What has capitalism ever done for us ?

A lot of people seem to think capitalism is a bad thing. They go on rallies denouncing capitalism and smashing up banks and restaurants in their anger.

But what is “capitalism” and why is it so bad ?

Consider Robinson Crusoe on his Island. He can spend his time collecting just enough berries to keep him alive each day and consume them all or he can collect more berries than he needs one day and spend the time he saves (Capital) on building a fishing spear. The following day he can spend less time meeting his food requirement by catching fish and perhaps spend time building a plough.

Robinson Crusoe is a capitalist. Someone who produces more than they consume and invests their savings in the production of capital goods to supply more consumer goods to themselves and others.

Without capital goods we would be unable to consume anything more than we could find, grow or make with our own bare hands.

So technological progress is the result of capitalism.

What has capitalism ever done for us?

Pretty much everything that separates us from the cave man, but even that is not enough to satisfy its critics. People have a strange tendency to take progress for granted, as if it is a god given right, rather than recognise the value of the output of productive capitalists:

Transcript:

Louis C.K.: Ya, because everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. Like in my lifetime the changes in the world have been incredible. When I was a kid we had a rotary phone. We had a phone you had to stand next to and you had to dial it, (yes) you know.

You know, you ever realize how primitive, you’re making sparks in a phone and you actually would hate people with zeros in their numbers ’cause it was more (right) oh, this guy’s got two zeros, screw that guy, why do I wanna, ugh… and then if, if they called and you weren’t home the phone would just ring lonely by itself.

And then when, if you wanted money you had to go in the bank for (yes) when it was open for like three hours. You had to stand in line, write yourself a check like an idiot, and then when you ran outta money you just go, well I can’t do any more things now (yeah, right) I can’t do any more things (that’s it, yeah) that was it. And, and, and even if you had a credit card they, the guy’d go ugh and he’d bring out this whole shunk, shunk and he’d write and he’d have to call the president to see if you had any money…..

Conan: It’s all true kids. You had to call the president, yeah. It was rediculous. (yes) Do you feel that we now, in the 21st century, we take technology for granted.

Louis C.K. Well, yeah, ’cause now we live in, in an amazing, amazing world and it’s wasted on the, on the crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots that don’t care because, this is what people are like now. They got their phone and they’re like eeaagh, it won’t, give it a second! Give it, it’s going to space, would ya give it a second to get back from space, it’s the speed of light, it’s true, it’s true. (yeah) I was on a, I was on an airplane and there was internet, high speed internet on the airplane (yes) that’s the newest thing that I know exists.

And I’m sitting on the plane and they go open up your laptop and you can go on the internet and it’s fast and I’m watching YouTube clips it’s amazing. I’m in an airplane and then it breaks down and they apologize the internet is not working and the guy next to me goes pua this is bull****. Like how quickly the world owes him something (yes) he knew existed only 10 seconds ago (right, right) and on planes ….

Flying is the worst one because people come back from flights and they tell you their story and it’s like a horror story. It’s, they act like their flight was like a cattle car in the 40’s in Germany. (yeah) That’s how bad they make it sound (right). They’re like it was the worst day of my life. First of all we didn’t board for 20 minutes (right) and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for 40 minutes. We had to sit there.

Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through the air incredibly like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, you non-contributing zero? Wow, you’re flying! It’s amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going, oh my God, wow (yes) you’re flying, you’re, you’re sitting in a chair in the sky (yes, yeah, yeah) but it doesn’t go back a lot. And it smells really.

You know, here’s the thing. People like they say there’s delays on flights (yeah) delays really New York to California in 5 hours. That used to take 30 years to do that and a bunch of you would die on the way there and have a baby. You’d be with a whole different group of people by the time you got there. Now you watch a movie you take a dump and you’re home.


Words by Murray Rothbard

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  • One of the things that many people miss is the split between Macro and Micro Capitalism, my own terms (perhaps not).  Macro being Centrally Planned Capital (Market Socialism) and Micro being Capital planned by Individuals (Capitalism or Free Market Capitalism).  Technically I would say that Market Socialism is not Capitalism at all, but many if not most do not share this understanding.

    Today only Macro Capitalism is mentioned in the Media.  Well maybe not.  Macro Capitalism gets credit for Micro achievements and Micro gets blamed for Macro failures.