2000s >> 2005 >> no-1212-august-2005

This is What is Wrong With Capitalism

It often strikes a socialist that so many of the criticisms of socialism are indeed valid, but only when applied to capitalism. I’ve heard it said, “socialism may sound fine in theory, but it wouldn’t work out in practice.” One wonders exactly what is meant by “working out in practice”. If it means failure to solve the major social problems, then capitalism has worked wonders in practice, especially, as it creates problems it cannot solve. “But”, they explain, “socialism would create chaos.” By this, one assumes that war, depression, mass unemployment, destruction of the environment, epidemics of preventable diseases, famine and genocide, are not symptoms of a society in chaos.

Many equate socialism with dictatorship, yet, with the coming of the modern industrial state, most of the world’s population has lived under dictatorship. After World War II, more lived under it than before; but it was fought, “to make the world safe for democracy.” Even today, after the fall of the east European dictatorships, many countries have some form of repressive government.

We are told that individual freedom will suffer in a socialist society; yet how splendid it is to be free under capitalism. Free to be unemployed, free to starve (which a lot of the world’s population are doing.) Free to breathe polluted air.

“But socialism will bring regimentation and uniformity,” our critics say. I often look at rows and rows of stereotyped apartment buildings and notice the lack of uniformity. I’m sure many workers who have to punch in and out, work on conveyor belts and fill in time sheets, would never dream of calling life regimented under capitalism. 

“But socialism will create corruption and sheer callousness”.  Isn’t capitalism such a highly moral society? One need only observe how many civic dignitaries, corporations and individual capitalists have been unable or unwilling to obey their own phoney laws which they hand down to us (to keep us in line), with all the self-righteousness of a God On High.

 “In a socialist society with no financial inducements to work, lots of people will be  lazy.” What, however, is laziness except lack of inspiration? Certainly there are many lazy folk around today. How many capitalists work “too” hard?

“But,” they tell us, “socialism will stifle individual creativity and initiative.” No economic system can prevent human ingenuity expressing itself. Where the confusion stems from is that it is not clearly understood that the economic character this takes is determined by the system one lives under. Though no economic system can prevent human creativity, capitalism has, to an extent, stifled it. In the cut-throat world of competition many fail. Many have been unable to raise the capital to even start and, many who have been successful, have later gone bankrupt. It’s no wonder so many feel insecure. It would be a wonder if they didn’t.

In a socialist society where the tools of production will be used, first and foremost, to provide all with the necessities of life and where all stand equal in relation to them, there will be nothing to prevent full rein being given to human creativity. All will be free to develop their personalities and various abilities to the fullest possible facet, and all will contribute according to their various skills and abilities. The premise of production will be based on serving humankind and from this, people will get a satisfaction unknown under capitalism.

It will reach a point where, as Oscar Wilde said, “A man will be known for what he is, not for what he has.”

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