The market economy is the only game in town. But there are many different kinds of market economy. The key to understanding why market economies have outperformed planned societies is not recognition of the ubiquity of greed, but understanding of the power of disciplined pluralism.
It is possible to win the inside game and lose the outside game. In their darkest moments, White House aides wonder aloud whether it is even possible for a modern president to succeed, no matter how many bills he signs. It may be that every modern president is going to be, at best, average.
I'm interested in the quest for dominance, in industrial warfare. I believe that capitalism, by its nature, is about conflict, and ultimately the life and death of firms.
I think that of all the types of human activity, entrepreneurship is in some sense the closest to war.
I think that to become a major, very successful entrepreneur, you really need to be in the right place at the right time -- a lot of things have to coincide. But the most important thing is not how to become a major entrepreneur or head of enormous business projects, but how to become an entrepreneur in general.
The dissemination of the Protestant ethic led to a change in the attitude towards entrepreneurship: people began to think for the first time that an entrepreneurial talent was a gift from God, just like any other. A person who was born with this talent should use it and should accumulate material wealth, to be used not for his own needs, but to the benefit of society.
Flexibility is sometimes perceived as lack of principle. Very often in the public mind, businessmen are amoral, because they are prepared to make friends with yesterday's enemies and unite against the people they were friends with yesterday etc. Such behavior does indeed seem unprincipled. Nevertheless, I think that an ability to determine the thin line between tactics and strategy, tactical and current aims and strategic objectives is a very important quality.
In a 2008 online poll devised by the British magazine Prospect and the American magazine Foreign Policy, Fethullah Gülen was voted the most significant intellectual in the world.
The Gülen movement reminds people of everything from Opus Dei to Scientology to the Masons, Mormons, and Moonies. He instilled in his followers an almost Calvinist work ethic. To this day, even detractors of the movement will talk about how hard Gülenists work. Their achievements have been remarkable.
Every Afghan I spoke to in Kabul, from politicians to cooks, told me that "the Turkish school" was the best in the city.
"Who's paying for all this?" I asked. "A Turkish businessman," they replied.
The story of the Gülen movement is thus very much the story of Turkey's evolution: religious Muslims using capitalist enterprise to establish a foothold in a country where they'd previously been left behind.