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February 19, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-19

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OPINION

Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Thursday, February 19, 1981

The Michigan Daily

.I

History, ethics,

capitalism
O
both property - and anyway, the laborer is
always "free" to decline the bargain and not
eat, just as the capitalist is free to decline and

Vol. XCI, No. 120

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

1$

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

= 4

.Bombs,. Jets,
HE UNIVERSITY
Regents will be faced;
with a familiar dilemma.
today: They must again
debate the issue of social ...
responsibility in investmen-
ts. The Regents will consider
at their monthly meeting this .--
afternoon an official recom-
mehdation that the Univer~
sity make large investments
in the defense industry.
The recommendation, pre-
sented to the Regents by they
University's Office for Financial Af-
fairs, points out that the defense in-
dustry will likely enjoy large profits
under the Reagan administration. In
effect, it suggests that the University
capitalize on the growing Cold War
atmosphere. Yet, students and faculty
members who oppose the proposed in-
vestments as morally objectionable
are beginning to mobilize to fight the
recommendation.
The entire controversy revives
images of the ongoing 'debate over
divestment from corporations that do
business in South Africa.
The basic point in question in both
cages is whether the University has a
responsibility to withhold its support
from institutions whose practices are
noteonsistent with its academic ideals.
Should the University support in-
stitutions that promote racial injustice
or world tension, even if they are sound
investments? Cleay, the answer is a
fir , no."
The Regents have already
acknowledged that they have a social
responsibility in investments by their
endorsement of the Sullivan Principles
as a guide for corporate behavior in
South Africa. The Regents have agreed
,that the University will maintain in-
vestments only in those corporations
that respect certain basic human
rights in South Africa. Yet, they have
been unwilling to make the full com-
mitment to social responsibility by

and Regents

Congratulations to Mark Gindin for
recognizing that the crucial question about
the "free market" is one of morality. Unfor-
tunately, the naively misguided rhetoric of
his other twenty paragraphs reveals a distur-
bing ignorance of ethics, history and reality.
Ethics: A straight and rather narrow line of
ethical thought leads from Thomas Hobbes'
famous statement that "the value or worth of
a man is, as of all other things, his price -
that is to say, so much as would be given for
the use of his power . ." through John
Locke's defense of private property on the
grounds that God gave the earth "to the use of
the industrial and rational" through David
Hume's praise of the "spirit of avarice and
industry" which "arouses men from their in-
dolence and, presenting the gayer and more
opulent part of the nation with objects of
luxury which they never before dreamed of,
raises in them a desire of a more splendid
way of life. . . "to Jeremy Bentham's view
that human happiness consists in the intensity
and duration of pleasure and that, "each por-
tion of wealth is connected with a correspon-
ding portion of human happiness."
HERE ARE THE official ethics of "free
enterprise" that supposedly self-balancing
Hobbesian "war of each against 'all." The
philosophers of free enterprise generally
acknowledged the individual blows dealt out
in this war to be immoral, but they bought
Bernard De Mandeville's "Fable of the Bees"
that private vices add up to public virtues. In
other words, two wrongs don't make a right,
but a thousand daily ones do. Even Adam
Smith (that infamous bleeding-heart liberal)
faced up to the fundamental evils of free con-
petition and discovered the obvious process
that justifies them: an invisible hand!
Contrast all this to Immanuel Kant (hardly
a "radical") who advocated as the supreme
ethical principle that each human being be
treated as an end in him- or her-self, rather
than as a means to selfish ends. Kant ex-
plicitly opposed this ethics of "dignity" to
those of "market price" -"that which con-
stitutes the sole condition under which
anything can be an end in itself has not merely
a relative value - that is, a price - but has
an intrinsic value - this is, dignity."
Had Gindin any acquaintance with ethical

theory, he would know that Kant's principle
formed the basis of Marx's early criticism of
capitalism: that market relations reduce
human beings to objects in each others' eyes,
mere means to personal ends. Should Gindin
care to test the truth of this leftist froth, I
suggest he shop for a used car, look for a job
or rent an apartment.
History: Gindin forgot to credit the
"morality" of free enterprise for two and a
half centuries of slave trading, the plunder of
India, the destruction of North and South
American Indian cultures, the great leap into
modernity brought to the peoples of the South
Pacific and Southeast Asia by plantation
work and tuberculosis, the liberation of
European peasants into coal mines and
sweatshops - the great lord Productivity
kept on high by children laboring under
physical abuse, and other great acts of
violence committed on an unprecedented*
global scale, all according to the most
careful, rational calculations of costs and
benefits.
AT THE TURN of the 19th century the
Lutheren minister Johann Herder warned his
Continent: "the more we Europeans invent
methods and tools with which to subjugate the
other continents, the more we defraud and
plunder them, the greater will be their final
triumph over us. We forge the chains with
which they will bind us." Prophetic? Not if we
let Reagan build enough neutron bombs to
keep taking five times our share of the earth's
resources.
Reality: Gindin writes "capitalism is the
freedom to do with your property, or capital,
as you wish . . . " There's just one small
problem: some people have capital and
others don't. The philosophers of free enter-
prise got around this by declaring, like John
Locke, that property includes "that which
men have in their persons as well as goods."
With one's time on earth, one's thoughts, and
one's strength as "property," everyone then
owned some.
So when a person with money offered to buy
the labor of someone without money, it was
fair and moral because money and "labor" are

By Gary Gregg

play golf.
THE REALITY IS that agreements
negotiated between people with dispropor-
tionate power are inherently unfair and im-
moral. The reality is that it is unfair to get
wealth without working for it, and that this is
the very first principle of free enterprise-
that beneath the mystifying rationalization
that one's money will somehow magically
"grow" or "go to work for you," people who
have money get more without working.
Where does it come from? From the brains
and sweat of people who do work. Of course
"the economy" won't function without "in-
vestors," but that's precisely the point: free
enterprise won't work without. systematic,
legally-sanctioned immorality and (do I dare
say it?) exploitation. The most remarkable
reality of all is that the rich and their
politicians manage to convince most of the
public that it's the poor rather than the rich
who are immoral for getting money they
haven't worked for.
Morality: The philosophers of froe enter-
prise sit patiently on the shelves of the
Graduate Library. I suggest Gindin read
them sometime. He might also glimpse at
Rousseau: "The first man who,'having en-
closed a piece of grand bethought himself of
saying, 'This is mine,' and found people sim-
ple enough to believe him, was the real foun-
der of civil society. From how many crimes,
wars, murders, from how many horrors and
misfortunes might not any one have saved
mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling
up the ditch, and crying to his fellows:
'Beware of listening to this imposter; you are
undone if you once forget that the fruits of the
earth belomg to us all, and the earth itself to
nobody."
So, "there is not anything more moral than
capitalism," as Gindin tells us? How
about stealing candy from babies?
Gary Gregg is a graduate student
working toward a Ph.D. in psychology.

A

divesting completely from those cor-
porations that help support the racist
regime in South Africa.
The question of social responsibility
is also the central issue in the debate
over investment in the defense in-
dustry. Certainly, the five companies
named in the recommendation would
likely yield high returns. And, in the
present state fiscal crisis, highly
profitable investments are crucial to
maintaining the University's financial
stability. But good economic oppor-
tunities must not blind the Regents to
social injustice or dangerous
militarism.
The companies named in the Univer-
sity report are five of the United
States' largest defense contractors':
General Dynamics, McDonnell-
Douglas, Northrop, Sanders
Associates, and Loral corporations.
These corporations are not merely
marginally involved in the U.S.
weapons build-up, they are central to
it.
The University report, in a corporate
profile of General Dynamics, states:
"General Dynamics, the nation's
largest defense contractor, has
perhaps the best business mix within
the industry. . . The company's prin-
cipal defense programs include the F-
16 fighter aircraft, the Trident ballistic
missile submarine, the SSN-668 attack
submarine, cruise missiles, and a wide
variety of tactical missiles and gun
systems."
The University must
completely divorce itself
from all institutions that
violate or threaten basic
human rights or the ideals
of peace. The Regents can
take a first step toward
that goal today by prom-
zptly dismissing the
recommended investmen-
ts in defense as socially
and morally irresponsible.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

No defense investments

To the Daily:
A report prepared for the
Regents' February meeting by
the Office on Financial Affairs,
recommends that the University
invest, in five leading arms
manufacturers, noting that
defense industries appear to be
"entering a period of dynamic
growth." The lucky corporations
are Loral, Sanders Associates,
General Dynamics, McDonnell-
Douglas, and Northrup.
"Dynamic growth" indeed.
The United States currently
spends half its government
dollars on national "defense."
President Reagan has added hef-
ty increases to Jimmy Carter's
military budget this year and
next.
During the next five years the
United States will spend well over
$1 trillion on an already bloated
military. The skyrocketing
budget comes at a time when
already under-financed schools,
health programs, welfare and aid
to cities are being slashed.
,General Dynamics, McDon-
nell-Douglas, Northrop, Sanders,
and Loral have nothing to lose in
this situation. General Dynamics
is currently the number one arms
contractorsfor thegovernment,
with over sixty percent of its $4
billion revenues coming from
arms sales. General Dynamics is
the major contractor for two key
components of the U.S. first-
strike nuclear capability - the
Trident ballistic submarine and
the cruise missile.
Number two and trying hard is
McDonnell-Douglas, which builds
an array of fighter aircraft for
the U.S. and foreign armies. Nor-
throp, Sanders, and Loral are
leading manufacturers of elec-
tronic warfare devices. Northrop
is a subcontractor for the MX
missile system. All these cor-
porations receive from 45-75 per-
cent of their annual revenues
from arms sales.
The military arms race looms
over the future of this planet.
Surely everyone is aware of the
tremendous destructive
capability of the U.S. nuclear ar-
senal. What is not advertised
widely is that the United States is
well on its way to developing a

but to implement a first strike
capability. Witness also the new
"acceptability" of nuclear war
among the top military and
political establishment.
The threat of nuclear war is
compounded by the very
damaging effect that military
spending has on the U.S.
economy. Every year billions of
tax dollars flow from the Nor-
theast into Sunbelt military in-
dustries which are capital-
intensive, not labor-intensive.
Jobs which are created by
military spending are relatively
few compared to the jobs created
by the same amount spent on,
say, education. In addition,
missiles, tanks, and guns are
dead end products; they do not
recirculate through society,
bringing economic and social
benefits to people.
The University must recognize
its commitment to the peace and
economic prosperity of the
world's people. Guns endanger
everyone, and profit only a few.
We ask the University not to in-
vest in military industries now or
at any time in the future,

-- ----------------
- I ..THE MILWAIUKEE JOURNAL

-Marcia Barton; Janet Czar-
necki, Steven DeGregorio; Lisa
Dershin;
Matt Drennan; Joel Epstein;
Dale Ewart; Jonathon Feiger;
Leslie Fried;
Daniel Frohling; Wade Han-
nah; Kyle Heger; Carol Isen;

Ken Jordan;
Barney Pace; DavidI
Tom Robinson; Jay
Sharon Silver;
John Steinbach; Tin
Danny Uselmann; Dia
ner.
-February 18

Reiberl;
Rorty ;
m Teig;
ne Wan-

Women unsafe in Ann Arbor

9

To the Daily:
We've said it once, we're
saying it again, and we'll con-
tinue to repeat ourselves until ef-
fective solutions are permanently
implemented: Ann Arbor is
unsafe, especially for women!
In, an attempt to eliminate
misconceptions regarding sexual
assault, various organizations
have plastered the city with
statistics to illustrate the extent
of the safety problem in this city.
Yet increasing public
awareness of the safety problem
is just not enough. Now that the
facts have been laid out, we are
faced with an even greater un-
dertaking. We must demand, and
work to create permanent, city-
wide solutions.
In November, the Public In-
terest Research Group in
Michigan Women's Safety Force
presented its proposal for all
night Dial-A-Ride to the Ann Ar-

dedicated to this project, and
have every intention of seeing it
through until it is actually im-
plemented.
We realize that public support
is an absolute necessity in our ef-
forts, and therefore encourage
community members to join us at
the next AATA board meeting on
Wednesday, Feb. 18. Board
meetings are held at City Hall at
7:30 p.m. A solidarity march to
the meeting will begin at 6:30
p.m. on the same evening,
leaving from the fourth floor of

the Michigan Union.
If you're tired of walking in
fear at night, tired of hearing
there's not enough money to
provide adequate security, and
tired of having to wait for
solutions, join the Women's
Safety Force in their efforts on
the 18th. Safety at night is just
around the corner, but only if we
work for it collectively now!
-Chris Pennock
PIRGIM Women's Safety Force
February 18

MSA hard at work

To the Daily:
I would like to commend your
lead story coverage of the
Recreational Sports budget
review committee (Feb. 18). I
was particularly encouraged by
the large student and faculty tur-
nout at this session.

tirelessly to inform MSA of the
potential threats to Recreational
Sports. He sihilarly worked
diligently to motivate the Univer-
sity community to speak out on
behalf of these programs. His and
the other's efforts should be duly

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