Negative Capitalism

If you had to name the negative things that capitalism brought to your life, what would you name?


26 thoughts on “Negative Capitalism”

  1. The idea that my personality is a consumable product. I’d do much better if I didn’t find this to be deeply offensive or had a more pleasing marketable personality. :p


    1. ” I’d do much better if I ….. had a more pleasing marketable personality”

      Reminds me of what a friend said: “I have tons of skills, just none that the market is interested in.”


  2. Is it a stretch to identify advanced capitalism with liquidity and bring up the negative effects of the latter, such as

    loss of community (living far away from family)
    the inherent rootlessness if one needs to move for a job every few years (tenured professors are one of exceptions, but it applies to those w/o tenure)
    losing all stable identities except the economic one. You talked how men are socialized to equate manhood with being a provider, while women’s femininity isn’t hurt by being economically unsuccessful. I have a small problem with this description since I feel both genders may experience a loss of personhood (feeling failures as people) which is much more basic and serious than gender to one’s identity.


    1. “both genders may experience a loss of personhood (feeling failures as people) which is much more basic and serious than gender to one’s identity”

      The idea is that a woman might feel like a professional failure but that won’t necessarily impact her desire/ability to attract a mate (maybe not as desirable a one as she might want but….) while a man who feels like a professional failure might feel unworthy/unable of attracting a mate (or may not even try since he feels the deck is stacked against him).

      Failure in one area an impacts a person in other areas and this works differently for the two sexes (at least in the white US heterosexual context). Again this is just about percentages and some individual men and women might react differently.


      1. \ this works differently for the two sexes (at least in the white US heterosexual context). Again this is just about percentages and some individual men and women might react differently.

        I think that with the advancement of feminism and capitalism large differences between the sexes have already disappeared in the last generations (among those younger than 30-40, at least).

        Couldn’t it be one of the reasons for falling marriage and fertility rates?

        The latter btw is another negative thing that capitalism brought to our lives. In Europe, trying to import people (refugees and migrants) instead of locals raising their own children has already led to quite a few social problems.


        1. I don’t think low natality is caused by feminism and gender equality, but more like the opposite. I’ve heard and read many opinions about women in the workplace and how they shouldn’t get paid maternity leaves (why paying someone for staying at home doing nothing?!) or how they should stop working after having babies and be full-time moms.
          That said, I can’t, maybe stupidly, worry about low birth rates. Heck, we’re more than seven billions on this planet!


          1. It’s not birth rates per se but the reality of the most neoliberal of societies so incapacitating interpersonal communication that most human beings live alone. And suffer from depression as a result.


    1. \ The general tendency to divorce price and value

      Yes, and the conflation between having / earning money and being morally superior OR having unrelated skills, such as being a good leader.

      For instance, worshipping Trump because of his fortune or articles titled “Mark Zuckerberg could be running for President in 2020.”


  3. You have also mentioned books on teaching programming to toddlers. Parents are so anxious that in some families young children are already primarily viewed as market participants at the ripe old age of 1-3.

    On the other hand, one of criticisms of euthanasia is that it may encourage the view of “don’t be a burden, kill yourself.” The moment one stops contributing (economically), the system offers an easy way out. (I think I remember you blogging about euthanasia of a physically healthy rape victim.)

    It figures that the biggest supporters of euthanasia are countries combining both advanced capitalism and a still remaining certain safety net of social programs.


    1. Yeah, I find it shocking when people use the expression “marketable skills” when trying to discuss Klara. It really gets to me. I’m not seeing much difference between discussing the marketable skills of a toddler and putting small kids into adult clothes and makeup for beauty pageants. It’s all creepy as hell.


      1. I’m also failing to see the difference between euthanasia for mental health sufferers and the elimination of the mentally ill during Nazism. The only difference is “choice” that is a very neoliberal obsession.


  4. Possible harmful effects of robotization and other economic developments on democracy. It’s not a personal failure of “see[ing] people including yourself as commodities,” but the world moving in that direction.


  5. *Social Rank Fascism
    *Objectifying people as merely being “a source of extra money”
    *A “red herring” to distract people away from pursuing any kind of intimacy
    *Providing the necessary resources for scam artists, charlatans, identity thieves, hustlers, robber-barons, corrupt financial and political practices, social prejudices


  6. This has already been said before but for me loss of community, family and alienation are prime. Again, as el said, not sure if capitalism == liquidity.


  7. There is such a thing as too many options, too much choice. People are completed to endlessly obsess about even mundane choices (what to put on a sandwich, for instance). It breeds a sense of perpetual dissatisfaction as one always wonders if there is something better.

    And yes, disregards of a liberal arts education and the push to make all universities into vocational schools.


    1. “the push to make all universities into vocational schools.”
      Right! Subjugating culture to market necessities is one of the worst offenses. Many kids say that going to university is useless because it won’t give you a better chance to find a job (at least, that’s the general consensus in my counrty)


    2. It is useful to draw a distinction between consumerist combinatorial choice and real world, open choice.

      For example, establishments such as StarBucks essentially emulate choice by recombining a fixed, finite set of elements. A handful of ingredients are combined in a variety of ways to generate the illusion that StarBucks has hundreds of coffees on sale. You can have it in any color, as long as it’s black.

      Compare this to the real world where the kind of beans, the methods of roasting, grinding and brewing can generate an almost infinitely variety (choice). Under the consumerist framework, though, this infinite choice is limited to narrow combinatorial choice.

      Human beings, when faced with this limited notion of choice, grow dissatisfied. The current hipster trend of selling ‘artisanal’ goods and services is a reaction to this.


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