Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Fundamental Flaws Of Capitalism

The idea of capitalism is so riddled with flaws that it’s not even funny.

For starters, capitalism reduces prices. By necessity, producers must compete with other producers for business. Without sacrificing quality, they must make their good or service more attractive to potential customers. If prices continuously drop, though, how will there be any money to pay workers? Besides, only those who care exclusively about money concern themselves with prices. 

Competition, the essence of the capitalistic society, rewards those who make good decisions and punishes those who do not. The dog-eat-dog world relentlessly disposes of waste and inefficiency. Yet in doing so, it mercilessly shatters an untold number of inflated egos. It is truly shameful. 

To add insult to injury, capitalism benefits both the poor and the rich. Indiscriminately. The distribution of wealth based on achievement needs to be recognized for the sham it truly is. Capitalism doesn’t care who you are. It only cares about what you do. Unfortunately, however, that means you must do something. That’s a major problem, indeed. 

Under capitalism, nobody can exploit special privileges to acquire wealth. Rather, one must pay attention to the needs and wants of others. To make money, one must respond to those needs and wants, making both himself and the person with whom he does business better-off in the process. In attempting to improve his own fortune, he can only make money if he helps someone else, too. What an outrage!

By that logic, individuals don’t even need to have good intentions for their actions to engender good results. 

The industrialist can have the cruelest intentions in the world, but unless he produces goods that are beneficial to society, he won’t make any money. And unless he employs workers who voluntarily enter into contracts with him, he won’t have anyone to produce those goods for him. 

Likewise, the shopkeeper can care about the welfare of precisely no one and still be successful; yet, in order to be successful, she must indeed improve the lives of her patrons. While this is true, wouldn’t it be a much better world if everyone’s intentions were also good? Perhaps we should sacrifice unintended good results until we reach nirvana. Only then will capitalism make sense. 

Capitalism suffers from the fact that it isn’t idealistic enough. In a world completely detached from reality, idealism holds society together. Capitalism functions even without perfect knowledge or morally superior leaders. The state, on the other hand, requires perfect, unattainable knowledge to centrally plan an economy. That being said, just because the acquisition of such knowledge is impossible doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

And what is the deal with the boundless variety in consumer products these days? Surely capitalism is to blame. Think of all the time that could be saved if there were only one choice of organic tortilla chips instead of fifteen! 

By far the worst aspect of capitalism is the fact that we cannot control it. No matter how hard we try, the market will always foil our attempts to centrally plan economic activity. We may think our manipulations are working for a while, but they always fail in the end. So, despite the fact that it has never—ever!—existed anywhere at any time in the history of the world, we should renounce, denounce, and dismiss capitalism at every turn. 

Joseph S. Diedrich also writes for the MacIver InstituteThe College Fix, and others. Find him on FacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn and Twitter @JSDiedrich.

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