COVID-19 pandemic fraud about greed, not capitalism



I pay back a whole lot of attention to present-day functions, both equally domestic and global, consciously deciding on to consume a balanced eating plan of news sources that lean still left, suitable and in the middle. Even with striving to search at concerns from equally sides and be conscious of my own biases, I nonetheless frequently discover myself conversing back again loudly to news commentators.

A recent example of this was my reaction to a cable information story section on “capitalists” who cashed in on the pandemic and were being responsible for the fatalities of countless numbers of Us citizens.

That received my focus.

Just one these types of “capitalist” was Robert Stewart, who the commentator documented acquired $34.5 million in 2020 from a “no-bid” government deal to offer 6 million N95 masks to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The story is bundled in a new e-book, “Pandemic, Inc: Chasing the Capitalists and Burglars Who Bought Rich When We Obtained Ill,” by David McSwane, a reporter with ProPublica. Owning not however browse the reserve, I am not criticizing McSwane’s investigate or reporting. I am offended about the way his title associates “capitalists” and “robbers.”

Intrigued, I researched this story and learned that Stewart never collected the $34.5 million since he by no means sent any masks. He didn’t even have a mask producing plant. What he did was defraud the Tiny Small business Administration of $805,000 in Paycheck Safety Program bank loan income, the Financial Injury Catastrophe Bank loan program of $261,000 and the VA of $74,000 in medical and academic benefits. None of these points have been reported in the cable news tale.

The tale was proper about just one actuality: Stewart was a thief. The tale experienced nothing at all to do with an instance of capitalism long gone incorrect. It is about fraud and corruption — criminal offenses owning nothing to do with capitalism. At the rear of the fraud we obtain greed.

Greed and corruption are not tied to individual financial products. They are features of human nature that have been with us for millennia. Regardless of whether people are living below a capitalistic, socialistic or communist program — or in a Stone Age tribal group — greed is alive and effectively. Each human being encounters it in some way and on some stage. It has been deemed a person of the seven deadly sins considering the fact that the early times of the Christian church.

Selfishness and greed are located in all pieces of culture. So are generosity and altruism. All these qualities appear in some enterprise entrepreneurs and rich people today as effectively as some minimal-earnings workers. Human character, not an financial technique, is what lies behind profiteering, cheating and fraud — just as it lies behind offering and serving to other people.

For this cause, capitalistic nations around the world do not allow an “everything goes” setting, but function with a stage of federal government polices such as pure meals and drug legal guidelines and oversight of financial establishments. If capitalism is not functioning, it can be typically a outcome of federal government attempting to in excess of-manage the production of goods and expert services by way of improved polices. This usually takes away just one of the essential components of capitalism, which involve independence and level of competition.

In Stewart’s circumstance, the main difficulty was the govt, throughout the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, executing an conclude-operate about acquiring aggressive bids from comprehensively vetted suppliers. A true competitive marketplace success in improved merchandise and products and services and decreased charges.

What capitalism supplies, in a way other financial units do not, is a approach of distributing confined assets as efficiently as attainable, as the dynamics of the free market place and levels of competition push down rates and improve high quality. Capitalism delivers much more alternatives than other financial units to carry people today out of poverty.

In order to flourish, capitalism requires freedom. In get to prosper in the lengthy expression, it also — as any productive organization proprietor or other capitalist could testify — calls for virtue and integrity.

Rick Kahler is president and proprietor of Kahler Financial of Fast Metropolis.

This article initially appeared on Watertown General public Feeling: Capitalism involves opposition, freedom, virtue, integrity to do well

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