Monday, July 11, 2011

Market Forces and Loss of Ethics

"The division of labor has a further consequence on the growth of a market economy. In a earlier age as in contemporary premodern societies, farming and the various skilled crafts were mainly for the use of the family or the local community. The market in which money operated as a means of exchange was only a minor and marginal part of the economy. But as the principle of the division of labor gained ascendancy, the market moved into the central place as the mechanism that linked all the separate procedures with each other and with the consumers. The modern science of economics was born. Once again teleology was removed, because economics was no longer part of ethics. It was not concerned with the purpose of human life. It was no longer about the requirements of justice and the dangers of covetousness. It became the science of the working of the market as a self-operating mechanism modeled on the Newtonian universe. The difference was that the fundamental law governing its movements, corresponding to the law of gravitation in Newton, is the law of covetousness assumed as the basic drive of human nature. What does not enter the market is ignored. Gross National Product refers only to what enters the market. It excludes the work of the housewife, of the gardener growing his own food. It includes the operations of the gambling syndicate, the arms salesman, and the drug pusher," Foolishness to the Greeks, pp. 30-31.

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