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What is wrong with capitalism?

  1. Oct 14, 2005 #1
    To be honest, I learn a lot from these conversations on this forum regarding politics and economics. Whether I agree or disagree I always get a better perspective of the issues by listening to everyone.

    What I don't understand is why people have a problem with capitalism? It is one of the great freedoms we enjoy in America.

    capitalism

    n : an economic system based on private ownership of capital [syn: capitalist economy] [ant: socialism]

    What's wrong with this?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2005 #2
    At the top of the subforum you'll see a thread by LYN with links to threads in this forum. Read the one about Anarchism and the one about Socialism. Anything we say here will mostly be repeating what's been said there.

    And actually, most of the time we (anyone who doesn't like it) use the definition of capitalism as a economic system in which most of the means of production are owned and controlled privately and distributed in a free market economy.
     
  4. Oct 14, 2005 #3
    :uhh: Ah, I haven't looked at that thread, thx.
     
  5. Oct 14, 2005 #4
    well I don't really blame you, both those threads are pretty long.
     
  6. Oct 14, 2005 #5
    ...and a little repetitive too :biggrin:
     
  7. Oct 14, 2005 #6
    Everything.

    For beginners, it has increased prosperity wherever it has gone. :grumpy:
    Secondly, it gives more power to the individual and less to the government.
    etc. :mad:

    :biggrin:
     
  8. Oct 14, 2005 #7
    Yeah.. they really are! :cry:
     
  9. Oct 14, 2005 #8
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2005
  10. Oct 14, 2005 #9
    I've just read a five page debate on that other thread. I'm left with my original question.

    It seems that those that are against capitalism, say that it is unfair to those not born into wealthy homes. The reason why capitalism works in the US is because even if you aren't born into a wealthy home, you can create one if you both desire it and choose to work for it. The mechanisms are there to accomplish what you set out to do. I've done it. I was born in poverty and have brought myself out of it and have become (modestly) successful. I've lived on the street and decided I didn't like it and did something about it using the things in our society that allowed me to. Anyone can get a student loan, learn a trade, and be successful at it.

    The argument that corporations exploit 3rd world countries has some merit and we can do something about that. But it is also fair to say that these same countries need to take care of their citizens and not allow such things. It's not so much a capitalism issue as much as it is a humanity issue. To say that capitalism is the root of "evil" is to remove the responsibility of individuals. Freedom will always have those that abuse it and it's up to society to recognize where this occurs and correct it.
     
  11. Oct 14, 2005 #10
    One problem I have with capitalism is that it promotes marketing yourself (or your product), which promotes consumerism, which promotes the sense of "I need it" entitlement that is prevalent in western society, which degrades living in balance with the natural world.

    I see a lot of good in capitalism, but as with most things, it is hardly perfect, and I feel like our destruction of the environment (deforestation etc) is partly due to this idea that everyone can be wealthy if they want....

    gotta dash
     
  12. Oct 14, 2005 #11
    Herbert Hoover once said the following:
    "The trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy."

    Capitalism is a great system, very crafty and clever. However, people in power tend to abuse their power in almost every situation imaginable. There is no market mechanism to make sure that things like Enron don't happen, there is no market mechanism to stop factories from blatently polluting entire cities.

    Capitalism is a philosophy, and like all philosophies, it isn't perfect, so you need to mix it in with other things to make it really work.
     
  13. Oct 14, 2005 #12
    In short, PURE capitalism promotes greed at all costs. Who cares if you destroy the environment, make people work 15 hour days w/ no benefits, or pay workers 15 cents an hour as long as you make $1 more in profits right?? There are serious flaws with unrestricted capitalism. Believe it or not the Catholic Church offers up a very good argument against pure communism and capitalism in Rerum Novarum. Even if you hate Catholicism and religion, you should still read it. It is very thought provoking. Wiki has a breif descripition of the Papal encyclical here- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rerum_novarum
     
  14. Oct 14, 2005 #13
    ohh and you almost took the step into the unknown and understood :-)

    So who should control this Humanity aspect? The corporations? The fact is they cant! Not because they "cant" but becuase they wont, Money drives the bottom line, not Humanity. If you dont have a frame work in place internationaly that stops expolitation then buisness will expolit, its simple really. This is the problem with Capitalism...

    I also beleive that with Captilalism consumer choice is not as great, because with this market structure you end up with a Monopoly (in the long run) and a oligopoly in the short term. Look at the IT Sector and you will see this happening already. What do you want Goverment or Big buisness? Your choice
     
  15. Oct 14, 2005 #14
    Some people, like myself, disagree with many aspects of capitalism because of the reasons listed on wikipedia; however, as a Democratic Socialist, I will give you my personal views on capitalism.

    Pro:

    -People who work harder, in some cases, are able to get more money than people who don't.
    -People who are more skilled, in some cases, are able to get more money than people who don't.

    I believe that people who have more skills should be of more value; however, I believe that effort is an essential factor as well. Modern capitalism completely disregards luck. According to studies, little of intelligence is actually capable of being developed by the individual. Intelligence develops when a person is too young to care and is primarily inherited. Therefore, the fact that people have the ability to advance in a capitalist society is simply a matter of chance. Hard work is irrelevant when people are randomly dealt a better hand than others.

    Someone mentioned they grew up in a difficult situation and got out of it. That isn't always possible for everyone, and, frankly, it is a matter of luck is some cases. Personality and human characteristics are all a matter of chance. Every action taken is rather a reaction.

    Socialism is far superior to capitalism in the fact that it is humane. It strives to eliminate a hierarchy and work towards the good of all people for the best of humanity. Instead of capitalism exploiting negative characteristics for the benefit of some, socialism, in my opinion, should be used to benefit all.

    An employer finds it easier to punish employees as motivation than to reward them because of how capitalist society is structured. Socialism, over time, would remove that occurance. The problem with socialism failing is that it is an evolutionary process. Society can be viewed through a darwinian lens and analyzed. People cannot create the perfect society through some violent revolution. Socialism is an inevitable path the world will lead into if, in fact, evolution truly exists.

    Structured capitalism, of course, is nice; however, socialism eventually eliminates the characteristics which cause flaws in society. Capitalism uses those flaws to benefit society - which is good - but they are still around to infest the world once again.

    As a smart kid growing up, I was once a strong capitalist. I thought, "Why should I have less than people who aren't as skilled as me". I had no realization of the true facts of life and the unfair qualities it contains. Socialism is the answer.

    Socialism is an ideal that, in my opinion, we should all strive towards. You will hear peope say socialism is prevalent in kids and not in adults. That is true, and people may tell you that wisdom is the factor. However, it is not. Capitalist society crushes the hearts of the spirited children who grow up striving for a better world. Adults have simply been thwarted by the evils of the world while children and young adults remain stronger in their convinctions.

    If you read about socialists and communists, you will usually find that they are emotional and bitter people. Frustrated with capitalist society, they don't give up fighting for the good of all people.

    I believe society will improve and should strive towards ideals rather than been caught up in what is 'realistic' according to our peers. Something is realistic if the environment allows it to be, and the environment is malleable.
     
  16. Oct 14, 2005 #15

    loseyourname

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    Deckart, the idea behind that thread directory was to eliminate redundant threads. When you want to discuss one of those frequently discussed issues, just bring back one of the linked threads in there.
     
  17. Oct 14, 2005 #16
    loseyourname-- live a little ;-)
     
  18. Oct 14, 2005 #17

    loseyourname

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    How is telling him what the purpose of that thread is an indication of my not living? Chances are, he didn't know.
     
  19. Oct 14, 2005 #18
    I think capitalism is awesome. Competition gets things done.
     
  20. Oct 14, 2005 #19
    I disagree with Capitalism because it promotes inequality. That's it.
     
  21. Oct 14, 2005 #20

    loseyourname

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    My roommate and I were going over this the other day. We were talking specifically about the use of SATs in college admissions. She started out by pointing out that allowing SATs to be used encourages the stratification of society along intelligence lines. I pointed out that colleges cannot admit everybody, and the test is designed to simply determine how successful a person is likely to be in college, thereby allowing competitive schools to admit those students who are most likely to do well.

    If we were going to do nothing but promote equality, then all colleges would simply admit people at random (because even then they could not admit everybody). Frankly, I fail to see how this would be any more fair.

    Of course, I'm not saying anything here about capitalism, but simply pointing out that promoting equality or promoting inequality are not in and of themselves either good or bad things.
     
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