Theologian and author Michael Novak delivers a lecture on the ethics of capitalism from the Judeo-Christian perspective.
Tom Becker is the president of Chautauqua Institution. Becker joined Chautauqua in March 1985 as a vice president of the Institution and vice president of the Chautauqua Foundation. Over the years he was promoted to executive vice president and CEO of the Foundation.
In 2001, he continued as chief executive officer of the Foundation and was named executive vice president of Chautauqua Institution. As chief executive, Becker oversaw the growth of the Foundation into a professional fund-raising organization and led it to raising over $100 million in support of the Institution.
Michael Novak is an American Roman Catholic philosopher and diplomat. The author of some 25 books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak is most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (1982), which has also appeared in numerous translations. In 1994 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, a million-dollar purse awarded at Buckingham Palace. He writes on capitalism, religion, and the politics of democratization.
He served as U.S. chief ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1981 and also as the ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Novak is currently George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
Novak is a member of the Catholic Advisory Board for the Ave Maria Mutual Funds. Novak is also a board member of the Capital Research Center and the Center of the American Experiment.
Novak was born in 1933 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He earned an M.A. in history and philosophy of religion from Harvard University in 1966, a Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (a degree in theology), from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1958, and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and English (Summa Cum Laude) from Stonehill College in 1956.
Economic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned, and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets. Capitalism has been dominant in the Western world since the end of mercantilism. It was fostered by the Reformation, which sanctioned hard work and frugality, and by the rise of industry during the Industrial Revolution, especially the English textile industry (16th18th centuries). Unlike earlier systems, capitalism used the excess of production over consumption to enlarge productive capacity rather than investing it in economically unproductive enterprises such as palaces or cathedrals. The strong national states of the mercantilist era provided the social conditions, such as uniform monetary systems and legal codes, necessary for the rise of capitalism. The ideology of classical capitalism was expressed in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776), and Smith's free-market theories were widely adopted in the 19th century. In the 20th century the Great Depression effectively ended laissez-faire economics in most countries, but the demise of the state-run command economies of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (seecommunism) and the adoption of some free-market principles in China left capitalism unrivaled (if not untroubled) by the beginning of the 21st century.
You postulate that Germany is a "mono culture", as if to imply this is the reason for their success.
However you seem to ignore the fact that the US has a more productive work force, if the reason for Germany's export leadership was a mono culture, it would have to manifest itself in the form of having a more productive work force than the US, as it does not, and your point is moot.
I am inclined to look not for something Germany has, but rather a flaw in the US model.
Extemporaneously, I would suspect Germany's long tradition of working your way to the top by starting at the bottom, endows one with a broad, full and rich experience of the industry which you end up running. This multi year acquired in depth knowledge is what gives German companies their competitive edge.
Compare this to the US, where business school graduates lack this essential insight into the companies they are hired to lead.
The entire focus is not on improving product, but instead the focus is on quarterly profits driving stock prices, and the accompanying stock options, which are the chief focus of executives.
This is focusing on short term returns and combined with a lack of improving the product leads down the path of, first boost stock prices, then sell the business or export production to low wage countries.
In the end, executives will walk away with an incredible amount of money earned over what is a really short time span.
Compare this to German executives, expending many years working their way to the top; they would be aghast at the thought of selling or moving production of a company with such a long and rich heritage, to another country.
The American executive has meanwhile moved on to the next "hot market", like financial services, no need for putting in years learning the rules. We’re making up the new rules as we go and grow, ......... unless something unexpected happens, or perhaps, what if the system was flawed and doomed to begin with?
I got my offshore tax haven account, my jet, my yacht, my mansion in the Hamptons, my Caribbean winter estate. etc. etc..
My first intuition is to reject what this guy is saying. However, I tend to be more empathetic then the mass human animal population. In higher primate society just as in the lower thinking animal portion of organisms, opportunistic behavior is the norm, for what appears to be evolutionary and competitive processes that ensure survival. So in an ultimate sense this guys logic is not all that astray.
Insofar as equality can only be had through tyranny I think he is also onto something. Whereas the message of the Bible and Jesus proclaim peace through a tyrannical system it seems that even religious people would have to be on board with this message. God and Monotheism is essentially a tyrannical system that advocates equality but only to those who agree and accept the "God" message. To all those who don't you burn, now or eternally. In the future of this fabricated delusion, and if we play out the logic envisioned by the Monotheistic traditions, equality and peace are only had when all the heretics and non-believers are succumb to this tyrannical ideology. Plain and simple. Freedom and liberty do not ensure equality, and it has never been proven that this is possible given the current evolutionary status of higher primate civilizations.
So with respect to what we now have, Capitalism and Democracy to not advocate nor do they envision a system of equality. In all intense and purposes it was never set up to be a system of equality. The only equality is passage into the game to see if you win or lose. 95% of the population usually loses and the rest are relegated to normalcy, survival, and poverty. The five percent who can achieve supremacy do so at the exploitation of this very fact. A person does not attain status, fame, and riches by being the nicest guy on the block nor does he attain wealth by giving to the masses. All though a moral stand point, it is not the position of the democratic or capitalistic systems.
Germany is a mono culture. If you want to fill out a tax form or any form for social benefits, guess what language it is in, German. In their schools they only teach in one language, German. Guess what everyone learns German! Germany has a trade surplus with China. There is one way to do it and it is the German way.
Religion will never go away, it is widespread in every culture. If Christianity goes away in the US it will be replaced by Islam. I would rather be in a country where I may disagree with Christians over some issue, but in Islam there is only one way and if you don't like it they kill you or take you away your rights. Anybody in favor of moving to Saudi Arabia?
The only little problem with all the mambo jumbo of all the secular--pseudo secular--posts here, is the question why is such a great number of humans chose religion as a way of life? Being terrorized by religion does not seem to be too enlightened. It may be politically correct, but it is much more politely than politically. Sigmund Freud was much more clear on this, even clearer than Hegel and Marx. Freud wrote that there are in humans 3 basic "drive desires" --Wunschtriebe--: the pleasure to kill (Mordlust), Incest and cannibalism. The present day status of civilization does not seem to contradict this statement. And he stated that religion's appeal is caused by the fact that religion gives humans a sort of invitation to confront these no-so-scientific or cognitive aspects of humanity.
I'd have to disagree with the count of my lack of knowledge sacktownjudge. I was a religious leader for 15 years. I taught on Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, and Pagan faiths.
The net scope of religion is like any other hierarchal scheme. To gain personal power through self promotion, and to gain social power through numbers and influence.
The 3 reasons churches do charity is,they were told to, to make themselves feel good, and to influence and convert.
All religions are the same they are derived from the same internal human needs, and when studied have the same core message and effect.
We dont have a case of 10% growth in the poor though, or any growth for that matter. Trying to divert the issue by viewing it through the lens of percentages without acknowedging this is rather dishonest in my opinion.
Sign of envy indeed, how dare the peasants want medical care, retirement funds, the means to send their children to college etc? high wages produce consumers.
maybe if he wasn't swimming in his own money he would feel a lot differently. antiguajohn- "The capitalist system is the best system so far, for generating more money for more people, however we do not have a capitalist system, we have a crony capitalist system, which has been gamed to benefit the few." I completely agree.
That self-interest that so many of you are opposed to is the factor that has made our country and so many others rich. The point was made that the free market does not stop individuals from providing goods to the poor if they desire... or gain from the act (self-interest). Religion (as sctownjudge points out very well) and government are institutions that are made up of people- some good, some bad. We need those "checks and balances" in our society and government to make sure that a person's self-interest does not go to the extreme-- greed (where others are hurt). The free market provides for the betterment of both parties involved in exchanges that are freely entered into. Some of the responders should brush up with a basic economics textbook. Michael Novak is an extremely intelligent man who explains the free market system and how it works. Is it perfect? No... it's made up of people... who are never perfect.