The Death of Capitalism

I talked in an earlier post about the right to steal money earned by others to pay for ones own needs.  Outside of the pure immorality of it, this concerns me most because it marks the death of capitalism, which cannot function without the profit motive as a carrot and the suffering of those who do not work hard as a stick. 

It occurs to me, though, that capitalism is being killed by far more than ultra leftist ideology.  Traditional labor unions have priced the American worker out of the international market, leading American employers to look overseas for their labor.  Outsourcing is a pure function of capitalism at work, and the American workers and their unions bitterly oppose it.

It’s not just leftists, unions and workers.  Consider hearty conservative capitalists who go all weak kneed at the mention of NAFTA.  The other day Obama blasted Clinton for supporting NAFTA and was roundly cheered by a working class Ohio audience.  My own father, as committed a conservative fre market type as you would ever want, throws all his capitalist ideals out the window when he talks about protecting American jobs from the cheaper competition from overseas.   

We still give lip service to capitalism and the free market, but liberal and conservative; upper class, working class and lower class; red state and blue state, we no longer seem to believe it.  What do Bookworm’s readers think?  Have you given up on capitalism?  Can you make a case against outsourcing or NAFTA without violating fundamental free market principles?  Does anyone in America actually believe in capitalism anymore?

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  • Helen Losse

    May Capitalism unchecked RIP.

  • satiricohen

    There has to be a better way to motivate people other than deprivation.

  • Danny Lemieux

    DQ, I think that a big part of the problem is that Americans have no concept of life without capitalism.

    I had some good friends that returned from a missionary stint in Africa with eyes wide open. They are not so anti-capitalistic anymore. Capitalism enobles and frees the individual. All other systems open the road to serfdom. Perhaps the most successful economic society ever was in Hong Kong prior to the handover to China – Hong Kong demonstrated how a free economic society could take the give the most destitute and ignorant refugee a solid chance at a better life.

    Unfortunately, who in our school systems is willing and able to provide that perspective. As far as I know, Thomas Sowell is pretty much unknown outside of conservative circles.

    So, what do you suggest as an alternative system, HelenL? Got any examples?

  • Ymarsakar

    So, what do you suggest as an alternative system, HelenL? Got any examples?

    So long as you believe in Ghandi’s teachings, Danny, everything will turn out alright. Do you believe in Ghandi’s teachings, Danny?

    We still give lip service to capitalism and the free market, but liberal and conservative; upper class, working class and lower class; red state and blue state, we no longer seem to believe it.

    People believe in what they think will work for them and benefit them, Don. When it comes to be a choice between personal wellness and status and some ideology or abstract principle, people will always choose the former over the later. Some individuals may be special and motivated to act differently, but the basic human template is the same for everybody. Some are just strong enough to go against the grain, while most aren’t.

    Any government or system of law or even economic system is based upon the assumption that humans will be greedy, envious, and apt to cheat folks for personal gain. Capitalism thus requires human greed, and so how can the expression of human greed and fear for themselves be anti-capitalistic, Don? These people are acting in the way capitalism expects and assumes they will act. If capitalistic systems cannot take advantage of these things, Don, then that is the problem of capitalism, not the problem of human nature since human nature can’t be changed while capitalistic systems can change and modify themselves.

    In the end, capitalism is competing with socialism. And people overwhelmingly believe that socialism or socialist policies will provide for them and their children better than capitalistic systems, Don. Until you convince people otherwise, capitalism will always be inferior to socialism in how it takes advantage of human flaws. And that’s how it should be in competition. If socialism is better at manipulating and taking advantage of basic human fears and insecurities than capitalism, then socialism deserves to win.

    If capitalism is truly the best system out of a bunch, then it has to prove it. It has to demonstrate results and power in convincing people, because you cannot accomplish anything without first convincing somebody else to help you.

  • Friend of USA

    Here in Canada, where we are more ” socialist” than in the USA we have for example, socialized heath care but we do only because we still have a Capitalist economy that pays for it.

    Even the USA which is the most Capitalist nation has some socialism in the mix.

    If millions of poor Americans receive welfare, have access to free clinics and get many more social services or whatever they are called, it is only because capitalist pays taxes that pays for it.

    Successful nations have used a mix of both systems.
    Even if they call themselves socialist, even if they are considered socialist, they have still retained a good deal of the benefits of capitalism.

    What nation is 100% socialist and successful?

    And is not 100% socialist the equivalent of communism which as we know fails every where and every time it is tried…

    Capitalism will never completely go away as it is necessary for a functioning society and it is part of human nature.

    We would have to live an extrememly simple and primitive life like the eskimos used to live – without commerce or a currency, without an economy – to have a society completely devoid of anything resembling capitalism.

    People who complain about capitalism are almost always comfortably living in some capitalist society.

    I would even go as far as saying people who say they want capitalism to go away and prefer socialism are either misinformed or are lying because they must know that socialism only works when capitalists make enough money to pay for all those costly social programs .

    It is easy to complain about capitalism sitting in your comfortable chair, your heated/air conditioned home on your modern computer connected to the internet with your heated/air conditioned car/SUV parked in the driveway ready to take you to the shopping mall to get all you need, want and like,
    these are all products of capitalism.
    the same capitalism you want to go away.

  • Don Quixote

    satiricohen, you are right. Let people keep the fruits of their labor and they will be highly motivated. Take those fruits away and give them to others who have not labored to earn them, and you will sap all motivation.

    Friend of USA, well put and thanks for writing so eloquently.

    Y-man, you are right that capitalism must win the hearts of the citizens. Nearly all Americans used to believe in capitalism. Many, perhaps most, do not any longer. If we do not believe in capitalism, our capitalist system should fail and we deserve the socialist morass we end up in. The problem is that so many people want to believe in the socialist ideal. The socialist view of human nature has been demonstrated to be wrong a thousand times over, but it is a lovely view of altruism and self-sacrifice. Capitalism takes us as we are, and makes human nature work to the system’s advantage. Socialism takes us as we wish we were, and installs a system completely incompatible with human nature as it actual exists (which is why all socialist societies fail badly and more quickly than capitalist societies). Our heads know the capitalists are right. But our hearts wish the socialists were. We know better, but, in the end, our hearts often win out.

  • Ymarsakar

    A good example of the socialist propaganda success is how many people view Bush as the one exploiting people for personal gain, while seeing Obama and the Democrats as being for the middle class or for the poor or for the betterment of humanity.

    This deadlock can be broken by getting people to face the truth. And you do that by getting people from Iraq to meet face to face with the folks saying Bush is only in Iraq to exploit the people. Get people to confront the folks they are going to exterminate face to face, and opinions may change.

    If people hate Bush so much, I’d like to see how they handle a face to face meeting with him. Bush has done so for military families, even those families that didn’t approve of him or his policies or blamed him for the death of their family members. Bush can handle that. Can the rest of America?

    Unfortunately, Bush is one man and so must rely upon television and the media to broadcast his message. That means all the media filters distort it and make it far less personal. Which means folks can ignore it or push it out of their mind as being “just talk”.

    One positive consequence of 9/11 was that it forced people to look at reality. To look at the deaths and the suffering caused because folks had blinders on. It is basic life and death motivation. And it was only created because people had to face real life individuals that they couldn’t ignore or shuffle off as propaganda.

    Studies have shown that most people don’t pay attention to advertisement or commercials. What people pay attention to is the personal testimony of folks that have used the products.

    If the problem with Americans is that we lack experience of the nations and the people our power affects, then the solution is to bring those nations and people here.

    The Democrats achieved a great victory by devastating South Vietnam’s population of American supporters. Many were cleansed and eradicated that could have told Americans, face to face, their life experiences. Those lives were destroyed because a dead man can tell no tales. Death is final and objective, as helen once noted in her arguments for pacifism.

    So it makes sense that with so many people being denied access to the American people that ultimately will decide the fate of foreigners in this world, that Americans love Communism more than Capitalism. They haven’t seen, face to face, the people that were hurt under Communism. It is not that Americans don’t care or that the media is convinced that they are only reporting what Americans are interested in: meaning Americans aren’t interested in the pain caused by socialism. It is that people have convinced Americans that to be a truly compassionate and caring person means to go with socialism. And with the millions of Vietnamese and other people that were killed to silence criticism of socialist utopian systems, America is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to hearing personal testimony.

    Every day Americans hear personal testimony of suffering under capitalism. No where do they hear the personal testimony of the suffering of those under Chavez, uday Hussein, Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc. The internet has helped, but it is not the same as face to face testimonials, Don.

  • Friend of USA


    Well you are very welcome Don Quixote!

    If only you could see how many times I re-write a line before I am satisfied with it…

    Anything positive about my writing in English – which is my second language, French being my first as you probably know – is greatly appreciated.

    (And if anyone notices any mistake in my English, do not hesitate to tell me. )

    I have to say Don Quixote your comment at 8:47 am about what we are versus what we wish we were is also very eloquent and I agree with it completely.

    Humans along the centuries have tried all sorts of systems and types of societies in an effort to reduce or eliminate poverty, suffering, injustice, crime, immorality, violence, and other such things, but sadly it seems no system is capable of eliminating what is part of us or part of some of us, part of life.

    Human nature is what it is and it produces more or less the same results no matter under what system it lives.
    One system may have more poor people and another may have less poor people but to my knowledge, there has never been a nation that had zero poverty or zero inequality.

    There are always some at the bottom and some at the top.

    Some succeed, some do not, and some are somewhere in between.

    Some are honest, some cheat and some are in between.

    A perfect system where there is complete equality and no injustices will never exist.

    And come to think of it, even in communist systems there is still a privileged class living in abundance that rules over the “everyone is equal ” class that lives in modest or minimal conditions.

    One could say that one of the main difference between a capitalist and a communist system is that more people live in abundance in a capitalist system.

    So in a way capitalism is fair to more people as far as abundance is concerned.

    And a capitalist system always treats its poor people better than a communist one does.

    In fact a poor American has a standard of living much higher than most poor people on the planet.

    Yes there are bad things about capitalism, but more good than bad things in it for sure.

    Yes we use too many resources and I admit it, but it is also from capitalist societies that solutions such as solar panels, wind mills and thousands of brilliant ideas and invention come from .

    Capitalism produces both the problems and then solutions, it is constantly evolving.

    Unlike the US Constitution ( teasing Liberals here… ) capitalism is a breathing living thing.

    I think someone put caffeine in my apple juice!

    Ok I’ll stop now…

  • rockdalian

    I hate to seem repetitive, but the lack of understanding by the population, of the different systems goes to the lack of education.
    When you are taught that America is the cause of the worlds problems, of course you would vote for the socialists that will offer you a better life. When you are educated in the foundations and history of this country then you realize how evil socialism really is.
    Basic economic thought should be taught as early as high school. As for me, a product of the early 70’s schools, I didn’t have economics until the first year of college.