Reply to YouTube comment about Capitalism

yet pure capitalism means unsafe work conditions, low wages, and no workers rights because the government plays no role in regulating the system As they choose, this only changed when the government made laws protecting workers, broke up monopolies that controlled entire industries, and labor unions became common. The idea that capitalism is somehow a perfect system that doesn’t need improving is dangerous. Look at the third world, large corporations pollute the environment at will to increase profits and the government’s do nothing to protect the health, safety or even lives of its citizens. That’s why a system like in Europe, or Canada is best, balancing a capitalist system with social programs to help those the system would otherwise abuse, and protecting workers so everyone has the opportunity to succeed, because in a capitalist system most people need to end up at the bottom of the totem pole, someone has to do the hard dirty work in a society, and they should always at least be able to live a decent life.

Dylan Haugen

I’m not defending anarcho-Capitalism. Of course there needs to be a state guaranteeing the individual rights and „putting the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control“ like Ayn Rand put it.

The problem with terms like „decent“ is though that it’s highly subjective. In Germany it isn’t considered a decent living standard to live in a trailer park and you are not allowed to have it as your official address – even if you wish to. I, as a trainee, would love to have my own little trailer and only have to pay 100-150€ a month for a small spot to place it. But no: other people have decided that it’s „not decent enough“ for me to live that way. Instead, I have to pay 470€ for an Appartement and beg the state for money to even be able to pay for it. Money that it has stolen me in the first place. Money that I’m not getting back because the social security office and the employment office both told I’m not entitled to it. And then I read about some guy with 13 kids and 3 wifes living completely off of tax money. Very decent, right? That’s what happens when the state plays the “good Samaritan”, which is not his job.

Regarding Pollution: I once saw a documentary about jeans production in China. There was a father and his son, who lived next to a river near a jeans factory. They lived there for years before the factory started dumping all their toxic waste in it, so they were suddenly robbed of their livelihood (the fish they were selling on the market were dead). Such reports are often used to make us feel bad for our consumption. Yet, in reality, it only shows what happens in a collectivist system like China, where individual rights are either not sufficiently formulated or simply ignored because the collective matters more than the individual. The Chinese government, as far as I can tell, doesn’t give a shit about those people. Quite the opposite: They arrest reporters, when they point out these or similar conditions in factories. They sacrifice these two men for “the common good“. In western countries the two men could sue the hell out of the company.

https://mises.org/wire/when-pollution-violation-property-rights

It is, by the way, a common misconception that capitalism allegedly promises everyone to get rich or to become anything one wants. It promises only that neither the state nor other people will hinder you by force in trying. Also: “because in a capitalist system most people need to end up at the bottom of the totem pole“. That’s wrong. History has shown that this is total nonsense. Millions of people were lifted out of poverty, since China opened their markets. In my country, the ownership of a television is considered a subsistence. A device that only wealthy people could afford half a century ago. People are so spoiled today that they won’t see how incredibly high the living standards for poor people have risen since the industrialisation.

“someone has to do the hard dirty work in a society”

  1. What is „dirty work“? Who decides what this is? One mans „dirty work“ is an other mans dream job.
  2. Nobody has to do anything. In a free society, nobody is forced to take any job.

“Productive work” does not mean the unfocused performance of the motions of some job. It means the consciously chosen pursuit of a productive career, in any line of rational endeavor, great or modest, on any level of ability. It is not the degree of a man’s ability nor the scale of his work that is ethically relevant here, but the fullest and most purposeful use of his mind.

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

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