In defence of capitalism

March 4, 2007

I spend a lot of time knocking naked capitalism for it’s viciousness and lack of consideration in a world of the “valuable individual.” It’s probably about time I put in some sort of counterpoint argument if, for no other reason, than I am traditionally an argumentative bastard and in the face of no one to argue with today I may as well argue with myself. That and, of course, I am meant to be out having a run right now but it’s raining so I feel the need to pretend I am doing something else more important.

I am all for a more equitable distribution of wealth. I do not believe any society I know of on earth is quite ready for full blown egalitarianism. yet. However, capitalism has driven the economies of those countries who have embraced it to amazing levels in a short period of time.

This excess of wealth, held in the hands of the few, whilst having plenty of negative effects has also created huge scientific and technological advances. The idea of space tourism exists only because of this situation and, of course, the costs will gradually come down till it is far more widely available.

Whether there is a way for this sort of advancement to happen in an egalitarian society is up for debate. Capitalism is fuelled by insecurity which fuels consumerism which, in turn, fuels growth in wealth. It is a negative force with some positive effects. An egalitarian society moves people away from insecurity, decreases consumerism and therefore may well slow growth, we just do not know for certain. It is a land unexplored.

Suffice to say the long-term survival of humanity, the drive of our DNA, lies in expanding off our home planet which will only be habitable for a limited lifespan. For all my pontificating over egalitarianism it is something that could have, without a predecessor of naked capitalism, led ultimately to the extinction of humanity.

Then again, egalitarianism may fuel greater creativity allowing humans more time to expand their minds creating cheaper, more viable options in all technologies.

It would be interesting to see a country try and implement it. With the pendulum swinging once more (finally) away from materialism and also capitalism as a philosophy, rather than an economic tool, the time may be ripe for someone to give it a shot.

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