- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Capitalism: the real issue

Posted by: R Rockliff on September 15, 1999 at 22:32:26:

If capitalism really worked the way that the capitalist apologists say that it works, then most people who call themselves socialists today would probably be capitalists. If capitalism represented maximal freedom and justice, if every able-bodied and able-minded person were perfectly free to live secure from want and misery, if only he would do an honest day's work, and if every person who was not able-bodied or not able-minded was looked after by those who were, then who could protest such a situation? If capitalism provided freedom (the freedom to try different methods of providing for oneself) and justice (the justice of having the results of one's labor determined by how intelligently and diligently one worked), then who could protest? What could be more fair?

Unfortunately, the reality of capitalism is, at best, a hideous distortion of the idea. Capitalism violently overthrows both freedom and justice, and inevitably so. The even playing field that capitalist idealists imagine is an abstraction that does not exist, and perhpas never existed, in reality. The playing field in the real world is violently twisted, strewn with aid and succor for the already-rich, strewn with barbed wire and landmines for the poor. In an environment like that, if sufficiently poor, the greatest intelligence and effort will fail, while, if sufficiently rich, the greatest ignorance and vice will succeed. Is that freedom? Is that justice?

The socialist does not object to, and never has objected to, a person being free to succeed or fail, free to work hard (or smart) and enjoy the rewards of this work. The socialist objects to the mountain climber, having made it to the top, throwing broken glass down the slope behind him. The socialist has never objected to honorable competition, but has always objected to, and always will object to, dirty play. The "best man" does not always win, if there are others in the game who are playing dirty. Capitalism is a dirty game, and those who have won are naturally unwilling to have their tactics questioned in the light of justice and honor. They protest, and they excuse themselves with tortured philosophies.

Capitalism is like the man who, after having been helped by another man, stabs him in the back and mocks him for being so simple and trusting. Every time in human history when two (or more) persons have worked together toward a common objective (instead of the stronger, or nastier, of the two knifing the other and seizing his possessions), every time this cooperation has taken place, the spirit of socialism was present. In fact, capitalism could never have come into this unfortunate world were it not for the spirit of socialism. One person could not gain such advantage over another, one population could not gain such advantage over another, were it not for a grand treachery and betrayal. Capitalism is nothing more than a pathological condition afflicting human society, a condition in which one part of the body attacks and drains the other, like a cancer.

Those which must consume more and more, devour more and more, do so to fill a purposeless emptiness. If the species is worth saving, then the insanity must be stopped.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup