The Foolishness of Economism

On Facebook recently, some friend of mine claimed that philanthropy is "The least socially beneficial thing billionaires do with their money."

The view that what people want is equivalent to what is beneficial for them is a complete divergence from the classical-Christian understanding of the human being, as well as from that of other major traditional understandings, such as that of Buddhism. If we are mired in the world of doxa, or sin, or samsara, we constantly want what is not good for us, and what is good for us we do not want. Someone who made their billions marketing products to people that harm them, whether physically or spiritually, has not done anything socially beneficial at all, despite the fact that everyone who bought those products did so "voluntarily."

If a person marketed tobacco her whole life, and then opened a soup kitchen, it is a symptom of derangement to claim that the latter is less socially beneficial than the former, rather than a sign of economic savvy.


  1. It's pretty typical of ideologues to prefer strained deductions from dogma to what's staring you in the face. But some people make the opposite claim too, and ignore the wealth created by some billionaires. If you make some expensive and slow process fast and cheap you not only get rich, you enrich the world.
    The mistake is thinking you can tell with your eyes closed.


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