It was an epistemological train wreck. To understand today’s appeal of socialism and why capitalism remains an “unknown ideal,” one need look no further than to the December 4 Munk Debate on capitalism held in Toronto. The motion: “The capitalist system is broken. It’s time to try something different.”
Speaking in favor of the motion were Yanis Varoufakis (economist, author, Greece’s former finance minister) and Katrina vanden Heuvel (editorial director and publisher of the Nation, Washington Post columnist). Speaking against the motion were Arthur Brooks(Harvard professor and author) and David Brooks (political commentator, New York Times columnist and author).
Despite their credentials, none offered even a subjective definition of capitalism, and despite being presented as debate opponents, all effectively spoke in favour of the motion. In fact, as noted in the National Post coverage of Dec 6, “Munk Debate opponents find common ground.”
That common ground was their mutual hatred of capitalism and what Ayn Rand described as “a hatred of the good for being the good.” All of the debaters praised capitalism’s role in lifting billions from poverty, yet all condemned capitalism with their next breath.