Economics/Class Relations

Capitalism is for Big Babies

By Marc Barnes, New Polity

I used to think that the capitalist was wrong about human nature. Now, I think he is right about human nature—for the first two or three years of its development. When I say capitalism is for big babies, I don’t want to be misunderstood: this is what is best about the theory. When the world is rolled up like a bedsheet and every human striving is accounted for, the Austrian theorists will enter the Kingdom of Heaven lightly remonstrated for being fools—but praised for their unintentional advances in the fields of child psychology and tantrum management. They made sense out of the politics of playgrounds, whatever nonsense they made out of everything else.

The capitalist theorist merely had the misfortune of applying what is proper to toddlers to the more firm-footed humans that follow after, a category error that anyone might fall prey to, given enough to drink. And it is good to think of the theorists of liberal capitalism as so many first-time fathers, addled and sleep-deprived by their one-year-olds’ suicidal antics, imagining all the world a playroom, and man merely a toy. It kindles a warm sympathy towards the economists, where previously there was only a cold, unchristian disdain.

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