Updated: Jan 13
Capitalism is a natural evolution of simple trade between two parties that is governed by self-interest first and foremost. Western societies have followed a capitalist model for the last 200 years. The many successes of societies are owed in part to capitalism but so too are the many ills of society. Capitalism is only an extension of human interaction. Therefore to lay the blame at the feet of the capitalist system is an unfair analysis. As such, to suggest that the system should be scrapped in favour of a communist model is ignorant.
Since Adam Smith founded modern economic thought there have been many varieties of capitalism. There are two distinct branches of capitalism however. Liberal Market Economies (LME) and Controlled Market Economies (CME). Capitalism in the US, UK and Ireland would be categorised as LMEs. As such these nations suffer from comparatively high inequality. This is evident in the erosion of the middle class and a binary system dividing us into have and have nots. The problem however is not capitalism per se. Rather, it is the lack of regulation to guide the capitalist system toward improving society and the artificial stimulus that has inflated markets. The sub-prime crises of 07/08 demonstrates this perfectly. If you want to dig through some history books the danger of untamed capitalism is seen through the 1920s and 30s in America. Controlled Market Economies have not experienced such economic devastation as a result of capitalism. Poor policy choices and rigid economic choices have hurt CMEs more than capitalism. Japan provides an example of poor economic management whereas the German state is fairly consistent economically.
We cannot or should not throw the baby out with the bath water. Better regulation and politicians that aren’t over-reliant on advisors that are schooled in a particular variety of capitalism might help. To suggest that communism may be the cure to all of society’s ills is the very reactionary behaviour that Communists supposedly despise.