- Capitalism and Alternatives -
Posted by: R Rockliff on September 14, 1999 at 20:37:29:
In Reply to: Your grasp of evolution is shaky to say the least. posted by Darcy Carter on September 14, 1999 at 01:45:20:
According to the capitalist, it is incorrect to ascribe value to evolution and the forms of life it produces. However, and most conveniently for the capitalist, it is perfectly correct to ascribe value to the various economic systems. Would the capitalist come to us with his arguments for capitalism if he believed that capitalism were no better than socialism? Of course not. The capitalist has, most emphatically, entered into the world of values when he assails the intelligence of the socialist. In so doing he has made at least two value judgements. First, that capitalism is better than socialism, and second, that intelligence is better than ignorance. Like so many other things in capitalism, values are weapons that can be used by the "haves" against the "have-nots," while they can never be used by the have-nots against the haves. In the capitalist marketplace, the have-nots simply cannot afford to purchase a moral right for their cause.
According to the capitalist, one can say that capitalism has succeeded, and socialism has failed, due to the fact that some recent attempts at a socialist state have perished. However, one can never say that evolution has failed if intelligence and justice perish from the human race, or even if the human race itself perishes from the planet in a fit of self-destruction.
The capitalist seems to think that intelligence is better than ignorance (he uses the ignorance of the socialist as proof that he is right), and at the same time he says that evolution cannot be interpreted teleologically. Evolution has, in the human race, produced intelligence. That is a fact. Intelligence is preferable to ignorance. Whether or not that is a "fact" perhaps can be disputed, but the capitalist does not dispute it, he uses it as a bludgeon with which to beat the socialist. So, evolution has caused something to come into existence which we all agree is better than the alternative. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to speak of the continuation of this process as "success," and the retardation or reversal of it as "failure." The capitalist can, of course, deny this, but in so doing he forfeits any logical right he has to claim that capitalism is better than socialism, and his criticism of socialism becomes nothing more than wanton meanness.
Instead of self-contradictorily ascribing value to economic evolutionary processes while ridiculing the ascription of value to biological evolutionary processes, the capitalist should address the real issue of whether or not the human species as a whole is best served by partition into mutually-hostile and exploitative populations. There is no doubt that this arrangement is highly successful for some of these populations, but what does it mean, in the long run, for the whole?