A Proof That Capitalism Doesn’t Work?

Capitalism, a system in which “capital is invested in the production, distribution and other trade of goods and services for profits,” has been criticized by some for its overemphasis on individual or group interests. It has been observed that corporations, in a bid to expand their profits and sustain growth, turn to illegal and anti-human means. This news story provides just an example and backs that statement.

(AP) A federal judge says the nation’s top cigarette makers conspired for decades to mislead the public about the health hazards and addictive nature of smoking…
The judge […] order[ed] the companies to stop labeling cigarettes as “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light” or “mild,” saying they have used those terms to mislead consumers.

“They distorted the truth about low tar and light cigarettes so as to discourage smokers from quitting,” Kessler [the judge] said.

“They suppressed research. They destroyed documents. They manipulated the use of nicotine so as to increase and perpetuate addiction,” Kessler wrote in the ruling, which often referenced internal industry memos. More…


16 Responses to “A Proof That Capitalism Doesn’t Work?”

  1. 1 The Artist August 23, 2006 at 9:25 am

    To my mind no system has the answer. It is the spirit of individuals within a system that makes it work or fail. When individuals work from a spirit of greed, power or hatred any system will fail. Alternatively if individuals within a system work in a spirit of love, compassion and cooperation a system will thrive. A system can also be renewed if the individuals within that system start to work with a new spirit, with best wishes, The Artist

  2. 2 ariadneK August 24, 2006 at 8:44 am

    The Artist: such notions as you bring forth would be beautiful in a “real working environment”, but unfortunately they never will. Idealism is a bitch, ain’t it?

  3. 3 World Peace Religion August 24, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    How many people have they murdered?

  4. 4 The Artist August 25, 2006 at 1:20 am

    AriadneK I am sorry you are experiencing a negative working environment. My own experience of the real working environment has been varied and sometimes harsh, but I have also learnt what a change individuals with the right spirit can bring in such environments. We all have choices and we all have voices and we are all part of creating change, with best wishes, The Artist.

  5. 5 Jon August 25, 2006 at 6:12 am

    You didn’t provide any proof that Capitalsm doesn’t work. Capitalism is alive and well in this country, just because he can point out a instance that some corporation was accused of wrong doing doesn’t prove that Capitalism doesn’t work.

  6. 6 BZhuo (Ben Morrill) August 26, 2006 at 8:59 am

    That’s right!
    Together unite us and let us crush capitalism.
    Interesting blog I shall be back.

  7. 7 allan August 26, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    And the collapse of Russia and the poverty and suffering under Mao proved socialism doesn’t work.

    Look deeper.

    In reality what doesn’t work is huge government and the gigantic structures it supports.

    Capitalism works just fine – it is over regulation and taxation that creates monsters which consistently fail under any system.

    Big government doesn’t work – ever.

    China is recovering and its people are better off – to the extent they are abandoning socialism and embracing individualistic capitalism.

  8. 8 The Artist August 27, 2006 at 1:52 am

    The issue of where the `social safety net’ is placed within a capitalist society is something that creates a different flavor within systems. Australia and many European countries spread this net much wider than the US. When the net is wider, that is the social services provided by the rich to the poor through tax is more generous people have a chance to recreate their lives when for some reason they fall out of the system. When this net is narrow people either sink or swim and a larger gulf is created between the rich and poor. Each capitalist society seems to have a different place for this net but it something that needs to be looked at with great care in regard to the working of a capitalist society.

  9. 9 Azad August 27, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    Keep it simple:
    “In the Soviet Union, individualistic capitalism triumphed over communism. In the US of A capitalism triumphed over democracy and freedom.”
    Oh sorry, I should have written United States of George Bush.

  10. 10 DAWN August 31, 2006 at 7:12 am

    I don’t think that it’s capitalism that’s the problem. It doesn’t matter what kind of system you have, there will always be dishonest, greedy scumbags.

  11. 11 parated2k September 2, 2006 at 12:49 am

    True, Capitalism is frought with opportunity for individual corruption and must be tempered with the right amount of intervention. However, it is also the ONLY economic system that can exist without total force on the people.

    It is far from perfect, but after living in more socialist societies, I’ll take my chances with Capitalism EVERYTIME.

    Capitalism may have its examples of corruption, but socialism and communism ARE examples of corruption. YOu simply can’t give the government enough authority to do what is expected of it under socialism and communism without denying freedom of choice to everyone.

  12. 12 Steve Tiano September 3, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    Capitalism is the system, stacked against the individual as it can be at times, that gives one person at a time a chance to go as far and do as much as they’re willing to work for. And it is also most unfortunate that lowlifes can be found in dominant positions in many corporations.

    Stephen Tiano, Book Designer & Page Composition Specialist
    email: stiano@optonline.net
    iChat screen name: stephentiano@mac.com
    blog: Book of Tiano
    blog address: http://stevetiano.blogspot.com

  13. 13 Ron September 21, 2006 at 4:53 am

    While no economic system is perfect, no system in history has even come close to capitalism. Even with its flaws it is an excellent system and primarily breaks down when it is subverted to begin with, as in some form of price controls.

  14. 14 colono December 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    This blog entry suggests that capitalism can be good:

    This is one response:

    It is not an illogical error to reject capitalism, it is an expression of the desires and thoughts of probably still the majority of the world’s population, certainly in the Amazon and many other so-called developing places we’ve direct experiences with.

    It is not a “nirvana fallacy” (which sounds like a displacement designed to maintain a shopper’s delight), but rather a sensible reaction to the problems caused by an economic system which – and this illogical – treats the planetary resource systems as infinite, when any idiot that can think twice will realise that rivers, trees and fish are finite. Clearly finite. Even the sun’s rays are, on some level, finite: there is only so much energy per day/week/year emanating from the sun.

    For people who live in the developed world and go supermarket shopping on a daily basis it might be a bit of a stretch of the imagination to realise these issues, but for those working with development issues –squeezed between systematically repressive churches and an ever encroaching and imposing system of extraction, exploitation, and forceful “inclusion” into a cash economy where there is no scope for action, due to a lack of cash for newcomers, and only space for rebellion or urbanisation with extremely low success rates—, these are pretty straightforward issues and not at all, in any possible way, to do with nirvana – if only! If only this was a claim to a utopia, but it isn’t; it is a reaction to dystopia.

    Read about the Waorani people’s plight (in the blog) and destruction by the oil industry (a problem they share with many others, notably the Ogoni in the Niger Delta) and the general state of affairs in the Andes and those who depend on the run off of glacial waters on both sides – toward the coast and the Amazon (also in blog) – and you will begin to realise that this is not longing for utopia or an abstract issue of argumentation susceptible to a “nirvana fallacy” (read Graeber’s “Hope in Common” in that context, it might help; is in colonos blog), – this is a desparate flight from an evergrowing dystopia that the people suffering it are all too aware of is caused by the entirely non-empathetic business people – capitalist in short – who continue to take away their land, trees and consequently habitat of animals and spirits that are culturally at he very heart of these peoples’ reality.

    There can be no good capitalism – it is a system that depends on massive amounts of unemployed people – the flexible work force – which stand reserve in order to deal with fluctuations (See Michael Perelman’s “The Invention of Capitalism” to discover that these issues were very well known by Adam Smith et al., which lead to the establishment of police forces to deal with the problems that this was inevitably going to cause and which is essentially what anti-capitalists continue to fight against).

    It is a system that depends on unemployment at home and excessively cheap labour abroad and “free” (not that free, since armed forces and mercenaries are used in almost all extractive industry hotspots all over the world) access to resources. It is a system that cannot – and that is what we’re witnessing now – sustain itself in an equilibrium, but most always expand, but where to expand when the last tree is cut down and the last river runs dry? Eat money?

    And so on, and so on…..

  15. 15 Aero September 24, 2009 at 6:23 am

    The downfall of capitalism isn’t that sometimes a few bad apples stray from the path of righteousness and ruin the fun for everyone else, but that capitalism ENCOURAGES such behavior. Success based on the failure of others is hardly something to cherish.

  16. 16 Brutal Truth July 25, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Capitalism doesn’t work for the reason many have noted elsewhere, essentially that it doesn’t monetize certain forms of work well. This could also include road repair, as there is no profit in it but it desperately needs to be done. So instead all we have are underfunded highway repair organs at the local level which are far from being up to the task.

    There are other reasons why capitalism doesn’t work. Here’s my favorite: Because it doesn’t work for the AVERAGE PERSON. Remember, the vast majority of Americans aren’t billionaires or investment bankers or even small business owners. The vast majority of Americans sell their labor piecemeal and are paid a fraction of its actual value. In other words, we’re exploited, just in varying degrees from the overworked white collar worker to the underpaid migrant worker planting shrubbery. You see, you can’t have capitalism WITHOUT exploitation of the many by the privileged few. You can’t have capitalism without the greed of those privileged few and without their heartlessness and willingness to take advantage of their fellow man and woman. A system that revolves around greed and the ripping off of the average worker for the benefit of the wealthy few is certainly not the pinnacle of human development, not even close. Capitalism is wage slavery. Humanity can and will do far better.

    Some say socialism offers no incentive to work harder. I say what could offer the worker less of an incentive than a system like capitalism where the average worker sees no difference in his paycheck if the store where he works does 2% or 20% more in sales this quarter? This and the insultingly low pay rate that is the norm under the capitalist economic model are more than reason enough to abolish it and transition toward worker ownership of the means of production. Think about it. This is the only way that workers will be paid what their labor is worth and the only way that workers will have some kind of a stake in the success of their business because they would be a part-owner.

    Others have pointed out that capitalism is not democracy because it is of course an economic model rather than a political system. This is correct. What they neglect to point out is that capitalism is inherently INCOMPATIBLE with genuine democracy. A great case in point is the U.S. government which, let’s be honest, from any objective estimation is just a big sock puppet of the billionaire ruling elite. Senators, Reps and the president himself may as well have their corporate sponsors’ logos on their suit jackets like race car drivers. Anyone we are allowed to vote for is guaranteed to be someone who will maintain the status quo and won’t make any meaningful changes. Because that is simply all that the wealthy will finance. They aren’t going to cut their own throats and force themselves to flee to the Caymans with a steamer trunk full of money to start a new life. Instead they buy out any candidate that has a shot at winning and let the puppets fight it out among themselves to see which will be the best puppet of the elite. Look at Obama if you don’t believe me. Campaigned as Mr. Hope and Change, Mr. New Way of Doing Things and what do we get? Someone who governs from a place that is shoved so far up the rear end of Wall Street that Obama poops out stock ticker tape. And gives us a health care “reform” package that is the dream of the private insurance companies and Big Pharma but still makes people’s grandmas choose between food and medicine and makes poor people who can’t afford insurance buy it from private insurers. If all we could choose between was John McCain and the Wall Street whore Obama, that’s not democracy or even close to it. It’s a pseudo-democracy where people go through the motions and carry out the rituals of democracy to keep them complacent and feeling like they have a voice in the process. That’s it. Why is it this way? Because the uber-wealthy capitalist bourgeois elite controls the whole process by controlling all its players. Period. Capitalism is a poison for democracy.

    Capitalism essentially puts the profit motive above all else including fairness, people’s health and safety and the environment. All that is a distant second to the bottom line.

    Capitalism should be seen for what it is, an INTERMEDIATE stage in human development between ancient feudal absolutism and the future, worker state democratic proletarian socialism. People from the future will look back and wonder whatever took us so long to get there when it couldn’t be more obvious that capitalism is soul-crushing and so self-evidently destructive to the average person. The future looks bright and beautiful. It just doesn’t in any way involve capitalism.

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I no longer update this weblog due to academic and other preoccupations. However, feel free to browse through its older entries. Thanks.
This is a weblog where a journalism enthusiast Afghan student writes about hot contemporary issues from an Afghan perspective. Enjoy your visit! Contact: mail . myscribbles @ gmail . com

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