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Capitalism and Communism Essay

An ideology begins with the belief that things can be better, and then evolves into a plan to improve the currant state of a society. During the 20th century, the world witnessed the confrontation of two political, social, and economic ideologies: capitalism and communism. Capitalism appeared when Scottish economist Adam Smith published “The Wealth of Nations” during the late 1700’s. Almost a century later, as a reaction to capitalism, Karl Marx published “The Communist Manifesto”; a book that harshly criticized capitalism and predicted its fall.

Capitalism and communism are two extremely different systems. They mainly differ by their economic and social visions of how society and the economy should be managed.

Smith postulated that the amassment of gold and silver in a country’s treasury doesn’t mean much, but in fact it’s the actual amount of trading that is done that defines a “Rich Nation”. Smith reasoned that government interference in economy related issues only retarded growth. As an example, if the government agrees on granting monopole over a sector to a certain company, you banish competition and with it all efforts to advance and create new and cheaper products. Smith also postulated that without government intervention the market itself will regulate the economy through supply and demand. Facing this system that encourages private ownership of industries and free trade was communism.

Communism is a very revolutionary ideology. Marx postulated that the capitalist regimes would be eventually over-thrown by the proletariat in what he called the “Class Struggle”. Unlike capitalism, communism theoretically promoted a society where there was no class distinction, where the government would be handed down to the proletariat (working class), and where ownership of land, means of production, and riches by the working class government will be equally redistributed over all citizens. The individual life of a person in a communist society differs greatly from one in a capitalist system, mainly because of the economic system.

The capitalist model encourages private ownership of industries, competition, innovation, and free trading. This form of economy allows an individual to dream and pursue his education in an attempt to reach a higher social or economic standard. Most of the major scientific breakthroughs were accomplished and invested in by individuals who were competing with others, and ultimately were seeking wealth. When a person is born in a capital system he is allowed to determine his future and to struggle to reach his own envisioned utopia. On the other hand, the communist system predefines the life of an individual, and restricts it to a task that he has to accomplish in order to secure the better good of society. A member of the proletariat leans towards becoming an automated machine that has no sovereignty over his future, or as a matter of fact over his own life.

It is safe to postulate that the capitalist system reflects human nature, better than the communist system.

Capitalism survived many major depressions, thanks to its flexibility. It is today the most prominent economic system in the world. Communism on the other hand was never literally applied. Different types of communist systems existed: Maoism, Leninism, and Titoism. Most of these systems never reached a real utopist communist society, but as a matter of fact became tyrannies, a fact that led to there inevitable decline.


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