It seems inevitable in a capitalistic society/world, that there are bound to be those who have a lot, and those who don't have anything. This seems fundamentally immoral on a certain level. It seems that when we embrace capitalism, we sacrifice the greater good in the name of personal freedom/gain potential.
In any society, you will have people who work hard, and people who don't work. You will have people who contribute, and people who don't. You will have people who are selfish, and people who aren't.
It's just human nature.
Capitalism in itself is a healthy way to assure competition and therefore equal opportunity for those who wish to participate. Where it goes horribly wrong is when it rewards those who buy favor over others and tip the balance towards those who would circumvent the basic rules by which everyone else competes.
This country did experience pure capitalism all during the 19th-early 20th century. How'd that go? Child labor, wage discrimination, etc., etc.
Give me one example of a capitalistic society that privileged people before capital? That privileged well-being, happiness, equality, liberty...? That is, nowadays, thriving? And you will find the answer to your question.
Singapore, Hong Kong, and to a lesser extent, New Zealand.
Capitalism is life itself - nothing but unhampered voluntary cooperation between individuals, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. If this is inherently immoral then naturally, aggressive violence, as opposed to cooperation, must be inherently moral.
Society is what we choose to make it. If we create a society whereby only a few benefit from the efforts of many then irregardless of the label we give it that type of society rests squarely on all of our shoulders. Take the communist society for an example, the hostility and hatred unchallenged by the people allowed that society to create an atmosphere of horror, hatred and fear.
If we are to call ourselves moral human beings then we need to create a society that emulates those model values which we claim to stand for. When creating a society we need to take into account factors which would hinder a successful society such as greed, favoritism, hatred.
The morality of this society shipped out a long time ago. We continue to support a corrupt system by which thieves and criminals get elected and favor is for sale to the highest bidder. We buy products made in sweat shops that impoverish millions to make our low cost sundries all the while making the corporate entity that institute them rich beyond anyone's imagination. We do this as our jobs are dissolved and morphed into having to hold several jobs to survive. We reward the greed of our banking institutions for ruining the economy and still allow them to continue unhindered by any prosecution because they tell us it would be worse. We are sheeple for the slaughter by the ones who would have us believe they are acting in our behalf. Is capitalism good in this scenario? It thrives in it.
Any system that oppresses the majority for the benefit of the few is evil.
Does that mean it's OK to oppress a minority for the benefit of the majority? Because that would seem to be democracy it it's purest form, and that never seems to work very well - one has only to look at US history (Puritan society, or slavery/discrimination, for example) to see that.
Whilst oppression of any sort is to be disdained, surely the oppression of a minority is preferable to the oppression of a majority?
Generally not. Oppression of the minority is the norm, and is all too often expected and accepted. It denotes a serious defect in the people of a society that, for the most part, accepts oppression by that majority.
About the only thing you can say for the other way, oppression of the majority, is that they allow it themselves and therefore accept it as natural. They have the power to stop it but don't, and until pure force, military action, enters the scene that is true. And some people do just that. That and the fact that the majority of the society does not have that particular defect - it may actually be healthy, if deluded.
In which country is oppression of the minority the norm?
I don't know about the US but certainly in the UK the minority in the form of corporate bosses, government etc oppress the majority.
Any and all democracies. The majority rules, although decent societies build in constraints on that ability. I spoke of societies in general, but it is just as applicable to countries and governments.
How do they oppress? Do corporate bosses send squads of armed goons to force people to buy? Or to work for the corporation? And government (in a democracy) is the majority; they must be oppressing themselves.
Well you are correct in two sense.
Corporations absolutely do oppress, if there is a government they oppress through corruption, if there is no government or a weak government (as in our own mining history) then they absolutely will use armed goons and violence.
You are also absolutely correct that people oppress themselves, not by intention but mainly through ignorance, if you grow up in a capitalist system being told that any other system is evil then who can fault you for believing it and never even exploring another idea? It is no coincidence that as education increases the less capitalist people become demographically.
Yes, they sent armed goons. Until the majority said "STOP", and it stopped. That majority took it for a while, but ultimately decided they were tired of being oppressed and the oppression ended.
Are you sure it is not coincidence? Along with education comes ever greater productivity and riches. Along with those riches comes a greater willingness to share what one has (it's no longer needed for mere survival). Capitalism thus continues, but so does the socialistic attitudes and actions you are mistaking for lack of capitalism.
Or do you refer to the flexing of majority muscle, the oppression of the minority as the majority demands that the they give up what they have earned, as a lack of capitalism? Because that has nothing to do with capitalism. It's just oppression of the minority - the norm in nearly every society.
Are you talking about the Battle of Blair Mountain?
Almost 100 years ago?
I think capitalism has evolved a little since then.
Well again only UK experience but as the government in the UK consists of about 650 people, your idea of a majority and mine do not coincide!
Corporate bosses have no need of armed goons. they hold the purse strings, you want money, you play the corporate game.
Of course capitalism is not evil provided, as in the case of competitive sports, there are sensible rules and an umpire to assure the capitalists' actions are consistent with the common good--e.g., prohibitions on child labor, environmental damage, tax evasion, fraud, price fixing, etc. and other anti-social tendencies. Achieving this is never easy in the face of the millions spent by corporations and people like the Koch brothers, et al, on lobbying and political campaigns.
In reading Adam Smith and Madison, etc., capitalism is inherently evil simply because people are self-centered. They understood this and this is why they set up guidelines to diminish evil effects. Having said that, all systems are inherently evil because they all can be used to the demise of others. The best we can do is teach and practice the ethics. There are many capitalist corporations who use good ethics. Unfortunately, there are more that don't.
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