On this post I made mention of my friend William’s competition on his BBC blog, Will & Testament. He is calling the competition Spirit of Lincoln (from inspiration of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address) and asked for entries that were under Lincoln’s 272 word limit. I entered my credo on the topic of Capitalism, and thought readers here may be interested in a read. Mine was the last of eight to be published here today, and the text of the credo is reproduced below for your interest. I’ll also keep this an open-ended post so I can quote from any comments it generates on BBC NI.

You can read the other entries starting here.


“If only it had been possible for people, centuries ago, to look into the future and observe the progress of humanity in developed countries by 2006. Their profound delight and envy would surely astonish some of today’s sulky malcontents. The relative peace, abundant prosperity, ingrained order and fundamental sophistication of our society would have been far beyond the imaginations of any human being just a short time ago.

“But what was the cause of this progress? Astonishingly, the answer appears to have eluded many of the most liberal of our leaders, the most intellectual of our academics and the most thoughtful of our politicians. We are so relatively peaceful, so abundantly prosperous, so inherently ordered and so fundamentally sophisticated because the law of the jungle no longer applies; capitalism has replaced it.

“Capitalism: a word so attended by contempt, mockery and censure, and yet a word which consequentially encapsulates the reason for all human progress. If only people in ‘developing’ countries were not in the same position as those trapped in earlier centuries, tragically watching our progress from far away; would that instead they could own the gift of capitalism. Which other political system replaces poverty with prosperity and slavery with freedom? Who but the capitalist can work without fear that the fruit of his labour be seized and the property he acquires be pillaged? Who but the capitalist can employ the services of a poor guy in an arrangement mutually beneficial to both?

“We are continually looking for answers to the many remaining challenges of society. We have failed because we haven’t consulted history. The answer is more capitalism; not less.”


“John is your life really this dull? Capitalism is what you live by? Believe in? This is what you chose as the description of you LIFE? God help us all.”

“John, I don’t take as harsh a line as Helen, but I do think there are other things than capitalism. I don’t despise capitalism in its more responsible forms. And I certainly think it is something that stimultes progress. In a somewhat Darwinian-flavoured, harsh way, but progress it stimulates, undeniably. But there are other things that do that too. Alan Watson mentioned mans inquisitive nature. To me personally that is more important than capitalism. I do academic research for my job. Trust me, I’m not doing that to make a fat salary. I’m doing it becausae I like to find out how a small particular area of nature works (and academic work gives you tons of freedom to go about your work as you see fit). Capitalism stimulates progress (in a harsh way sometimes) but so does curiosity. And others may come up with other drivers still.”

“…you mean like the biblical work ethic Peter (Max Weber)??? Seriously though, good on you John, you took some work in there and you have the guts to put your real name and id behind it!”

“Given that ‘sulky malcontents’ abound, separated families are the norm, everyone appears to be stressed and we are becoming a country of overweight, telly addicted celebrity obsessed sloths – what has gone wrong?”

“I’d rather be poor in a world where everyone has enough food to live on than rich in a world where people die of hunger”

“Capitalism isn’t a philosophy of life, it’s just a fact of life. It’s the way the world works and we just have to learn to live with it and ameliorate its worst effects as far as we can. That’s how I see it anyway.”

Click here to see the comments in their original context, including replies made by Stephen and myself.

John Wright