Capitalism: A deal with the devil

Published: March 8, 2012
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Unless we get rid of corruption, bigotry and nepotism which has crept into every fibre of our social fabric and create a fair and just system, we will continue having an imbalanced society, with opportunities limited for all. PHOTO: AFP

It has been the greatest success story in the history of mankind. It has fuelled unprecedented economic, social and cultural growth, alleviated millions of people around the world from poverty and economic hardship, and ushered in a new era of technological innovation.

However, while none of the political bigwigs and the so-called pariahs of the system care to admit, capitalism has created just about every problem in our world and the majority of its seven billion plus people face daily. It can be argued that terrorism global financial crises, famines, droughts and environmental changes are all the byproducts of the relentless need and greed for money, consumerism and a more exuberant lifestyle that our planet’s limited resources simply cannot sustain.

Such a system cannot continue in its present mould, and we are seeing people react to what can only be seen as robbery in broad daylight. Men like Richard Dick Severin Fuld – the longest serving CEO on Wall Street and the man responsible for the collapse of his company Lehman Brothers – made millions of dollars through complicated and illegal banking practices, and still managed to get a hefty, tax-free severance package. He did not face any criminal charges, even though the bankruptcy of the institution triggered a near global collapse of the money markets. One has to wonder, is it because the bosses of these massive companies are aligned with politicians in some way? Certainly the campaign money to run for the Senate, the House of Representatives or the presidency in the United States comes from these companies in return for favourable tax policies.

Until and unless we get rid of the corruption, bigotry and nepotism which have crept into every fibre of our social fabric and create a fair and just system, we will continue having an imbalanced society, with opportunities limited for all and sundry to make a decent living.

When morality comes up against profit, rarely does profit ever lose. The challenge is to distribute this profit evenly for the benefit of all.


Frayan Doctor

Frayan Doctor

A sub-editor at The Express Tribune who has a keen interest in national and international politics, social issues and sports.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ahsan Nisar

    “When money stops flowing to the man on the street, blood starts flowing in the street.”Recommend

  • Parvez

    4 out of 10.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    A shallow rant that would do any rabble-rousing commie credit. What is your definition of capitalism? As I see it, the only meaning is that the Govt does not control the factors of production or the markets, allowing for free movement of capital and labor towards investments that provide the best return. The past 60 years have proven that the standard of living in capitalist nations is much higher than in others, which eventually impacts the population growth allowing for better utilization of scarce national resources. The challenge is for the Govts to ensure that the largesse resulting from this growth (through net tax receipts) should be redistributed to reduce inequalities – and many Govts fail on this count.Would you care to substantiate on the numerous famines and droughts that have apparently been caused by capitalism? In fact, why not stick to Pakistan alone vis-a-vis the points you raised (since you have most of them) – which of these (terrorism, financial crisis, famine, drought, environmental changes) would you prefer to blame on capitalism and instead let extremism, corruption, poor planning and over-population off the hook?Recommend

  • Haya

    Agreed word-for-word. It’s amazing that many people don’t realize the capitalistic society which they are fueling with their own labor is turning into a monstrous giant against their ownselves. Capitalism thrives on securing wealth for a few, while rest of the world is doomed to live below poverty line. Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    A confusing blog I must say. While you say capitalism has helped humanity politically / socially / economically, you also think it is a source of all problems…how can both of these be accurate? Furthermore, you fail to elaborate on how things such as terrorism and famines are tied to capitalism. I understand that capitalism has its limitations and it needs to be fine-tuned for better distribution of wealth and also for controlling global spill-overs, but saying it is the root of all that is evil makes you another conspiracy theorist, who is not grounded in reality. You might be able to provide more insight on the subject after you have read work of proponents of capitalism such as Adam Smith and Milton Friedman and its opponents. Recommend

  • Cynical

    All the surplus/gain/profit should be equally distributed among the citizens, regardless of their contribution to the econmy,educational qualificitaion,type and relevancy of skill and potential for growth.
    It’s humanly impossible for everyone to perform and contribute in equal measure.But there is no such bar for everyone to share the good things in life equally.
    Aren’t we all equal? Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad

    Very confusing blog..Didn’t tell us that before capitalism how the world economies were run. There must have been canals of milk and honey flowing everywhere which capitalism has dried up and writer miss them so much. One thing I know for sure, in countries where Captalismis is thriving, a common man is living better life than most of us do here, and for writer’s information the computer he uses should have been worth millions in monoplies and restricted economies and would have never been invented by fanatic regimes.Recommend

  • John B

    Started off with loft claims against capitalism but ended as a rant without any substance to the arguments.

    In any case, if capitalism is a devil, what is the angel? Communism, socialism, or something new?

    The earliest recorded account of capitalism and how it functioned can be seen in Hammurabi’s law/codes. Mankind has always engaged in capitalism in one form or the other and every attempt to correct the “greedy” capitalism failed, the latest is Communism.

    The equality for all in capitalism is attained through taxes and public services.

    I guess what the author is trying to say but have no guts to say it is, caliphate as an alternative? Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    I was watching the movie Persuit of Happiness other day by will smith and his son and its
    explaines all the capitalism.Recommend

  • Heart

    Capitalism Kills
    Kill Capitalism
    Its time to revive
    Its time for another system
    Its time for Khilafah, The Islamic Political System

    http://www.khilafah.comRecommend

  • http://www.efn.net.pk/blog Ali Salman

    @blackjack, very well said. The fault of financial crises lies primarily with the Fed (A state institution) and Congress (another state/political institution) for politicizing economic decision making benchmarks. Capitalism is great! Read more at http://www.efn.net.pk/blog and my articles on free markets at http://tribune.com.pk/author/159/ali-salman/ Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Stop being vague. Just system. What does that even mean? Dont tell me Khilafat.

    Else, spell it out HOW will you build and the principles involved. Dont write an article just for the sake of it.Recommend

  • http://www.scribd.com/asifameer Asif

    Capitalism is considered to be the Combination of Free-Market Economics with Fractional Banking. Whatever you said here was related to Banking, not free Market. Fact is Free-Market has proven itself in its 5000 years of existence. Banking – not so.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    You would have been better off just making a simple case for Pakistan to have a proper accountable tax system, and to call for Pakistani politicians and elites to pay their fair share on tax, which they don’t, on the massive land they own and what they produce, as well as on real estate and stocks. Does anyone even pay normal income tax there? As well as military men not using the national treasury as their own personal bank accounts, blowing a hole through it, leaving peanuts for education or health services, etc.

    Even your lawyers and most in the judiciary don’t pay taxes, going as so far as to issue cases against the tax collectors! When one politician offered to pay full tax, the tax collectors were hesitant and considered it a dangerous ploy!

    Sadly it is the poor, paying through indirect taxes subsidizing the rich. You would think this injustice would be enough for the masses to finally revolt.

    But unfortunately hypocritical religious parties or the like, and Pakistani society on the whole, will be more outraged in chasing some minority, protecting their nationalist religious pride (and their own illegal earnings), than actual white collar crime, let alone terrorists. Recommend