To the disbelief of many Americans, capitalism is not, in fact, the only successful system of economics in our world today. Though capitalism has effectively overridden the majority of other forms of economics, there still remain a number of communities that function off of subsistence economics, or “Stone-Age” economics. These surviving communities radically oppose the tenets of capitalism that so threatens their continued existence. This is a stance shared by egalitarians such as Marx, though on different grounds.
Karl Marx has developed a slew of arguments against the ethics and logic implied by capitalism. His primary accusation, however, is that an economic system based on competition will inevitably destroy itself. As capitalism stands on the notion of fighting the way to the top, beating out competitors along the way, with time, there will be no more competitors and only a monopoly will remain. This process of elimination can be witnessed today, as it is now only six major corporations that control mass media. Another example is that of Comcast's recent purchase of NBC. This investment has given them control over both production (which they are able to fill with self advertisement) and distribution of media, which does not exactly contend a free market.
Marx also ascribes to capitalism the blame for alienation. This is a term he uses to refer to a worker no longer being the rightful owner of the fruits of his labor. Rather, the product of one's labor becomes an “alien being, a power independent of the producer…embodied in an object” (Marx 595). As a result, the worker is exploited. In creating more products, the worker is not gaining in on the accumulated profit but is only giving more power to his employers. Agreeing with Marx, Mander explains, “The owner of the capital…always obtains additional benefit. While the worker makes a wage, the owner of the capital gets the benefit of the worker's labor, plus the surplus profit the worker produces.” This results in a class struggle between “the oppressed and the oppressors” (Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie, respectively, as termed by Marx) (Marx 597).
[...] As was the case with the land inhabited by the Yupik, capitalist institutions will come to an unexploited area, use it for all it's worth, and then abandon it for the next, more profitable piece of land. If a corporation should not pursue this expansion and growth, it would lose the support of most of its shareholders. A corporation's lack of physicality also gives it the benefit of amorality. As mentioned before, decisions are always made in the interest of profit even over community goals or environmental health. [...]
[...] As sign” becomes the means to all goods and service, an individual finds themselves desiring sign” before they begin to desire a particular good or service. One should note, that sign” in a society that promotes “chrematistics” has no essential value. All value, in the American dollar, for example, is defined by our belief in it. In a sense, we are actually pursuing nothingness in pursuing a currency with no intrinsic value. We are able to produce as many dollar bills as we see fit, making the possibilities infinite. [...]
[...] The assertion of an individual Good is a highly Liberal concept as Communitarians, for example, do not support the notion of an individual Good and choose to pursue a public Good. Capitalism is also based upon the conception of the Liberal Self. Unlike Marx, however, individuals in support of capitalism such as Friedman would attribute the Liberal Self as an argument for this system of economics. One's innate quality of selfishness inspires an individual to acquire as much for one's self as possible. [...]
[...] If an individual wants nothing more, how can they be poor? Capitalists have simply ascribed the label of poverty to those in less technologically advanced societies. However, these societies simply place emphasis on other facets of life rather than possessions, which have become an American passion. A communitarian would view poverty as defined by relationships between people. In the video depicting the Tanna men's trip to New York City, the men are saddened by a man's homelessness as to them it signifies a lack of love and support; whereas in America homelessness simply reflects a lack of money. [...]
[...] An increase in population would “threaten the community's mobility and increase vulnerability to natural calamities,” as would the carrying of surplus itself (Mander 252). Communitarians also suggest that a man's self esteem rests on his hunting ability. The accumulation of surpluses would thus “diminish the cultural and psychological importance of the hunter” (Mander 252). The effect of decreased satisfaction from one's job can be clearly witnessed in modern America. As corporations, a necessary consequence of capitalism, work to simplify tasks out of cost efficiency, individuals doing typical, repetitive taks are left “horribly bored and without a sense of participating in corporate goals” (Mander 132). [...]
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