On the heroic nature of capitalist societies

From Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue i learned that we might still interpret our modern lives on Aristotle’s terms, examining the final goods of our social practices and developing the virtues that sustain them — but also that the heroic world and agonistic social structure that antedated and informed the Nichomachean Ethics has been irrevocably lost: “Nobody now can become a Hector or a Gisli.” Though here i must differ, for was Steve Jobs not a contemporary Achilles? Did he not posses all the latter’s virtues? Was he not also courageous, powerful, obstinate, wealthy, successful, and almost invincible? Did he not carry Apple corp. into a stunning victory over all its enemies? Is he not a mighty hero of our age?

I submit that the social structures of the Illiad or Mahabharata are to be found little changed in the economic realm of corporations, the warring city-states of our times. And the men and women who fight on their behalf embody all the virtues that we now respect and crave: wealth, power, cunning, courage, wisdom, generosity, single-mindedness, obstinacy, pride and glory. MacIntyre, the Marxist turned Thomist, was right to see our world in terms of practices, goods and virtues; only those practices are capitalist, the highest goods power & wealth, and the virtues far from Christian.

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3 Comments to “On the heroic nature of capitalist societies”

  1. Okay. So what do you conclude from the survival of the heroic ideals, despite all transformation? What is the point and your point, beyond your disagreement with the author? Gruß.

  2. No worries, no hurry. I was just interested into reading more of your thoughts. Right. Step by step. Sorry for thereby making the impression of being impatient! Question marks are not pressing if raised in friendship or admiration.

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