22 January 2013
He Said It: Collingwood
"Yet these utopian dreams, these rebellions against the sordid aims of the economic life, against the worship of gain and the acquiescence in a competitive system, are not wholly to be condemned. They are both foolish and vicious if they proceed from a desire to enjoy wealth without winning it in the open market. If people who cannot get as high a price as they want for their goods or labor complain that only a ruthless competitive system prevents them from getting more, they are merely throwing a cloak of hypocritical moralizing over their own disappointed greed. The competitive system of which they complain is just the fact that they, and people like them, want all they can get. But the economic life is not everything; and it is right to protest against the assumption that buying cheap and selling dear make up the whole duty of man. Indeed, a renunciation of purely economic aims is the essence, negatively defined, of the moral life."
--R. G. Collingwood, "Economics as a Philosophical Science," International Journal of Ethics 36, 2 (January 1926): 162-185