Capitalism (what good is it?)

We admit that the system does offer freedom: to make money; to choose the products we wish to obtain; to elect the government that we want – and all this freedom and all its potential chaos is anchored by the virtue of tolerance. But what has all this freedom and liberty and tolerance obtained? We live longer lives and we own more things, yet at the same time infant mortality is rising and the chronic poor have less and less. There is more money to spend now than ever although the money itself is worth less than ever. We live in times of tremendous technological advances, but what have we managed to obtain with all those advances? Peace on earth? Since the invention of capitalism we have seen the invention of more brutal and destructive wars with more elaborate and destructive weapons playing the barbarous protagonists. Social harmony? Despite institutionalised schooling, ignorance and violence are prominent, street violence and organised crime are endemic. Absurd addictions and mental health problems are prevalent everywhere.

Of course capitalism has lots of allies who serve great purposes for the monetary market system. Corporatism’s friend number one, Christianity, is a great tool for hating people, and the churches are full of soulful, happy sinners playing the capitalist games of consume and borrow to consume more. Even the radicals are useful to the system, as they provide an atmosphere of freedom, and their revolutionary ideas are not anathema – change is always needed so that things may stay the same. If we look back, even our greatest humanitarian achievements have been useful to capitalism. The abolishment of slavery, for example, was promoted by liberal-democracy when it realised that paying low salaries was far more economical than providing for your slaves. Likewise the love of peace is also useful so that our markets may flourish on a global scale with lots of cheap labour, but that doesn’t mean that capitalism will also give up the profits of conflict and war… how could it? Justice is a tool for protecting possessions and reeking revenge. Truth is a nice word that helps capitalism impose its pecuniary dogmas on everyone else. And we should also add the ally of freedom to this list. Perhaps it is the most misused term of all, along with democracy. Both of these allies are thrown around like food and drink, as if we knew exactly what they meant, although in most cases they are mere euphemisms for something else which is being hidden from us.

Capitalism will align itself to anything in order to suck some profit out of it. Its relationship we would all hate to fall into: we fall in love with someone and they seem to love us too at first, but little by little we realise that all the charm they throw on us is just a perverse game for them. We don’t see it at first, later we start to intuit it, eventually our friends confirm those intuitions by telling us what is so obviously clear to them. Our loved one is using us, exploiting us emotionally and materialistically, with no other concern except for themselves and the satisfaction of their own desires. And capitalism is our greatest, egotistical lover with no other real morality than that of making more and more money.

Capitalism has no will to cure our ills. It even seems to thrive on creating them. In order to offer an answer to the bigger questions that in reality it ignores, the system maintains its religions, allowing them to push forward with the fantasy of God, God’s absolute morality, and the promise of an ultimate after life. God provides the dogma the system cannot touch on without contradicting its freedom principles.

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