The Foundations of Capitalism

The Foundations of Capitalism

The Foundations of Capitalism

The Foundations of Capitalism

Excerpt

Capitalism, as doubtless everyone knows, is the social and eco- nomic system which now exists in different degrees of develop- ment and decay in practically all countries outside the socialist area. It is the system which has reached its ultimate societal de- velopment in the United States and which, of course, Americans are privileged to see in immediate operation. It is in truth a rare privilege to live at a time when any civilization has reached its apogee; but to be alive at this period in the annals of capitalism is to be favored beyond the fortunes of all preceding mankind.

Sometimes one could wish that he had been present in the Parthenon to listen to Pericles address his fellow Athenians, or that he could have hobnobbed with the Roman people, let us say, in the days of Hadrian and watched the deliberations of their senate. But the brilliance of such a dream seems pallid when com- pared to the societal experiences accessible to modern capitalist man. Indeed, one might in all simplicity go to New York and observe the awesome heart-beat of capitalism, or to Washington and sit in its vast legislative chambers to look into the faces of men who make political and diplomatic decisions for control of the global area of the system. He may on any day confront in the flesh or otherwise through press or radio, come into intimate contact with the business men whose phenomenal genius plan and direct the intricate cultural web.

All through the history of capitalism in all its stages, its finest organizational products have impressed the world as the ultimate in cultural achievement. This phenomenon, may it be said, should not be identified with the well-known tendency toward "ethno- centrism" characteristic of all peoples. The outstanding capitalist . . .

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