Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Is ‘Common Good Capitalism’ a One-way Street?

In “Common Good Capitalism” Is No Substitute for Free Enterprise, Brooke Medina and Doug McCullough take Senator Marco Rubio to task for his Common-Good Capitalism, Rubio’s call for paternal statism to—quoting Pope Leo XIII—be sure that “the working classes be carefully watched over by the administration.” 

Rubio has been peddling his statist cause at National Review and The New York Post, where he argued, incredibly, that “It’s not ‘Socialism’.” 

In one passage that I’ve selected, Rubio writes:

What makes this society possible is the rights of both workers and businesses, but also their obligations to each other. Put another way, businesses have a right to make a profit, but they also have an obligation to reinvest those profits productively for the benefit of the workers and the greater society. Similarly, workers have a right to share in the benefits of the profits they helped create. 

I wonder if he believes the “obligation” should be a two-way street? Gallup says that Millennials are “Unattached to organizations and institutions,” and so are job-hopping like mad. The Financial Times says it’s nothing new. If businesses are obligated to subordinate their interests for workers, shouldn’t workers subordinate their interests and forgo job-hopping—and the better job-opportunities they desire—for the sake of the businesses that “reinvest for the benefit of the workers?” Does it work both ways? Or are business owners the only slaves of a government-determined “the common good?” If the last, what’s left of the rights of businesses to their profits?

In fact, capitalism does work both ways, with business and workers each pursuing their own best interests, and each going their separate ways unmolested when their interests don’t harmonize. Rubio is trying to defend capitalism on collectivist grounds. But he is merely kowtowing to the socialists.

Tellingly, Rubio’s National Review article is “adapted from a speech [he] delivered November 5 at the Catholic University of America.” I say “tellingly” because the last place you would look for a defense of capitalism (a free society) is to the Catholic Church. I propose that Rubio switch to the Democratic Party, where he would make a good running mate for Elizabeth Warren. “Common-Good Capitalism” is just another distressing example of the alleged defenders of free markets turning against capitalism.

With “friends” like Marco Rubio and his Catholic Church, capitalism doesn’t need enemies like Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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