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Why I Don't Like Capitalism

created 2004-03-09 20:26:04

(Up to: Economics Supply First Demand Later )

I think I'm deprecating this page slightly, although I shall keep it in place below. Instead, my view is shifting slowly...

(In fact, better to see Capitalism Is Not The Problem. Also relevant is Altruism In The Modern Era.)

I now think that it is not capitalism per se that I dislike, but what is produced when its ideals are combined with the real world. I have a distaste for the implementation. However, I am yet to decide whether or not I think that such an outcome is avoidable or simply inevitable.

The outcomes that I don't care for may mirror the points made here previously. They also should not be necessarily confused with capitalism, but I should like to figure out further which would occur anyway, and which are exasperated by capitalism.

These factors include:

  • A bias towards those who control large reservoirs of money, and thus have the power to tilt the playing field in their own direction in order to maintain their level of prosperity to the detriment of all others. This includes affiliation with political bodies - if the government should be encouraged to leave the market free, then companies should be encouraged likewise to not interfere with the government. Unfortunately, as money becomes power rather than simply a medium, or a protocol, this becomes hard to avoid.

  • Also an assumption that the benefits of capitalism are available to all, when in actual fact there are many socio-economic factors that overshadow such an assumption, and prevent the capitosphere from being anything other than merely an amplification system, rather than a equaliser. Of course, perhaps it's never meant to be the latter, but the arguments for economic strength are less convincing if the strength is being driven by factors other than capitalism in the first place anyway.

  • To value things purely according to the "self" (i.e. for a party to maximise their own interest in a trade) ignores any aspects outside of the human-defined system. I think that capital is a value of something to a person, but the reasons for that value are inherently biased towards short-term goals, and have a tendency therefore to ignore "greater", more long-term benefits. Can a capitalist system long for true sustainability?

Will continue this some time. Also see The Two Invisible Hands Of Capitalism for what's been missed out. And "On Capitalism Vs Community" explores the issue further. Ooh, and Free Markets Vs Choice.

See this Slashdot comment too.

I don't like capitalism because...

  1. It not only assumes that people act purely for self-interest, but actively exploits the fact, leading to a state in which this is indubitably the case. Anyone alive will have noticed that humans are a mixture of self and altruism, and to claim that one is more natural than the other is silly, to the detriment of the other.

  2. It places finance, and the accumulation thereof, as an ultimate target, when in fact it is merely a technology, or a common platform to enable exchange and achievement.

  3. People claim it to be a "natural evolution" of the human race, when in fact it has been completely manufactured by a relatively small number of people. Bartering and trade are, perhaps, as natural as economy can get, and currency extends from this, but capitalism is a deliberate, thought out approach to society. In the same sense, stemming from the "natural" desire to control others to avoid harm to oneself, one could argue that a dictatorship is also a natural system.

(See also: Analysis Greed Extreme Capitalism Capitalism And Socialism As Cleaning Up )

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