under the invisible hand argument. People will be productive given freedom, competition, and the profit motive.

      I think capitalism can be argued for in much the same way as libertarian justice — it does provide certain freedoms we want in addition to what was mentioned here, whether they are “natural rights” or not. If capitalism hurts no one and provides freedom, that might be enough reason to accept it. The problem is that it can have drawbacks.

      Comment by James Gray — May 6, 2011 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  2. Any system that leaves two-thirds of the world’s population without clean water can hardly be said to work, and capitalism is based on a fundamental act of theft. Every human being on this earth has an absolute birthright of an equal share of the earth’s land and resources. Capitalism makes us like peasants, expected to ‘earn’ back what is ours by right. It pays those in the most difficult, dangerous and tedious jobs the least, and those who do no actual labour the most. Inheritance makes a nonsense of the idea that wealth is ‘earned’. Capitalism enslaves, as it gives us no choice, other than crime -unless we are born wealthy- than to spend the majority of our lives working for the profit of others.

    Comment by revol0001 — August 31, 2011 @ 10:45 am | Reply

    • I agree that people in a capitalistic system might have a good reason to commit crime. Poor people might not have a better way to have a sufficiently tolerable life (or to stay alive at all). Of course, socialistic measures can be taken to help the poor if necessary.

      Do you reject every capitalistic system or just the one we use in the USA? What better alternative is there? Should we just try to improve our system gradually by making improvements?

      Comment by James Gray — August 31, 2011 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

    • you do realize that under water welders make about $800 per hour, thats a pretty tedious crappy job but they get paid ridiculous money.

      Comment by Jared Cordon — May 2, 2012 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

      • When you mention a specific type of service or job and use the term “ridiculous money”, it would be helpful to include the facts about the qualifications and skills a person must have for the job. Underwater welders are a niche group within a niche service. They are advanced welders that operate in an dangerous environment. They must certify with advanced qualifications as welders and also must certify as divers. The market for these skills vary widely and the range of pay is large. Highly technical and arduous tasks such as welding on deep sea rigs or ships requiring immediate repairs command high rates. These are important details to the job description of “ridiculous money”.

        Comment by Mike Bennett — July 12, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    • Your first three premises are completely wrong and have no basis in law or understanding of rights. Your statement of birthright was fought against for many generations by those that knew aristocracy was wrong. Just arriving on earth entitles no one to any tangible resources and certainly to no elevation above anyone else. At the same time, no one has the right to take away your freedoms and God given rights. Amazingly, you would argue for a system that would deprive you of any rights just by virtue of the whims of a dictatorial leadership.

      Comment by Mike Bennett — July 12, 2012 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  3. First of all this article is written with the majority of its explanations beginning with an assumption which makes it very difficult to give much weight to it at all. But as far as the system in the U.S goes why does everybody have to think inside the box that it all has to happen at the natural level. If we shifted the power of control back to the states individual states could choose different economic policies. It would allow like minded people to created systems better suited for them and it would break up monopolies by having different companies preform better in different environments. It would also prove once and for all what system is better without having the entire nation suffer just to find out. Also, why is it assumed that there are no civil rights under capitalism, it is an economic system that can exist in a libertarian environment or a utilitarian one. Finally, if capitalism was implemented in its purest form, that being laissez faire capitalism, then the issues with big corporation lobbying would disappear because a company could use the government as a tool to manipulate the economy.

    Comment by Cordonbleu313 — May 1, 2012 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

    • correction: “federal” level, not “natural” level.

      Comment by Cordonbleu313 — May 1, 2012 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

    • Finally, if capitalism was implemented in its purest form, that being laissez faire capitalism, then the issues with big corporation lobbying would disappear because a company could use the government as a tool to manipulate the economy.

      You mean it wouldn’t use the government as a tool? How exactly would laissez-faire capitalism do that? So far almost everyone in politics who advocates a “free market” want to take benefits away from the poor and they keep giving them to the rich anyway.

      I also think there is a lot to be said about the government giving benefits to those who need them. The free market doesn’t guarantee that everyone who needs money will have it.

      Comment by JW Gray — May 1, 2012 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

      • Currently big business lobbies in Washington to get regulation put in place that will hinder their competition and advance their own agenda. For example, Dick Cheney our past vice president had some ties with hydro-fracking companies, and when those companies grew he would make money. Unsurprisingly he put in regulation with specific loopholes to benefit those hyrdro-fracking companies. If the government didn’t regulate at all the playing field would have remained the same for all the energy companies. Its idealistic to think that the government has the best interest of the poor in mind, politicians are just as greedy as some of those wall street fat cats. Consider the following quote from Grover Cleveland, which was said in a response to Congress wanting to bail-out some struggling Texas Farmers.

        “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”

        It’s also interesting to hear that fundraisers were put together, and with-out any government assistance, U.S. citizens alone were able to collect more than 4 times as much as Congress was offering to give relief to those farmers. This event was only possible under a laissez-faire system.

        Comment by cordonbleu313 — May 2, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    • <>

      We’ve tried that. It’s how things like Jim Crow and Creation Science happen. For all the problems the Federal government has with inefficiency, corruption, and outright stupidity, State governments have proven themselves to be far worse. Also, how is interstate commerce going to work if we allow each State to choose its own economic policies? Businesses will either have to do business at strictly the State level, or account for up to 50 different sets of policies and laws in their trade. That’s going to be horribly inefficient and make the legal system even LESS accessible to the average citizen than it already is. I agree that there is great value to the “let’s try lots of different policies and see which work best” approach, but actually handing over power to the States to direct their own economies would be catastrophic to the nation as a whole (and to many States).


      Given how much our nation depends on interstate commerce, the entire nation certainly would suffer from such an experiment.

      Comment by AJMOBLEY — July 12, 2012 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

  4. Here is something that breaks through many arguments against capitalism and for Marxism, or the softer, more readily acceptable socialism by those who experienced neither: market forces exist through need of existence and through desire of advancement. One MUST eat and then one MAY choose to do more which will require additional goods or services. There now must be a mechanism by which goods and services can be exchanged. Pure bartering is inefficient, cumbersome and allows only a minute percentage of trade to take place. That leaves two distinct choices, Capitalism or Marxism. All the arguments against capitalism hold true for marxism. Take the one presented by Gray which has no basis for truth other than a quote, that capitalism causes income equality. The first question one should ask is why should everyone have only the same amount of stuff? What viable reason is there? One cannot argue that system is fair as it is universally recognized that everyone is born with a wide range of abilities and potential. The natural forces of human character would work in a way that those that can do more, choose to do more, would be rewarded more. Any force that works against what is moral human nature is immoral and an affront to humanity. Marxism only rewards those that follow precepts set by a centralized, all-powerful group that presupposes (delusion-ally so) to be more humane and gifted with the ability to control human nature and market forces.

    Can capitalism be improved? Of course. Can Marxism be improved? No! It’s very basis is flawed in any practical market setting. Only in the theoretical discussions which preclude natural human interaction and ever present inaction does the idea maintain viability.

    Comment by Mike Bennett — July 12, 2012 @ 11:27 am | Reply

    • Let’s say that communities share the means of production. Workers control the factories. They make stuff, they sell stuff for money. That’s communism. I don’t see why you think it’s so horrible.

      One alternative to capitalism is to have redistribution of wealth. Instead of letting poor people suffer, you tax the rich to give to the poor.

      The first question one should ask is why should everyone have only the same amount of stuff?

      I never said they should, but most well-to-do countries have more income equality than we do, and extreme income inequality has shown to correlate with various bad things. People tend to be happier in those countries. The poor tend not to suffer as much. They tend not to starve to death.

      One cannot argue that system is fair as it is universally recognized that everyone is born with a wide range of abilities and potential. The natural forces of human character would work in a way that those that can do more, choose to do more, would be rewarded more.

      No one said that hard work wouldn’t be rewarded in communism. You do not understand what communism means. You have a straw man in mind.

      Marxism only rewards those that follow precepts set by a centralized, all-powerful group that presupposes (delusion-ally so) to be more humane and gifted with the ability to control human nature and market forces.

      No, it doesn’t. You made that up or you’ve been reading propaganda. Marx specifically said he wanted to do away with powerful governments. The communities are supposed to be in charge in his view. Other “marxists” believe all sorts of things. They do not all agree about how things should be done.

      If you want to disagree with a communist, read what the communist actually says and tell us what’s wrong with what is said. The idea that you can debunk all communists based on absurd generalizations is not charitable to what actual philosophers and economists believe who likely know more than we do about these issues.

      However, there are generalizations you can make about communism. In particular, it is true that there will likely be redistribution of wealth and that the means of production will be in the hands of the workers or communities (or perhaps a government). I do not find those ideas to be incredibly immoral or offensive and you are free to argue against them.

      Comment by JW Gray — July 12, 2012 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

    • Mike, nowhere in your entire comment do you say anything that is true of Marxism. You don’t even demonstrate that you know what Marxism IS. You do not identify a single Marxist policy or principle, and do not show how anything about Marxism entails what you says it does.

      >>One MUST eat and then one MAY choose to do more which will require additional goods or services. There now must be a mechanism by which goods and services can be exchanged. Pure bartering is inefficient, cumbersome and allows only a minute percentage of trade to take place. <>All the arguments against capitalism hold true for marxism.<>The first question one should ask is why should everyone have only the same amount of stuff?<>What viable reason is there?<>One cannot argue that system is fair as it is universally recognized that everyone is born with a wide range of abilities and potential. <>The natural forces of human character would work in a way that those that can do more, choose to do more, would be rewarded more. <>Any force that works against what is moral human nature is immoral and an affront to humanity.<>Marxism only rewards those that follow precepts set by a centralized, all-powerful group that presupposes (delusion-ally so) to be more humane and gifted with the ability to control human nature and market forces. <>Can capitalism be improved? Of course. Can Marxism be improved? No! It’s very basis is flawed in any practical market setting.<>Only in the theoretical discussions which preclude natural human interaction and ever present inaction does the idea maintain viability.<<

      Prove it. Tell us what it is about natural human interactions that is inconsistent with Marxism. Because so far, everything you've said about human nature is CONSISTENT with Marxism. In fact, many of the things you've said about human nature ORIGINATE WITH MARX. That is, Marx was the FIRST PERSON to say these things.

      Comment by AJMOBLEY — July 12, 2012 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  5. […] natural right to property, often explained by John Locke and Adam Smith, as JW Gray explains in an essay. This right would imply that when a person imposes their labor on a natural object, it becomes […]

    Pingback by ebarker13 — March 21, 2015 @ 3:36 am | Reply

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