I come from a country devastated by socialism. Having read the history of socialism in detail and the destruction and devastation caused by it (think Stalin), it is clear that socialism has failed as well. I would never support socialism in any form. Not withstanding my personal experiences with it — you only have to read the entire history of world communism to learn that it only brought misery to millions.
However, I do think we have seen enough to know that Capitalism does not work either. And this comes from a person who has read all of Ayn Rand’s books over & over again until I grew out of them!
Going by Ayn Rand’s definition of Capitalism, almost all the companies today are run by “moochers” as she called the “bad” capitalists in her books. There is no Howard Roark or a John Galt, we can look up to. Even Apple as a company has diverted purely towards making “money by any and all means necessary”, rather than producing anything of real value which actually contributes something in a tangible manner to science and technology like say Edison or Newton.
I don’t play video games because I see the computer which was really came into being during WW2 to defeat pure evil being used to titillate the senses and keep people addicted to their monitors and TV screens. An amazing invention used mostly for uncontrolled consumption!
The invention which has changed the world the most, is the Internet. Yet, the most amount of information flowing within it, is by most accounts porn. That’s it! The pinnacle of modern science and technology used in the most depraved manner for the most callous and inhuman purposes including human slavery in 2020! At the root of it, we are still a culture driven by objectifying women’s bodies.
It is “moocher” driven culture, as Ayn Rand would have called it. She lacked empathy too — and that is the fatal flaw in her philosophy all said and done.
It is not that Capitalism is bad or flawed. I’ve reached the conclusion that it is not the system — it is the people. People are flawed, and they are selfish and they will do anything to make more money — damn the cost on others, or the environment, or if Rome burns around them. If they can make more $$$ they will.
Capitalism does cost lives because companies sell weapons which are used in conflicts all over the world. Socialism is worse and causes a lot more immediate mayhem and misery. We could argue over which is better, but I would say capitalism is marginally better when you consider the human cost.
While socialism gives you a bullet in the head for non confirming to the dictator, Capitalism works in a much slower manner. With Capitalism, you have entire small towns getting sick and slowly dying of cancer or lung problems over time. Capitalism can poison rivers, hollow our mountains & sicken large cities and entire countries, slowly over time.
With Socialism, your chances are less, and more people get affected “in a more equal manner”, with very few people being able to “live better”. In Capitalism, a lot more people are able to live better, and the people affected are usually the most vulnerable ones who often get little or no media coverage.
I think it would be right to say that with the same flawed people in both systems, they can cause much more immediate damage with Socialism than with Capitalism.
Considering that people will always want to continue their pursuit of happiness, once you live within Capitalism and “have a good life”, here is what you see:
- The fundamental issue is that everything is driven by greed.
- So, no matter how well you do, and how much money you make, you want more and more, until you become a Billionaire and beyond… This can’t be a good thing.
- The Stock Market feels like legalized gambling and nothing more, with some people and organizations having an unfair advantage over others (and in some cases they get caught).
You know the people who kick and scream after losing “everything” in the stock market? I don’t blame the stock market or the insider trading for it. I blame the urge — rather the greed to make more money using shortcuts — for this. Hence, I have never “gambled” in the stock market. I am happy with what I earn from my work.
- If they can cheat the consumer they will — and they do — and a lot of them do get caught and go to jail as well.
Honestly, when you look at how some of these companies are run, you will notice that the very same people could cause a lot more mayhem, if they were part of the Govt in a socialist country. But, because they are under a capitalist system, they can only cause so much damage to others — and the consumers can sue, while their exploited and brainwashed employees can leave.
If you have worked at any large company, you will see essentially a mini “country” sometimes with people having different “status levels” which people of higher status treating people of “lower status” differently. Every large company from IBM, Microsoft, Google & Facebook has been like that and is like that.
If they could legally treat you worse they would. And it gets worse if you work in a town, city or country with a large corporate presence:
Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber - Susan Fowler
As most of you know, I left Uber in December and joined Stripe in January. I've gotten a lot of questions over the past…
And read what happened to her after she wrote that blog. It is not that very different from what happens in a socialist country, with a secret police. Under capitalism, their dogs are kept under a tight leash:
Uber whistleblower Susan Fowler claims she was followed after making allegations: "It was…
Susan Fowler said she feared for her life after exposing the toxic culture , one of Silicon Valley's biggest…
Most large companies are “mini societies” with leaders/ managers fighting with each other — often like dogs, to get higher up in the chain. The system can corrupt you so much that in the end, you can become a twisted person who is so used to having “orders followed” that, you are completely ineffective in a system where you have to actually follow laws & can’t do “whatever you want”.
There is no trickle down effect
The biggest proof of that is that most employees gained absolutely no effective increase in salary after the Trump Tax cuts were given to companies. Any savings from that was funneled back into the pockets of those who already had too much money and privilege to know what to do with it.
This has an effect of separating the privileged few from the vast majority of people to such an extent that they cannot even empathize with anybody else anymore, and become completely tone deaf. This is real, this is happening even in relatively small companies as well.
This is how you end up in an office (like one of my friend’s in California) where management built all their cabins at the edge of the building so they can get all the sun, while the majority of the employees get no natural light. The strange part about this story is that 95% of the “people in the cabins” are never there and are on the road. When they are in office, because they have all the windows, the cabins get too hot to sit inside during the day.
If I really wanted to live in the Mughal Empire or under Saddam Hussein’s regime where family trumps everything, my family could just have stayed where they were instead of migrating to the USA.
I did not expect to see the level of nepotism I have seen in America with brothers reporting to brothers, sisters to sisters & sons to fathers. That is not something you get to see, even in companies from the so called “third-world” countries like from where my ancestors migrated from.
You wonder why there are regulations like OSHA. It is not at all surprising to me that they have it, because I have noticed that a lot of offices do not have adequate lighting — even when it is mandated by OSHA. And this has a detrimental effect on the health of the employees.
Software Engineering used to be science. Now, it has become sweatshops. This is why most software is built very badly today.
It has taken a while for me to realize that Scrum is nothing but “Communist Software Engineering Methodology”. If you truly do scrum at a number of companies, you will come to that realization too. It is like living within “Atlas Shrugged” or “The Fountainhead”.
The Social Media Problem
The problem with Google, Facebook and social media in general is not that they are evil or that they are run by evil people. The problem is that their goal is to “make money for their investors”, not “produce value” or “make the world better” or even “make something useful”.
This is how we end up with a fart sound app, new poop emojis or being able to make funny faces using AI be the “biggest” feature in a new release of a major phone operating system.
If we have learnt anything from their story, it is that they will do anything, no matter how bad it is, to make more money. And even Apple (after Steve Jobs especially) is no different. They see success as “making more money”. They are fast repeating the same mistakes Apple did in the past after Steve Jobs was kicked out of there.
Money is not necessarily evil by itself. But eventually the never quenchable lust for it, makes people succumb to their worst instincts.
So, if the whole world becomes zombies who are addicted to screens and if they can increase that addiction to make more money by showing them advertisements — they will.
Mark Zuckerberg or Sundar Pichai are not the evil people here. Even Jeff Bezos may not be evil. It is the system we have where the only and ultimate goal is to make more money than before — which is the problem.
And often the greediest people are those who have the most money. And if the poor people are dying without medical insurance and working four jobs for it, that is ok. This is what we see with the stories about bad working conditions in warehouses.
'I'm not a robot': Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse
Rina Cummings has worked three 12-hour shifts every week at Amazon's gargantuan New York City warehouse, called JFK8…
So essentially, people in rich countries sit on top of the blood sucking pile where the lowest people being crushed underneath it are some of the most vulnerable people in the planet.
Capitalism at any cost is how we unleashed global warming, changing the climate for worse, which killed thousands in tsunamis and is now killing millions because we have encroached so deeply into protected habitats of the world seeking to extract whatever is in the earth, that new diseases and viruses are coming out of these places and causing mass mayhem.
Make no mistake — we knew this was going to happen, and we still continued in our quest of making more $$$ at any cost. I remembered seeing magazine photos from the 1980s showing people from the future wearing masks because of smog, when I had to wear a mask myself after a doctor asked me to do it because I got a bad cough from the pollution.
And today, we inherit a world where everyone is trapped at home, and wear masks when they venture out. We did this to ourselves. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for this.
Once I started hearing the bad news about Facebook, I got off the platform. But Google turned out to be the silent “shady guy” lurking in the shadows.
I have been using Google for a long time.
In 2000, when you searched on Google, you would find super relevant results. Today when you search on Google, you find “better than Bing” results.
It all started going down the drain, when these companies started “personalizing”. There are things which should never be “personalized” — which includes things like news.
Personalize = Echo Chamber
This does not just affect what news you see, but it eventually started affecting searches as well. In the past 1–2 years, I sensed that Google Results were always “showing me the same thing” always. I would get similar results all the time till it started getting boring. Even Youtube would recommend me videos from the same places trying over & over to guess what “I preferred”. But, my preferences was “new” and “different”, not “same”.
So, I sign out of Google and Youtube now. And it had made something bad, slightly better.
Govt. Regulation is Inevitable
No Industry started with being regulater. Almost everything you can think of was unregulated at first:
- The British East India Company which was a public company with stocks traded in Opium and had their own private army to force countries to buy Opium.
- Flying was unregulated at first until so many planes came crashing down to people’s houses that it needed to be regulated.
- Regulation was added after the great depression to prevent banks from doing whatever they wants — at any cost, to make more money, which ultimately almost brought down the entire system with it — before the Govt. bailed them out.
And then rules were put in place, because everyone who was in it, was doing whatever they wanted to do — no matter the cost.
In none of these cases, we could blame individuals, or “the system”. It is flawed people, playing out their worst instincts in the desire to get more & more — no matter the cost.
Ultimately, regulation is what protects the entire system from crumbling down like a house of cards.
To be continued…