Lesson 5: Character Values and Capitalism

  Download Lesson 5 .doc file – includes all figures, source citations, and appendices


incentives rule of law standard of living
property rights economic growth

National Voluntary Content Standards in Economics

The background materials and student activities in lesson 5 address parts of the following national voluntary content standards and benchmarks in economics. Students will learn that:

Standard 4: People respond predictably to positive and negative incentives.

  • Responses to incentives are predictable because people usually pursue their self-interest.
  • Acting as consumers, producers, workers, savers, investors, and citizens, people respond to incentives in order to allocate their scarce resources in ways that provide the highest possible returns to them.

Standard 9: Competition among sellers lowers costs and prices, and encourages producers to produce more of what consumers are willing and able to buy. Competition among buyers increases prices and allocates goods and services to those people who are willing and able to pay the most for them.

  • The pursuit of self-interest in competitive markets generally leads to choices and behavior that also promote the national level of economic well-being.

Introduction and Lesson Theme

For those who believe that “man does not live by bread alone,” evaluating whether capitalism is “good” for the poor requires attention not only to people’s material well-being, but also to their moral well-being and dignity.  What are we to make of the criticism that capitalist pursuit of economic growth undermines ethical behavior in individuals and cooperative behavior in societies?  Lesson 5 provides analysis and research showing that capitalist institutions affirm human dignity, create incentives for cooperative interaction, and reward ethical behavior in markets.

  • “Capitalism advantages the poor because, for the first time in history, it takes the dignity and the worth of individuals seriously and gives all people, especially the powerless and dispossessed, a sphere of action that is immune from the control of others.”   — Prof. P.J. Hill, Wheaton College

Key Points

  1. Overview:
    • Lesson 1 guided students through the process of incorporating “poverty” and “capitalism” into their shared vocabulary.
    • By comparing predictions of economic theory to real-world examples on several continents, Lessons 2-4 presented the case that, within the appropriate institutional setting, we can answer “yes” to the question of whether capitalism is good for the well-being of the poor.
      • Appropriate capitalist institutions are the sources of economic growth, and economic growth is the only means of sustaining per capita increases in the goods and services necessary to raise standards of living for all.
      • Throughout history, most capitalist societies have promoted both explicit and implicit recognition of individual worth.
  2. Key Terms and Concepts:
    • Ethics are the generally accepted rules or standards governing people’s conduct
    • Incentives are rewards or punishments for behavior.
  3. Modern capitalism affirms human dignity by recognizing the right of self-ownership.
    • A crucial aspect of wealth-producing capitalism is its extension of the right of self-ownership to all members of society.
      • Through most of human history, it was only at the whim of the powerful that the poor held property, including the right to claim the fruits of their own labor. For all practical purposes, they owned nothing, not even themselves.
      • By assuming the autonomy of the individual, capitalism grants dignity to the poor. By affirming people’s right to their own labor, regardless of their position on the economic ladder, capitalism offers the poor the means to improve their own well-being.
    • The incentives for wealth-producing behavior that are inherent in self-ownership are an important force in raising standards of living, whether an individual’s labor is employed in his own endeavors or by someone else.
      • When individuals have the right to the output of their labor, they have a strong incentive to increase that output through effort and ingenuity.
      • On the other hand, workers may voluntarily use their labor in the productive efforts directed by others. In the absence of slavery or other coercion, this voluntary exchange of labor takes place only when workers are rewarded.
    • Historically, we find a clear link between the evolution of capitalist institutions and the spread of individual rights in Western Europe from 1500-1700.
      • Until the 16th century, slavery, feudal obligation, and/or conscription had been the expected and accepted fate of those in the lowest levels of society. By 1700 in the commercial societies of Europe, particularly England and the Netherlands, that was no longer the norm. People’s right to their own labor was widely recognized in practice and law.
      • The drive of the poor to gain control over their own labor continues into the modern era.
        • The boat people of Viet Nam, the protestors against apartheid in South Africa, and the many who risked their lives to flee communist regimes in the 20th century are some recent examples of the attractive power of capitalism’s promise of self-ownership.
  4. Self-ownership and choice impose responsibility on individuals.
    • The act of choice makes virtue and ethics meaningful standards of behavior. The idea that persons are capable of initiating action and that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions is fundamental to the moral conception of human life.
      • To speak of a “good” human action or an “ethical” position is to implicitly recognize that choice is necessary for virtue.
    • The poor, historically and in some places today, cannot be considered free agents who are responsible for their decisions because their general condition is one in which others control their alternatives and constrain their decision-making.
      • Without self-ownership, the poor are doubly hampered:
        1. They have neither the incentive nor much ability to make choices that enhance their long-term well-being, and
        2. they bear no responsibility for the condition of their lives.
    • Capitalism is unique among economic systems in that it fully recognizes the importance of choice and affirms the dignity that choice-making confers. The ethics underlying capitalism rest on the assertion that individuals are capable of choosing their conduct within a significant sphere of their lives (Machan 142).
  5. By providing strong incentives for individuals to become entrepreneurs, capitalism encourages diligence, initiative, and hard work.
    • The spirit of enterprise requires effort to maintain; thus the incentive of profit rewards diligence and discourages slothfulness.
      • Regardless of his or her individual character, the entrepreneur motivated by profit will practice virtuous behaviors like diligence, initiative, and hard work because those behaviors are associated with successful enterprise.
    • The Founders of the United States recognized the importance of enterprising behavior and were well aware that they were creating a system that encouraged economic initiative.
      • “Better, perhaps, than contemporary social scientists, the framers knew by experience the then existing alternatives [to a society built on free markets and secure property rights]: the pursuit of power and glory on the part of princes and nobles, the fanaticism of religions wed to state power and the sloth and passivity of an oppressed peasantry. The founders valued a distinctive moral virtue never earlier celebrated in the classical tables of virtues: enterprise; i.e., that quality of alertness and innovativeness of mind, attuned to practical reality in virtually every sphere of human activity.” (Novak, Free 133)
      • One of the first capitalists to articulate the behaviors of an admirable and productive life was Benjamin Franklin, a consummate entrepreneur, though perhaps better known as a statesman.

Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues (1771)

Temperance Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation
Silence Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoind trifling conversation.
Order Let all your things have places; let each part of your business have its time.
Resolution Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Frugality Make no espencse but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
Industry Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Sincerity Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly’ and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Justice Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Moderation Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Cleanliness Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
Tranquility Do not be disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Chastity Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury ofyour own or another’s peace or reputation.
Humility Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Source: Ziff, Larzer, ed. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and Selected Writings. San Francisco: Rinehart Press, 1969: 78-79.

  • It would be easy to think of Franklin’s list as nothing more than an historical distillation of common sense. However, his 13 virtues contrast markedly to those fostered by the social organizations that dominated history before the capitalist era and in those regions where, despite capitalism, slavery persisted .
    • (For a contrast of aristocratic, peasant and capitalist virtues, categorized by Dierdre McCloskey, see Appendix 1.)

6.  Markets reward ethical behavior.

  • Discussions of poverty (particularly among those who are not poor) often exhibit a sentimental belief in the existence of the “virtuous poor.” The notion seems to be that poverty imposes an admirable selflessness and that the climb out of poverty sadly robs people of that virtue.
    • This line of thinking continues by asserting that while capitalism may help people improve their well-being, it does so by teaching them to focus exclusively on their self-interest (read as “selfishness”), thereby robbing them of their better natures
  • Beginning with Adam Smith, economic philosophers have argued the opposite – that capitalism encourages ethical behavior. For example:
    • By making a reputation for trustworthiness a requirement for success, markets promote honesty
    • By generating substantial rewards for savings, markets discourage improvidence.
      • Capital markets provide information about where capital can best be used. Well-defined and enforced property rights enable individuals to take advantage of that information.
    • Smith based his belief in the power of capitalism to promote virtuous behavior on the existence of a feedback mechanism that operates in market exchange:
        • “Whenever commerce is introduced into any country, probity and punctuality always accompany it. These virtues in a rude and barbarous country are almost unknown. Of all the nations in Europe, the Dutch, the most commercial, are the most faithful to their word. . . . This is not to be imputed to national character, as some pretend. There is no natural reason why . . . a Scotchman should not be as punctual in performing agreements as a Dutchman . . . .  A dealer is afraid of losing his character, and is scrupulous in observing every engagement. When a person makes perhaps 20 contracts in a day, he cannot gain so much by endeavoring to impose on his neighbors, as the very appearance of a cheat would make him lose.” (1776 17
      • Modern research supports Smith’s observation that entrepreneurs’ awareness of the importance of their reputation in the market fosters an atmosphere of trust and ethical behavior in many settings.
        • While it is tempting to believe that these desirable behaviors result from government oversight and the threat of punishment, researchers Klein and Leffler find that good conduct is routinely sustained by markets even in the absence of government enforced sanctions.
          • Brand names, repeat dealings, and special pricing all indicate that sellers recognize that honesty and fair dealing in markets are rewarded. (See source listings for Klein and Leffler.
          • As far back as the Middle Ages, merchants adopted commercial codes of conduct, a practice that continues today through “better business” and chamber of commerce types of associations. (See “Ten Secrets to Success,” Appendix 1.)
    • Competitive markets punish firms and entrepreneurs who engage in practices, including unethical behavior, that are not productive.
      • The value of reputation and repeat dealings provides strong incentives for participants in markets to be honest and trustworthy
      • Contemporary American examples illustrate how markets punish unethical behavior, either in addition to or independently of legal sanctions.
        • Arthur Anderson, the venerable accounting firm, went out of business in the aftermath of the Enron scandal, despite the fact that it engaged in no illegal behavior. Its customers departed in droves on discovering the company’s apparent indifference to accepted standards of integrity.
          • The Enron scandals also induced many companies to adjust their own public reporting and accountability, even beyond the standards required by law, as competitors in the market scramble to keep and attract customers.

Case 1: The Market Enforces Airlines’ Responsibilities for Consumers’ Safety

To determine whether there is empirical evidence that companies suffer market losses if they fail in their responsibilities to their customers, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission economist Mark Mitchell and Michael Malony, Professor of Economics at Clemson University, investigated airline crashes. Given that the public trusts airlines to provide safe travel and that the airlines promise to do so, how does the market react when an airplane crashes and passengers are killed? Mitchell and Malony studied the effect of fatal crashes to see if the market does, indeed, punish companies for failure to uphold the public trust.
Consumers have an expectation about the likelihood of crashes; some crashes will cause consumers to escalate this expectation. When this happens . . . consumers will reduce their assessment of the amount of resources the airline devotes to safety. Consumer demand will shift to the left [decrease] with adverse profit effects. The capital [stock] market will recognize this and devalue the goodwill assets of the company.

Airline crashes are caused by a variety of factors including pilot error, improper maintenance, manufacturer error, air traffic control error, and hazardous weather conditions. Theoretically, crashes due to pilot error and improper maintenance are cases where consumers are most likely to reassess the probability of future crashes on that airline. These cases represent a failure to monitor effectively situations directly controllable by the company. Indeed, because airlines are expected to control malfeasance in these important areas, they invariably hire and train their own pilots and maintenance crews, as opposed to subcontracting for these services as they do for meal preparation. . . . Consequently, a negligent airline is more likely to suffer a loss in brand name capital than is a non-negligent carrier in the event of a crash” ( 331).

  • 56 airline crashes between 1964 and 1987, in which there was at least 1 passenger death.
  • Insurance rates in the years subsequent to the crash
  • Stock market prices immediately after the crash


  • The airline crashes were separated into 2 groups: 1) those caused by pilot error and therefore considered to be the fault of the airline, and 2) those in which the airline was judged, by the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the popular press, to be not at fault.
  • Insurance rates and the price of stock market shares in the aftermath of the crash were compared for the two groups of crashes.


  • At-fault crashes caused the airlines’ insurance premiums to increase 90 percent in subsequent years, compared to the premium in the year before the crash. No-fault crashes did not affect insurance premiums.
  • At-fault crashes consistently caused stock-market losses beyond those attributable to insurance premium increases. No-fault crashes resulted in no stock market reaction.

All told, the results are straightforward and support the notion that airline crashes cause consumers to reduce their demand for the services provided by negligent carriers. . . . [I]n those instances where there is the greatest likelihood that the air carrier is at-fault, there is a significantly negative stock market reaction to the event. However, in cases where there is less reason to suspect that the airline shirked its safety responsibilities, there is no adverse stock performance. . . . [O]ur results suggest the market is quite efficient at punishing airlines for at-fault crashes . . .” (354-55).

Source: Mitchell, Mark and Michael T. Maloney. “Crisis in the Cockpit? The Role of Market Forces in Promoting Air Travel Safety.” Journal of Law and Economics, vol. XXXII. October, 1989. 329-355.

7.  In addition to incentives that shape the behavior of individuals, entrepreneurs, and firms, capitalist institutions also incorporate incentives for social cooperation.

  • Criticism of capitalism points to competition as a harmful practice that undermines social cooperation by encouraging greed and divisiveness.
    • Defenders rejoin that economic competition is a natural and unavoidable result of scarcity. The necessity, the purpose, and the impersonal nature of market competition absolve it of the charge that it is socially disruptive.
      • Market competition is non-rivalrous. That is, its intent is to secure the scarce “prize” rather than to harm the competitor.
      • A quick scan of the lists of more- and less-capitalist economies adds the weight of evidence to the contention that market competition is one of the elements shared by open, civil societies.

Case 2: Competition vs. Rivalry: A Scholar’s Analysis

The writings of twentieth century scholar and political philosopher Hugh Acton (1908-1974), are highly regarded for their thoughtful analysis. In the forward to a collection of Acton’s essays on the morality of markets, editor David Gordon summarizes the balanced approach for which Acton is highly regarded:
“[Answering] . . . recent influential work . . . that displays a deep hostility to a market-based society, based in large part upon the supposed opposition between free markets and traditional conceptions of virtue . . . [Acton] . . . poses a strong challenge to such views by arguing for the fundamental compatibility between market-based social arrangements and traditional ideas about morality and virtue. . . . [While he] . . . does not share the optimistic view of some eighteenth-century writers that markets will always lead us to the best possible social conditions . . . . [he] rebuts the idea that engagement in markets is at odds with a concern for the well-being of others. (xi, xii)

Competition and Scarcity

Acton suggests that the basis for much opposition to market competition rests on the faulty assumption that “competition” and “cooperation” are necessarily antagonistic and mutually exclusive. In his own words:

Critics of competitive markets often contrast the competition that is essential to such markets with non-competitive cooperation. They believe that competition goes along with such characteristics as aggression, emulation, rivalry, conflict and strife, and that cooperation belongs with mutual aid, benevolence, modesty and harmony. In their view it follows, therefore, that economic competition is morally inferior to cooperative, non-competitive modes of commercial and industrial organization. (67)

Acton begins with the neutral definition from TheOxford English Dictionary:   “Competition:. . . the action of endeavouring to gain what another endeavours to gain at the same time.” He concludes that we must accept the necessity of competition, because the fact of scarcity means that people will inevitably find themselves in the situation of “endeavouring to gain what another endeavours to gain” (68). The important consideration then becomes not whether to compete, but what form of competition is best for society.  

Economic Competition Differs From Rivalry

Acton advances his argument that market competition is benign rather than destructive by noting that competition in markets isn’t personal. More importantly, he reminds us that its competition is not motivated by the morally objectionable desire to hurt others:

  • “The essence of competition is that each competitor strives after what he wants. The essence of rivalry is that each competitor strives to outdo the others. In competition, the failure of the losers is a consequence of the success of the winners, not something that the winners aim to secure. Rivals, on the other hand, set out to defeat each other as well as to win the prize.” (69-70)

Acton next addresses the charge that even if economic competition is not rivalry and therefore, not morally reprehensible, it opposes the harmonious cooperation that should be the goal of human societies.  He approaches this argument from two fronts:

  • First, he reminds us that organized cooperation has, historically, been for evil purposes as often as for good; the nature of the purpose is more important than the fact of the cooperation.
  • Second, he points out that cooperation that is not deliberate is nonetheless cooperation:
    • “[P]eople may cooperate without deliberately setting out to do so. This indeed is what generally happens when commodities are produced under competitive market conditions. In his Harmonies Économiques, Bastiat wrote of the mining, smelting, manufacturing, transporting, financing and storing involved in producing a cheap lamp for sale to a French workman. Firms and individuals all over the world had worked together in producing it, but no one man or body of men had organized all these processes so as to fit them together into a whole. . . . The mine owner, the miner, the metalworker, the carrier, each pursued his own ends, and without even considering the lamps that resulted, cooperated in producing them and getting them to the shops and to the purchasers. Competitive cooperation, therefore, is not a contradiction in terms. . . . Competition . . . is not opposed to cooperation . . . .” (96-7)

Source: Gordon, David and Jeremy Shearmur, eds. H.B. Acton – the Morals of Markets and Related Essays. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1993.

  • While cooperative social behavior certainly predates capitalism (some would even argue that people are inherently cooperative), capitalist institutions reinforce and build upon cooperative behavior.
    • Of primary importance is that wealth-creating exchange depends on mutually beneficial agreement.
      • Beginning with Adam Smith, economists have argued that people make themselves better off by providing the things that other people want and need.
        • “Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” (Inquiry 26-7)
      • Contemporary theologian and philosopher Michael Novak notes that markets reward those who focus on meeting the needs of others. To be successful, producers and sellers must adopt other-regarding behavior:
        • “Markets require that even those persons who are not particularly other-regarding in their personal lives become so in their market behavior. Since market exchanges are voluntary, and since the objects the purchaser might acquire are many, entry into the market obliges sellers to become to an important degree other-regarding.” (Free 106)
  • A long scholarly history of observations lends credence to predictions of theory. Capitalist societies have exhibited a marked propensity for social concern manifested in voluntary charitable associations, a positive spill-over from the institutionalization of the “other-regarding” behavior that markets foster.
    • Alexis de Tocqueville, writing about the United States in the 1830s commented that, far from being stand-offish and self-involved, Americans displayed a noticeable tendency to form and join associations:
      • “There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types – religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. Americans combine to give fetes, found seminaries, build churches, distribute books, and send missionaries to the antipodes. Hospitals, prisons, and schools take shape in that way.” (513)
  • Long before the advent of government programs, capitalist societies generally offered voluntary, private social safety nets for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.
    • In the U.S., the behavior Tocqueville noticed persisted; voluntary associations devoted to mutual aid and the solving of social problems have been common and active throughout our country’s history and into the modern day.
      • Scholar David Beito confirms that large numbers of fraternal societies existed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These associations were places of fellowship and community but also gave assistance in the case of job loss or illness, and provided death benefits. He estimates that at the turn of the century, an amazing 1/3 of the adult male population, including working class people, held membership in fraternal societies. (Beito 2)
    • Voluntary associations for the aid of those in need were common in other capitalist societies as well. David Green found that the “Friendly Societies” of Great Britain and Australia were the most important providers of social welfare in the latter part of the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth centuries (Green, 2002

8.  The above discussion of the positive elements of capitalism’s ethical framework does not propose to ignore the warnings raised by thoughtful observers.

  • Both the underlying assumptions about the nature of human beings and the structure of individual rights inherent in capitalism represent strong affirmations of the dignity of poor people, and clearly many of the feedback mechanisms of capitalism promote important virtues. However, it must be noted that in the absence of the appropriate social and cultural institutions, capitalist practices may negatively impact ethics.
    • Capitalist institutions are unsurpassed at increasing a society’s wealth and per capita standard of living, and are well suited for ordering the economic functions of society. However, they are not sufficient for other important components of human flourishing.
      • As numerous economists, philosophers, and theologians (not least of which was the moral philosopher, Adam Smith) have noted, a civil society requires not only an effective economic system, but also a moral-cultural system that holds people accountable where law is insufficient and gives meaning to human relationships beyond the marketplace.
  • Threats to sustaining an ethical society based on capitalist economic institutions include the potential for radical individualism and for divisiveness spawned by inequality.
    • Radical individualism: By virtue of massive wealth creation, markets increase available choices for individuals, reduce direct dependence upon others, and, through specialization, reduce shared experience (Hill 13-15).
      • This may cause people to think of themselves as autonomous individuals, constrained only by legal order rather than by ethical precept or responsibility to others.
        • Or, they may become alienated as technology, organizational size, and mobility require increased effort to maintain meaningful relationships to others in the productive process.
    • Radical individualism, if unchecked, has the potential to lead to greater and greater hedonism as people limit their lives’ meaning to the acquisition of material goods, and that is a threat to which capitalist societies must be alert, even though materialism is not unique to capitalism.
    • Radical individualism can also lead to the breakdown of the bonds of community, eroding a sense of civic duty and diverting attention away from the necessary components of fulfilling lives and the institutions – family, community, and faith – crucial to the transmission of moral culture (Hill).
  • Divisiveness spawned by inequality: While markets have proven, time and again, their ability to generate wealth and to initiate sustained increases in the per capita well-being, they do not, by themselves, guarantee an equal distribution of wealth.
    • Richard Ransom observes that capitalism has not significantly narrowed the gap between rich and poor in the United States and Western Europe. He points out, significantly, the lack of historical evidence that capitalism is associated with a long-term decline in economic inequality (5-6)
      • However, it is also clear from the historical record that alternatives to capitalism, either communism or other forms of command economies, which have strategically aimed at income equality, have succeeded only in ensuring equal poverty for the masses, while the political elite live in greater comfort.
      • It is tempting to argue that those at the bottom of the income scale in developed countries should concentrate on their relative well-being by world standards rather than on their poverty in comparison to their fellow citizens, but it is also clear that the perception of being relatively worse off, of being left behind, breeds a sense of unfairness that is destructive to civil society.
  • The persistence and vibrancy of modern developed nations is testimony to the fact that it is possible to successfully combat the discontents and moral temptations that may accompany modern capitalism.
    • Democratic institutions, a vibrant moral culture and tradition, and commitment to family and community can counter these effects, allowing a vigilant society to enjoy the benefits of economic growth.


Arguing that capitalism promotes ethical and cooperative behavior can be a tricky business, especially given the unfortunate penchant of many to regard all economics as a matter of opinion. Skeptics find the theoretical predictions of economists unconvincing, and even those who find them intellectually palatable may not believe that things work that way in the real world. This dilemma is made more confounding by the traditional approach to social science inquiry, which relies on observation and precludes experimentation. Recently, however, there has arisen a branch of economic research challenging the idea that “you can’t run experiments in economics.” Led by Vernon Smith, George Mason University professor of economics and 2002 Nobel laureate, Experimental Economics has become an increasingly vital branch of the discipline. It is of interest here for the insight it offers into the question of capitalism and ethical behavior.

The student activity that follows this outline simulates the “ultimatum game,” a well-established tool of experimental economics. Students participate in a simulated experiment and then examine the results of more controlled investigations. In the process, they discover what the experimentalists themselves have discovered: that self-interested behavior need not be selfish. People engaged in market transactions are often cooperative and generous – even when they know that no one is watching.

Thus, we return to the question with which we started this lesson: Is capitalism good for the poor if “good” means more than material well-being? If economic growth is the road to wealth, does it wind through an ethical morass? History and logic indicate that the institutions of capitalism don’t dictate that route, and may, in fact, work to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Appendix 1

Perspectives on Capitalistic Behavior and Virtues

In 1994, economic historian Deirdre McCloskey compiled lists of the contrasting virtues of aristocratic/peasant societies with the “bourgeois” virtues that emerged in capitalist societies.

Aristocrats Peasants Bourgeoisie
Pagan Achilles Pride of Being
Grace Subjective
Christian St. Francis Pride of Service
Dignity Objective
Secular Ben Franklin Pride of action

Even more recently, Investor’s Business Daily published “Ten Secrets to Success,” showing that Ben Franklin’s virtues are still at the heart of successful business endeavors.

Investor’s Business Daily’s “Ten Secrets to Success”

  1. How you think is everything: Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.
  2. Decide upon your true dreams and goals: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
  3. Take action: Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started now. Just do it.
  4. Never stop learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.
  5. Be persistent and work hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.
  6. Learn to analyze details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Focus your time and money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.
  8. Don’t be afraid to innovate: Be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
  9. Deal and communicate with people effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.
  10. Be honest and dependable; take responsibility: Otherwise, Numbers 1?9 won’t matter.

Source: “IBD’s 10 Secrets to Success.” Investor’s Business Daily March 29, 2001

Classroom Activities Lectures
The Ultimatum Game (from Is Capitalism Good for the Poor? Online for Teachers streaming flash video; ppt with voice-over )

Capitalism, Ethical Behavior, and Social Cooperation (32 min.)

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