The Ethics of Capitalism in Relation to Wealth Inequality
Siford, Andrew. “The Ethics of Capitalism in Relation to Wealth Inequality”, Boston College, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109250.
Contemporary American capitalism is sick. To determine what is wrong with it we must first go back to its conception and understand the theoretical advantages and drawbacks of this system. Once we come to understand what capitalism is, and how it developed, we will move on to see how it has evolved to its current state within an American mixed economy. Wealth inequality is at an all time high in America, exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis, with warnings from men like Karl Marx coming to fruition more than a century later. Today, corporations praise capitalism on the way up, and exploit interventionist concepts such as bailouts on the way down to skew wealth to unprecedented levels. Multi-millionaire politicians accept lobbying funds and allow this to happen, stopping capitalism from running its natural course. The wealthy 1% are able to invest in economic vehicles and share in this massive wealth shift while most Americans cannot afford to, and as a result the average American is left behind. To rationalize whether capitalism is a system worth saving, we will then look to why some economic inequality is inherent to capitalism to some degree. Once this is understood, we can then analyze whether or not such wealth inequalities are immoral in itself. We will find that wealth inequality may be an unavoidable feature of capitalism, however under certain conditions it is not in itself immoral — it is the lack of economic opportunity and economic sufficiency for Americans that is. Perhaps there is a reason why corporations and politicians act the way they do, and if so we will look at potential remedies to limit inequality and hold corporations and politicians accountable. The thesis will conclude that if this pattern of growing wealth inequality continues as demonstrated in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, capitalism in America may be doomed.