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by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

There are quite a few people who are capitalist in their practice and lifestyle — they have possessions, a house, car, job or business, and they seek more — yet they don’t call themselves capitalists or acknowledge that it could be capitalism that brought them their goodies and lifestyle. They may even denounce capitalism. They seem to have some guilt complex about their good fortune, their abundance.

What is this all about, this guilt? Is it a carry-over from religious teaching, where guilt and fear was taught at least as much as love and appreciation?

Certainly in our schooling, and particularly the economic education that is taught, is not appreciative of capitalism. Money is somehow denigrated; prosperity is not appreciated and valued. Government is advocated as the panacea for any perceived wrongs or imbalances or unfairness. Is this lack of appreciation of the underlying reasons for financial prosperity and human progress due to lack of awareness and education of its underlying causes?

Hollywood too does a number on capitalists, on business, on the moral and ethical attributes of wealth and prosperity.

When I talk with Australians who travel to poor places, they only see charity as the solution. I make a habit of enquiring about the property rights that are present, or absent, in the poor places. Seldom is this sine qua non of prosperity — property rights! — on their radar. And thus, as they don’t see the cause of the lack of prosperity, they may well feel guilty. They can become guilty capitalists.

This guilty capitalist syndrome seems particularly prevalent in the west. The Chinese, and other Asians, rejoice in wealth and prosperity and work hard to attain it. Wealthy Asians may be generous philanthropists; they are also likely to be keen capital preservationists, not feeling guilt about having gained wealth or of preserving it for future generations. The Chinese have recently been exhorted to become and celebrate wealth.

Most people become wealthy through honest work, through re-investment, through diligent and intelligent application and need feel no guilt about their fortunate condition. Inheritors of wealth, when they have not earned it themselves, may well not appreciate the work and application that has gone into its acquisition so these “trust baby” types may well feel a bit of guilt. Of course, they can always appease this guilt affliction by giving their money away.

Often we feel OK about our own financial situation, but we have a bit of envy towards those who have more. We may denounce the more wealthy as being “filthy rich”, or even “obscenely rich”. Even if we don’t really want to be as rich as the bloke in the big house on the hill, we may feel some resentment towards his display of wealth and are ready to heap a bit of opprobrium on him and his Ferrari, and think that he should feel guilty for having “so much” … so much more than I have, or so much more than he “really needs”.

And the bloke on the hill with the Ferrari may himself feel a bit of guilt, when really he has done nothing wrong except offend the sensibilities of and cause some envy with his neighbours.

The celebrity philanthropists probably carry a fair bit of guilty capitalist syndrome, and like to display their generosity for all to see. A psychologist could explain this compulsion to be flamboyant rather than anonymous in the mind and actions of the celebrity philanthropists.

Oh well, if the guilty capitalists can get to feel less guilty by becoming celebrity philanthropists, long may they live and give!

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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