Thursday, May 10, 2018

No, capitalism is not a bad thing

The current feminist "intersectional" anti-racist multicultural ideology has somehow allowed a certain particular political ideology to, rather surreptitiously, gain a of foothold and traction, especially in some countries, and especially, among other places, in universities. Namely, Marxism.

For very long, the word "capitalism" has been seen as an abhorrent monster. Whenever that word is uttered, it immediately gives people the mental picture of a fat old man wearing an old-fashioned tuxedo and a monocle, twirling is mustache, while leading an industrial corporation which exploits workers, poor people, and natural resources, paying them pitiful salaries while he swims in money. It gives the picture of expansive factories that emanate copious amounts of smoke into the air, and waste water into rivers, of forests being torn down and converted into wastelands. (Modern neo-Marxists ignore the fact that this mental image also describes very accurately eg. the Soviet Union in its heyday, and China even today. They only want to think of capitalism doing this.)

Somehow this mental picture of capitalism has been intermingled with the modern social justice ideology. It has been transmogrified into a mental picture where capitalism was, and is, the root cause of colonialism and exploitation of poor countries. In fact, it goes even further than that: It claims that capitalism is, somehow, inherently racist, sexist, patriarchal, and oppressive.

Marxism heavily opposes capitalism, and thus it has gained a lot of traction among social justice ideologues. It opposes the "establishment", the monster that is "capitalism". Therefore it must be a good thing, right?

The thing is that all these people are staring exclusively at the worst possible examples of were corporatist anarcho-capitalism can lead to, and willfully ignore all the capitalist countries that are peaceful, prosperous, non-exploitative, have high living standards for everybody, and have never engaged in any sort of international exploitation.

Take Finland, for example. Is the economic model of Finland capitalism?

Because of all the negative connotations that the word has, if you ask that question to any Finn, especially a politician, or a journalist, or any other such person who should be knowledgeable about these things, they will probably get really squirmish about it, and try to come up with all kinds of excuses and explanations of how Finland is not a capitalist country.

But the fact is that the answer to the question is quite clear and unambiguous: Yes, Finland is a capitalist country. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of about that hard fact.

What is "capitalism"? It's all about ownership of capital. The dictionary definition of capitalism is:
"An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."
Private corporations and individuals own property, industry and economic transactions between themselves (rather than these things being owned by the government). That's the very definition of capitalism. And this is 100% the case in Finland. (Of course the government also owns certain corporations, and engages in economic transactions, but there's nothing in the definition of capitalism that would exclude that possibility. The important part is that the economic system of the country allows for private ownership with little restrictions.)

So, I have to ask: How is capitalism a bad thing in Finland?

Living conditions are quite good for everybody. There is free healthcare, nobody has to live on the streets, nobody is being exploited, nor does Finland exploit other countries.

And Finland is by far not the only country that's in this situation.

Yet, if you look for successful countries that implement a socialist or communist form of economy, where the government owns everything and there is no private property, it's hard to find any examples of such countries that have been successful and where the living conditions are even bearable. Poverty is one of the most common characteristics of such countries. Totalitarianism, with all the oppression that entails, is another.

There have been several cases of a formerly relatively successful capitalist country becoming socialist or communist, and while the new government manages to thrive for a limited amount of time on the wave of the earlier economic success, it eventually descends into deep poverty and significantly lowered living standards. Venezuela being the most prominent recent example.

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