IT may not be “politically correct” to say it, but capitalism is one the most cooperative of human endeavors. Competition is an essential part of a capitalist economy.
There is good reason to believe that capitalism is, or at least can be, an evil social and economic force. Since the 1980s in the US, the share of American wealth owned (19 percent) by the top 0.1 percent is now greater than the share of wealth (13 percent) owned by the bottom 80 percent. The top 1 percent owns nearly 40 percent of all wealth.
Feudalism was killed, and capitalism was created in the aftermath of the bubonic plague from 1346 to 1353. With perhaps 30 percent of Europe’s population dead, employers had to compete with higher wages to attract workers. Competition is a fundamental part of a capitalist economy. It forces businesses to transform, compete, and ultimately provides consumers with less expensive and higher quality products. When a business does not effectively compete, it dies.
In 1588, the British Navy defeated the Spanish Armada and created a colonialization monopoly. Britain’s colony “competitors” were confined mostly to Africa. While just a silly intellectual exercise, what would the world look like today if the 65 countries that were part of this empire had been able to “free market” choose which country to be a colony of, if at all?
Governments facilitated colonization. Likewise, national and global wealth inequality is not the result of free-market capitalism and competition but by governments expediting and promoting the dominance of finance (hyper-financialization) and corporate self-interest (hyper-globalization).
All this has implications on modern geopolitics.
We think of the Cold War as this monumental battle between the US and the USSR. The USSR never stood a chance. The US held a monopoly on food and technology. Two years of poor harvest in 1971-1972 put that nation on the brink of famine, forcing them to buy 10 million short tons of grain from the US.
Soviet technology was geared to advances for its military while the US was developing consumer products. By 1986, roughly 25 percent of US households owned a microwave oven, from only about 1 percent in 1971. Three personal computers, the Apple II, PET 2001 and TRS-80 were all released in 1977, leading to an explosion of low-cost “home computers” that sold millions of units in the early 1980s. Only one-third of Soviet plants with over 500 workers had access to a mainframe computer in 1984, compared to nearly 100 percent in the US.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and we find that the US no longer has a monopoly on almost anything. For example, domestic television manufacturers employed 130,000 in 1966 and today less than 20,000 are making televisions.
The US was not willing to compete with the world in the free market and did not innovate particularly in its manufacturing techniques, which made off-shore products both of higher quality and less expensive. No more economic monopoly.
“White House says sanctions against Uganda possible over anti-gay law.” “Israel responded defiantly to criticism from President Biden over its government’s judicial overhaul plan, declaring that Israel was a sovereign country that would make its own decisions.” A bill has been filed in the US “To suspend the provision of security assistance to the Philippines until the Government of the Philippines has made certain reforms to the military and police forces.”
“A wounded lion is more dangerous than a hungry one. He runs after his prey not to satisfy his hunger but to gratify his anger.”