In concert with my deep dive “What is Capitalism,” I have decided to Fisk this article by Teen Vogue, What 'Capitalism' Is and How It Affects People.
Let’s skip the history lesson, and dive right to this part:
A capitalist nation is dominated by the free market, which is an economic system in which both prices and production are dictated by corporations and private companies…
No, no and no. Prices of non-essential goods and services are driven by consumer demand. This demand then determines production. If something is priced at $100, but most people would only pay $50 for it, the choices of the business is to find a way to sell it for $50, accept that very few people will pay $100 for it, or not make it at all. This is the bedrock of Capitalism, the law of supply and demand.
Believe it or not, it is the first people who buy the product at that $100 enable the economies of scale that brings the price down to $50. Just think about flat-screen TV’s. When they first came out, a 48” flat-screen cost $2,000. Today, they are $200. Not only are the $200 TV’s 10% of the price of the original, they have better resolution and has more features.
Then there’s this paragraph:
The kind of impact that capitalism has on your life depends on whether you’re a worker or a boss. For someone who owns a company and employs other workers, capitalism may make sense: The more profits your company brings in, the more resources you have to share with your workers, which theoretically improves everyone’s standard of living. It’s all based on the principle of supply and demand, and in capitalism, consumption is king. The problem is that many capitalist bosses aren’t great at sharing the wealth, which is why one of the major critiques of capitalism is that it is a huge driver of inequality, both social and economic.
That’s a lot to unpack. Let’s get this straight. “many capitalist bosses aren’t great at sharing the wealth,” but what about those Party members who allocate the resources in a Socialist economy? You would be a fool if you think they wouldn’t “take a cut of the action.” For any business that has employees, payroll is the first expense to be paid. Because no employees means no goods or services produced, which leads to no income and very quickly no company. As far as pay goes, you are paid directly proportional to how much income you generate. If the company receives $10/hr of income due to your work, does it make sense for them to pay you $15/hr? And you are not “stuck there.” You can improve your skills and as a consequence generate more income for the business and yourself.
Another thing is the owner is the person on the hook for everything. If the business closes, the owner is still responsible for the building and equipment leases, along with any the loans or other obligations. A good owner takes enough net profit to live off of and continually pours the rest back into the company.
If a worker wants to be paid more, they have to improve their skills. There’s always a high demand for people in the HVAC industry. You can get your certificate in 8-24 months, pay averages around $23/hr and as long as there are air conditioners and freezers, you have a job.
The downside is you’ll be outside a lot, winter and summer, in hot attics, or crawling under houses. You’ll be lifting heavy things constantly, dealing with angry customers and more. Most people don’t want to put up with that, so they don’t get the pay for it either.
Capitalism’s supporters believe in several key points: Economic freedom leads to political freedom and having a state-owned means of production can lead to federal overreach and authoritarianism. They view it as the only sensible way to organize a society, insisting that alternatives like socialism, communism, or anarchism are doomed to fail. As former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose pro-capitalism stance is said to have devastated the British working class, once put it, “There is no alternative.”
The proper quotes by Thatcher which the author ignores are.
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money.
Let us never forget this fundamental truth: the State has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay - that 'someone else' is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers' money.
I’ve done some research, and the earliest society that I found that practiced Socialist ideals (“From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”) was the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620. Everyone gave the fruit of their labors to a “company store” then received equal shares. They starved under that system with everybody giving to and drawing from a “communal stock.” They didn’t start thriving until the colonists had control over the land and what they produced. This manifested as people growing food for themselves and could sell excess goods to others.
William Bradford, in his journal “Of Plymouth Plantation” related this:
So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family.
My task for you Anti-Capitalist/Pro-Socialist readers, is to remark in the comments below, any group of people, large or small since 1620, who successfully practiced Socialist principles and didn’t eventually commit Democide. I know of one (not telling), and it didn’t outlive the founder.
To show Marx and Engles in such glowing terms like this shows you how much of a sell job this is:
The essential anti-capitalist argument is that “the hallmark of capitalism is poverty in the midst of plenty.” They say the immense suffering and violence that has been forced upon the laboring classes, the ruthless emphasis on profits over people, the proliferation of wage slavery — in which people have no choice but to sell their labor…
Think about it this way. In order to survive, a person must have:
1) Enough good food and clean water to be healthy and strong enough to be able to carry out the rest of this list.
2) Have a warm and safe place to sleep.
3) Have the tools to make labor easier (try chopping a tree down with a stone axe).
4) Stockpile food and fuel to get you through the winter.
Now, that’s what you need to survive. To accomplish those tasks alone is nigh impossible. You are doing what needs to be done from dawn to night. However, one mistake will probably kill you. A scratch can turn septic, a broken limb means a slow death from thirst or starvation. To flourish, you need time to rest from your labors and think about things, make things that will comfort and enhance your existence, etc. That takes a group of people, each doing different jobs and exchanging the fruits of their labor with each other.
That may sound Socialist, but it’s not. To be Socialist (meaning a command-controlled economy), “someone from the community” (a single person or committee, rarely the whole community) has to decide who will do what, what goods or services will be produced and how those goods will be distributed. Under a free-market Capitalist economy, each person decides what and how much they want to produce. If no one produces one thing that is needed, someone will see the need and demand for whatever “it” is, and make a profit.
And frankly, you’re going to be a “wage slave” under both Capitalism and Socialism, because someone has to make the goods and services no matter who’s in charge.
This is the part that chills me to my core:
There are many forms of socialism, but at its core, socialism is an economic system in which a whole community — not just bosses or private companies — control the means of production equally. It assumes that people are naturally cooperative, instead of competitive. The goal of socialism is an egalitarian society run by democratically elected representatives for the benefit of all in accordance with a set of collectively determined parameters; unlike under capitalism, industry and production is run by the state, and the acquisition of private property is seen as counterproductive. [Emphasis mine]
Consider this very, very carefully. The first piece of private property every person owns… is themselves. As long as you own yourself, you control what you do and what you produce. The dictionary definition of a slave is someone is “chattel” (property) of another person. The economic definition is a person who does not control or own the fruits of their labor. So, under the concept of “the owning of private property is counterproductive” means you don’t control your labor, you don’t control the fruits of your labor, and you don’t own yourself. You do what the State tells you to do, not what you want to do. As the article says,
“…a whole community — not just bosses or private companies — control the means of production equally.”
So now I have to ask, define “community.” Is that neighborhood, city, county, state or country? And define “control the means of production.” Does this mean everyone stops working and we hold a communal meeting to debate the merits of producing Windows phones instead of iPhones, along with the 378 other things the city produces? How long will that take? Days? Weeks? And while everyone is doing that, nothing gets done.
Maybe we just need to elect committees to make these decisions for us. Which would make the committee the de facto owners of the company and make them our bosses/leadership. In a free market, you vote for who your bosses are by applying to different companies.
Now I’m going to jump back to the beginning of the article. Right after the first quote I gave, there’s this point:
[Capitalism] and places a heavy focus on private property, economic growth, freedom of choice, and limited government intervention.
Notice how the author doesn’t mention “freedom of choice” or “limited government” as positive aspects of Socialism, just that private property is ‘counterproductive.’ I can only infer from these omissions that in a Socialist society, you don’t have freedom of choice or have a government that follows the will of the people.
And before you ask “What about Democratic Socialism?” it’s not a pig with lipstick, it’s a wild boar with lipstick. It’s a pig, with different markings, but a pig nonetheless. The only difference that I see between Socialism and Democratic Socialism is that you think you’re voting for who’s in charge of things. There will still be a committee for everything that needs a decision and you will still be a wage slave, with the major difference being if you don’t like your boss or the working conditions at your job, you can’t just quit without permission from the Labor Board (or whatever it would be called).
And the best argument against Socialism is expressed in one word: Democide.
One hundred million (100,000,000) people died by government action (or lack thereof) in Socialist countries last century. Most of the deaths were by starvation, but more than a few were executed for things like having ideas that weren’t approved by the Politburo.
To give you an idea about the hunger I’m talking about, imagine being so hungry that you make a literal mud pie and eat it. The bad news is, the dirt basically solidifies in your intestines blocking everything and you die, slowly and in tremendous pain. All because some asshole in Central Planning slipped a decimal point and your village got one truck of food for the month instead of the ten that it needed.
Korea is an interesting microcosm of Socialist vs. Capitalist ideals. It is a genetically homogenous gene pool (very little immigration) that has been under an A-B experiment for seventy years now. North Koreans are on average about 1.5” shorter than their cousins in the South. This is from multiple generations of near-starvation diets. Those people never got the nutrition they needed. And on the few occasions that food agencies personally gave food to the people of the villages, the Army came along and gathered the food up as soon as the aid workers were out of sight. And anyone who ate even a handful of food, you know, because they were hungry, they and their family were dragged out to the center of the village and executed to serve as an example.
And if Socialism becomes the law of the land in our time, we will probably not see atrocities like that, but our grandchildren will. It’s happened every time Socialism gets a stranglehold on a people.
Let that stew in your consciousness as you go to sleep tonight.