A claim commonly heard against communism is that human nature is what causes the selfishness we see in the capitalist system, and thus unable to be removed. I heard this again during the annoying round table following the movie “Beer Wars”, chaired by Ben Stein.
According to a woman on the panel companies such as Dogfish Head actually do want to continue to grow and consume competitors, no matter what the owner and workers actually say. To people like her and Ben Stein it is human nature that causes us to do such things. The problem is, this is so clearly not the case. And their only viable response to the many people who choose not to do such practices is that they were simply unable to do so, not that it was a choice.
The movie brought up many points about the beer industry and economics that are easily understood through a Marxist analysis, and the problems found in the beer industry were clearly foreseen by Marx in the late 1800’s. But this did not cross the minds of those making the film, keep in mind it was produced by Reason.
As the big 3 (2 now) beer corporations grew they continued to grab up competitors and pour money into advertising and increasing production, instead of making the product better or providing better wages/hours to the workers. But was this the outcome for Budweiser, Miller and Coors because of human nature and not because of their owners, in addition to the circumstances allowing the owners to do so?
If it is true that human nature drives us to stomp on those around in order to make gain for ourselves, and possibly those close to use, then we are doomed to require a State that is capable of suppressing the spread and consumption by those at the top, not that the United States does a good job but a Leftist state would do a better job at least. Even worse than the requirement of having a State power, if this is due to human nature, the State would be driven by greed as well (as we see now) and continue to prey on those weaker than it. The only hope at that point is for the few humans who for whatever reason were born deformed and are not inherently selfish to be elected to office.
If, however, you believe as I do that human nature is not a constant and that what we see is mostly a product of being brought up in a capitalist society, there is hope for a Stateless society. We see examples of altruistic behavior in many species, in human history and today. Would humans have been able to survive this long if we were inherently selfish and human nature were a constant? Would Free Software be where it is today if this were true?
When the chains of capitalism are broken and people are free from those feelings of needing to stay one step ahead of everyone else, to need to do whatever it takes to get ahead and the fear of you and your family being left to rot if you do not succeed are gone people will not be driven to the selfish and cruel actions we see today. The future socialist society will allow everyone to use their creativity and skill for the betterment of all, instead of feeling the need to exploit and step on their brothers and sisters.
But this will require a fight. And for you, the people, to realize this is possible and to take action.
If you really just want to be the richest goof in the cemetery, that’s your choice. But since you can’t take anything with you, and all that really matters is what you leave behind, why squander the inheritance? – Jesus H Chris
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