[Video] Yaron Brook on the Morality of Capitalism

On October 21st Dr. Yaron Brook gave a Livestreamed talk on the Morality of Capitalism from the University of Exeter in Great Britain. As always, Yaron is passionate and informative about capitalism. If you have listened to other talks by him much of the initial talk will be familiar, though still worth watching as the formulations always vary a bit, but the Q&A section is always different because each audience brings different contexts to the conversation.

One particular question (located at 1:13:30 of the video) I found particularly interesting, as it illustrated one of the points Yaron makes in many of his talks including this one. This point is that actually understanding self-interest is hard and takes an effort of though and is not simply doing whatever you feel like doing. A student asked, and I am paraphrasing, if there are not some areas where the government must intervene rather than just talking about “property rights.” One of the examples given was something to the effect that “in a setting such as this, it is in all our self-interest to simply shout out our questions at the same time in order to try and get our particular question answered.” This is a perfect illustration of the principle that acting on whim, what you want in the moment, is not always (probably not often) in your actual self-interest. If everyone shouts out their questions with no rhyme or reason two things will happen. First Yaron, in this instance, would not be able to understand the question and second, even if he could understand the question, no oneĀ could hear his answer while they are shouting out their own questions. The end result would be that nothing is learned which is hardly in anyone’s self-interest. This is analogous to the examples Yaron gave in the main part of the talk about lying, cheating and stealing are not actually in your self-interest even though it may appear so (i.e. you get what you want.)

The true self-interest would be served by having some rules about how questions would be asked and, as Yaron mentioned, those who broke those rules by interrupting would be removed. Working out these rules would take an effort of thought.