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Capitalism Facilitated the Emergence of Civilization

Manuel S. Ledesma

Capitalism: ‘Wealth and Progress’ | Opinion by Manuel S. Ledesma

While it is currently fashionable to demonize capitalism, and blame it for all manner of calamities, it is historically demonstrable that capitalism facilitated the emergence of civilization after the barbaric Middle Ages.

In the 16th century capitalism replaced feudalism and provided the necessary conditions needed for the creation of nation states sparking the emergence of cultural and scientific revolutions, which in turn led to the industrial revolution.

The success of capitalist society (a society that is not founded on class inequalities, inheritance or the birth rights, but on the capacity and merit of the individual) naturally led to democracy, the development of individual rights and the creation of checks and balances to control State interference in the lives of citizens.

Capitalism Facilitated Emergence of Civilization

Whether people like it or not, Western civilization is founded on capitalism and it is very probable that soon we will see the democratization of China and other countries afflicted by communism.

At its core socialism does not go hand in hand with democracy, and the proof can be found in need to ‘adjectivize’ it (by calling it ‘democratic socialism’ or ‘social democracy’) in order to disassociate it from its natural totalitarian roots.

The redistribution of wealth through a “Welfare State,” after World War II was socialism’s greatest contribution to society. While there has been economic prosperity, citizens have tolerated an oversized state bureaucracy and heavy tax burden that such a system demands.

However, it is in times of crises that the viability of this type of society is really put to the test. The premise is quite simple; everything a person receives without having worked to obtain it (subsidies) must be deducted from the work of another (taxes).

In times of depression, in which the percentages of producers and the subsidized (in their multiple varieties) are equalized, the latter, encouraged by politicians, insist – with great stubbornness – on their right to be taken care of and maintained by the rest of the population (i.e., those who create wealth).

This “extra obligation” that progressive governments place on the shoulders of hard-working people leads to discouragement. In this system, it makes sense that people think that it may not be worthwhile to work hard when the rewards for their hard work is taken from them.

The conclusion is that the system is irremediably heading towards bankruptcy: you cannot multiply a country’s wealth by dividing it. Capitalism is the only system in which wealth is acquired, not through looting, but through production, while progressives who boast about how deeply indebted they are to their fellow man, seek to repay that debt with taxpayer’s money. In 1920, Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand, wrote a text that is still surprisingly valid a century later:

Ayn Rand Capitalism and Civilization

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favours – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed.”

Capitalism: ‘Wealth and Progress’ | Opinion by Manuel S. Ledesma

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