'Capitalism' Presents Itself as Unreformable by Definition, Marginalizing Ethics and Social Well-being
A little kid, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, learned from overhearing comments and expletives in the street, in stores and even on the radio that a capitalist was a dangerous, despicable, dishonorable, greedy out of control individual bent on deceptively tricking innocent people out of their money, possessions, homes and the fruit of their own labor.
Of course this was not the opinion of the child, rather part of his education growing up in America. In his school history books the word capitalist never appeared to describe the fabulously wealthy and powerful 'captains' of American industry, though the question, "Were they robber barons?" was put forward in college texts for discussion.
So at a tender age, it was the word capital ist' not capitalism that entered one's vocabulary. It was only when that kid became an elderly person, that the term 'capitalism' began to be gingerly referred to by TV commentators and op-ed writers in conglomerate owned media, in recent years sanitized, justified as necessary, and its detractions forgiven in obvious propaganda that presumptuously credited most of modern human achievement and progress to ‘the capitalism system’.
Terms concocted by adding the suffix -ism are always far less easily defined and understood than their root word.
Dictionary.com defines cap i tal as "any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth" (a straightforward enough concept, clear in meaning, and usefully employed since ancient times without awakening much controversy.
Dictionary.com defines cap·i·tal·ism as "an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth."
American Heritage Dictionary, cap·i·tal·ism, "an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market."
WordNet Dictionary, capitalism, "an economic system based on private ownership of capital."
First curiosity: since the world's cities and miraculous conveniences and artistic marvels are the result of cooperative effort, how does it make sense to have all this held in private ownership, and how did it arrive to be so on most of the inhabited areas of the planet in our time.
Second observation: why in the space age of interplanetary voyages, instant communication technologies and mind-boggling achievements in the biological sciences, does more than half of mankind live on less than two dollars a day, a billon of those on a dollar a day, half of whom suffer the pangs of hunger throughout their lives. And why do wars over energy resources and class conflicts take the lives of millions, while most of mankind is blocked from truthful education with cartels of corporate media actually mis and dis educating its audience pushing it toward a commercialized life style of selfish material consumption resulting in increasing mental disorders of anxiety and depression.
But our gloomy and challenging title Capitalism – a Threat to Life and Earth notwithstanding, life, both as presented in a natural setting and also even within trials and tribulations attributed to the vices of capitalism, remains in essence, at least ideally, so joyous and beautiful while looking into the eyes of each other’s children. We shall keep the wonder of life in mind as worth fighting to protect as we admit to our mentors dreary descriptions of a reality that has engendered the forming of an OpEdNews discussion group on capitalism.
David Korten, in When Corporations Rule the World wrote,
“Rule by financial capital- by money and those who have it-in disregard of all non-financial values, has triumphed over democracy, markets, justice, life, and spirit”
In One World Ready Or Not - The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism, William Greider writes,
“In short, if I am compelled to guess the future, I would estimate that the global system will, indeed, probably experience a series of terrible events - wrenching calamities that are economic or social or environmental in nature - before common sense can prevail”
From The Growing Power of Big Business, Duncan MacLaren and Ian Willmore: