To sum both ideologies up in the simplest of terms; capitalism is a political and economic method where industries and businesses are privately owned and depending on the market’s requirements, things are often made to demand so that companies can run a profitable and organised business to offer trade and employment opportunities; whereas socialism is a social and political method in which private ownership is replaced by co-operative community ownership. They believe that everyone lives to co-operate and contribute towards the communal good, so all should seek reward for their work. Socialists say that their social organisation promotes equality and job protection as the workers work for requirement, not for profit. Karl Marx made the following quote famous in 1875:
“Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen”
Which in English translates to:
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”
Many argue that capitalism isn’t good as the rich get richer, and once big conglomerates secure an area of the market they dominate and put smaller companies in danger, and workers are exploited. Others argue that communism and socialism is the root of all evil and you just have to look at the aftermath of the October revolution in Russia; or the Great Leap Forward in China that let to droughts and famines and many millions lost their lives; or were ritually slaughtered; died from poor treatment during forced labour; or executed for rebelling against the government as they starved to death. There are stories of mass suicides and acts of cannibalism in both Russia and China as the government watched on.
But does this mean that socialism is a bad ideology, or has it been a tool for cruel dictatorships?
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to Forbes, Jeff Bezos in August 2020 exceeded a $200,000,000,000 fortune, and Elon Musk is slightly in his shadow with a mere $153,000,000,000 fortune, but because of capitalism they legally, yet unethically, pay their employees minimum wage that’s set out as a government employment rule. The rich get richer, the elite get more powerful and the rest of us try and get by, not even knowing that indirectly we might be working for one of these moguls. I understand that both are talented entrepreneurs, and Elon Musk has his scientific mind, and that they both worked hard to achieve and become extremely wealthy and successful, but because of capitalism, they can bully other companies, push them out of the way with lawsuits, and cover all of the bases like Apple have tried to do by turning the brand into a fashion accessory, and with clever marketing and slick designs they’ve become the biggest phone maker in the world and in August they exceeded a $2 trillion net worth. Do you think the people who work in the warehouses or drive the vehicles are going to be paid favourably because the company they’re employed by is so profitable?
So is capitalism a better alternative to socialism, or does it promote greed and inequality?
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill