As usual, I am diving in over my head, biting off more than I can chew. But, it is time to discuss Capitalism and its ramifications in plebeian terms. In the middle of a Pandemic, worldwide protest of racial and social inequality, and an election year in which the incumbent Trump is vying to hold office, we see our societal structures being stripped to their barest elements and we can not help but to question how things have gotten to the place where they are, and mount the wave to foment change.
I invite dialogue, as I am by no means an historical scholar on this topic, though I have read Marx and Adam Smith. I am merely an avid embodiment of happiness, security, and health, which are based, I believe, on honest and pure action, helping self and others, and a robust natural environment.
So let's start by questioning why we use Marx’s definition of capital to run our societal mindset? As per the online Merriam-webster dictionary: “Capital is wealth—that is, money and goods—that's used to produce more wealth. Capitalism is practiced enthusiastically by capitalists, people who use capital to increase production and make more goods and money. Capitalism works by encouraging competition in a fair and open market."(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism). And, for further investigation of Marxist, abbreviated, theory, please see note 1 below from the Stanford website.
What we see in practice, as I believe Marx differed to examine, is that our humanity and our environment, is jeopardised by this concept of capitalism in practice. What if we define capital as, or even include in our ‘capital,’ human happiness, security and health, environmental well being, security and health? Because without these, how can we have a productive mind and labor force to produce, and how can we have wholesome resources from which to produce?
Again, our prevailing dictionary defines capitalism as: “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism).
In our market and political arenas, we use petrol for the majority of our energy and have polluted air, and therefor health problems. Water: Corporations have taken over (communities, countries, the earths) water resources. Recources, such as land from which water springs, are purchased, or taken, and ‘owned.' These recources are then processed (changing natural, healthful properties), and put it in plastic bottles (pollution for body and earth), and sold. Food: The amazon is one of the most productive areas of nutrients, medicine, and oxygen on our planet and it is currently, and has been since capitalism, systematically devastated. Tire companies have ravaged the population and natural environment for rubber. Soy and cattle companies are taking over burnt swaths of hectares to provide a market for corporations. The indigenous population is disproportionately being eradicated by covid 19, as it has by other diseases that ravage pure, natural populations in history, not to mention corporations that have taken a vice to this population for wealth (gold, rubber, cocaine, etc., etc., etc.,).
Another observation in light of our current Trump administration: the Merriam Webster dictionary describes Communism as: “The most well-known expression of Marx’s theories is the 20th-century Bolshevism of the U.S.S.R., in which the state, through a single authoritarian party, controlled a society’s economic and social activities with the goal of realising Marx’s theories.”
Does this not look, smell and taste like our current, and many of our, and past international, practices? The communism that is so often demonised by our prevailing social structures?
What would it look like to proceed in our global community by including the health and well being of humans and our environment as additions to the necessary components of Capitalism?