Archive for November 4th, 2012

The other day I came across a 14-year old article written by the former Harvard professor Robert Nozick for the Cato Policy Report. It attempts to give a simple explanation for why many intellectuals oppose capitalism:

Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism

Intellectuals feel they are the most valuable people, the ones with the highest merit, and that society should reward people in accordance with their value and merit. But a capitalist society does not satisfy the principle of distribution “to each according to his merit or value.”

The intellectual wants the whole society to be a school writ large, to be like the environment where he did so well and was so well appreciated. By incorporating standards of reward that are different from the wider society, the schools guarantee that some will experience downward mobility later.

Those at the top of the school’s hierarchy will feel entitled to a top position, not only in that micro-society but in the wider one, a society whose system they will resent when it fails to treat them according to their self-prescribed wants and entitlements. The school system thereby produces anti-capitalist feeling among intellectuals.

The article is much in line with some of my previous posts on Thomas Sowell’s discussion of intellectuals¬†or of elitist thinking.

They have every incentive to believe they are brighter than other people, and know more than other people because they have been told that all their lives.

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