An argument I hear often in defense of Capitalism is how there is no more class struggle anymore and thus Communism has proven obsolete. How Capitalism has been shown to work and has only minor malfunctions.
This line of argumentation seems to strike immediately true to anyone living in a developed, or first-world nation. Aren’t we really, with some exceptions, living better than ever? Many of us work just 8 hours and then can go home and play with our playstation for the whole afternoon. We get at least 20 days of vacation per year and have enough money to travel the world. Even our poor can survive somewhat decently due to social security. Isn’t this really the proof that Capitalism does work?
What such a view of the world misses, is the amazing privilege the developed nations have. We are the minority who gets to enjoy the wealth of the whole world while living the easy & good life. The vast majority of the world lives in abject poverty and constant struggle. It is the citizens of 3rd world countries who are forced to do all the labour, with maybe a subsistence wage, so that we can get cheap goods.
In effect, we have turned the majority of our 1st world population into the bourgeoisie. Certainly we’re not all the same. We have also petty bourgeoisie and urban haute bourgeoisie and a minority of actual proletariat. The rest of them we have outsourced.
We are a nation of haves. We find it easy to have more. Our minimum wages can feed indian families for months. We are born into middle class and it’s almost impossible to fall below it.
And like the original bourgeois, we wield all the power. We have sent our corporations far and wide to mine the labour power of other nations so that we may reap the results. If those countries decide to attempt socialism and kick our exploiting corporations out, either we send in our armies, or we fund dictators to take them down and give us back our stuff.
Oh, and we consider ourselves magnanimous as well. For if we never went there, those people would be living even worse! At least our corporations pay them 9 cents an hour instead of 4. Nevermind that those nations are mostly poor because our ancestors robbed them blind during the age of imperialism. Now it’s different. We’re doing them a favour.
And this is who we are. There is no class division in our society because we are a society of bourgeois. We have turned the struggle of people into a struggle of nations, with our own nations firmly at the top. And thus, Capitalism seems just fine and dandy and anyone who says otherwise is simply someone living in the past.
But like the aristocracy of old, we cannot see our own privilege. We are born and raised on the assumption that we deserve everything we have. Haven’t I laboured hard to get as much money as others make in a year? Don’t I deserve this pair of Nike shoes a 11-year old girl made in exchange for a loaf of bread? Don’t I work my necessary 8 hours a day while others work 16? Of course I did. We deserve everything we make don’t we?
Does the slave owner deserve to live in wealth, even if he occasionally buys gifts to his property? (hint: We call it humanitarian aid)
Does the artistocrat deserve to live in wealth while living from the work of his feud?
If you answered these questions in the negative, perhaps you can see why Capitalism does not actually work as well as you might have thought. In the same way that Aristocracy does not work as well as the aristocrat throught and slavery as well as the slave-owner thought.
But even if you do not see the inherent unfairness in this system, do not worry, like all exploiters our time will come unless we recognise and change what we’ve become. Sooner or later, the proletariat we have outsourced will massively revolt and denounce our rule. It will claim our factories and farms within their own land and then we’ll figure out that we can’t eat “services”.
And when this happens, I assure you, the “humanitarian” and “liberal” majority who suddenly discovers the other side of the coin of the revolution will demand army intervention to get back our property. And then the true face of the bourgeois will reveal itself in it’s most ugly form.
So next time, before you declare Communism obsolete, look around and attempt to see who’s the exploiter. If you can’t tell, it’s you.