What Is So Bad About Capitalism?
We have been so subject to propaganda that we never think of capitalism as a human creation, and never question its shortcomings.
Capitalism is an economic system whereby a wealth owning class of humans hires another class of humans who have little or no wealth to perform work to create as much profit as possible for the owning class.
Capitalism is not accurately described by the words, “free market economy” which suggests that our economic system is a sunny benign plaza where we simply trade our goods and services with each other on a relatively equal footing.
The following are some of the real characteristics of capitalism that exist despite the false public relations of the capitalists:
1. Capitalism Is Amoral and Immoral!
Capitalism has no moral basis or foundation. Capitalism is not designed and maintained to meet human need, but only to make a profit...profit for the few and not even profit for everyone. Capitalism is fueled solely by greed for profit and power. The human values of kindness, sharing, cooperation and loving thy neighbor as thyself have no place in capitalism. Capitalism is subject to no public control and it is not inhibited by culture or by tradition. Capitalism thus has no concern for human beings, human culture, the environment, or natural resources. There is no concern for meeting the needs of human beings. .
2. Capitalism Depends Upon Paying Employees As Little As Possible And Keeping Some People Jobless
Capitalists seek to pay employees as little as possible. Capitalists would use slaves if they could, as they did for 300 years prior to 1865. Capitalists move their workplaces anywhere in the world where they can get the cheapest labor, with neither concern nor obligation to the employees or the communities they leave behind. Capitalists do not want full employment, but rather favor a large pool of unemployed persons to compete hungrily with each other for the jobs that are available. This reduces their labor costs. In most parts of the world, there is little difference between being a slave and being a wage-slave employed by a capitalist. Prior to the Civil War, an aristocratic Southern Planter argued that since slaves were his property, he took better care of them than a Northern employer took of his employees, his wage slaves. Capitalism does not foster loving thy neighbor as thyself.
3. Constantly Increasing Inequality of Wealth Between the Rich and the Poor is An Ongoing Necessary Component of Capitalism.
The inequality between the capitalist hirer, and the employee existed at the very beginning of capitalism. The hiring class had to have money to hire the first employees. The employees needed money in order to survive. The inequality constantly increases because of the power of employers and their maximization of profits and the weakness of unorganized employees who must work to survive. So what is so bad about that?
The worst thing is that capitalism steadily and slowly impoverishes 80% of us who are not of the wealthy class. We either remain where we are or we get poorer and poorer. This happens slowly but we know it from official statistics, and we know it in our own families. Millions of people outside the United States know it. Our children have to work longer hours for an average standard of living than we did. We have been so brainwashed that over 82% of us hold the false belief that it is possible in America to pretty much be who you want to be. On the other hand, 49% of Americans believe that the gross differences in wealth that now exist are immoral.
4. Capitalism is Incompatible with Democracy
Another bad thing is the effect on democracy. We know that money talks, that the Golden Rule of Capitalism is that Gold Rules. In other words the rich and powerful control our government. We have wealth primaries where he who spends the most millions, wins the election. Our constitutional guarantee of self-government, with each voter having equal power with each other voter, is thwarted. The rich and the powerful use their governmental power to place the tax burdens and the financial burdens of government on the rest of us.
5. Capitalism Has No Concern For the Environment
The worldwide capitalistic system is destroying the environment in the pursuit of short-term profit. The devastation of the forests, the depletion of the fishes of the sea, the pollution of air, the waste of fresh water, and the mining of the soil are all occurring at rapid and uncontrolled rate. This is not only dangerous for our healthy survival, but it is immoral. It is not proper stewardship of creation.
6. Capitalism is Damaging Our Culture
Another consequence is the effect on communities' public schools and public facilities. The rich live in gated enclosures. The rich send their children to private schools. The rich do not need or want public parks, swimming pools or entertainment facilities. They can well afford to buy their own. They therefor do not wish to pay taxes to improve schools, colleges, leisure and entertainment facilities.
Another consequence is that the rich powerful class owns all of the media and dominate colleges and universities with the result that the rich and powerful control our minds and what is available for us to think about.
7.. Capitalism is grossly wasteful.
Since capitalism seeks only to maximize profit by selling more goods, capitalism has developed “planned obsolescence,” annual model “changes,” and unrepairable and shoddy products. Vast portions of the military budget are wasted. Public relations, advertising, fancy packaging, and legal services are almost totally wasteful. The mining of irreplaceable natural resources is wasteful. Pollution is wasteful. The loss of goods and services which are not produced by unemployed people is wasteful. The total of this waste is staggering...about one half of what we do produce or could produce is wasted.
8. Capitalism is a Perfect System for Preying Upon and Fostering Human Frailty.
Capitalism exists by appealing to our baser sides, to our greed, our selfishness, our excessive consumption, and to our weakness for gambling and lotteries. The amoral and immoral qualities of capitalism have come to dominate the world. Millions of people would trade freedom and democracy for a pair of Levi's, a bottle of Coca-Cola and a chance to get rich in a lottery. Capitalism causes an unquestioning addiction to consumer goods, to shopping until you drop. Capitalism makes sharing, cooperation and compassion useless and inappropriate. Most of our states now support the public schools by the lottery, and the financial burden falls on poor people of color.
9. Capitalism Cannot Exist Without Government Spending. We Pay the Bill
Capitalism would be constantly in flux, with cycles of expansion, recession, boom and depression unless the Federal Government constantly subsidized it. This is due in part to the fact that employers do not pay employees enough money to enable employees to purchase all that the capitalists produce. Henry Ford was a unique capitalist in his recognition of this hard fact when he raised wages in his factories to $5.00 per day, a staggering sum in 1914, so that his workers could buy new Fords! Employers as a class do not accept this concept. Employers have read Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. Capitalists know that government spending can be used to keep capitalism out of depressions, and that the rest of us can be made to pay for this spending on behalf of capitalists. The only spending by the government that capitalists find appropriate (because of their need to keep the labor pool large, poor and docile) is corporate welfare and military expenditures.
10. The Benefits of Capitalism Come at An Immense Cost.
Although capitalism does produce an amazing proliferation of goods, which some of us enjoy, the price is very heavy... a constant lowering of our standard of living, the destruction of our culture, our environment, and our most cherished human values.... democracy and majority rule, liberty, equality, fraternity, freedom, and shared abundance.
11. Small business is not the problem.
This analysis applies to the richest 5% of our population, the large corporations, and the very large global corporations. It does not apply to small businessmen who hire a few people, and who remain a part of the local community, concerned with the welfare of their employees and of the community. This is the best side of the “free market economy.” We do question the wisdom and judgment of small businessmen and others who envy emulate and support the attitudes, conduct, political and economic ideas of the richest 5% when they are being harmed as much as the rest of us by the class warfare being waged by that 5% against us all.
For excellent analyses of capitalism past and present, check the following links
The site of Professor Douglas F. Dowd, former chairman of the Department of Economics at Cornell University and now teaching one half time in Bologna, Italy and one half time in San Francisco, California
The site of Doug Henwood, author and publisher of the Left Business Observer
The site of the Dollars & Sense Collective at