The Left tells us that we are simplistic for blaming our problems on simple things like socialism, diversity, and equality. They then tell us that the only solutions come from simple things like socialism, diversity, and equality. Somehow scapegoating in inverse appeals more to the human mind or at least, the optics.
Consequently these days we see a lot of finger-pointing from the Left and the mainstream cultural aggregate they have created. They want to blame capitalism, “racism,” and religion for all the problems of society, but also want to prohibit anyone from criticizing their own simplistic solutions and scapegoats.
The other day I was sitting around in Costco, waiting for someone to choose between types of dried mango, since it is apparently a pleasant ingredient in salads (note: ordinary average normal men eat hunks of lettuce, not salads, and we eat it with our steaks). While the debate raged, the vast wealth of Costco came into focus.
People like to complain about capitalism, but look at its positive side. For the price of five double mocha lattes, you can get a Costco membership and buy consumer products that your grandparents would only have dreamed of, and do so at entirely reasonable rates.
Nothing has lifted up the quality of life for humanity quite like capitalism. We now have a range of options, live in air-conditioned and heated homes, and can afford medical procedures that were once only there for the super-rich. We can in fact live well, at least when people leave capitalism alone.
There are several reasons to be pro-capitalist.
First, almost all of what people complain about when they talk about “capitalism” is in fact the result of a few Leftist programs: unions, taxes, regulations, and diversity. These things add on costs to an otherwise thriving market without delivering any benefits to the consumer.
In fact, they seem designed, like most of what the Left does, simply to hobble the strong. A philosophy of equality is inherently revengeful, since it assumes that in a perfect world the winners would not be winners, and so to make its perfect world it takes from winners to give to losers so everyone can remain in peaceful consumerist oblivion.
When you look at these things critically, their absurdity becomes revealed. Unions protect the bad workers at the expense of the good workers, who otherwise have no trouble finding jobs. Government likes unions because it wants more taxpayers not fewer, and offloads the cost to business, who offloads it to the consumers with higher prices.
Taxes drive the engine of government, which then invents new crusades in order to take in more taxes. If anti-smoking does not do it, and the war on drugs no longer has cachet, then there are civil rights, climate change, and wars for democracy overseas.
Regulations and diversity come from a place of good intent, perhaps, but work out to a high cost for businesses just like lawsuits are whenever government passes a new law that shifts the burden of proof and compliance onto industry. Each line of regulation or law requires lawyers on both sides, government and private, kicking up costs.
Affirmative action serves as a type of tax where, in order to prove that it is not “racist,” a business must hire lots of minorities and women. It chooses them because they are minorities and women, with competence coming second, and so most of them get filed in minor roles where their unnecessary salaries add costs that are passed on to the consumer.
Second, and this is a big point, capitalism is just economics. You either have a centralized command economy, where politics takes the place of economics and everything gets equally bad, or you let the markets do their thing. Capitalism describes how markets work.
Markets are generally more efficient than command economies and are undoubtedly more flexible, allowing them to recover from the inevitable ups and downs caused by technologies, shortages, weather, wars, and other human chaos. The markets sort themselves out without a bureaucracy to administer them.
Third, capitalism lowers prices and increases quality. Over time, rare technologies become normal; with economies of scale, difficult products improve and become more affordable. Competition hammers down prices and monopolies alike, allowing the consumer to buy more with less and live better with less time spent on the hamster wheel of work.
Without competition, products tend to rise in price because there are fewer sources. The worst type of monopoly of this sort is government, which when it controls the economy tends to act like a monopoly, making supply scarce and raising costs. One need only look at socialized medicine to see how painful this is.
Fourth, capitalism pursues efficiency that bureaucracy cannot. If something does not sell much, less of it is made. This can be bad when your population are nitwits who prefer garbage to quality, but it is useful in that energy is directed toward what most people think they need.
A centralized bureaucracy operates months, years, or decades behind the consumers. This means that highly-sought products get rarer and obsolete products become plentiful. Capitalism does the opposite, which is produce lots of highly-sought products and in the process, develop technologies and methods to make them cheaper and better.
Almost all of our “planned obsolescence” comes from government taking a 30-50% vig off the top of successful businesses. This forces them to cut costs, so they do it by making cheaper junk and selling it at the same price, which keeps profits high and therefore, the shareholders stay happy.
When you take government out of the equation, businesses pursue that which rewards them, exactly like people do. This is animal common sense: you do what feeds you. For that reason, businesses focus on what most people need and figure out a way to make their version more competitive through price and quality.
Fifth, if left alone, capitalism pursues efficiency that bureaucracy never will. In a business, you want to do only what is necessary and cut out everything else in order to increase share value and profits. The inefficient fades away, unless government gets in there and gunks up the works, at which point inefficiency takes over.
One might see the Left as the party of inefficiency. They want to keep unproductive workers and hire more, take out taxes to drive quality down and price up, throw in tons of rules that cause jobs to become subdivided into repetitive roles, and use business as a hiring program for ineffective workers in order to boost tax revenue.
In a pure capitalist state, results matter more than procedure; government reverses this, since following “objective” procedure is the only defense to accusations of unfairness or violating regulations. Capitalism gets you going home early when you get the job done, but staying late if you need to do more to get to the functional point.
Finally, capitalism is natural selection that keeps us sharp. People who are incapable of doing anything well get driven out of the workplace and sent somewhere else to be inefficient, usually government. Everyone else gets rewarded for doing a good job as quickly as possible, and then goes on to do something else with their time.
Many people fear this competition, much like they fear taking any action which millions of others have not done before them in a means-over-ends calculus, because to act is to risk getting it wrong and paying a penalty. Despite our fear, this competition keeps us focused and encourages us to emulate successful behavior, not just put in the hours.
Capitalism is not a political system. It is an economic system. It does well with economies, but it is a necessary but not sufficient part of a thriving society. You need other stuff too, like a functional legal, political, and social systems, ideally driven by a strong culture which rewards goodness and penalizes badness.
However, most modern people have no idea what they are talking about when they criticize capitalism, and are pushing us toward socialism through Utopian thinking that is little more than fleeing the mental phantom of what they fear into the arms of what will actually doom them.