5.12 Are Capitalists Evil and Greedy?

Many teachers teach that capitalists are greedy people who only care about money and who prey on the weak.   A 2018 Gallup poll found more than half of Americans aged 18 to 29 now view socialism positively. Only 45 percent said they have a positive view of capitalism. 

Isadore Strauss was a capitalist.  He was co-owner of the Macys Department Store with his brother Nathan and the two became wealthy. According to socialist beliefs he had no right to own Macy's and he had no right to get rich either because the people should own Macy's.  Isidore after vacationing on the French Riviera bought first class tickets for himself and his wife to New York on board a magnificent ship.  Socialists would say he should have bought third class tickets instead and given the money he saved to the poor.  Under socialism there would not have been a magnificent part of the ship, because the money would have been distributed to others.  Here is a picture of a re-creation of the grand staircase on that ship that gives an idea of the luxury experienced by first class passengers.


That magnificent ship was the Titanic.  The average cost of a first-class ticket to board the Titanic was about $400 ($5,000 in today's money). There were two first-class rooms on the Titanic that cost $3,300 each (more than a brand new car back then). The rooms were each 50 feet long with there own personal deck.  Isadore could have ridden second class for $65.00 which is 5000/400 * 65 = $812 in todays money or third class for $35.00 which is 5000/400 * 35 = $437.00 in today's money.  Socialists would say he was being greedy for traveling first class.  Being a capitalist who believed that people should benefit from their hard work and have a right to enjoy the money they earn, he used his money so that his wife could have the most pleasant ride possible.  He might not have tried as hard to make Macy's a successful exciting place to shop if there had been no financial reward for doing so.  In fact he wouldn't have run Macy's at all if socialists were in control.

The ship Isidore was traveling on, the Titanic crashed into an iceberg.  There weren't enough life boats for everyone.  Modern feminists say men are bad whether they are capitalists or not but the men on the Titanic stayed on board and let the women and children board the lifeboats.  Here is what happened when Ida, Isadore's wife was asked to board one of the lifeboats.  In this movie clip Isidore calls his wife Rachel (don't why that is).

Ida and Isadore gave their lives so that others could live.  That is not the behavior of greedy people who prey on the weak.  During his life Isidor spent a lot of his money helping the poor.  The Educational Alliance which he helped raise the money started by providing education and support for Eastern European Jewish Immigrants arriving in New York City's Lower East Side so that they could learn English and the skills they needed to get good jobs and build better lives for themselves.  The Educational Alliance has since extended those resources to New Yorkers of every race, religion, nationality and background.  The Educational Alliance includes the 14th Street Y, the  Center for Recovery and Wellness which helps prevent and treat drug addiction, and the Sirovich center which provides free community programs for people 60 and up. 

There are many people who say that companies are greedy and destructive and only care about making money.  Many of the creators of those companies have given a lot to charity.  Bill Gates benefitted the world with the Windows operating system, he created many high paying jobs and while doing so doing made a lot of money.  He and his wife Melinda created a charitable foundation with that money.  In the following video we see some of the good that his foundation is doing.  Creating this foundation is not the action of a greedy capitalist.


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