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Can capitalism exist in a world of pure morality?

Barry Schwartz discusses the concept of shifting our cultural focus onto strengthening moral will and moral skill, and entering an era of true wisdom. An obvious comparison he makes is to the ways that corporations abuse the current system of rules and incentives to get what they want. This idea brought up a thought in my head, can capitalism survive in a world of moral strength and character? Does competition thrive when doing the right thing comes before profits?


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    Dec 1 2011: Evolution is about adapting to changing conditions on a NEED basis (defensive action) whilst capitalism is about conquering material wealth on a WANT basis (offensive action). The two are different.
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      Dec 2 2011: Explain why evolution is defensive, and why capitalism is offensive, please.
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        Dec 2 2011: The evolution of species happens on a need basis as it is a reaction to the environmental changes. In a capitalist system you are encouraged to acquire wealth that you do not need, hence they are different. However your earlier comment got me thinking :)
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          Dec 2 2011: I don't understand what you mean, or I disagree.
          For me, both are about the selection of opportunities. Trial and error. There is no offensive or defensive here. A genetic variation or a buisness variation are either selected or dismissed. Moskitos and McDonnald's thrive for the same reasons.
          The genes in a moskito are selected if they cause their environment to make copies of them.
          Same with McDonnald's, a BigMac is selected if it causes people to buy it, which causes it to be replicated.
          BigMacs and Moskito genes are replicated a lot, hence the success of both McDonnald's and Moskitos.

          "Wealth you do not need" is not explanatory, since wealth is always claimed to be needed. Either to survive, or to create employment, or to buy luxury items, or to gamble on wallstreet...
          "On a need basis" is a misconception. Living organisms take what they can, not what they need. If a animal is well fed with a minimum effort, true, it will not waste energy on killing more prey. But it will wisely invest this energy in getting its genes replicated more than those of rivals. If trees could afford to spread more seeds, it surely would, since it'd be a selective advantage.

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