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TOP TEN ARGUMENTS AGAINST
CAPITALISM AND HOW ONE CAN
ANSWER THEM
Martin F. Johansen (PhD Student at UIO)
1
Goal of this talk
 A 45 minutes talk cannot, and should not, convince
anybody on such a complicated topic
 Those who are...
Discussions
 An argument is put forth in a discussion
 A discussion involves two (or more) people who want to
identify a...
Discussions
 But often, identifying truth is not the goal.
 Sometimes, it is possible to obtain agreement by using
falla...
Discussions
 Straw man example
 “The US has a worse health care system than Norway;
therefore, capitalism would give us ...
What is capitalism
 All property is privately owned
 The government is there to protect individual rights
 To ban initi...
What is capitalism
 A complete separation between religion and state and
economy and state
 Religious freedom
 Economic...
What is capitalism
 A constitutional republic
 Constitution: A definition of what the government can and
cannot do
 The...
What is capitalism
 Hospitals and schools are private
 The government does not seize money in order to give
to the peopl...
Arguments against capitalism
 the top ten arguments
 no particular order
 you will probably have heard them before
 if...
Labor exploitation
 Under capitalism, employers will exploit their workers
by giving them low wages, long hours and bad w...
Economic inequalities
 Under capitalism, the gap between the rich and the
poor will increase.
 Is it better if the poor ...
Unsafe food and medicine
 Under capitalism, we will get unsafe food and medicine
because greedy businessmen will try to m...
Pollution
 Under capitalism, greedy businessmen will pollute
rivers, forests and the air we breath.
 You will only be al...
Monopolies
 Under capitalism, companies that become monopolies
will be able to keep prices high and restrict competition
...
Discrimination
 Under capitalism, people are free to discriminate
based on handicap, gender, viewpoints or skin color.
 ...
The poor
 Under capitalism, some will be so poor that they cannot
go to school or get the healthcare they need.
 This ma...
The countryside
 Under capitalism, people cannot get the same offers if
they live on the country side than if they live i...
Irresponsible behavior
 Under capitalism, people will do stupid things such as
taking narcotics, gambling away their mone...
Instability
 Under capitalism, society will be unstable because
businessmen will do anything in search to satisfy their
o...
Top ten arguments against capitalism
1. Labor exploitation
2. Economic difference
3. Unsafe food and medicine
4. Pollution...
Literature
 Ayn Rand
 Capitalism: the unknown ideal
 Atlas Shrugged
 George Reisman
 Capitalism
 Vegard Martinsen
 ...
Arguments against the welfare state
 How do you explain to a person who has never done
anything wrong that he has to pay ...
Thank you
24
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Top ten arguments against capitalism and how one can answer them

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Slides from talk helt for Ayn Rand Society - BI Nydalen, Oslo, Norway, 27. October

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Top ten arguments against capitalism and how one can answer them

  1. 1. TOP TEN ARGUMENTS AGAINST CAPITALISM AND HOW ONE CAN ANSWER THEM Martin F. Johansen (PhD Student at UIO) 1
  2. 2. Goal of this talk  A 45 minutes talk cannot, and should not, convince anybody on such a complicated topic  Those who are interested can find more complete arguments in the books that are listed on the last slide  The full understanding of the theoretical and practical case for capitalism requires years of study  Those who advocate the welfare state should adopt the same standard! There is no reason to think that it is easier to understand the welfare state than to understand capitalism 2
  3. 3. Discussions  An argument is put forth in a discussion  A discussion involves two (or more) people who want to identify a truth  If two people come to an agreement, and if they are right, they are both winners: one has learned that he was wrong, the other has convinced the other. The world is round. No, the world is flat. 3
  4. 4. Discussions  But often, identifying truth is not the goal.  Sometimes, it is possible to obtain agreement by using fallacies.  Coming to an agreement using a fallacy has two losers. One still believes a falsehood, the other was convinced of something without sufficient reasons.  Common logical fallacies are “straw man”, “argument from popularity”, “argument from authority”The world is round. No, the world is flat. 4
  5. 5. Discussions  Straw man example  “The US has a worse health care system than Norway; therefore, capitalism would give us a worse health care system”  The best way to counter a straw man is to identify what something really is.  In capitalism there are no public hospitals, and this is not the case in the US  Therefore, the US’s political system is NOT capitalism; therefore the conclusion is wrong. 5
  6. 6. What is capitalism  All property is privately owned  The government is there to protect individual rights  To ban initiation of force in human relationships  Three primary parts  The police, to protect against domestic use of force  The military, to protect against foreign use of force  The courts, to resolve disputes among men without using force  Complete equality before the law 6
  7. 7. What is capitalism  A complete separation between religion and state and economy and state  Religious freedom  Economic freedom  Freedom of speech  A night watchman state and not a nanny state  A night watchman is someone you call if there is a problem  A nanny is someone who constantly watches and interferes with all your actions 7
  8. 8. What is capitalism  A constitutional republic  Constitution: A definition of what the government can and cannot do  The people elect the president and the congress  The congress can make laws  The president can ensure that the laws are enforced  The supreme courts decide if a law is constitutional  Separation of powers – invented by Montesquieu  The only power individuals can have is economic power  Political power is reserved for the government and thus limited by the constitution 8
  9. 9. What is capitalism  Hospitals and schools are private  The government does not seize money in order to give to the people  The money you make, you keep  Money will be issued by private banks – no central bank  Hang up a name-sign on your door and you have started a company  If you are in need, you ask for help from others  Individuals will take up insurance to protect against unforeseen accidents 9
  10. 10. Arguments against capitalism  the top ten arguments  no particular order  you will probably have heard them before  if your favorite one is not here, we can take it in the Q&A period 10
  11. 11. Labor exploitation  Under capitalism, employers will exploit their workers by giving them low wages, long hours and bad working conditions  To exploit is to force, force is not allowed between people in a capitalist system, it is the primary role of government to protect against the use of force!  Workers can simply change jobs  Good pay, normal hours and good working condition will attract the best workers  “Beggars are not choosers” – a motivation for you to take your education seriously 11
  12. 12. Economic inequalities  Under capitalism, the gap between the rich and the poor will increase.  Is it better if the poor has $1 and the rich $10 than if the poor has $10.000 and the rich $500.000? Clearly not.  This is not a problem: economic difference is not an indication of quality of life.  One person’s wealth does not affect another person’s.  The rich get rich by production, and not from stealing from the poor. 12
  13. 13. Unsafe food and medicine  Under capitalism, we will get unsafe food and medicine because greedy businessmen will try to make quick profits without caring about the safety of their customers and because there are no government organization to certify food and medicine.  It is not profitable to poison or kill your customers.  If you misrepresent what you are selling, you will be sued.  Goodwill is worth a lot, greedy businessmen wants goodwill.  New businesses will have to build up trust over a long time. The slightest mistake will cause the media to go berserk, and they have to start a long process to rebuild their reputation.  Private certification 13
  14. 14. Pollution  Under capitalism, greedy businessmen will pollute rivers, forests and the air we breath.  You will only be allowed to pollute your own property, and that reduces its value, which is not greedy  all property is privately owned  stopping global warming requires voluntary cooperation 14
  15. 15. Monopolies  Under capitalism, companies that become monopolies will be able to keep prices high and restrict competition by lowering prices or taking over other companies.  A monopoly is a company with exclusive rights to operate in a market – the government can only protect individual rights, and not grant such right to any company.  Keep prices high by keeping prices low? Either they are high or low.  One is free to deny being taken over.  If a company has 99% of the market, and the customers only wants stuff from that company, then what is the problem? 15
  16. 16. Discrimination  Under capitalism, people are free to discriminate based on handicap, gender, viewpoints or skin color.  A consequence of the principle hat human relations are voluntary.  People are responsible for their own actions and choices.  Since difference in gender and skin color does not matter, it will not be profitable to act as if they do.  There is legitimate reasons to not hire an anarchist as a watchman or a communist as a factory manager. 16
  17. 17. The poor  Under capitalism, some will be so poor that they cannot go to school or get the healthcare they need.  This may also be problem in the welfare state. The welfare state only guarantees these things as long as there is wealth to tax.  Making it easy to produce goods and services is the best guarantee of making them widely available.  There will be charity available for those who simply cannot afford it. 17
  18. 18. The countryside  Under capitalism, people cannot get the same offers if they live on the country side than if they live in the city.  True, but that is their problem, and not the problem of those who do not want it.  It is a feature and not a problem of capitalism that people get only what they are willing to pay for. 18
  19. 19. Irresponsible behavior  Under capitalism, people will do stupid things such as taking narcotics, gambling away their money and medicate themselves wrongly, because there is no restrictions on these things.  People do not stick a knife in their eye just because it is legal.  Who are to decide what should be illegal?  In the welfare state, the very people who, assumedly, are so stupid they cannot take care of themselves.  You are the best person to decide what is good for you. 19
  20. 20. Instability  Under capitalism, society will be unstable because businessmen will do anything in search to satisfy their own short sighted greed.  Swindling is illegal  The government does not have unlimited power  Changes are more predictable  One is free to trade with anyone one likes – do not trade with people with a dishonest agenda.  Being short sighted gives you a bad reputation and low economic power  Your ability to affect anything goes down. 20
  21. 21. Top ten arguments against capitalism 1. Labor exploitation 2. Economic difference 3. Unsafe food and medicine 4. Pollution 5. Monopolies 6. Discrimination 7. The poor 8. The countryside 9. Irresponsible behavior 10. Instability 21
  22. 22. Literature  Ayn Rand  Capitalism: the unknown ideal  Atlas Shrugged  George Reisman  Capitalism  Vegard Martinsen  Frihet, likhet, brorskap: Kapitalisme i teori og praksis  Jean-Baptiste Say  A treatise on political economy 22
  23. 23. Arguments against the welfare state  How do you explain to a person who has never done anything wrong that he has to pay for the irresponsibility of another person?  What can a person do if the government is forcing him to act against his best judgment? (if he disagrees with the majority)  How can rewarding bad actions and punishing good actions help promote good actions?  Which principle delimits the welfare state? (unless we have this, the government will expand without limits) 23
  24. 24. Thank you 24
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