They say we are self-interested, we’re always out to win.
Always individualistic, though it used to be a sin.
They say we need free markets, the better to compete,
and the economy will flourish if we only think of greed.
This is Economics 101, the way it’s taught today. Not a word about nature, community, caring, sharing, or cooperation.
During the mid 19th century, advances in science, democracy, education, literacy, public healthcare, labour unions, technological breakthroughs, banking, and the power of fossil fuels to generate rapid economic growth certainly made it seem that after ten thousand years of economic stagnation the competitive pursuit of profit was improving life for all. In the 1760s it took eighteen hours of human labour to transform a pound of cotton into cloth. By the 1860s it took one and a half hours. Today, it probably takes five seconds.