Mr. Clive Crook left The Financial Times for Bloomberg View, both house organs of Capitalist Apologetics. His regular readers won’t be disappointed in his latest essay at Bloomberg titled ‘Are You Rich? No Need to Apologize‘ . It takes the form of dressing down one Mr. Anand Giridharadas, a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, for having the temerity to address a pressing question, about the whole endeavor, of the ‘Aspen Consensus’:
The Aspen Consensus, I believe, tries to market the idea of generosity as a substitute for the idea of justice. It says: make money in all the usual ways, and then give some back through a foundation, or factor in social impact, or add a second or third bottom line to your analysis, or give a left sock to the poor for every right sock you sell.
The Aspen Consensus says, “Do more good” — not “Do less harm.”
The Crook Rule is never bite the hand that feeds you, with the help of ‘Socialists’ as the root cause of the problem. Think of Occupy Wall Street and the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders and other manifestation of dissatisfaction with Capitalism, as practiced in the watershed of the utter failure of it’s Neo-Liberal iteration.
I’ve always thought of Aspen as the playground of respectable bourgeois chatterers like David Brooks and Arianna Huffington, among other intellectual personalities who are inductees into the pantheon of American Fraudulence. But Mr. Anand Giridharadas had the independence of mind to question the whole institutional endeavor of Aspen, or at least something resembling it. With the proviso that anyone delivering a Ted Talk, or writing for the New York Times is completely house trained!
In his desperation Mr. Crook resorts to my favorite Panglossian Steven Pinker and his ‘Better Angels of Our Nature’:
Steven Pinker’s “Better Angels of Our Nature” shows that capitalism and trade helped to end humankind’s saga of perpetual war.
“Intellectual elites,” Pinker says, “have always felt superior to businesspeople, and it doesn’t occur to them to credit mere merchants with something as noble as peace.” Giridharadas says, as though it’s self-evident: “We know that enlightened capital didn’t get rid of the slave trade.” Actually, I think you could argue that it did — but even if that’s going too far, advances in social justice were enabled by rising prosperity, and rising prosperity was the product of capitalist development.
Then there is this puzzling rhetorical frame for the dissidence of Mr. Giridharadas, perhaps a reference to his place of residence? A celebrated borough of New York City.
All I’m claiming is that the presumption of capitalist immorality — that set of shared and largely unexamined assumptions we’ll call the Brooklyn Consensus — is lazy.