Summary of Three Stories About Capitalism

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Does capitalism prey on the downtrodden or provide a path to economic freedom? This debate has pitted liberals against conservatives for decades. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt posits that both narratives offer some truths. His eloquent, entertaining argument proffers a definition for capitalism that may bridge the chasm between both sides of the political debate and create common ground for progress. Though Haidt’s solution is a touch idealistic, getAbstract recommends his worthy report to politicians, business executives, and economic and social reformists.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.



A “tame problem” – such as a cholera outbreak – is a “definable, understandable and consensual” issue. Specialists can agree on the cause of and solution to the crisis. Conversely, to address a “wicked problem” – such as climate change – people rely on their subjective “moral and political values” just to define the issue. As a result, experts struggle to reach a consensus on the cause of or solution to the crisis. The polarization of American politics is a wicked problem. Individuals allow their political outlooks to color their views on all matters. If you know an economist...

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