I keep running across people preaching the unholy evils of capitalism, but by the time I get there, there’s so many comments I’d be talking to the void, so there’s no point leaving a comment ain’t no one going to read.
Plus, seems like the people who actually interact in comments is the minority here, and the more popular a post is, the less likely that becomes. So I’m gonna do my own rant.
I’ve read all of the articles I linked to, and more. Many more. Some of them twice. And here’s what occurs to me…
Folks, you have valid points, but you’re using the wrong word. What you’re talking about is corruption, not capitalism.
Sorry for yelling. Just wanted to make that stand out. Here’s the thing. I know if you look around, it’s easy to think corruption and capitalism are the same.
We live in a world where people work 3 jobs to buy their kid a prom dress while the CEO of a Fortune 500 company make the average worker’s income before noon on New Year’s Day. It’s wrong, and it’s sickening.
One of the articles I read said “capitalism necessitates exploitation” and I immediately thought of the Amazon employees who are afraid to take bathroom breaks because of the crippling fear of missing their targets.
But you know what? That’s not capitalism, it’s corruption and greed.
Words mean things for a reason…
Words mean things so that when we use a word, we all know what we’re talking about. Except, English is a damn weird language, which is why we need etymology, which is the study of the meaning of words.
— Some words have 2 definitions that are the opposite. Like cleave, which means to join together or to split apart. Wtf ?
— And how come “I’m up for that” and “I’m down for that” mean the same?
— We have words that have the same root, but don’t mean the same. Like, sanguine and sanguinary. Both from the Latin root sanguineus, but sanguine means optimistic and sanguinary means causing bloodshed. Again. Wtf?
One of the articles I read said “most of the people who support capitalism aren’t ever even going to be capitalists” Well, duh. Of course they’re not. As above — same root, different definitions.
Capitalism: a system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state
Capitalist: a wealthy person who uses money to invest in trade and industry for profit.
Both come from the Latin root capital, which evolved from capitale, a late Latin word based on caput, meaning “head.” That is all. Same root — but otherwise unrelated. In case that’s confusing, let me give you an example.
That little local store you love? The grocery store where you buy your food? Capitalism allows them to exist.
In my city, we have a little store that’s locally owned and operated. Everything in the store is either fair trade, organic or local. I love that store.
The owners of the store are never going to be “capitalists” — but capitalism allow them to open the store and profit from the goods they sell. See?
Do you like to eat? Wear clothes? Do you drive a car? Own a phone?
It might be cheeky of me, but I’m going to assume you do not grow all your own food. Also going to assume last time you bought groceries, you didn’t trade a chicken or a side of beef for your weekly groceries.
Also going to assume when you need your toilet fixed, or your car repaired, you don’t pay the bill by trading some veggies from your garden. Those days are long gone. My grandparents bartered. That was a long time ago.
Fact is, we need to buy stuff. That is not in question. The only question is this — is trade controlled by the business owner, or by the government?
When trade is controlled by private business owners, that’s capitalism.
When trade is controlled by the government, that’s the opposite of capitalism.
If you’re preaching the evils of capitalism, I’d like to know what you think would be better…
Again, back to the damn dictionary. If you look up the antonym (opposite) of capitalism, it’s communism. You think that’s better?
Of the 5 countries that claim to be communist states, the country that adheres most strictly to communist principles, according to Oxford University scholar Robert Service, is North Korea. He should know, he wrote the book on it
Ever been to North Korea? About half of North Korea’s population of 24 million lives in “extreme poverty,” according to the KUNI report. But, that’s not your shining example, is it? Nope.
Many of the articles I read hold Europe out as a shining example…
Like this tidbit…
In America, for example, a millionaire can barely afford an organ transplant — but in Europe, everyone can. Why is that? (top highlight, here)
Are you aware that Europe is also a capitalist country? Or that capitalism started in Europe? Here — I give you this…
The history of capitalism has diverse and much debated roots, but fully-fledged capitalism is generally thought to have emerged in north-west Europe, especially in the Low Countries (mainly present-day Flanders and Netherlands) and Britain, in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. (wikipedia)
So why is it that everyone in Europe can afford an organ transplant?
It’s not capitalism. Europe is also a capitalist country, remember? For that matter, Canada is also a capitalist country, and we don’t go broke here if we need an organ transplant. Our system has a lot of flaws to be sure, but people don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions that mean no health care.
I dunno, but maybe there’s less corruption in Europe?
Seems to me, socialism is what you’re driving at…
The most “socialist” countries today are China, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand & Belgium,
How weird that those countries are also capitalist…
So what does “socialist” really mean, then? How are those counties both capitalist and socialist? Color me confused. So I looked up socialism.
Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
By the community as a whole? What does that even mean? I’ve lived here my whole life and no one has ever asked me how I think production, distribution and exchange should be regulated.
Hot damn. All *I* get to do is vote.
The problem is not capitalism, it’s corruption.
And I will remind you again that the shining example (Europe) is a capitalist country. All those lovely places on the socialist countries list, where people can afford health care and homes and have a better quality of life — they’re capitalist countries, too.
Maybe it all comes down to corruption at the government level? I dunno. Just guessing. All I know is those “happy places” are capitalist systems, too.
But, hell, if we just blame “capitalism,” we don’t have to do anything.
We don’t have to think too hard about where we shop, right?
Don’t have to think too hard about who we support with our wallets.
Or our ballots.
We don’t have to think about the tiny little hands that made your iphone.
Or the modern day slaves that made that cool GAP jacket.
Or the children with pesticide on their faces picking your coffee.
Or the slaves harvesting your chocolate
But hey, it’s all “legal” right?
Do you think we’d have any fair trade, any sustainable business efforts at all, any small businesses trying to give the 1% a run for whatever tiny slice of the pie they can get if the government controlled all trade?
But we don’t need to think about it, right?
Because, capitalism. Whatcha gonna do about it, right?
Capitalism isn’t the problem. Corruption is.
And there’s too damn much of it.