The ART Of Business

Clueless About Capitalism

As a business professor for more than 8 years, I have had the tremendous privilege of working with thousands of intelligent and ambitious young people.

While I'm certain this is the greatest job in the world, I am still often disheartened by how little if anything my students really know about capitalism when they enter my classroom.

Few, if any of them, have ever read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

An even smaller number are aware of the inherent inequalities that come from capitalism.

Almost none realize that capitalism isn't about what you deserve, but what you earn.

As products of a time when government policy sought to engineer equality- through expanded mortgage lending, for example- my students get flummoxed when they learn that capitalism isn't fair or just.

And they become angry when it is discovered that no amount of government action can make it so.

I don't know where their ignorance about capitalism comes from.

Maybe it is from over-protective parents who don't want their kids to be scared of the future. Or politicians from both sides of the aisle- who promise that everything wrong will be made right if you simply vote for them. Or, maybe, it is a media industry that is obsessed with celebrity and trashes citizenship at every turn.

Whatever the reasons, if the emerging leaders of our society are so poorly educated about the nature of our system, then we shouldn't be surprised when things go awry.

TAGS: Supply Chain
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