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Opinion

Capitalism is not natural

One argument I’ve seen surface frequently is that no other economic system would work because people are naturally greedy. There are a few issues with this argument.

I’ve argued capitalism with a lot of people.

One argument I’ve seen surface frequently is that no other economic system would work because people are naturally greedy. Capitalism would naturally emerge in any other economic system because humans couldn’t help themselves.

There are a few issues with this argument.

Humans have existed for about 300,000 years, give or take a few thousand. Capitalism, on the other hand, has been around for only about 500 years, assuming we don’t include small scale merchant operations.

If capitalism is natural, why did it take 299,500 years to emerge?

Humans still exist today, not because of capitalism, but because of communalism. If you place an unarmed human in a locked enclosure with a lion, the lion would overpower the human. As individuals, humans can’t defend themselves against predators or catch and kill prey. Humans would’ve died out from starvation or as prey.

When humans overpower predators or prey, it’s through communal efforts, either through combined strength and numbers, tools created through communal knowledge or labour, or a combination of the two.

Even today’s capitalist societies still have a foundation of communalism. Other people grow our food, sew our clothes, build our homes, teach our children, bind our wounds, and so on. The lives of each of us is intertwined with the labour of others.

Communalism, not capitalism, is human nature.

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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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