Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Capitalist Threat

George Soros played a major role in the campaign to dethrone George W. Bush. I have an enormous respect for someone who is willing to spend his millions in an idealistic cause. Mr. Bush has been re-elected, but history will judge that Mr. Soros was right. In a 1997 essay titled 'The Capitalist Threat' Mr. Soros shows why, after the fall of communism, capitalism is the new threat to an 'open society'. I don't like Karl Popper's concept of an 'open society' which has greatly influenced Mr. Soros, as Popper was a misguided anti-Platonist whose reading of Platonism is widely off the mark. Despite this, Soros' ideas have merit, and they are far preferrable to unbridled capitalism.

Traditional liberals have always been critical of pure economic freedom. The freedom of the market is only part of a whole array of principles designed to further the common good. In The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen it is made clear that freedom is limited by not hurting any other person, and the law prohibits actions which hurt society. The Right has taken the principle of 'freedom' to an extreme, forgetting that liberalism is not about freedom only; but regulated freedom by law designed to further the common good.

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