THERE has been much debate over capitalism and its unfair distribution of wealth and power. I, however, tend to disagree with the popular opinion. I believe the capitalist economic system is the only moral system. Contrary to socialism, capitalism ensures the survival of all individuals and empowers them to pursue their happiness by employing the faculty of reason. Mixed economies are not ethical either due to the element of political interventions.
There are plenty of fruitful things that are only possible under capitalism. In other economic systems, practically speaking, the ‘unsuccessful’ is rewarded for not working harder. Another positive aspect of capitalism is that there is no intervention by the government in a market as it does not provide subsidies, fix prices or direct policies in favour of a particular segment of society. This allows every individual to secure a foothold in the market, and, as a result, there is equal opportunity for all, especially for those who are getting started in the market.
Unlike capitalism, socialism prefers total control over means of production, and one should also remember that ‘total’ is the effective part of ‘totalitarianism’!
Besides, capitalism alleviates poverty by leaps and bounds by injecting more money into the global economy. Now, not only the rich are getting richer, but the poor are also getting richer. According to the United Nations, the number of extremely poor people declined from 36 per cent in 1990 to 10pc in 2015. This means that more people are earning more than $1.9 a day and are at least getting less poor.
Under capitalism, people can further their interests without harming the others. It is a Marxist myth that the gain of one is the loss of other because wealth is supposedly limited. The simple thing is that wealth is produced by creating valuable objects and everyone has the capability to do that. It is the product of thought and opportunity. The Covid vaccine is a recent example of how wealth is created. And when wealth is created, everyone can work and earn. If they remain poor, it is basically their own fault.
Many would argue that if capitalism is such an ideal system, why there is injustice, land-grabbing and chaos under capitalist societies, including Pakistan. The simple answer is: it is a failure of the political system, not of capitalism.
Many of the land-grabbers are backed by the government, and market intervention by the government is against the basics of capitalism. A state under capitalism ensures basic rights of health, food, water and shelter for everyone. It is responsible for fulfilling the needs required to think or reason, by ensuring equal grounds for one and all to earn.
Interestingly, the capitalist system has never been adopted in its true sense. There have always existed mixed economies. Victorian Britain was close to capitalism and there was the greatest development, but there were also some of the greatest political failures at the time which spoiled the party.
Capitalism is only an accused innocent. There has only been misunderstanding fostered by the Marxists. Capitalism is a far superior and a far more moral system than all other economic systems. This is one of the reasons that it still exists.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2021