Capitalism is the regime that has caused the universal problems of wars, famines, and political unrest. Capitalism is mainly defined as an economic system where entrepreneurship, natural resources, capital goods, and labor as factors of production operate freely without the interference of the state for profit making. Capitalism needs a free labor market to succeed. In such a system, they are two classes of people: the capitalists and the proletariat who are the working class, the wage-laborers working under the capitalists. Capital is the magnum opus of Marx's theory, being the most unique element of circulation in the capitalist system. The labor power is treated as a commodity that can be exchanged for capital, though not always the case. We can have free labor in a capitalist system in the form of slavery which though illegal in most countries, is still existent. Capital consists of means of subsistence, labor instruments, raw materials, material products, exchange values, and social magnitudes. In a non-capitalist environment, when the exchange of goods occurs, the main intention is to obtain money and use it to trade for other goods. In the realm of capitalism, the exchange value must include profits for the capitalists be it for services or goods. According to Karl Marx, the bourgeois exploit the proletariat, in the process of profit making through the accumulation of capital.
The main problem with capitalism is because it creates a forum for the exploitation of the labor force. As Marx argued, the workers get paid less than their value or what they produce for example, in a day a worker may receive $50 as a day's pay whereas the worth they have to produce is $90. This excess of the capital, Marx referred it to as surplus value; a requisite for capital accumulation. Robert C. Tucker notes "the antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is a struggle of class against class, a struggle which carried to its highest expression is a total revolution." (p.219). The workers in the system must be exploited to create larger amounts of this surplus value to maintain their status quo of capitalist dominance.
On the other hand, the labor force is constantly seeking for an elevated status of a payment, a better reward for their labor which they are selling. Most people have equated Karl Marx with socialism, but if well understood, his criticism of capitalism has all to do with controlling how it runs. Failure of a state to control capitalism has baleful consequences as the rich go overboard with greed and oppress the less fortunate who have no voice economically.
Adam Smith, the founder of the Capitalism philosophy, suggested that whenever the state starts interfering with the free market, chances of nations having conflicts increases. When the markets are free, the relationships enjoyed are of a pacific nature. This is only partially true. Capitalists states are always on the hunt of new markets where they can get as much profit for their products or at least amass wealth in the form of natural resources and capital goods. A good example is the Middle East with the United States. Numerous articles have been written and researches conducted to unravel the riddle of the US involvement in the Middle East. Under the disguise of peacekeeping, the western superpower uses all methods possible to garner as many natural resources as possible from these countries.
In some cases, we have under-consumption in a capitalist regime. The civilian production is shifted to weaponry production, and the capitalist states provoke wars in other countries as a way of generating a demand for the goods. Capitalists use Machiavelli mechanisms to remain in the economic power, and it is often hard to establish strong ethical codes for practice which should be followed. Organizations are forced to stand up and start protecting the defenseless citizen who is hard hit by the economic conditions. Politics can be defined as the social art of allocating economic resources. Despite the many speeches made in public places, the real issues driving these politicians are economic resources and endowments. If all resources were to be distributed equally, and everyone given a fair share on the table, wars will be a forgone history, never to be heard of again. Capitalism won't allow fair sharing, and therefore, capitalism is to blame for the wars always witnessed.
Another form of a problem caused by capitalism in political unrests. These political unrests arise from dissatisfaction in people as they watch their hopes go by, without any economic fulfillment. An example is immigration. The people who flee their countries into new ones run there to find an economic or political asylum. Labour power becomes easier to sell and buy as compared to the time the immigrants had not set in. The process of producing a surplus value becomes simpler since people are willing to work at lower wages. "The capitalist buys labor-power to use it" (p.344). At these low wages, the public starts to complain of the unfair payments made by the capitalists, who are going home with huge profits. As many people become dissatisfied with the economic condition, the pressure turns on the leaders who are entrusted with the duty of making life easier for a citizen. The political debates will start to escalate as the people press to have the system working.
To be honest, in any state, There are many economic systems at play. It is hard to find in a country, everything being run under capitalistic conditions. This capitalism is a very complex system to blame for the many woes the human races is going through. A lot of rebuttal philosophies have also been developed to critique the place capitalism has had on wars. We all know well that a majority of industries and companies suffer a great deal during wartime. Whereas it may be true that ammunition companies will profit through the production and supply of weapons, the theory of profiteering of a few capitalist companies is highly questionable.
The global pandemic of poverty can be traced to the roots of capitalism. But how can capitalism cause poverty since most capitalist states are rich? Could the problem be a failure on the intended purpose of capitalism generating wealth for the countries through the accumulation of capital or the regime itself? A good example is the United States. Since 1974, the economic gap of the rich and the poor has ever widened. Despite the national statistics showing a flourishing economic with an ever-expanding GDP, the individual cases of the lower economic classes are worsening each day. It is very ironical that a country with 20% of the companies in the Forbes 500 list could be having one of the biggest economic divides in the whole world. Recently when the US government passed a fiscal bill of lowering the corporate taxes, there was a lot of jubilation in the multinationals. The government believes that if the corporate taxes are lowered, that will help in increasing the Foreign Direct Investment. A keen look at the statistics of gains made by these companies, the huge profits realized end up in the pockets of the few rich who occupy positions in the executive meetings, and not the bigger working class. Policies which are apparently meant for bettering the country are not favoring the poor.
The association of poverty and the economic divide with capitalism is greatly contested. Poverty is a result of a combination of many factors, some of them being: corruption and policies. Whereas it is true that a majority of countries across the globe have had their economic gaps widen since the 1980s, poverty and the gaps are functions of economic policies. In developing countries like the African states, it cannot be stated conclusively that it is capitalism at work. In fact, most of the states fear the letting capitalism take its course by regularly intervening with the private sector through regulations when they start performing better. A lot of policing and regulations have put a bottleneck to the implementations of capitalistic policies, and such countries have got their governments to blame for implementation of policies which are not tenable.
A good example is Bolivia. The poverty in the country has not been caused by the multinationals like IBM, Pepsi, McDonald's sucking all the country's wealth through profit making. In the country, they are complaining of how hard it is to conduct business due to the failing financial control systems.
Capitalism can be linked to the famines reported all over the world. Coming to such a conclusion requires a careful connection of the historical events which occurred in the past century. In the 20th century, most countries in the world, more especially Africa obtained their indecencies. To what was appearing to be an economic autonomy and breakthrough, the countries went into a long-term financial deadlock. Can the problem be fully appended to the incapability of the African leaders in providing lasting solutions to their governments? The answer is a big debate. When the colonialists landed on the land of Africa, they had one primary goal in their minds: taking as many natural resources as possible. Immediately after the supposed liberation from the colonial rule, these African states were conducting business with their masters who could set the value of commodities. The 'masters' have again and again unfairly participated in the trade making it very hard for the African states to take part competitively.
Similarly, for each country the 'master' capitalist make it hard for the proletariat to survive, controlling the markets with monopolistic power. They can suppress the demand-supply through hoarding so that the prices of the essential foodstuffs can hike in their prices for their benefit. The problem is so true in the developing states, where the cartels are responsible for some of the famines witnessed.
It is true that famine can be as a result of many factors. If a country has not invested in food security, it is probable that it will assuredly flop into a food crisis. The factors of production can be at play without any government intervention, but through food security programs, the state has a right to provide that her people are well fed. The blame cannot be directed to capitalism since it isn't the mandate of the private sector to fed citizens. Also, when capitalist companies exist within one country, the competition lowers prices as they struggle to remain afloat by offering competitive prices to the consumers. "The capitals increase in number and extent. The numerical increase of the capitals increases the competition between the capitalists." (p.211).
In conclusion, the Marxist critique of capitalism is to a great extent true and has to be incorporated by economic systems of government to reinstate sanity in the capitalist systems. Capitalism if unbridled can be a weapon of human oppression where the powerful feel justified using the existing legal system to make the life of others very hard. Due to the unfair allocation of resources in our society, communities and associations/organizations are daily rising up to stand for what they are convinced is theirs rightfully. Wars have a tap root rising from the discomfort of a few seeking to take home all the share of the available resources. This seems to echo the Negro human rights conviction that some laws are unjust. A system can be well constituted, producing unfair results on people from its operation. Nevertheless, the theory is not self-sustaining. It needs a play from other perspectives of socialism, communism - all knit together as fabric for application to any economy.
Tucker, R. C. (Ed.). (1978). The Marx-Engels Reader.
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