Sunday, September 6, 2009 1 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

A Capitalist

Capitalism is getting a bad rap these days. Perhaps rightly so. Crony capitalism hasn't been this popular in America for decades. There are many, especially on Wall Street, flying the flag of capitalism but I would argue they never were, are, or will ever be, true capitalists.

Do the capitalists, whoever that may be, deserve the lynching? Should the government attack them, as suggested by some on the left? As someone who considers himself left-leaning, I am sympathetic to the views of the left. Yet, I feel that many liberals and others on the left never really understand what capitalists do for society.

As a libertarian-oriented writer, Neil Reynolds of The Globe & Mail attempts to defend the capitalists. He presents a fictional character from the 1922 novel, The Driver, who defends himself under attack by the government. Henry Galt (not to be confused with Ayn Rand's character with similar name) separates the true capitalist from the rest.

The famous lawyer who directs the inquisition begins by asking Henry Galt's occupation.

"Farmer," said Galt.

"What do you farm?"

"The country," said Galt.

"Well, now tell this committee, please, how you farm the country."

"I fertilize it," said Galt. "I sow and reap, improve the soil and keep adding new machinery."

"What do you fertilize it with?"


"What do you sow, Mr. Galt?"

"More money."

"And what do you reap?"

"Profit," said Galt.

"And what do you do with this profit, Mr. Galt?"

"I sow it again."

"A lovely parable, Mr. Galt," the inquisitor said. "Is it not true that you are a speculator, too?"

"Yes, that's true."

"Is it not true that you are a gambler, too?"

"That's part of my trade," Galt said. "Every farmer is a gambler. He gambles on weather, worms, bugs, acts of Congress and the price of his produce."

"You gamble in securities, Mr. Galt?"

"Yes," said Galt. "Heavily."

Mr. Garrett's character confesses, without shame, to every accusation his inquisitor levels at him. Through three days of hearings, Mr. Galt's inquisitor leads the old capitalist through all the ostensibly criminal or immoral transactions of his life. Mr. Galt confesses, without embarrassment, to them all - offering simple, rational explanations. Frustrated, the inquisitor directs his final, awful accusation: "You will admit that you are very rich?"

"Yes," said Galt. "I suppose I am."

"Tell the committee," the inquisitor said, "how you made your money."

"I made it," said Galt, "buying things that no one else wanted."


1 Response to A Capitalist

September 6, 2009 at 9:23 PM

excellent article

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