Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is Capitalism Flawed?

Russian dissident Solzhenitsyn dared to ask the question.
But when Solzhenitsyn committed the sin of criticizing the West in front of the 1978 Harvard graduating class, and dismissed Western social and economic policies as false alternatives for the world, those same European and American thinkers once cheering Solzhenitsyn as a champion for freedom consequently berated his scrutiny and ignored Solzhenitsyn’s social, political, and economic analysis, as well as any of his proposed reforms. (Read entire post.)


Divine Theatre said...

it is by no means obvious that it is always preferable for a man to operate his own business rather than to work for another. It may well be that a man is better able to care for his family precisely if he does not own his own business or work the backbreaking schedule of running his own farm, partially because he is not ruined if the enterprise for which he works should have to close, and partially because he doubtless enjoys more leisure time that he can spend with his family than if he had the cares and responsibilities of his own business. Surely, therefore, we are dealing here with a matter for individual circumstances rather than crude generalization.

The North Coast said...

To the critics of capitalism: Please tell us what would work better or more fairly.

Guild Socialism? Communism?

Or the debt-encumbered Mixed Economies of the U.S., Europe, or Japan?

Or the State-run nominal "capitalism" of fascist Germany?

Or the "communitarian" economy of the Amish?

So far, there has been no system devised that distributes goods more fairly or better rewards people in keeping with their contributions and merits than free market capitalism, which really should not be confused with the Fascist Crony Capitalist Command Economy of modern Unites States, Europe, and Japan.

Is it perfect? No, because humans aren't perfect. But it's about as good as humans and their choices can be.

Divine Theatre said...

Suppose that "distributism" had been in effect as the Industrial Revolution was developing in Britain in the late 18th century?
People were ill equiped to make a profit in agriculture and they did not have the tools by which to make a living in an independent trade.
Capitalism, and not distributism, literally saved these people from utter destitution and made possible the enormous growth in population, in life expectancy, in health, and in living standards

The North Coast said...

You are absolutely correct, Divine.

It galls me to see capitalism and the Industrial Revolution blamed for the deep destitution of the people who were crowding into the industrializing cities to take jobs at the new factories and mills.

These people were not poor because of these factories. Were these places awful? Yes, they were, because industrialism was very new and so was the belief that all people should be treated decently. As ever, some employers were decent and upright, while others were sociopaths who took advantage of a lopsided supply:demand ratio (tens of desperate, destitute people for every available job) to impose horrid working conditions and brutal mistreatment.

What some people do not realize is that you didn't need the industrial revolution for these people to be desperate and starving, for the population has simply begun to exceed the limited carrying capacity of a traditional agrarian society. Were it not for the rapid industrialization and corresponding rise in productivity and living standards it enabled, these people would have starved to death.

As for the brutal mistreatment of industrial workers, we must remember that the industrialists did not invent slavery and bondage, and without it, these people would have been subjected to still more brutal treatment. Only industrialization could free the slaves and serfs and give the working classes the kind of comfort, prosperity, and freedom we in the Western world have enjoyed for the past century.