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Opinion

How capitalism creates oppression

Capitalism is inherently oppressive. It’s built on the concept of hierarchy.

Capitalism is inherently oppressive. It’s built on the concept of hierarchy.

Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production. It is designed so that only a small number of people own the means of production, and as such, also the products from that production, as well as the labour that created that production. It is impossible for there to be a business owner who owns the product and labour of the workers in that business without there being unequal distribution of power. For capitalism to succeed, the business owner must have more power than the business workers.

That power imbalance is what makes capitalism oppressive. It’s what created slaves and slaveowners; it’s what created billionaires and beggars; it’s what created homeowners and homeless.

Capitalism is what convinced Europeans that people of colour had less value than white people, what allowed them to rationalize slavery.

Capitalism is what convinced Europeans that it was okay to take resources from other areas of the world and bring them back to their own. To take resources without paying for them, then using the low input costs to create massive profits after reselling their finished products at a premium retail price.

Capitalism is what funds civil wars over tantalum and diamonds, coups and multi-nation wars over oil, and destruction of orangutan habitat over snack foods.

Our world will never be free of oppression and inequality as long as capitalism is the dominant economic system.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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