The capitalist system

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

If at any time A produces more or less than B requires, he will get less or more value in the course of the exchange and vice-versa. If for the reasons with which we are now quite familiar, the conditions of demand relative to supply favour A more than they favour B for a considerable length of time, A may become fabulously enriched at the expense of B, while the latter becomes miserably impoverished. This will be the case not because A works harder and more efficiently than B, but simply because the law of supply and demand favours one more than the other. It may even be that B works harder and more efficiently than A, and that as a result, his productivity is greater than A’s. But, under the system which we are considering, this is beside the point, and counts for nothing. For under this inhuman system, abundance is punished, scarcity is rewarded; so much so that a trade depression may arise simply because people have produced too much of the good things of this world. Indeed, the trade slump of 1929-31 has been aptly described as the ‘Crisis of Plenty.’

When capitalism took over from feudalism, it inherited not only the latter’s economic dominance but also its political over-lordship and supremacy. The capitalists became the ruling class while the emancipated serfs found themselves transformed into the category of free wage-earners. In order to assume a progressive and radical appearance, and hold themselves out as the accredited representatives of the people, the capitalists gave the people the vote subject, of course, to a number of conditions, one of them being that for anyone to qualify as a voter or as a candidate for election, he must possess landed property or income of a stipulated value or amount. As a result, the vast majority of the working class population were disqualified from taking part in elections either as voters or candidates, whilst all the capitalists or the employing class were fully qualified to participate. We would like to mention, in passing, that the introduction of universal adult suffrage at elections is a recent innovation brought about by a long-drawn, bitter, and sometimes violent agitation on the part of the working class.

Once in office, the capitalists use their control of governmental machinery to boost their businesses and their profits. This is quite natural, and permissible under the capitalist system. It is only fair, however, in this connection, to point out that as time went on, a Code of Conduct was introduced to make it taboo or difficult for anyone in office to employ governmental machinery for personal gains. But it is equally fair to say that this Code of Conduct was introduced and enforced not for morality’s own sake. It was introduced in order to ensure that those capitalists who were in office did not use their positions to foster their business interests to the prejudice of the other capitalists who, for the time being, did not hold the reins of power. In their words, the Code of Conduct was never originally devised or intended for the protection of the people’s interests, or for the promotion of public morality.

As we have noted, the capitalist system generates strikes, lock-outs, and various forms of labour dispute which, while they last, are extremely wasteful to the economy. But the interesting phenomenon which we would like to emphasise is that, in spite of the achievements of capitalism in improving the lot of workers, these industrial strikes continue to take place in an ever-rising crescendo. It is clear that the more the efforts put forward by capitalism to meet the particular and pressing demands of labour, the more acute, the more acrimonious, and the better organised is the next industrial dispute.

Apart from these incessant and evergrowing frictions between employers and workers, capitalism also generates a good deal of heat, friction, and bitterness between the rulers and the governed, simply because the former always try, and never desist from devising ways and means, to employ their public office to gratify their greed and advance their economic self-interest. These incessant frictions have been and are still the cause of social unrest and instability – often involving violence – in many parts of the world.

One quick glance round the world must reveal that God, in His infinite wisdom, so organises our planet and so disposes all the resources therein, as to make it imperative for all human beings in all parts of the world to live in harmonious and happy economic inter- dependence with one another. But in the pursuit of his greed and self- interest, man, in his role as a capitalist, has distorted and thwarted God’s excellent arrangement by forcibly and illegally appropriating to himself land which is God’s free gift to all mankind. He has also cunningly, unjustly, and sometimes forcibly and feloniously appropriated to himself raw materials and the tools of labour including machinery – correctly described by Marx as the means of production – all of which are the direct results of the application by man of the dynamic forces of his labour-power to land.

Every capitalist nation in the world has followed very closely and vigorously in the footsteps of its indigenous capitalists who also hold the reins of power. As a result, there is as much cut – throat competition in international trade as there ever has been in domestic trade. In the struggle for survival, each nation has had to resort to all kinds of malpractice. These inevitably have reduced international trading from the high ideal pedestal of mutual benefits and complementary advantages among all the nations of the world to the low and harrowing level of veritable nuisance and bane. Dumping, tariff protection, devaluation, and beggar-my-neighbour policies; are among the malpractices which have been introduced by all the nations o

f the world in the pursuit of the narrow national self-interest of each against the others.

International oligopolies and combines are now the order of the  day. As we write these lines, nations of the world, rich and poor nations alike, are frantically and feverishly organizing themselves into different groups and combines for the purpose of protecting their joint economic self-interest, and taking advantage of other nations’ economic weaknesses. The strong and rich nations of the world wax richer and more powerful, while the poorer ones continue to wane in their poverty and impotence. The gap between the two groups widens with the times. In the past and up to the present, hot and cold wars have been fought and are still being fought for economic, national survival and supremacy.

CONTINUES NEXT WEEK

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