Ethics and the Environment

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Capitalism can be defined ideally as an economic system in which the major portion of production and distribution is in private hands, operating under what is termed a profit or market system. No central governing body dictates to these private owners what or how much of anything will be produced. There are four key features of capitalism: companies, profit motive, competition and private property. There are two classical moral justification of capitalism-one based on a right to property, the other on Adam Smith's concept of the invisible hand. Capitalism permits the creation of companies or business organizations that exist separately from the people associated with them. Some experts believe the company is the most important organization in the world. A second characteristic of capitalism lies in the motive of the company: to make profit. Profit motive implies that human beings are basically economic creatures, who recognize and are motivated by their own economic interest. “Free competition,” said Smith “is the regulator that keeps a community activated only by self-interest from degenerating into a mob of ruthless profiteers.” Competition regulates individual economic activity. Competition keeps prices for desired goods from escalating; high prices are self-correcting because they call forth an increased supply. Private property is central to capitalism. Capitalism requires private ownership of the major means of production and distribution. Under capitalism, private hands control these basic economic assets and productive resources. Thus, the major economic decisions are made by individuals or groups acting their own in pursuit of profit. Capital, as an economic concept, is closely related to private property. Capital is money that is invested for the purpose of making more money. Using money to make money is at the heart of the definition of capitalism. Haslett’s proposal does correctly identified the fundamental ideals.

Justice is often used to mean...
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