Socialists’ Claims About Capitalism

Capitalism makes people compete for scarce resources.

People compete for scarce resources because scarce resources are, well…, scarce.  Free markets enable people to compete for resources peacefully. Prior to capitalism, people dealt with scarcity largely through conquest, and enslavement.

Free trade has eliminated any excuse for conquest. As Adam Smith observed in The Wealth of Nations, trading with people in other nations to obtain goods is far less costly than trying to conquer and contain them. People produce more when they benefit from their production than they do at the point of a bayonet.

Smith also argued that free labor is far more cost effective than is slavery. Again, people produce more when they benefit by their production than they do under threat of punishment.

 

Capitalism is based on greed, extreme competition, predatory behaviour and nearly zero empathy.

Capitalism is based on the idea that people should be free and that they should own themselves and the product of their labor.

People under any economic system try to improve their own material well-being and that of their families and loved ones. Is that “greed” or is it simply being responsible?

By and large, individuals try to improve their conditions within the rules established by society. Under a free market, people trade goods and services with others. An entrepreneur with no empathy for her customers is unlikely to understand what goods and services her customers want and will not stay in business long.

In a socialist country, to the extent to which people give according to their ability and receive according to their need, people tend to demonstrate minimum ability and maximum need. More likely, though, goods flow from the politically weak to the politically strong.  As a result, predators rise to the top.

 

Capitalism doesn’t care about those who are poor, sick, or disabled.

Capitalism is not a living being. Only people can care about others, and they can care about others in whatever economic system they are in. Under a free market system, people benefit by helping others.  Entrepreneurs can profit only by providing goods and services that people want and for which they are willing and able to trade the fruits of their labor.

 

In a Capitalist system money is required for education and healthcare.

The provision of education, healthcare, food, clothing, and housing requires resources, and someone must pay for, or otherwise provide, those resources. Money is a proxy for those resources and it facilitates their exchange. In a free market, the people benefitting from services like education and healthcare pay for them.  In socialist societies, or in welfare states, others must bear the cost.

Economist Milton Friedman observed that there are only four ways to spend money:

The best way to ensure that money is spent wisely (that is, to get the most value for the least expenditure), is to let people spend their own money for their own benefit.


Richard Fulmer worked as a mechanical engineer and a systems analyst in industry. He is now retired and does free-lance writing. He has published some thirty articles and book reviews in free market magazines and blogs. With Robert L. Bradley Jr., Richard wrote the book, Energy: The Master Resource.