I'm always running across blogs and rants about the evils of capitalism, which are incapable of distinguishing between free market economics and fascism.
Anyway, I feel like I'm in a minority in the art community, because it seems almost like it's a requirement for all the artists I know to hate on Capitalism for no reason other than that it seems like a convenient scapecoat for human greed and stupidity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism The Wikipedia article has some in depth explanations, but they failed to understand that Monetarism is incompatible with Free Market Capitalism, because it establishes a monopoly on the ability to create currency.
While there are sections of the US economy that are mostly based on Free-market Capitalism, it is very much a mixture of Corporate Capitalism, Mercantilism, State Capitalism, Social Market Capitalism, and Crony Capitalism. So, in a way, yeah, capitalism is kind of to blame, but mostly a highly perverted version of it. And it depends heavily on your definition of Capitalism, which has become very convoluted over the years.
I'll agree with him on some subjects. For instance, that the Brony phenomenon is probably a positive sign. I appreciate that there are so many people who are willing to take to heart the ideals of friendship, peace, and tolerance. But I think he's misidentified the source of the "sickness" in society which is making FiM such an appealing form of escape. Yes, cutthroat business practices are ultimately damaging to both people and the economy. But what it all boils down to is that there are two kinds of "capitalism" and not everyone seems to realize how to distinguish the two. I know this seems like gross simplification, but it's the best way I can find to describe it to people who aren't well versed in economics.
The 'good' form of capitalism is basically what stems from your freedom to sell the things you own at any price you want. It does not extend the power to force someone to buy it from you.
The 'bad' form of capitalism relies on violence, deception, or threats to force someone to buy or sell an item at a specific price, or to bar them from mutually consensual transactions of most any kind.
The 'good' form of capitalism is pretty much a philosophy that says, "I must sometimes benefit more than just myself in order to prosper." And allows prosperity to flow naturally from the things people need, or can provide for others. The 'good' form of capitalism is essential because the freedom to participate with one another in mutually consensual transactions is a necessary component in a free society.
People who practice business in a cutthroat manner, victimizing their customers, aren't capitalists, they're predators. These predators can exist in any form of government. But they're often experts at disguising their motives when they can exploit overly complex systems or rules. What they profit from the most, however, is a concentration of power. Gangsters and thugs aren't successful because they are given the freedom that everyone else has. They're successful because, either through circumstance, or through government policy, they're given freedoms and opportunities that others are discouraged from. And the easiest way to do this isn't by convincing the masses, it's by convincing a few key people at the top of a social hierarchy. Predators profit off their cutthroat practices because they control the lawmakers. Again, this is the 'bad' form of capitalism.
Greed and private wealth are allowed to exist in 'good' capitalism, not because greed is inherently good, but because any attempt to dismantle it through force or deception ultimately undermines any benefit one would hope to achieve. It establishes a paradigm in which it is okay to steal, or to bully, as long as it's certain people doing it to certain other people. Ultimately someone is going to have to decide when it's okay, and that someone will not always be on your side.
You can't legislate away stupidity, greed, hate, or prejudice. Overcoming these flaws is a personal struggle.
Once more, I don't believe greed is why free markets succeed. They succeed because voluntary human interaction is the only moral interaction, and the only sustainable interaction. Where mutually consensual interaction is oppressed, or corrupted, is the ultimate source of 'bad' Capitalism.
Also, I think this Maoist Rebel News dude is confusing the Mises Institute with Social Darwinism. Austrian economics is less about, 'Prosperity stems from aggressive business practices' and more about, 'Prosperity stems from fulfilling needs effectively' And that 'Any organization which isn't fulfilling your needs, is not entitled to your damn money'
Let me clarify something here. Communism, so far as the concept that people should be allowed to pool their resources, voluntarily, for the benefit of the community, is not one that I disagree with. Institutionalized Communism is what I disagree with, because it usually takes the power and decision making out of the hands of the participants, and places it into the hands of an elite few. If you want to get together with a dozen, a hundred, or even a million people, and willingly pool your resources towards a common goal, I don't believe that is wrong, or even in violation of free market philosophy. In fact, I think that would be commendable, even inspiring, depending on your objectives. Any problems I have with it are the same as the problems I have with the 'bad' form of capitalism. The only way Communism violates my principles, is when the participants are being robbed, deceived, threatened, or pressed into service against their will. This can happen in any government.
In the Maoist Rebel News video, he makes three claims which I would like to contest. First, is his assertion that criticism against communism is null and void, because there is popular support for communism in some formerly communist countries. I will not contest the source of the data, or that they genuinely believe this, but instead make two simple observations.
1. A popular belief is not necessarily an accurate one. 2. Their current government might genuinely be worse for them than their old one, and that might have absolutely nothing to do with the presence of capitalism, or the absence of communism.
Another point I wish to contest. He criticizes the people who oppose Child Labor laws. While it's true that work conditions for children were often horrible, and that many of these laws were passed in their best interest, the act of barring a specific demographic of people from working is a violation not only of free market economics, but of civil liberties. No, children should not be exploited. No, they should not be pressed into the workforce against their will. But bar any other demographic of people from working, and suddenly it's prejudiced. Why not children? I believe the decision of whether or not a person should work ultimately lies with the person. I realize this might be an unpopular decision, but the reality is that because of child labor laws, often the only people who will employee children are people who don't give a crap about the child's best interest, because they're already breaking the law. Working conditions are often horrible for adults, too. It's a ridiculous measure to bar people from working because they might be exploited. Anyone can be exploited. Does that mean no one should work?
The final claim I wish to contest is his implication that Capitalism is responsible for the economic downturn in the US and many other countries. Once more, there are two "Capitalisms" and distinguishing between them is critical to understanding what went wrong. There are many causes for the recession, and none of them are from the 'good' capitalism. One of the driving factors stems from the schemes between a select companies and lawmakers. Basically, they are distorting the definition of "money" to the point where it is almost meaningless. I don't believe these actions are necessarily out of malice. They may very well think that encouraging reckless and irresponsible spending will lead to prosperity. But it won't. All they are doing is subsidizing unsustainable business models. This is one of the primary causes for the collapse. It has left a nation in debt to a select few, who loaned them money, that they only believe was ever worth anything. How much is a $25,000 college loan worth when you can't find a job? How much is a $22,000 car loan worth when you can't afford gas? How much is a $180,000 home loan worth when you can't afford food?
How much will your dollar be worth in five years? No one knows for sure, but my best guess, if things continue on the same course, it's gonna be a heck of a lot less than it is today.
And guess what? None of this is because of 'good' capitalism. It's because of fraud, theft, and oppression. It's because we trust people with the very authority which they refuse us. It's because somewhere along the line, we became so afraid of out own ignorance, that we decided we needed someone else to make all our decisions. And we became so afraid of our neighbors, that we demanded our lawmakers rob them of their rights.
I am sick of the communism vs capitalism debate. Because people who participate in it often miss the most critical point. It's not about what it's called. It's about empowering people to improve their lives. it's about breaking down the illusion that we, as individuals, are not good enough, or not smart enough to decide what's in our own best interest. It's about the inalienable liberty that is necessary for all humankind to prosper.
One day, maybe, we will live in a world of abundance, where everyone's needs and desires are fulfilled with little or no effort. But we cannot ever hope to achieve such a world by exploiting and oppressing our neighbors.