Wednesday, 01 September 2010 23:11
by Olavo de Carvalho
When I say that capitalist democracy can hardly survive without a culture of traditional values, many Brazilian classical liberals, hung up on economics and devoted to the magic omnipotence of the market, assume an expression of horror, of scandal, as if they were facing a heresy, an intolerable aberration, an iniquitous and morbid thought that should never occur to a normal member of the human race.
In so doing, they are only showing their complete ignorance about capitalist economic thought. That modest opinion of mine, in fact, is not mine. It only reflects and updates concerns that have been tormenting the great theorists of capitalism since the beginning of the twentieth century.
One of the first to express it was Hillaire Belloc, in his memorable 1913 book, The Servile State, reprinted in 1992 by Liberty Fund. Belloc’s thesis is simple, and the facts have not ceased to bear it out: unleashed from moral, cultural, and religious control, and elevated to a supreme and autonomous dimension of existence, the market economy destroys itself, entering into symbiosis with political power and ending up transforming free labor into servile labor, private property into a temporary concession from a voracious and controlling state.
Tracking the origins of the process, Belloc noted that, ever since the Tudors’ plunder of the Church’s goods, every new attack on religion had been accompanied by one more wave of state attempts upon private property and free labor.