Let’s live in huts and wear animal skins

Ummm, the definition of capitalism is not this:

The deteriorating relationship between the German government and business was underscored on Wednesday when a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union called on the party to shed its “capitalist” image.

“The CDU is not a capitalist party,” Jürgen Rüttgers, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and one of the party’s four deputy chairmen, told Stern weekly. “It is a community of values that is not just rooted in materialism.”

Mr. Rüttgers should get his reasoning correct, since capitalism is not as he describes it. I believe the term he’s searching for is consumerism.

Consumerism is a term used to describe the effects of equating personal happiness with purchasing material possessions and consumption.

Compare that to capitalism:

Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are mostly privately owned, and capital is invested in the production, distribution and other trade of goods and services, for profit. These include factors of production such as land and other natural resources, labor and capital goods. Capitalism is also usually considered to involve the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as “legal persons” (or corporations) to trade in a free market.

Capitalism, as Mr. Rüttgers should realize, means that individual Germans can decide how much or how little materialism is appropriate in their lives. The CDU’s responsibility is to get out of the way. I’m sure Christian social awareness will survive the purchase of a new iPod or twenty.