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"Capitalist economies have been an enormous boon to human welfare. But there is also a fundamental sense in which capitalism, as a system of economic action, is profoundly anti-social.

"Societies that allow economic life to be governed by the logic of private profit and market competition are societies at risk. They are prone to rapid undirected change; to socially damaging concentrations of wealth and inequality; to crises of accumulation; and to periodic economic collapse - sometimes on a worldwide scale.

"Chief characteristics of capitalist societies are not stability and equilibrium: these are the unfounded assumptions of economic theory, not facts about real world economies. The chief characteristics of capitalist societies are uncertainty, insecurity, inequality, and undirected change — all of which generate damaging consequences for our social and natural environments.

"But even as it brings social disruption in its wake, profitable capitalist action requires a supportive social environment and an enabling material infrastructure. It needs socialized, educated, healthy worker - and the functioning families, communities, schools, and healthcare systems that produce them.

"Left to their own devices, competitive markets and private profit-seeking tend to destroy these essential social supports. Their tendency is to commodify, to consume, to expand, and to destroy all obstacles that stand in the way of accumulation.

"Market capitalism is an inherently self-destructive social formation which is protected from the dangers it creates by the operation of anti-market and market-moderating processes. The paradoxical — one might even say dialectical - consequence is that capitalism depends vitally on the presence of effective opposition to it."

(From David Garland: "The Welfare State")

Matias 8 Aug 11
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Boon for Europe and other white folks who benefited at the cost of people of color. Capitalism is a global system that necessitated the subjection and exploitation of the countries of the global south.

Krish55 Level 8 Aug 11, 2019

Post-colonial Africans certainly seem to be unable to capitalise on the global market to improve their standard of living. I understand that rules set by the global elites limit exports from Africa and justify the limitations by charity through NGOs and other groups. I read that the Chinese are making inroads into Africa, providing employment and teaching skills. I hope it works out well.

@Matias You neglected to mention that European capitalism was what devastated China in the first place. The English, for example, forced the Chinese government to allow the importation of opium which wasted the people. The communist movement arose to throw off such capitalist control and exploitation. It unified the country, setting the state for the development that is taking place now. The Maoist excesses were caused by the understandable paranoia after US forces threatened China through Korea in the Korean war and during the US genocidal war in Vietnam that killed 2 million. I can understand why some privileged white folks like you celebrate the system that continues to kill and impoverish people of color in the Global South.

@brentan When the US and European countries impose brutal dictators who let the West exploit their countries, it is hard for the people of the country to benefit.

@Krish55 To be fair, many dictators are 'self-imposed' and every bit as evil as the colonisers.

@brentan That's not being fair. That's just being escapist and ignoring facts. The worst dictators have been put in by the West to support the exploitation of their countries.

@Krish55 I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

@brentan With which of the following facts do you disagree? []

@Krish55 That was a bit silly.

@brentan Precisely! The point is that you are not disagreeing as you claim but merely choosing to ignore facts.


Competitive economies seem to work great to encourage innovation in just about everything. And I trust it's true that people all over the world are rising above the poverty line. Nonetheless, the neoliberal market economy sorely needs to be controlled because I think it trades money for meaning, sucking the meaning out of peoples' lives as it raises them out of poverty.

brentan Level 8 Aug 11, 2019

An unfettered market economy can not survive. The best example of this is climate change. Private companies reap profits, externalizing the cost to us vi environmental degradation.

Mitch07102 Level 8 Aug 11, 2019

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