Yesterday, we introduced the Myth of Capitalism, the belief that Free-market capitalism is an unquestionably beneficial and moral economic system. And we claimed that this belief could not be more mistaken, because Capitalism is inherently immoral.
Today we will show that Capitalism is based on an immoral act that cannot be separated from it, an act of force that make the whole system intrinsically unjust.
Ineradicable immorality of capitalism
Capitalism is fundamentally and ineradicably immoral because it is founded on an act of violence. Force is at the very beginning of Capitalism in a way that cannot be excised without destroying Capitalism itself. What am I talking about?
Consider the very first capitalist act. The worker—that is, a person who has nothing else to sell but his own labor—goes to the marketplace to try to find someone willing to purchase his labor. There he meets the capitalist—that is, a person who has a store of money that he doesn’t need to support himself. The worker names a price for his labor, a price he calculates will feed himself and his family while still providing good value to the capitalist.
The capitalist, however, is not on an even playing field with the worker. The capitalist can support himself, without working, on the money he has accumulated. So he sees that he can afford to offer the worker less money than he requests, because if the worker says No, the capitalist can just scuttle the deal and wait until later.
But the worker cannot wait as long as the capitalist, because he cannot support himself. Eventually he has to give in to the demands of the capitalist. This is a form of force: the capitalist can make the worker do something he doesn’t want to do by making him fear for his survival.
This is the violence at the heart of capitalism. Every capitalist holds a gun to the head of every worker, whether or not he chooses to use it, and whether or not he even realizes it. If he doesn’t use his advantage, he’s not going to make as much profit as he could. So he probably will use it.
The Myth of Capitalism has become so ingrained that most people no longer even realize that the whole system is based on economic force. It has become so widespread that virtually everyone now holds up megacapitalists as role models—precisely because they have mastered an essentially immoral system for amassing profit!
After the weekend, we will continue our consideration of the Myth of Capitalism, and we will see that, although Capitalism is intrinsically unjust, its unjust character can be mitigated by the good works of decent people.
Until Monday, then.
28 December 2012
by Alfred George filed under