Perils of Capitalism


By Jawaad Nishaat & Sheikh Imran

HUMAN minds can be corruptive in nature and capitalism grows on the manipulation of human minds. People walking barefoot yet glamorising luxurious and top notch brands are equally responsible for creating a great disparity of classes among people.

If we go back in history to see how the cavemen survived without brands and luxuries will somehow open the debate for corruption of minds and how it is created. Here we are talking about the avarice mentality for making money and dreaming about luxuries.

Here we are proposing something which usually leads to the creation of unnecessary social classes based on our fantasies and our ephemeral attitude towards material. Material accumulation to an extent is necessary for the survival of the people but making it a statement of pride and dividing people on the basis of their possessions is a case we should plaintiff and the court of law should be based on humanitarian grounds rather than sordid grounds. St. Augustine, from early church warned about three sins, if committed can prove fatal for mankind which are lust for power, sexual lust and lust for money. Though he had ambivalent views about lust for power and sexual lusts explaining as under controlled manner these two sins can still be somewhat neutral to the society but as far as lust for money is concerned he was clear for his condemnation.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle described production of goods to satisfy physical wants such as food and clothing as useful economic activity. Farming, raising livestock and manufacturing were all productive in contrast, trade (exchange of goods for another) , hire (which lent out goods for money) and usury, which lent out money for money, produced nothing that satisfied physical wants. This journey from basic needs to brand glamourising mentality has derailed human consciousness to a point where misery and exploitation has been ostracised from human dictionaries.

We have forgotten that all men are equal and we are almost convinced on the dictum that some are more equal than others, beautifully described by George Orwell in his book Animal Farm. How needs got converted into deplorable brands is a story constructed through feudalism and is now continued through capitalism.

Some needs were basic and some were created just to sell products by calling them luxury. Irony is that most people buy into this idea of business and are directly or indirectly contributing to the widening of the parity between classes. People justify their fealty attitude towards big brands as marvelous and their desire to have them is so great, with the help of a ladder which their feudal forefathers have left for them in this world is one of the way outs for them. They start exploiting their vassals and transform into bandits who are not only morally corrupt but they also imbue their desires to go to any extent for that matter. Remedial measures are far from discussion as we are not even ready to call it a disease created by us because we are parochial in nature. Rightly said by famous Pakistani writer Habib Jalib in his verses

Khuda se dekho kitna dar raha hun

Tijori jaeb donun bhar raha hun

Padosi bhooka hai teesra din hai

Mein chawthi baar umrah kar raha hun.

As the feudal hegemony diminished and its ruins led to the creation of capitalism it robbed us of many things which were otherwise sacrosanct and sacred to us. When the feudal society was replaced by modern bourgeois society it established new systems of oppression and exploitation, with the help of modern technological advancements the latter has proved to be more intense and dangerous than the former.

It started a trend of colonisation and imperialism where the powerful nations took control of less militarily advanced countries and drained them off their resources for centuries.

Its worst effects can be examined in Asia, Americas, Africa and the Caribbean, there are nations in these parts of the world who despite winning their freedom from their occupiers are yet to recover from the economical degradation and drainage of resources they suffered at the hands of the powerful alliance of bourgeois for centuries.

The Industrial revolution which started in Britain is a best example of abuse of humans by powerful capitalists at that time, the working conditions of the workers was pathetic, child labour was a rage and the wage disparity on the basis of gender was a normal thing. The West developed and created luxuries at the expense of the human resource enslaved from Asia, Africa and Caribbean, after establishing themselves as the superpowers both in the matters of military might, arms race and economically this alliance of bourgeois needed a market to survive and maintain their hegemony so capitalism was promoted through various methods and manipulations like branding of luxuries which most of the people in the the world countries cannot afford.

The continuous exploitation of the proletarians even didn’t spare the modern world of the hegemonic advancement of the powerful countries. To keep up with their hegemony these powerful capitalists have established de facto colonies around the world either through military might or tactical breaking of the barriers of international market in turn leading the local small scale business of different countries to suffer. The unholy alliance of capitalists advanced into the Middle-East, created a situation of unrest and chaos thereby established their military presence there which is an undeclared form of colonialism and imperialism in quest of greed and acquiring more and more.

This exploitation has also led to men/women losing their value and a few wealthy individuals thrive through tactical exploitation of the poor majority in most countries in which developing and underdeveloped countries remain the worst affected. Today we even are witnessing a deterioration of the values and honour which were attached to different professions earlier.

Famous German scholar Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto rightly wrote, “The Bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and reduced the family relation to a mere money relation”.

In such a situation when such treatment with common working class men is already being meted out with it becomes meaningless and senseless to glorify and idolise something whose foundations are based on the basis of exploitation of others. The worth of professionals as well as a labourer is reduced only to a shaft which is rotating and withering away itself to keep the machine of capitalism going.

This exploitation has not only disturbed a global equilibrium of parity it has also intruded into the families and taken away the sanctity of this otherwise revered institution.

The corruption which has contagiously multiplied among us is a major concern because it can be instrumental in promoting a culture of exploitation, inequity, deplorable poverty at one end and enormous accumulation of possessions at the other. Homo Sapiens are the most intelligent amongst its predecessors, individuals are duty bound to discover this characteristic in them and draw a line between the exploitative mercenaries and the exploited proletariat using their ration and intelligence.

We can’t just be mechanical parts of a large machine which only spin us to an extent resulting in complete elimination of ourselves in the process of benefitting an idea which doesn’t really care about us.

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