Growing up in the 21st century, most of us are no stranger to capitalism. After all, it has been the dominant economic system in many parts of our world for at least the past 200 years. For those unsure what capitalism means, it is an economic system where few people own and control the production and sale of goods. Think about it, in any company, it is the boss that decides how much of a certain item to produce and the price at which it is sold, and not the workers.
Regardless of whether or not you knew what capitalism meant prior to reading this post, you’ve definitely experienced its effects in your life one way or another. And perhaps you might have even had your misgivings about it before as well! Increasingly so today, more and more people are starting to notice the flaws in our economic system, and most would agree that it needs to be improved. In fact, most of these were not new issues. Two centuries ago, a German philosopher had already noticed many issues with capitalism that still hold true today! He was none other than, Karl Marx.
Okay before you say anything, hear me out. You might not agree with his political and economical theory, but I think most of us can agree with his critique on capitalism. It’s quite a bit of content so I’m not going to cover that in this post, but what really caught my attention was his point of how the capitalist economic system has very subtly moulded our thinking.
In a society where capital is the intrinsic good, people end up placing their economic interests above all else. Knowing this, let us re-examine certain beliefs which perhaps we’ve never thought to question before.
For example, concepts like “employee of the month” might sound a good goal to strive towards. But all things considered, who does it really benefit? It increases competition and productivity between the workers, which in turn results in increased capital for the owner of the company.
We believe that not having a job or taking too many breaks is simply laziness and a waste of time. But in truth, it’s really only bad for the system because we’re not contributing to the overall production of capital.
This really got me thinking. How many more fundamental beliefs do we have that simply exist to propagate the capitalist system? How many of our decisions are made primarily with our economic interests at heart? Are there even any decisions we make without having to think about capital and productivity?
This was a really difficult post to write as it involves challenging so many of my fundamental beliefs that I’d never even stopped to question before. I’m not saying capitalism is all bad, many amazing things are only possible today because of capitalism! But we all know it has its flaws, and only by acknowledging and being aware of them, can we start working towards improving it and coming up with a better economic system.