The TTP1 is on a bit of a Adam Smith kick today, thanks to Stephen West of Philosophize This, who got me thinking on the subject as he usually does with his podcast. The Philosophize This! Podcast is Great, and I recommend it to anyone, but especially to fellow thunkers who like philosophy but don't care for long treatises on metaphysics like you generally get in any philosophy class numbered over 101. I would suggest going to Philosphizethis.org and listening to the two Part Adam Smith Podcast by clicking here.
This post will make more sense in the context.
Who are you willing to make money off of?
You are either exploiting others or you are being exploited by others.
If you have a job you're being exploited. Your employer is making money off of you.
If you buy stuff you saw on TV you are being exploited.
In that sense, it's inevitable you will be involved with exploitation the only question is will you benefit from it or just let others benefit off of you?
The question then becomes: Who are you willing to make money off of?
This could mean who are your customers?
Or who are your employees?
If you know whom you profit from, self interest suggests you will take care of them so that you can continue to profit by them.
This is a difficult question to ask because it goes against much of our values as individuals and society. We are not supposed to take advantage of others. We are supposed to work hard to earn our money.
But at some point you have to ask what people can do for you, instead of what you do for others?
We all must ask.
And all must answer.
Because if exploitation is inevitable and ubiquitous (which it is in capitalism) then knowing the answer to the question helps you protect those you profit off of against harm.
It is those that avoid or refuse to answer the question "Who am I willing to make money off of?" that cause the most harm to those whom they exploit.
The myth of the self sufficient "self made man" justifies the disparity of prosperity in capitalistic society. Adam Smith is often the reference point that this justification is traced back to, and rightfully so, as he certainly championed self interest as not only a positive but as the catalyst necessary to drive economics intrinsically.
But kudos to Stephen West for pointing out Smith's theory of specialization which mandates systemic cooperation to achieve a natural balance, a symbiosis if you will. This, in the TTP1's opinion, is an aspect of Adam's Smith's work that has been purposefully downplayed or at least misinterpreted by the captains of industry and history in general. Let's not repeat that mistake moving forward.