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What are the pros and cons of capitalism? Show more Show less

Capitalism is an economic system in which the four factors of production (entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor) are owned by private entities with the aim of generating a profit. Capitalism requires a free market economy driven by supply and demand. There is a lack of government intervention. Competition helps keep prices moderate and production efficient. This stands in opposition to socialism, a system in which the means of production are owned by the state.

Cons of capitalism Show more Show less

Capitalism promotes inequality, ignores peoples' needs, and is harmful to the environment. It is also ineffective and unstable.
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Capitalism doesn’t promote equal opportunity.

Capitalism does not promote equal opportunity. Some people inherit great wealth while others are born into poverty. Limited access to resources and opportunities (such as education, adequate nutrition, and healthcare) from the start limits peoples' ability to move up. Workers lack opportunity because their labor is exploited with companies trying to pay them as little as they can.
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Context

The Argument

Proponents of capitalism argue that capitalism promotes equal opportunity, but this isn’t true. One example is that a lot of wealth inequality comes from inheritance. If one person is a billionaire through inheritance and others are born into poverty, then this is not starting people off with equal opportunity. Contrary to popular belief, the “American Dream” isn’t easy to achieve. Immigrants, racial minorities, and people from certain socio-economic backgrounds have less privilege and are structurally disadvantaged. Therefore, they’re more likely to continue the poverty cycle than to escape from it. For example, some families might not be able to afford to send their children to college because third level education in the United States is not subsidized by the government. Students from disenfranchised areas might not even be able to get into college in the first place due to them receiving a poor education at their local public schools. This makes them less likely to secure a well-paying job. Limited access to resources and opportunities (such as education, adequate nutrition, and healthcare) from the start limits your ability to move up. Capitalism fails to take this into account. Equal opportunity is also not possible because capitalism favors businesses instead of workers. Workers are exploited for their labor while companies try to pay them as little as they can. Companies will move overseas to find the least expensive labor they can. [1]This harms the workers and in the long run the society. Long term inequality limits diversity and creates social division.

Counter arguments

Capitalism promotes equal opportunity. If someone has a great idea and works hard then they can achieve great success regardless of how they started out socioeconomically. Look at Jeff Bezos, who was not born into wealth and is now the world's richest person.[2]

Framing

Premises

[P1] A lot of wealth inequality comes from people inheriting great wealth. [P2] Limited access to resources and opportunities (such as education, adequate nutrition, and healthcare) from the start limits peoples' ability to move up. [P3] Workers are exploited for their labor while companies try to pay them as little as they can. [P4] Capitalism does not promote equal opportunity.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P4] Capitalism does promote equal opportunity. If someone has a great idea and works hard then they can achieve great success regardless of how they started out socioeconomically.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://hbr.org/1988/09/manufacturing-offshore-is-bad-business
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/04/amazon-founder-jeff-bezos-from-son-of-teen-mom-to-the-worlds-richest.html

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 17:20 UTC