An undeniable problem with Capitalism

lumber yard

Ah yes, the one undeniable problem with Capitalism:

“To observe the mind of big business clearly we must first make ourselves immune to its glitter, to the artificial glamour that surrounds it. Then we see that its dominating motives are self-interest and self-assertion. It confuses ability with trickiness, and is unsympathetic to the type of mind which does not know how to “sell itself.” It is saturated with the social poison of salesmanship — so it brings the glad-hand variety of intellect to the front, and quite genuinely and naively takes it for real ability. Through lack of intelligent direction it manufactures muddle and inefficiency in immense volume and over a wide field of action. There is less difficulty in gaining its own ends in a state of muddle than there would be in a state of order, for muddle confuses all issues, distorts all values, and diverts attention. Productive processes which could be carried on with facility are thus made enormously difficult.”

 W.E. Woodward

And those with real ability often end up thus:


I remains it’s defender despite it’s endemic corruption; and because there are no plausible alternatives.

  • Barb Miller

    As usual very succinct. I loved the video that you attached and could not take my eyes off of it. The video echoed the words of W.E. Woodward……The pianist is the productive process, the Nazi’s the social poison.

    • Susan D. Harris

      Exactly. In a Capitalist society, those who are best at marketing themselves, those you are best at “trickiness” i.e. businessmen etc. – necessarily gain money and influence – over those who might be better suited (via intelligence or some talent) – to influence their community and their nation.

      In an address to the Iowa Tea Party in September of 2012, Sarah Palin accused Obama and leaders in Washington of “coddling corporations, at heavy cost to the taxpayers…I want all of our GOP candidates to take the opportunity to kill corporate capitalism that is leading to this cronyism that’s destroying our economy,” she said.

      I maintain that from it’s first execution, Capitalism has to lead to crony capitalism. While we’ve only recently acknowledged this problem at a national level, it has been happening at the local level since it began:

      The man who runs the factory controls the town because he controls the money. If he is a good man, the town runs smoothly and fairly. But human nature is inherently evil, and even a good man is often corrupted by the power and money he attains.

      In the end, the ruling class of such a society becomes not necessarily those with the most talent or the keener intelligence nor even the highest morals or ethics – the ruling class are the noisiest, the wealthiest, the greediest. The subjugated population often end up like Wladek, the pianist in the movie above.

      Additionally, since the onset of the industrial age, it can be argued that industrialism and capitalism voids the workers soul.

      Communism, Socialism and Fascism are defeated ideologies. Capitalism is still the only logical choice, but sadly it too leaves behind a trail of forgotten souls who are restrained from achieving their full potential.

      As a caveat, Woodwards’ quote is from his 1923 book, Bunk. A former banker and advertising man himself, he wrote the book that coined the word, “debunk.”