We so often hear from the Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists – in other words, Democrats in general – that Capitalism is unsustainable. The thing is that, in a very odd way, these Leftists are correct. Capitalism isn’t sustainable, it’s sustaining.
Simply put, Capitalism is what sustains the world, its peoples, and all of the world’s civilizations. Without it many or most would die.
The only time that non-Capitalist nations produce anything of note at anywhere near the rate of Capitalist nations is when Nationalism is a core component of those nations, e.g., the USSR during the Cold War. Yet most of those non-Capitalist nation, along with everyone else, receive a share of the benefit of the wealth and advances created under- and due to Capitalism as an economic foundation.
And no, this is not hyperbole. Capitalism is and has been the only economic system that provides at least semi-stable growth over the long haul. As such, it is the only economic system that fosters an environment of innovation and growth. To reject it now would result in a human catastrophe to rival the Great Flood, albeit one that would be slower and more torturous.
Altruism Alone Does Little To Nothing
Altruism may be a vector in choosing what to do, but alone it’s neither enough motivation nor a viable sole goal to both get people to do something of notable worth for society and provide them the means to do so. That takes money, money of note at least somewhat equal to the societal benefit to be gained.
And that is the underpinning of why Capitalism is what sustains progress and the material benefits of any civilization. No other economic system has, can, or likely will consistently provide the fertile soil for those things at a level comparable to Capitalism.
But It’s Not Fair!
“It’s not fair!” That is the most common complaint about Capitalism from its opponents. This complaint stems from the fact that Capitalism doesn’t normally have equal results, because it is fair. The more and more appropriate to the specific market effort is put into capitalism, the greater the result in almost all cases.
But that’s their problem. Capitalism takes work, hard and smart work, if one wants to benefit from it. It actually normally takes working harder smarter and working smarter harder to really materially succeed. Most people, and almost all of the anti-Capitalists, don’t like that at all. They don’t like meritocracies one little bit, because not everyone does as well in them as everyone – or even some fraction thereof – else.
A Multi-Generational Caveat
The one caveat to the “fairness” of Capitalism is that, properly managed, wealth is multi-generational. We pass our success onto our progeny, and this provides them an inherently advantaged starting position from which to build their own success. Hence, each generation of a family in Capitalism can be materially better off than the one before. And that can easily come across as seeming unfair to those struggling from a start-up position.
This also leads to the enemies of Capitalism claiming that Capitalism is racist. Since the vast majority of Blacks don’t grow up in a normative family structure that would to some extent shield them from poverty, they’re almost always starting from square one.
Where It Does Fall Apart
But, Capitalism isn’t perfect. It’s vulnerable to subornation and is especially bad when it is suborned. Whenever a government steps in and inserts itself into a Capitalist economy, whether it be to further certain sorts of endeavors or to adjust success to achieve what is now called Equity, things devolve rather quickly and to very few people’s long-term benefit.
And, it also breaks down quickly and rather horrifically when companies insert or subsume government functions such as the Company Towns that still exist in some fashion today, e.g., Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, where they are essentially the government as well as the primary employer.
So, while the Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists – in other words, Democrats in general – whine, scream, rant, and rave that Capitalism is unsustainable, it is literally what sustains the world and allows for all or most forms of material progress. Then, they have nothing to truly measure it against, since no non-Capitalist economic system has independently sustained itself long enough to determine its long-term effects.
Much like Democracy is to governmental forms, Capitalism is the worst form of Economy except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.