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Three Quick Arguments Against Captialism

  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    Yes, I know there is a typo in Capitalism...

    1.  Capitalism has no mechanism to deal with dwindling finite resources. 

    With the population growing, and other countries turning into consumer societies like the United States, our resources will be destroyed very quickly (just remember the studies about what if every country was like us).  Capitalism thrives on the utmost consumption possible.  It's very existence only looks in the short-term, and if practiced on a world-wide scale at it's highest point, will doom humanity.

    2.  Capitalism treats people like machines

    This can be seen in virtually any factory job, and the corporate rules that continue to increase with every passing year.  Machines are also seen as expendable and are maintained with the smallest cost.  Most workers are paid as little as possible.  When the worker can no longer work, he is discarded without a thought, just as an old machine is that has broken down. 

    3.  Capitalism is inherently authoritarian.

    The whole boss/worker relationship is similar to what one thinker has called "gentlemen's slavery."  Your boss controls your actions, hours, when you will sleep, and when you will eat (and one company even forced pregnant women to clock out to use the bathroom).  http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/20 … se-toilet/


    This isn't the entire case against capitalism, but for those who have never actually heard any arguments against it, there you have it.

    1. Credence2 profile image85
      Credence2posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      But, in all fairness, what is positive about capitalism is it provides incentive for people to work and invest. Greed is a negative motivator, but it does motivate all the same. Capitalism is focused on self interest and that often times drives many to achievement 

      In my opinion, capitalism can work only with substantial government regulation to curb abuses and excesses in the public interest

    2. Josak profile image60
      Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      #4

      Increasing wealth gap. Capitalism has completely failed in it's claimed ability to offer opportunity to all and increase social and economic mobility. Instead we have seen the most capitalist nations become ever more economically divided while mixed economies have been able to reverse that trend and increase their economic mobility.

      #5

      Free market self regulation never happened. CocaCola murdered union leaders, poisoned whole communities, destroyed the water reserves of tens of thousands and remained one of the most successful companies on earth. Chiquita Banana participated in a genocide and toppled a democratic government, it stayed the most successful fruit company in the world etc. etc.

      On the other hand regulation has worked, corporations who do these things do them in the third world to escape the regulations and punishments that are introduced in the first world and such regulations continue to spread leaving corporations with increasingly fewer places they can get away with those abuses.

  2. janesix profile image59
    janesixposted 3 years ago

    I'm sure there are things I could add, but you did a pretty good job as it is.

  3. innersmiff profile image78
    innersmiffposted 3 years ago

    1. The capitalist needs resources in order to profit from those resources, so it is not in his interest to have the resource run out. A renewable resource means a renewable source of profit, so it is in his interest to find ways to make his business sustainable. All things being equal, capitalism will take into account resources consumed over time and will react accordingly, simply because no person can make money when there's nothing left.

    2. Capitalism treats the worker like any other resource, albeit one that has the power to react and make decisions. No machine has the power to pick and choose which factory it wants to work in. The worker can make reasonable demands for good working conditions and good pay, and if he does not get it he can try another business. If there are no businesses willing to meet the demands, it is obvious that hiring them for that wage and giving them those conditions is not economical. Businesses are not going to hire you if it's going to be more expensive than what your work will bring to the company. If they are being that unreasonable, nobody would work for them.

    If you don't like being treated like any other resource, then what you have is high-standards, and that's not a bad thing. Others only have the ability and ambition enough for a factory job, and that's fine too, just don't expect them to be treated like Kings when it's clearly not economical to do so.

    3. True - the property-owner is authoritarian over his own property, but he cannot force anyone to work for him, so the slavery analogy cannot hold. If one cannot dictate the terms in which other people use one's property, it can hardly be said to be real private property. I agree with you, I simply see this as a positive aspect of capitalism.

    1. Josak profile image60
      Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Except of course that the sustainable management never happened, ask any marine biologist, Amazon expert, global warming scientist etc.

      Orange Roughy, Blue Fin tuna, Canadian Cod etc. rather than companies agreeing to step back and let populations recover it became a race between them to get the last ounce of profitability out of it before the others could.

      If theory and reality disagree then your theory is wrong.

      In most of the above cases governments were able to step in and prevent complete destruction though irreparable damage was done.

      But we have plenty of examples where such intervention was not available. Let's take a famous example, the Dodo, flightless and nutritious it was a huge benefit to sailors who used the Mauritius as a stop off point. Capitalist theory would have it that being a resource the sailors and sealers would recognize it's value and let it recover for usage in voyages to come. In reality the species was hunted to complete extinction. Utopian daydreams, not reflected in reality.

      1. innersmiff profile image78
        innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        If we are agreeing that if reality contradicts theory, the theory is wrong, then you must abandon socialism, because all of those examples are examples of the tragedy of the commons rather than of capitalism. The ocean is public land, and very rarely are businesses allowed to claim ownership over areas of sea or schools of fish for farming. What we have now is essentially first-come first-serve, get all you can until the next guy gets here, because nobody is allowed to make continued profit over them. The situation was the same with Bison in the US. The population went from around 30 million to just 1,000 in a short period of time, and now entrepeneurs have been allowed to own, breed them and sell their meat, populations are beginning to grow.

        How come the chicken isn't extinct? According to the over-consumption theory, the capitalists' greed for chicken profit would have decimated the population decades ago. How come animals like the Bengal tiger are going extinct even though killing them is illegal? Let people make a profit from their hide and watch people try and breed more of them.

        The rainforest, too, is public land, not private. If I wanted to make money selling wood, I would want to buy a patch and make it sustainable so I can sustain the profit. I would also protect the wildlife there because I could make money from selling wildlife tours of the rainforest. This is illegal.

        The only exception to the things you cite is global warming. The reason capitalists don't take that into account is because evidence has yet to be presented that it is a pressing problem. We see computer model predictions, and temperatures that have not caught up with them, that is all.

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      "1. The capitalist needs resources in order to profit from those resources, so it is not in his interest to have the resource run out. A renewable resource means a renewable source of profit, so it is in his interest to find ways to make his business sustainable. All things being equal, capitalism will take into account resources consumed over time and will react accordingly, simply because no person can make money when there's nothing left."

      This sounds like an idealistic argument that hasn't worked out in practice- http://carbonomics.net/MCsppub/11sp06/11sp06g.html

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen … 27047.html

      http://public.wsu.edu/~mreed/380America … mption.htm

      Additionally, this same argument can be applied to lack of regulations.  I've heard Ron Paul many a time claim that companies care about their reputations (Alan Greenspan has said the same thing) and so it is in their interest to behave, and government regulations are either unnecessary (since companies regulate themselves) or ridiculous.

      However, even given all of this, BP still cut corners!  http://abcnews.go.com/WN/bps-dismal-saf … d=10763042

      I can grant you all your points, and it still doesn't necessarily follow that the market will regulate itself.  It just hasn't worked out in the real world.

      "2. Capitalism treats the worker like any other resource, albeit one that has the power to react and make decisions. No machine has the power to pick and choose which factory it wants to work in. The worker can make reasonable demands for good working conditions and good pay, and if he does not get it he can try another business. If there are no businesses willing to meet the demands, it is obvious that hiring them for that wage and giving them those conditions is not economical. Businesses are not going to hire you if it's going to be more expensive than what your work will bring to the company. If they are being that unreasonable, nobody would work for them."

      First, treating people like a resource is wrong.  Second, I admit the analogy with machines is not absolute.  But people in their jobs are often treated just like machines.  You also admit if there are no good paying jobs (which allows one to live and pay the necessities of life by working them), then that's just part of the market; it's not "economical" to pay some people well.  That's exactly part of the problem!  No economic system that produces such a result is conducive to ultimate human happiness or flourishing.  It's also not "economical" to use a machine when it no longer produces.

      "3. True - the property-owner is authoritarian over his own property, but he cannot force anyone to work for him, so the slavery analogy cannot hold. If one cannot dictate the terms in which other people use one's property, it can hardly be said to be real private property. I agree with you, I simply see this as a positive aspect of capitalism."

      While it is true that you are not "forced" to work for one employer (assuming you can afford transportation to businesses outside of your regular living space), you can't not eat.  The vast majority of people must work for someone else, and how they are treated in that job is just the luck of the draw (especially if there is no government workplace protections like OSHA and minimum wage).  You could have a string of bad luck and work for 5 different abusive bosses. 

      But even if your boss is nice, the nature of the relationship with the boss is still authoritarian.  You can't disagree with the boss on something substantial without the risk of being fired, and thus not be able to eat (unless you beg at a charity, assuming you can get to one that is close to your house). 

      I don't think I'm against a limited version of private property, but allowing absolute property rights without regulations (whether from the government or from the norms of a society one lives in) leads to the only protection for a worker being the luck that a boss will treat them well.  If that isn't available, then the worker is screwed.

      1. innersmiff profile image78
        innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        1. I address deforestation in my reply to Josak.

        The same points apply though: capitalism can account and adjust for dwindling resources if allowed the freedom to acquire property, but when the government prohibits it or exercises a monopoly over it, the incentive for the capitalist is to take all he can as soon as he can.

        Market regulation and sustainability requires: full private property, competition and minimal regulation.

        Bearing this in mind: much of the west's food comes from third world countries where companies are granted special privileges rather than being subject to a free market with competition. It matters less then to that company how they go about selling the resource because nobody is going to steal their thunder. A lot of the resources come from public, or un-owned land, which is subject to the tragedy of the commons I addressed before.

        A lot of resources, a notable one being oil, have not been acquired by entrepreneurs but by militaries. They have been seized rather than worked for - it matters not to the military what happens to the oil as they have not earned it nor the money that sustains them.

        BP is another example of government privilege rather than free-market capitalism at work. BP has lobbied the government to grant it dibs on a number of oil reserves, and to make competition all but impossible. Regulation from the market is hindered without competition, and absolutely crippled if you put a liability cap on drilling: no insurance company in their right minds would have insured BP to drill with their safety record. Again, government gets in the way of people trying to do their jobs.

        2. If treating people like a resource is wrong, then the world is wrong and reality is immoral. People are resources, whether you like it or not. Economics is a science, not a philosophy. If paying someone a considerable wage is not economic, you can't wave a magic wand and make it economic.

        We are blessed with scarce resources on this planet, and to maximise human happiness and flourishing we need to find a way to use those resources efficiently. Families demand food, so if the demands of farm workers are too high for the farm to meet the demands of the families, society is on balance at a loss. On the other hand, if the farmers don't pay their workers enough, they will not get the best ones and will be less productive, resulting in a similar outcome for society. There is a balance to be made for maximum productivity that benefits everybody, and making arbitrary demands like "everybody should be paid at least X" will only serve to get in the way of finding that balance.

        3. How can 'luck' be the only protection for the worker? Other protections come in the form of competition and unions. The freedom to be able to change jobs is probably the most powerful. If you are any good at all, the boss will not want to lose you and will pay you and treat you equivalent to what you are worth to the company. If the boss really is getting away with it, you can form a union with other disgruntled workers to demand to be paid your worth (as long as the employer is allowed to hire non-union workers, otherwise it defeats the point).

        But why should the worker be allowed to do whatever they want without the risk of being fired? You seem to want all the regulation to be burdened on the employer, who is the one who has taken the risk of putting his resources forward to hire you, a much greater risk than you. Putting more burden and obligation on him is only decreasing the incentive to offer jobs in the first place, therefore making the regulation counter-productive. That is if you agree that the option of having a less-than-stellar job is better than having no job options at all.

        ---

        On another note, I think our debates are 'arguments within the family', seeing as in your ideal system, there would be no monopoly of force to compel people not to voluntarily respect private property rights. Let me be clear: I have no problem with socialists coming together and forming communes, co-operatives, charities, and operating what they see as the ideal society, just so long as they don't force anyone else into it.

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          But you are quite happy for capitalists to force everybody into their way!"

          1. innersmiff profile image78
            innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Nobody is forced to buy any product or take any job in a capitalist economy.

            1. John Holden profile image60
              John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              No!!

              Try living outside capitalism, it's pretty hard going.

              1. innersmiff profile image78
                innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                "No"? That's not an argument.

                What is physically stopping you from forming voluntary cooperatives?

                1. John Holden profile image60
                  John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  You still live in a capitalist environment. It is almost impossible to live outside capitalism.

                  1. innersmiff profile image78
                    innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    You'll have to be more specific as to what you think that entails.

            2. HollieT profile image87
              HollieTposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              BS, yes they "are" forced to buy products and take jobs. Where on earth do you live?

              Example: Try buying petrol from your car that isn;t from a BP, Shell or other mainstream oil corp. Try living in a big city and buying fish from somewhere other than Tesco, Asda or Morrisons.

              Try losing your job after paying years of National Insurance and Income Tax and not being forced to work for corporations which you absolutely hate- or lose whatever welfare support that you have spent your whole, working life paying for.

              I suspect that your experience of the "real world" is somewhat behind those who live in it.

              1. innersmiff profile image78
                innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Get a group of people together, pool your resources and dig up the oil yourself to share with the community. Same with fish. There is nobody aggressively stopping you from doing so. The issue lies when you try and argue that everybody must do so.

                1. John Holden profile image60
                  John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Oh get real!

                  The minute you start to drill for oil an oil company would take you to the cleaners for stealing their oil, unless of course you went down the capitalist road and leased an oil field.

                  Same with fish, either buy a capitalist quota or be blasted out of the water.

                  It is capitalism that argues that everybody must play the capitalist game.

                  1. innersmiff profile image78
                    innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Oh so you're arguing the right to steal stuff? OK, I didn't know we were going there. I was going under the assumption that the stuff you drill for would be bought, or it was unowned to begin with. If you're arguing that capitalism compels people not to steal, then we are in agreement: yay!

                2. HollieT profile image87
                  HollieTposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  I'm not so sure that Manchester is an oil or fish rich region, firstly, and secondly, most people have to work, they simply would not have the time to go fishing and drill for oil- even if they could afford an oil rig!

                  1. innersmiff profile image78
                    innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    OK, but who is aggressively stopping someone with the time, resources and inclination to do so? Aggression is what I'm looking for.

  4. HollieT profile image87
    HollieTposted 3 years ago

    Innersmiff, the state "are the corporations"

    Without the state the corporations would not have puppets, and without the state the people would have no comeback, control, regulation or retribution for that matter (think law suits)

    The key is not to rid the people of the state, imho, but to rid the state of the corporations.

    Without the corporations and their lobbying, the state would be answerable to the people.

    1. innersmiff profile image78
      innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      False. Retribution would come in the form of private law and courts - the difference being that if a private law firm comes under control by corporations, you can simply not pay into them any more, thereby compelling them to give you a proper service. With the state, the corporations always take over, and when you get a state powerful enough to get rid of corporations, we have totalitarianism. The state is the aggressor here - without it, corporations are simply voluntary organisations that have to serve people to survive.

      1. HollieT profile image87
        HollieTposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        False. Retribution would come in the form of private law and courts

        Only for those who can afford it.

        1. innersmiff profile image78
          innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I am at least giving the poor a hand by not taxing and inflating half of their money away through the state. Given all the money saved by not making war and bailing out banks, there would be more than enough left over to care for the poor.

          1. John Holden profile image60
            John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Well for a start the poor aren't taxed at 50%, in fact nobody is in this country.

            Who exactly is going to care for the poor?

            1. innersmiff profile image78
              innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              1. Your claim: democracy is the will of the people
              2. Democracy has voted for a welfare state

              It would therefore be logical to suggest that giving a portion of your money away to the poor would be a common thing amongst the majority. If you reject this, you must reject the concept of democracy.

              1. John Holden profile image60
                John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                A totally false argument.

      2. John Holden profile image60
        John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        So XYZ law company is under the control of the capitalists but are going to knuckle under and give you a proper service because you threaten to withhold your £5!

        If corporations take over the state why on earth wouldn't they take over private law courts?

        I really think you are trying to wind everybody up, or else Hollie is correct and your experience of the "real world" is out of touch with the real world

        1. innersmiff profile image78
          innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Not by yourself, but given a significant problem, a collective taking away their patronage would definitely compel corporations to offer you a decent service.

          How can you not see which situation is better?:
          1. The corporations take over the state - you have no choice but to accept it and cling to a vain hope that someone will be elected that will turn it around.
          2. The corporations take over your law firm - you can change law firms.

          It's a complete no-brainer to me.

          1. John Holden profile image60
            John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Look at the influence of Microsoft on personal computing and then tell me how I can avoid patronising them.

            1. innersmiff profile image78
              innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              With no regulatory favouritism, more competition would most likely prop up.

              However, there most likely would not be too much seeing as the market demands there to be a consistent way of programming - it would be glaringly inefficient to have 50 different kinds of computer types, unless they integrated relatively seamlessly like they do with Macs.

              But answer the question: would you rather have the government force you to choose a particular type of computer or would you rather have the ability to change to a better one?

              1. John Holden profile image60
                John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                What a stupid question!  I want neither the government nor Bill Gates to force me to use a particular type of computer. The government couldn't care less what type of computer I use - Bill Gates cares very much.

 
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