Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why I consider capitalism war

[NOTE: The following article is full of my personal opinions and unsubstantiated claims. For the sake of efficiency I have not provided any sources. For now I leave it in your hands to either prove or disprove the opinions expressed in the following article. At a later date I may expand on these thoughts and touch up the grammar, but I hope the article is of some value to you as it is now.]

       Is capitalism war? Capitalism and war are both competitive; sometimes the competition is to the death. It takes a similar mentality to succeed in both capitalism and war; one must use people as resources to reach an objective, and the more ruthless you are the better you fare in both endeavors. Wars are often inflamed because of capitalistic greed and the winner proceeds in exploiting the looser through the market. The rhetoric of both capitalism and war encourages the idea that one’s prosperity must come at another’s expense. Even if capitalism isn’t war, they both need each other to survive and flourish. Both institutions are deadly competitions that objectify human beings and reward ruthlessness, while justifying pitting one person or group against another. I believe that capitalism is a kind of war, one fought after the guns are silenced.
       And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…

       It’s not very hard to explain war. A bunch of guys get together and try to kill another bunch of guys. If not kill them then conquer them, overpower them, or take what the other group has. Give me exclusive access to this area and its resources or I’ll kill you; that‘s at least one side of it. Sometimes one finds them self in the midst of war and their choice is either to fight till they die, or just die. With those options most people choose to fight. Unfortunately those circumstances don’t give anyone a chance to realize who their real enemies are, and they often end up fighting the wrong people. It stinks to be in the middle sometimes. The other side of the issue is liberation, Leave us alone or I’ll kill you. Wars don’t start at this end but they may finish here. So, fighting a war isn’t necessarily wrong because sometimes you have no choice other than to take part in it. Sometimes peace, freedom, and dignity are the goals of war; but it is what it is, and it is war. So what about capitalism?

       “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime,” or more accurately "The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed."

       Capitalism isolates people from each other and only encourages cooperation when the objective is to crush an opponent, or when people are manipulated or coerced into furthering one person’s wealth. Capitalism is the state of being in a perpetual conflict with your neighbors and community. We learn to criticize the indigent for their failure, without considering the factors of their life. Such cruel thinking is normal in American society. It’s terrible that we have learned to hate our fellow human beings so much. And it is hate, because one must learn to hate a person to ignore their plight or concoct a justification for their pain.

       "Veni, vidi, vici" for those of us who speak English “I came, I saw, I conquered."

       In the first world it may seem like a hyperbolic statement to say that people die of capitalism, but they do. Capitalism does, in fact, kill in the first world, but it mostly kills in the third world. This is the cost of first world wealth. Many areas with valuable natural resources are populated with poor people. These people did not give up their resources willingly, and I’ll bet, if given the choice they would prefer to benefit from the wealth these local resources bring. More times than not though, third-worlders don’t benefit from or have access to the valuable resources in their area. Resources are stolen by violence and intimidation, and similar methods are used to keep people away from these stolen resources.
       Perhaps to some people depriving the needy of the essential resource of food and basic shelter through violence or intimidation doesn’t seem like war. Maybe it’s necessary for some resource hoarders to trick themselves into thinking that way. What if violence were used to take someone’s excess or deprive them of another essential resource- like oxygen; would it be war then? If the latter were done on the same scale as the former it surely would be thought of as a war. To some people even talking in such terms is seen as a potential threat. Curiously, the strangle hold on resources by the rich through violence doesn’t seem to threaten people the same way as taking from people who have too much.
       If capitalism is war then is socialism peace? Perhaps in a way it is. But socialism is too often confused with state capitalism, fascism, or other forms of totalitarianism. Capitalism and war require violent conflict while socialism and peace require cooperation. Wars aren’t as easy to stop as they are to start or define, especially when the culture is indoctrinated to see war as peace.
       One might ask, if capitalism is war, and if wars can be fought for liberation, then can capitalism lead to liberation and peace? Most people do engage in the capitalist system with no ill intent, but many people in the middle of it all (the middle class) end up unwittingly or unwillingly fueling the system. War is a large scale violent conflict, and so is capitalism. But the two things do have differences. For instance capitalism is more than just a form of war; it’s also imperialism, slavery, and in some ways a religion. By definition, slavery and imperialism cannot lead to liberation.
       These other aspects of capitalism will be explored at a later time.
       As it is now we’re all at war. Some of us are doing better than others, but the fight continues. Now is the time for voices to advocate for peace from the most prevalent form of war.