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A capitalist society is a society which has its economic organization based on private investors. It has an economic system which has private dominance in production and distribution. In this economic system, those who are able to raise capital for starting up businesses are given the freedom to engage in these activities. In a capitalist society, production process, distribution and sale of the produced commodities is governed by corporate organizations and other private corporations.
Furthermore, capitalism is aimed at creating competition in their market. Other than competition profit making is also a key characteristics of capitalism. There are different types of capitalist societies. They differ from each other depending on level in which ids placed. In addition they have different relations in their market. On the other hand, they impact on the society are different.
One type of social capitalism is characterized by the fact that the government does not have control over private companies pricing. In this type, there are no rules governing the price of commodities in the market. Other than this description there are other capitalist societies where there are market rules that are used to correct market failures. On these societies, private organizations have no full control over their market. They have their markets playing a dominant role. The last type of capitalist society is where the state government controls the market. In this type, the market relies wholly on state owned enterprises. This last type of a capitalist society differs from the others in that in this case, private companies are not given the right to control their market unlike in the other cases where they have an impact on the market.
Capitalism has emerged to be a social system existing on a world wide scale. Capitalist societies have small amount of individuals and organizations that are referred to as ‘’capitalist class’’.This small minority group of people and organizations own and control the means of production and distribution of various goods and services. These are transport systems, private medical facilities, mobile network and internet providers, foods and clothing. The capitalist class is the direct opposite of the working class.
The working class often makes up the majority of society.In order to survive, the working class sells out their ability to work in return for wages and salaries from the capitalist class.These Salaries and wages facilitate the working class to afford the goods and services that they require.This essay will examine to what extent a modern capitalist society should be organized according to individualist rather than collectivist values.
Individualism is the idea that each individual in society is equal to one another and should the freedom and rights. Individualism allows people to pursue their goals and desires. They are given the freedom do as they wish considering that their action as a result of this freedom does not inflict harm onto to others or negatively affect the freedom of others in society. Individualism prioritizes the members of a society rather than the society as a whole. It gives society’s world wide a number of advantages. These advantages are enjoyed by those individuals within the society as they are able to maintain their morals (Miliband 1973).
Resulting from the idea of individualism, many cultures, races and religions can freely practice theirs ways of life. This is as a result of their freedom to exercise their wish as long as the wishes are morally right. Even though their practices differ from each other, the society they are currently situated in incorporates all of them. In societies such as United Kingdom, even though the country has large of the population as Christians, there are other religions. Those individuals that are from an Islamic faith are also still welcome.
They still have their right to practice their Islamic beliefs.With the granted freedom resulting from individualism of the society, different individuals having different religious backgrounds can easily live harmoniously. On the other hand, the cultural beliefs of these people are different. As a result, the fact that they are able to maintain their moral stands they are able live harmoniously.This view towards individualism as gives it an advantage over collectivist. In the later, individuals are governed with similar laws. Different cultures are not given their freedom. Collectivist as compared to individualism concentrates on the society as a whole. Considering this approach, a modern capitalists society need to incorporate individualism as compared to collectivist (Westergaard & Henrietta 1975).
On the other hand, individualism does not only have its advantages but disadvantages as well. The idea of individualism gives the perception that everyone in society should be equal and have the right to pursue their goals, this perception conflicts with reality because not everyone in society is equal. This is in contrast with collectivist which insists on society development in general without considering the individuals in the society.
However, some individuals do not have the same opportunities to achieve their goals due to certain factors such as luck of education, financial incapability, physicals incapability and mental incapability. These individuals need assistance. The assistance required is hard to come by in societies who are not interested in common good (Kevin 2013). The United Kingdom which is said to have a ‘’me culture’’, according to a research done the United kingdom was the most individualist society In the world along other countries such as Australia and the united states of America ( Cambridge 2013).
Further on in this research psychologists made a comparison on the levels anxiety and depression between individualist states such as united states of America and the united kingdom with collectivist societies such as Taiwan and the republic of china, the findings in this comparison revealed that there was a correlation between the two being that the more collective the country is the lower the levels of anxiety and depression. An individualist society leaves the less fortunate helpless and with nowhere to turn to.
Although individualism seems to bring about innovation and creativity it appears to have negative effects of depression because with individualism comes the ruthlessness of the capitalist class whose goal is consume profit and care less about the common good of society (Simon 2013). However, at other cases, collectivism will give more attention to those issues affecting the society in general as compared to the members. Owing to this approach, individualism remains the best concept in the modern capitalist society. in the modern capitalist society, solving issues at a personal level creates a better understanding and solutions as compared to the other case where the society is generalized (Arnold 1990).
As collectivism concentrates on society’s interest and well being as a whole and not on individual interests, collective approach in society can benefit societies in a number of ways. When common good is pursued, a balance in society can be created leading to individuals having equal opportunities of achieving their goals (Robert et al 1991). With the implementation of collectivist values, the less fortunate in today’s modern capitalist values are not left with the depression of having nowhere to turn to due to the reason that they are provided for and assisted through policies such as social welfare and benefits which provides for the uneducated, the jobless and the disabled, as observed by Richard Alleyne individuals in collectivist states experience less depression than those in individualist states. The disadvantaged in this case can easily get attention in the society (Dianne 2013).
Capitalist societies are often struck by ruthless marketing and pricing strategies which focus more profit and less on the consumer and the working class. Through collectivist values the state can protect consumers from the capitalist through policies such as minimum wages and price control on essential goods and services( Richard 2009). In a modern capitalist struck by financial crisis, a collectivist approach is essential in order to see economies through this tough time. Individuals and organizations in most parts of the world have had to adopt collectivist values and make sacrifices in the interest of common good in means such as spending cuts and higher taxes on more fortunate individuals and organization.
One example of such crisis is the development Cyprus where individuals holding between 20 000 and a 100 000 Euros are expected to pay a levy of 6.75 percent in order to obtain a 10 billion euro bail out agreed in Brussels (World socialism 2006). Although this levy on bank deposits is still being debated it is clear that Cyprus is in a crisis and the only way out is a collectivist approach, the more fortunate individuals and organizations will have to sacrifice in order to save the country’s economy.
On the other hand, collectivist does not consider low living individuals in the society. Thus the regulations laid on the basis of collectivist will not solve individual problems rather the society in general. Considering this argument, more interest ought to be given to individualism rather than collectivist (Ollman 1971).
In today’s modern world which is increasing in complexity and interdependence people can no longer afford to go their own way but instead need to practice their capacity for developing institutions that recognize interconnections in order to create a positive society where the common good is society’s common pursuit. A modern capitalist society should be more collectively orientated rather than being individually orientated, with the considerations that individualist values should be not be absolutely neglected due to the fact that individualism creates completion between individuals and organizations which is vital in a modern capitalist state.
According to the research on capitalist society, the extent of individualism should be looked at having maximum influence to a larger group of people. Funding individualism capitalism approach is expensive as compared to collectivist. In conclusion a modern capitalist state should be organized according to collectivist values in order to maintain common good and protect the less fortunate, though individualist values should not be completely neglected in order to maintain competition and avoid a dependent society ( Frankel 1970).
Frankel, H 1970, Capitalist society and modern sociology. London: Lawrence & Wishart. cambridge dictionary. (2013). captalism. Available:
Dianne H 2013, What Are the Advantages of Individualism?.
Kevin P 2013, Cyprus: Banking crisis stalls financial lives.
Richard A 2009, Britain ''me culture'' makes us depressed.
Robert N. B, Richard M, William S, Ann S, & Steven M. T. 1991,
Simon R 2013, UK welfare spending: how much does each benefit really cost?.
Miliband, R 1973, The State in Capitalist Society. London: Quartet Books.
Arnold, N S 1990, Marx's Radical Critique of Capitalist Society: A Reconstruction and Critical Evaluation. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ollman, B 1971, Alienation: Marx's Conception of Man in Capitalist Society. Cambridge, U.K:University Press.
Westergaard, J, & Henrietta R 1975, Class in a Capitalist Society: A Study of Contemporary Britain. New York: Basic Books.
The economic system of any given state determines the means in which wealth is generated and distributed. In Socialism, the means of production are state-owned and the distribution of wealth defined by the government (Ollman et al., 2016). On the other hand, the capitalist economic system provides for private ownership of corporations, whereby individuals have control over the means of production (Commons, 2017). This paper highlights the similarities between the two economic systems.
Social classes exist in both socialism and capitalism. Although the government determines the distribution of wealth in socialism, the share is not equal, and persons are awarded according to their efforts and contribution (Ollman et al., 2016). For this reason, there is a difference in wealth amongst different classes as determined by the state. Similarly, capitalism allows for private ownership of property, where persons can maximize their profits and increase their wealth (Common, 2017).
Market forces play a crucial role in the economy, regardless of the economic system. Socialism does not involve the equal distribution of goods as forces such as demand and supply, bargaining power and so forth influence the sharing of assets. The government does not have full control over how each acquires the different essential commodities in socialism (Ollman et al., 2016). Similarly, capitalism is hugely driven by market forces. The government plays a regulatory role to ensure that there is fair competition, but it does not determine the access to goods and services for individuals (Common, 2017).
In conclusion, socialism and capitalism differ in their means of production, but there are similarities in the distribution of wealth. Although socialist economies advocate for the equal distribution of wealth, the governing elite is inherently wealthier than other citizens. Therefore, socialist and capitalist economies both result in the unequal distribution of wealth.
Commons, J. R. (2017). Legal foundations of capitalism. Routledge.
Ollman, B., Schweickart, D., Ticktin, H., & Lawler, J. (2016). Market Socialism: The Debate Among Socialist. Routledge.
Thesis: If communism can be well structured and the level of government involvement reduced marginally, then it’s a better economic policy that capitalism.
The documents cited in the essay are viewpoints from different perspectives that people hold regarding these two economic policies. Documents 1, 3, and 7 view communism as a better economic policy. It holds that communism creates jobs (document 1) and abolishes competition and therefore creates a level playing ground for all participants (document 3). In the end, communism is viewed as having structures that cater for the whole community and the social welfare of all individuals is well taken care of by the government (document 7). And because the government is heavily involved, there is little possibilities of unscrupulous business practices and this ensures a healthy market economy. Communism, however, is criticized for stifling innovation and being less rewarding because one person’s efforts and achievements are enjoyed by a whole community (document 4). Therefore, there’s minimal incentive to work hard because irrespective of how hard you work, the returns are just the same (document 6).
Capitalism, on the other hand, stresses on the essence of a free market economy where the market is allowed to develop its operating mechanisms and establish its equilibrium. This economy rewards strength but eliminates weakness (document 2). It’s accused of not having the tenets that nurture small and upcoming businesses. Government influence is very minimal, and the market assumes semi-autonomy (document 5). And because it concentrates resources in the hands of few, it leads to high rates of unemployment (document 1).
Pro-capitalists opine that it allows the market to choose its own trend and adjust accordingly to prevailing conditions in ways it sees fit. This, however, has brought forth the “man-eat-man” economy where the fittest survive, and the weak perish. It is also a valid observation that in a system where one person’s hard work is shared by everybody, there is little incentive to work hard. Innovation is reduced and growth is minimal as evidenced in document 4.
Another perspective that looks at these two economic styles might help bridge the divide between the two. Perhaps, a document that incorporates the strengths of the two policies and create a hybrid economy that is a mixture of the two.
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