Who are Capitalists and what is Capitalism?
At the turn of the 21st Century, the world that we live in has been through many significant events and changes. Industries that were relevant almost a century ago were no longer relevant, and newer, contemporary industries are gaining prominence. Entire regimes and governments have risen and fallen. Western countries that were in the forefront of human innovation advancement have been reduced to being financially unstable, whereas formerly known third-world countries of the East have advanced leaps and bounds and have become global economic powerhouses and game-changers.
In any producing and consuming community, there is a need for an economic system. In order for an economy to function properly and run effectively, the community must realize that there is always a scarcity of resources and come up with creative ways to distribute and partition these resources sufficiently to the members of that particular community. Hence, over the years, economic experts and intellectuals have come up with different ideas of an economic system.
One such economic system is capitalism. In capitalism, most of the industries and businesses in a country are privately owned by individuals rather than the government. According to Baran & Davis (2012), capitalists are the economic elites that rely on the profits they generated and then reinvested for their social power. Essentially, capitalists are people who use their own wealth or other people’s money to make more wealth. And such, we can agree that capitalism and consumerism goes hand in hand.
The capitalist theory aims for and values progression, competition, technology, and economic rationalism. (Baran & Davis, 2012) No matter what their business, capitalists aim to make a profit. But this does not justify the notion of charging exorbitant prices or selling inferior or bad goods and services. If they do, they will probably lose their customers and business to others with better goods or lower prices. This thus leads to competition and forces capitalists to sell the best goods at the lowest possible price. The profits made by the individual capitalists in free competition benefit the economy of an entire country. As capitalists make profits they can expand their business and create more jobs for the people in a nation.
For capitalists, technology is good. This is because they thought that technological advancements facilitated control over the physical economic components, expanded human productivity and generated new forms of wealth. (Baran & Davis, 2012) It was capitalism and the everlasting human consumerism that brought us the many technological marvels that we now take for granted such as the computer, the Internet, the television, and even Apple’s bestselling iPhone. The drive to make more money and profits pushed modern human technology and innovations to the current state it is in. It is also important to note that capitalists believed that progression and technology would end all social problems and lead to the development of an ideal society. They also believed in the ability of the media to have powerful effects on people.
However in early years of capitalism this was not the case. The capitalism-fueled Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century brought with it many problems that were going against the economic system. Without proper regulations, factory owners abused their power, and the working class suffered. Industrialization and the hunger for profits brought the exploitation of workers, sickening pollution and social unrest. As a result, there were many workers revolts and reformers who cried out against these conditions. One of the most famous and most outspoken critics of capitalism was the German revolutionary, Karl Marx, a proponent of communism and socialism. It was Marx who came up with the term capitalism in his writing, Das Kapital, claiming that capitalism should die because of its cruel and greedy...
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