In my recent “Ask The Harvard MBA” post on “Ahead of the Curve,” I made the following statement:
“Capitalism has helped more people in India than Mother Teresa, and I see no reason to be ashamed of it.”
One commenter asked me to explain, saying, “It is a little shocking to hear this from a HBS grad.
Here is what I wrote:
Here’s a simple thought experiment to explain why capitalism has helped more people in India than Mother Teresa: Assume that Mother Teresa and her outfit were able to help 100 people per day, every day, for 40 years. That’s some 14.6 million people (and that’s assuming that it was a different 100 people every day). That’s 1.5% of the population. What percentage of the population of India is better off because of capitalism today? According to Wikipedia, the Indian middle class numbers anywhere from 200-300 million people, all of whose lives are substantively better because of capitalism. The cars we drive, the food we eat, the computers we write posts and comments on would not exist without capitalism. Sure seems like a noble pursuit to me.