The purpose of this post is to ask you the question is capitalism good or bad? I am curious myself of the answers that are floating around the collective unconsciousness. Does capitalism work is a very relevant question? After studying economics and living in the USA and a post-socialist country I have an opinion but I want to look at it from both sides and hear what you think.
Today in the USA and Europe, the economy is doing nothing special and politically we are trending towards a social state. This question is important for the elections in the USA in 2010. However, it is also important for you personally because how you answer this question determines your life and your future. I have a poll set up and invite your comments. Please take the time to vote.
At the end of this post, you can read what I think about capitalism, it if is wrong or the best system. I tried to give a balanced argument but it is clear what I think.
Is capitalism bad?
The main argument that says capitalism is bad goes like this: people need to be controlled or the greedy and the powerful will use the good hard-working people of the earth and destroy the earth while they are at it. The world is made up of sheep and wolves and the wolves will destroy take what they want from the sheep even if it is unfair and inhuman. An economy regulated by-laws will create checks and balances and give a safety net for those who can not manage for one reason or another.
Capitalist lack compassion and understanding about the suffering of people of this world. Socialism believe man is basically selfish, let to their own they would not care about the world and eventually most people will suffer.
Is capitalism good?
To understand why capitalism is good to consider the alternative. Socialism capitalism’s main alternative is the road to serfdom. There will be greedy and powerful people always, however, under socialism or mixed capitalism, the power is given to bureaucrats and not too creative people called entrepreneurs. Just like there were powerful in the Soviet Union or any state-run by bureaucrats. I live in a post-socialist country and see how it destroyed the lives of everyone but the people in government and special interests friends. The people who suffered the most was the poor and middle class.
Bureaucrats are the new oligarchs under a noncapitalist system – These people actualized their greed for power by using the government and law to keep their power and keep up the status quo and not competing freely with the rest of society. The haves keeps their power using the law and the have-nots are given fewer chances. Government becomes the funnel for income redistribution penalizing the hard-working and creative and rewarding special interests.
Capitalism like democracy believes that men are basically good and when they act on their enlighten self-interest society as a whole is lifted to a higher level, just compare North Korea and South Korea. Where would you have rather live West German or East German? People would rather work for their own families and then give to the poor like most of the wealthy from Bill Gates to Warren Buffet than being forced by the government to give their productive energy working for another man’s wife via redistribution of taxes.
Do I think capitalism works or does not work?
I am an unrepentant capitalist. I think except for some minimal regulation capitalism allows everyone to be the best that they can be. I live in Eastern Europe in an ex-communist country and for anyone who thinks capitalism is wrong or evil or does not work, should come here and see what the alternatives to capitalism did to the people of many countries.
Capitalism is not in my mind connected to religion. I am a religious man, but I think economics and religion are two different things. However, I do think capitalism is the most compassionate form of economics as it gives everyone a chance. Why? The best form of capital is intellectual capital, not financial capital. I believe that we are all equal and given talents unique to ourselves.
If you believe anything else you swindle yourself out of your own life. If you tell other people they need help from the government to change their life, you are telling them a lie that they might live. Adam Smith believed men are equal. I similarly believe we are all given different sets of life circumstances but what you do with it is what is important, your life is your canvas. This is why I believe capitalism is good.
What do you think, is capitalism good or bad? Have I given a fair assessment?