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The Position of Ethics in Capitalism

The result of such materialism with whose spirit the system has been overwhelmed is that ethics have been left out of all calculations, without win ning any existence in that system, or say their con- cepts and ideals have been altered, and the personal benefit has been declared as a supermost priority and all types of freedom as means towards achieving this priority ... ! Resulting from that are all what the modern world has complained of calamities and catastrophes, troubles and tribulations.

Advocates of democratic capitalism may defend its attitude towards the individual and his personal interests by saying The personal interest by itself brings forth the social interest, and the results achieved by ethics in their spiritual values are also achieved in the democratic capitalist society, not through "ethics" but through the special "motifs" and their service! When man performs a social ser- vice, he, too, achieves a personal benefit, being part of the society he works for. When he saves someone's endangered life, he also benefits his own self, for that person's life will serve the social body a portion of which service will be his own. Therefore, the personal motif and the utilitarian sense suffice to guarantee and ensure the social interests since they, when analysed, amount to personal interests and individual benefits.

Such an apology is closer to vast imagination than to reasoning! Imagine if the practical criterion in the life of every individual in the nation had been the achievement of his personal benefits and interests, to the widest possible range, and had the State been providing for the individual his freedom, sanctifying him without reservation or limitation, then what would the position of social work have been in the dictionary of such an individual?! How can the link between the social interest and the individual one be sufficient to direct the individual towards the oc- cupations called forth by ethical codes, knowing that many of such occupations do not bring him any profit?! If it happens that they do contain some benefit to him, since he is a member of the com- munity, it often happens, too, that such minute benefit (which cannot be conceived except analyti- cally) would be counteracted by transient benefits or individual intersts which find in freedom a guar- antee to their achievement, so much so that the individual would trample over all systems of ethics and spiritual conscience ... !

Adopted from the book: "Contemporary Man and The Social Problem" by: "Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr"

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