From time to time, in debating the factors of capitalism with staunch pro-capitalists, I run into the argument that without capitalism there would be no way to properly value someone’s work compared to another persons effort. Examples of this may be where person A and person B work the same amount of time, but person A produces 10x more than person B. Capitalists may argue that person A’s worth is 10x more than person B’s, and demand rightful recognition or ‘pay’. Another extreme example is when one person works 60 hours a week while another person spends all of his/her time watching TV and drinking beer. They argue that without capitalism there would be no way to properly assign value (or resources) to each circumstance.
This argument is highly disturbing to me as it determines one’s worth based on how fast and efficient you can produce things. In a capitalist system, growth is the only concern and if you can’t keep up you are valued less. This type of attitude inherent within capitalism is damaging to our relations with one another. The growing resentment over someone not doing as much work as you is not something that we want to advocate.
I find it largely unlikely that people would exist to simply watch TV and drink beer and have no further desires in a future society built around community, but even if this were the case, I would have no problem with making sure their basic needs are met in a community (food, water, and shelter).
Another topic similar regards the welfare state. Many hard-working people complain about paying for the welfare checks of “lazy” people. They blame the poor work ethic and lazy efforts of those without a job while praising how hard they work. In this scenario, they don’t understand how detrimental the current system is on society. Capitalism has created this mess and it will continue to get worse. Before taking a stab at others, remind yourself that it could be you next year on the welfare line when a robot steals your job. Robots don’t care how hard you work, they can work harder. Instead of belittling others, stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters for an injury to one, is an injury to all. Without this type of attitude, we can’t hope to rise above the vast problems that face humanity.
Pro-capitalists assume the invisible hand of the free market does the job of rewarding those who work hard, however this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead of degrading others for doing less than you, or being less talented than you, you should feel fortunate for your abilities to be able to accomplish as much as you do. That’s it. It stops there. Don’t force anything on others, and don’t expect such a high productivity level out of everyone. People have different skills and develop at different rates. We also presently live in a society that ultimately suppresses these things. In a future, community based society, desires and talents will likely flourish. In the meantime, don’t make the mistake of degrading human life because others may not be as disciplined as you are or may not wish to produce as fast as you can. Everyone deserves the right to food, shelter, and water, and we have the ability to make this a reality today.