Genetics versus Objectivism.

Montauk's picture
Submitted by Montauk on Mon, 2006-01-02 18:16

Only a short post but...

Given that capitalism is about acheiving your own ends through the means of your own body and skill, and the standard response of capitalists being "The poor can get richer under capitalism" when asked about the less fortunate, do advances in genetics that prove that certain things as inherent (IQ, ability to withstand addiction, the so called "criminal gene") which affect a person's ability to be a free and productive person challenge objectivism (and capitalism) when the above factors contribute a great deal to whether an individual can make a living for themselves through their own merits?

Sorry if that makes no sense, but I'm in a rush.


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Already covered.

Joe Idoni's picture

Ayn already covered the ideology of genetic predisposition as it applies to behavior. Reference 'Racism', VOS, pp. 147 (1963).

Capitalism is a system based

Ross Elliot's picture

Capitalism is a system based upon the recognition of individual rights. Your genetic disposition has nothing to do with that. Capitalism has nothing to say about an individual's genetically-given capabilities. It says only that an individual has rights and that they are paramount.

Are "disadvantaged" individuals better off under capitalism? Of course. Capitalism is the system that "promotes the general welfare" to the greatest degree. It's the system that lifts everyone up, if not directly then certainly by association, eg. goodwill among people, a side-effect of which is charitable activity.

Even if there is some person

dvo's picture

Even if there is some person who's struggling to get by on his own in life, it's still pretty hard to justify using violence to force some innocent person (like me) to pay for him.

But my guess is that even the least talented people will be better off under laissez-faire capitalism. For one thing, as capital accumulates (for example, as factories save up and buy better and better machinery), the productivity of everyone increases dramatically. This should lead to higher wages for everyone, if you accept the idea that a laborer's salary tends to be approximately equal to the amount of value that he's capable of producing for the company. Welfare programs slow down the process of capital accumulation, and so they arguably make everyone less wealthy in the long run.

At least, that seems plausible to me. I'm still learning basic economics and figuring this stuff out. If anyone thinks what I said didn't make sense, please tell me.

There is a small percentage

Pete L's picture

There is a small percentage of the population that is born incapable of independent functioning, which consists mainly of the mentally disabled. Responsibility for taking care of these individuals ultimately lies with the parents - it is a risk that comes with procreation (although usually other family members will pitch to help). Private charity ought to pick up the slack for people who have been abandoned by their families.

Everyone else possesses the faculty of volition, and must be held to the same standard of personal responsibility.

There is one area you didn't

Landon Erp's picture

There is one area you didn't take into account. You can be geneticly predisposed to something negative and work past it... you can also have the best genetics in the world and let them rot there's still A LOT to say for volition.


It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

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