August 23, 1991 Video Collection

Douglas Rasmussen on the Morality and Role of Capitalism

Rasmussen discusses the importance of individual knowledge, not just for market success, but also for proper moral judgment.

Douglas Rasmussen is a professor of philosophy at St. John’s University. In this lecture given at an International Society for Individual Liberty conference in 1991, he introduces subjective value to the general concept of human flourishing. He references F.A. Hayek’s article “The Use of Knowledge in Society” to make the argument that a familiarity with and respect for concrete particular knowledge is necessary not only for market economies to emerge but is also important when applied to the human matrix of decision-making for leading a moral and fulfilled life. Basically, each individual and each individual alone has the particularized local knowledge to make the determinations about which proportions of competing value classes will lead to fulfillment in their lives; thus there is no ‘one size fits all’ standard of happiness that can be provided by prescriptive institutions.