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Posted by Philip on 20 October 2012, 11:57 am in , , ,

A new way of looking at capitalism

The Oxford Dictionary defines capitalism as "an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state."

Capital is "wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization..."

Now consider the meaning of sexism — "prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex" — and racism — "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races," or "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior."

In light of the latter two definitions, it is possible to consider capitalism, not as a system of trade and industrial ownership, but rather a system of belief and prejudice.

Capitalism then becomes:

"The belief that all members of society possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to their acquisition and retention of wealth in the form of money or other assets, especially so as to distinguish an individual's volume of wealth as inferior or superior to another's volume."

Or, "prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone, typically one who is not wealthy, on the basis of their accrual of wealth."

These definitions, which are gramatically and conceptually correct, skew the apparently neutral idea of capitalism. It suggests rather that it is a system that is actively biased towards people who are able to acquire wealth while simultaneously condoning the poor treatment of those who are not.

Two questions come to mind:

  1. In 2012 is this acceptable? I think not.
  2. What is the alternative? Watch this space.

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