Posted 8 years ago on March 11, 2012, 4:10 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
(Today’s Society And How To Improve It - part III)
In the article “Human Nature” I argued that cooperation, solidarity, altruism etc. are essential and fundamental elements of our nature.
But if these things are huge parts of our nature, why don’t we see a lot more of this in our society today? Well, the problem is that today these things are being suppressed. In today’s (especially Western) societies, things like greed and consumption are being encouraged.
In fact, capitalism doesn’t just encourage us to be greedy; lots of people are actually required to act this way. Corporations f.ex. must focus on the "bottom line"; if they don’t, they’re out of business. In other words, all though they might be decent caring individuals in their private life etc, the CEOs and owners are required - in their institutional role - to only think profits and greed in order for the corporation to survive. If they don’t think profits and greed, they’re out of business, and corporations that do, replace them. A society with an economic landscape like this will of course produce a lot of greed and cynicism.
This encouragement of greed does not only apply to the people involved in corporations. Since human nature allows for some molding of the mind, the system we have manages to suppress innate human feelings and characteristics of many individuals in all of society. Take advertisement f.ex: Corporations - private tyrannies - spend huge amounts of money on this. We’re being pumped full of this garbage almost everywhere we look, whether it’s TV, radio, internet, newspapers etc, etc. Day in and day out, almost everywhere we look, we’re encouraged to buy more and more things that we in fact often don’t need.
Also, when we have a system in which people don’t have much say in the economy and the institutions they’re a part of, and instead are forced to sell their labor to powerful owners in order to survive, many will become more selfish. When people are living, often from paycheck to paycheck, always worrying whether they’ll have enough money to pay next months expenses, and knowing that if they'll get into serious financial problems, their homes might be taken from them etc, people will of course tend to be more self-centered and concerned about keeping more money and resourses to themselves.
All these things, people and corporations being required and encouraged to be greedy and selfish, are highly unnatural phenomena, they’ve been a part of human history for an extremely small amount of time, yet it affects us, many of us in a huge way.
When the economic system in society is one that is based on individuals, to a large extent, only thinking about greed, personal gain, consumption, and making more money, we’re in a place we don’t want to be. This is not an organization of society in which meaningful human life can be realized. It’s dehumanizing.
But with that said, I think it s worth mentioning that even though we’re being encouraged to be greedy and selfish, we still see some kindness and solidarity. Even in a society based on greed and consumption, some are opposing this lifestyle, often radically.
So, the ones with an overwhelming power in society - the corporations and the financial elite - try their best, and have succeeded to a large extent, in turning us into mindless greedy consumers, and suppressing our fundamental innate feelings and characteristics. State-Capitalism is dehumanizing; it must be dismantled.