In economics there is the philosophical antagonism between Capitalism and Socialism present in today’s world. This antagonism could not be more problematic because it is this conflict which divides political parties, countries and peoples. When there is division like this it deprives people from basic essential physical needs. I encourage us to have a responsible conversation on the difference between these two economic philosophies and more so how we may have insight into how to structure and proceed into the global economic future.
To begin, let us look at the foundation and principles of Capitalism. The greatest tenant of the competitive system of Capitalism is the idea of the invisible hand. In a free market economy people are granted the freedom to produce and consume as much as their resources will provide. The law of supply and demand is the force which drives the free market. If there is a demand for a product the invisible hand will match suppliers with consumers and therefore reach a viable source of income for producers and a satisfaction for those who demand products.
The problem with an invisible hand is that it lacks control and direction. In Socialism the economy is planned according to the needs of the entire state. Not so in capitalism. When you render control to the invisible hand you are rendering control to an entity which does not exist in that the invisibility contains no purpose, no direction, no meaning. It is a passive system which does not provide to others unless they have the means to pay for the good or service whose price is set by the supplier. In the end the intention to make a profit by selling a product which meets the demand at a set price does not add any value to the economy or the citizens of the country or state.
In contrast, Socialism seeks to set the price at cost, not seeking a profit but rather to provide to all members in the state equally. There is a very clear method of control because without this control there would be the element of greed or waste where products and services may be unfairly distributed to minorities or for advantage over others.
In the economic future of the global community we must look at which philosophy is more advantageous for the most amount of people. Clearly if we look at the current ideology and system of economics, we see Capitalism providing a great amount of wealth to very few, where the overwhelming majority suffer. This consequence of poverty is due to the competitive vehicle of Capitalism. When a country gives the freedom to companies to operate seeking financial prosperity, i.e. the bottom line in a vicious marketplace there is no doubt that people suffer. This consequence however is not even a factor in their system as they concentrate on providing for their own.
Socialism on the other hand has the concerns of the entire world because Socialists are aware of the interconnected nature of economies. The goal is to create an environment economically where not only the state but also the countries of the world come to experience an equal quality of life. For how can we exist if one country succeeds while others go hungry? It is our humanistic duty to provide for all equally. This is the core economic value of Socialists.
In competitive economics if you do not operate focusing solely on your bottom line you are destined to fail. The economic culture in competitive economics as I stated earlier was to provide for one’s own. This scarcity mentality prevents one from thinking globally and altruistically, both perspectives necessary to create a vision for one’s economic direction. The primary goal of operating to increase shareholder’s wealth is so limited and narrowly focused it cripples businesses from achieving a rational system which is productive, efficient, equipped with the ability to handle change and give prosperity to people.
The psychological ramifications of this narrowly focused economic plan is that the system becomes mentally ill. People waste countless hours lacking meaning and purpose; for how can a belief system of financial wealth ever satiate a man’s internal need for meaning in his vocational life?
Mental illness in economics is observed by the greed and selfishness men hold. These characteristics may seem trite or even normal to Capitalists for these qualities are so inherent and pervasive. They are for some countries even prized. You may ask yourself: how can greed and selfishness be a symptom of mental illness? The answer to that question is simply this: when greed and selfishness exist men purposefully create systems in which all forms of reality are perverted. This perversion is a perspective where wealth surpasses and replaces the very essence of what it means to be human. Having a core of goodness, benevolence, and kindness are at the core of our humanity. A belief system where thousands starve daily is in opposition to our spirituality, our religion, our existence. Who we are is a spark of God, a soul, a divine creation. Where is the humanity when we are greedy and selfish? Truly Capitalism takes our humanity and replaces it with egotism.