Thursday, January 18, 2007

Capitalism. Good or bad? Discuss ...

The story so far ...

It all started when mr. F left a comment on a recent posting of mine. Anyone who links through to the recent posting of his that he refers to in his comment will see that he has started to boycott a few multinational corporations.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I'm a reader of The Economist magazine, and some of my views do match the editorials that I read there. So I felt that I had to leave a comment on mr. F's recent posting saying

GB: "I must say, it seems like a pretty arbitrary list [of corporations], because there are so many multinational companies these days. Monopoly is capitalism's big problem. I would argue that over the last 200 years or so, capitalism has been very successful in raising the living standard of Western society. However the system does seem to tend towards monopolies, and as you suggest, monopolies are bad news!"

In response to that, a few hours ago mr. F left a comment on another recent posting of mine saying

mr. F: "Capitalism has improved the standards of living in western societies but destroyed so many others to achieve that. Look at Africa and Asia. Who made that mess? Themselves?"

The implication of the comment is that both Asia and Africa are 'a mess'. I agree that there are problems in Africa, but I cannot agree that the same is true about Asia, far from it. Asia is currently billed as the economic powerhouse of the future, especially China. I also think that since the colonial era passed away about 40 years ago, at this point third world countries are mainly responsible for any problems that they may face.

Anyway, having cobbled together the story so far, does anyone else have anything to say on the subject?


mr. F said...

A very nice idea to start a topic like that!

I think that the damage done in Africa and Asia was so great that the side-effects are still visible in everyday life. Countries can't change in 40 years. At least not human perception about things.

China is an economic giant that is rapidly growing but most chinese people live under terrible circumstances. It's not the countrie's wealth that should matter but what wealth does the average citizen has in his or her hands.

To tell you the truth, the ongoing situation in China is kinda scary since they can get people to work whole days for just pennies whereas in Europe they have to pay big bucks.

That kind of slavery can lead to an economic destruction of the middle and lower classes in Europe since they will be mostly affected.

The companies that use China and alike countries, are multinational companies who has lots of money to make that kind of plans and they benefit the most and plus, they hit the market with extremely low prices or unexplained high prices, either killing competition or overpricing their products and having a huge profit.

That is why I decided it's time to stop their source of income to restrain their power on us. Their source of income is their products and we buy them. If we stop buying them then we make a change.

I am not saying capitalism is bad, it just needs to be controlled by some work laws to protect those who don't have a lot of money to economically protect themselves and are slaves to whatever changes happen to work conditions or pricing.

A combination of capitalism freedom and reasonable laws to make it work fairly and humanly would make this world a better place.

cuteCTguy said...

While not condemning Capitalism (how could I since I adore the material trappings).. I firmly believe in fair trade and not subsidies. European and US markets should go someway to freeing up there markets for Crops so that Africa can compete on a level playing field. I think (and so does the Economist - December issue on Food)that putting up trade barriers encourages poverty.. and then to give out measly sums of money as Aid just does not make sense. This is a very complicated issue as one then has to also consider the fluidity of the labour market. The protectionist ideals of France and Germany may have lead to them being the sick men of Europe.. Bring on Segolene Royal... :-)

Anonymous said...

this is really boring.

can you please go back to blogging about your sex life?

Gay banker said...

LOL anonymous – I do have a couple of stories to tell when I can get round to it :-).

By pure co-incidence, the main leader of this week's edition of the Economist magazine is directly relevant to this discussion, as is one of their Briefing articles:

Main leader: Rich Man, poor man.

Briefing. Trade's victims: In the shadow of prosperity.

Of course, those articles are written from the point of view that the reader obviously agrees with the principal of free trade and globalisation, and it's just a question of getting the details right!

The facts speak for themselves. To quote that main leader article:

Having joined the global labour force, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries have won the chance to escape squalor and poverty. Hundreds of millions more stand to join them.

However, by failing to buy products produced in poorer countries, one is directly harming the prospects of people there to escape poverty. It's a slow process of course, but as the article says, in only a few years the results of globalisation have been impressive.

Another important point is that by trying to protect workers in rich countries, one is simultaneously damaging the same people in their roles as consumers, (future) pensioners, or investors. Far better to let the job markets of first world countries adapt so that people end up with real jobs which have a future, instead of protected jobs with no future and which are a drag on the global economy!

GB xxx