The Ethical Dilemma of American Capitalism

by Richard Farmer



It is becoming increasingly clear that the U.S. is moving into an ethical crisis. In the political sphere, the discussions between liberals and conservatives are assuming a more strident tone, as if the protagonists are fired of mild co-operation and intellectual debate. Hate groups flourish on all sides, and extremist sentiments are becoming increasingly common. In the international sphere, the world posture of the U.S. may well determine the fate of humanity for centuries, the opinions of foreigners towards Americans thinking are more confused than ever, and the view of Americans toward these foreigners is still more confused. Businessmen, both as social leaders and as important role holders in their own right, increasingly reflect this basic ethical confusion. However, in spite of the problems in the U.S., there is potential greatness too, all over the world, nations are scrambling to achieve materially what Americans already take for granted, and while many would argue that the particular ethical posture taken by America is not sound, no one argues that the economic results are not desirable. Whatever the ethics, rising incomes mean enormous social potential, for good or evil.

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