Capitalism and the Art of Love


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This nasty image reflects the cruel concept that a large majority of humanity has about Capitalism as the culprit of poverty and inequality in the world.

Nothing more unfair: Poverty does not exist, it is only the absence of wealth. As poverty is actually the natural state of man if he is stripped of goods and services he produces. Without these goods and services produced (by men) and shared (traded) in modern societies, we are at the mercy of the strong and inimical forces of Nature and reality, which we know well all we that ever found ourselves suddenly isolated from these goods and services either lost in a forest at night in the Winter or with the car accidentally broken in the middle of some solitary nowhere.

This wealth that we share and that protects us from poverty/nature (medicine, technology, food, shelter, transport, leisure, culture. etc.) is not generated spontaneously nor by "The Society" neither by God nor grows on trees, it is produced by men like us.

This wealth which we value so much explicitly or implicitly has grown extremely slowly in all the millennia who preceded us in the history of mankind and has multiplied exponentially only in the last 200 years specially starting from the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism.

Before it and just 300 or 400 years ago Man as species still struggled in disadvantage against hunger, pestilence, distances and all the powerful forces of Mother Nature, because the growth of wealth goods and services was so small that it was much easier to get them by force: stealing.

For hundreds of thousands of years the formula to get better off in life was very simple: Take an ax and crack the head your neighbor, the tribe next door or whoever had what you wanted, all which was called "conquer." Slavery, permanent warfare, rape, torture, exploitation and death were massive and general commonplace for us as a species until only 200 years ago. Even today there are large segments of the global population fighting in disadvantage against those same forces of Nature, experiencing firsthand the living conditions of that ancient past, these are all parts of the World where the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism have not arrived yet, or where for a variety causes they have arrived only partially.

Why then Capitalism is blamed for the historical ills it is actually healing?

Here are my guesses:

1- Philosophical and historical inertia:

Philosophers, intellectuals and leaders of the mankind (and along with them most of the population) have not yet grasped this relatively new historical phenomenon and continue analyzing the reality with parameters of the previous historical period, the feudal era where wealth was obtained by means of force and man was still the master of man. The "bad guy" was the rich because he had quite sure stolen his wealth somehow from others. He or his predecessors had to exploit, kill or torture many men weaker than them to acquire or preserve prosperity.

So many people still apply the same obsolete logic to the capitalist entrepreneur who not only do not steal by force the wealth form others but is the real hero of society because he produces the wealth, goods and services other men eventually enjoy. Capitalism is the only political-economic system that allows the free action of these modern heroes, who in turn do not produce that wealth guided by altruistic purposes, but do so for their own sake and here comes another reason why Capitalism is blamed:

2-Christianity and its inverted model of values:

2000 years ago a man named Jesus of Nazareth came up with a philosophy that says that it is wrong to do things for the benefit of your own but it is good to do things for the benefit of others. Why?

There is no logical explanation for this idea and it would take too long analyze the causes in this brief post, but the truth is that this position have become widespread ever since affecting the thinking capacity of a large majority of humanity promoting altruism as the ultimate ideal of nobility.

3- There is in all of us some primitive desire to return to be "Children"

So someone take care of us, so we don't have to pay for our mistakes, so we make decisions that have no significant impact on our lives because someone or something will forgive us and finally save us. The Catholic Church and many other religions exploit this feeling through a "pastoral paternalism" and divine figures appealing to our lost childhood: "God Father" and "Mother Mary" for example. The atheist collectivists instead favor a "paternalistic society" to whom we owe who we are and always ensure that our needs are satisfied not matter how good or bad children we are: We are all "Equals"

The explosive combination of these 3 concepts are mixed in the following reasoning:

If someone has more than others is bad because surely he took it from other people in some obscure way, plus it is also wrong to have when others do not have.

Someone has to be guilty of the plight of the less fortunate, a good Father does not make difference between his children

The nasty picture shown at the beginning is a living reflection of this thought, the chubby child with a McDonald's cup in hand and a western cap on his head signaling a hungry child probably from Africa, both under the words "enjoy Capitalism" written in letters of the logo of Coca-Cola represents more or less the following message: The "fat" Western society is guilty of the African hunger together with multinational business usually identified as a bulwark of "Heartless and stateless capitalism" that has plunged humanity into a nightmare of inequality and cold, materialistic injustice.

When it is quite the opposite, no one has done more for the poor (and every) men in the history of the human race that capitalism and "heartless" entrepreneurs who have progressed under its protective umbrella of individual rights.

Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men of the world has indeed and unwittingly done (while generating his own wealth) much more for the men of planet Earth than the already holy Mother Teresa of Calcutta and all missionaries in history together.

But why "the art of love"?

I was reading last week a brilliant essay of Nathaniel Branden in the book "Capitalism: The unknown ideal'

Branden critically analyzes there in depth the ideas of the German philosopher Erich Fromm who wrote "The Art of Love" book that I read many years ago and luckily forgot.

Fromm belongs to the obsolete large group of twentieth century philosophers who longed for Feudalism and the Middle Ages and the alleged and glamorized harmony between their fellow man and Nature that was "lost" in the industrial era, probably because his aristocratic ancestors did not die young working the land of the master or in one of the frequent famines or in an epidemic of cholera. He and all the modern stupid (and ecologists) that despise so much the advances of modernity and technology should be given a dose of their own medicine and left to live alone in the middle of the Brazilian jungle where they will quickly reach before 30 that "lost" harmony they long for... in heaven.

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