The Bad Influence
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The Bad Influence

How Capitalism Hacks Utilitarianism

Ultimately stagnating some technological advances and social progress.

By Bimo Luki on Unsplash.

The illusion of a forever useful capitalism

Some interesting things happen when society lets money rule the world. First of all, those who don’t have money have to fight the hardest they can to be included in the paycheck. This means the working class has to be desperately useful to the rich class to live. This can be humiliating but it also makes people inventive (it’s true). Additionally, all the freedom (or the power) we can get from money motivates even the rich families to continue to get even richer.

However, if these inventiveness incentives (either the pursue for more power, or for the basic means to live) were all the truth about capitalism, then capitalism would be something not necessarily good but reasonable (which is not exactly perfect but ok). However, there are a few more consequences of capitalism that don’t end here.

Hacking utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is the philosophical standpoint that states that the value of something should be measured by how useful it is, and capitalism is devoted to utilitarianism since it’s constantly rewarding the production of useful stuff (mostly because useful stuff sells well).

But at the core of capitalism is economic inequality and that’s the cause why there are many hacks in utilitarianism under a capitalist society….

  • Monopolies can be created ending competition.
  • High-tech industries can use planned obsolescence.
  • Non-qualified people get better jobs for the worst reasons (for being sexy, for being the son or daughter of someone powerful, or whatever).

And all this ends stagnating the technological-material advances. “Oh! But we can punish rich people when they are doing that!” Someone could say. Unfortunately, the truth is the capitalist world gives many legal and social privileges to rich people. Only in the old Bond movies, the State moves against evil rich people.

Social progress comes with a price, but the price is the blood of workers and revolutionaries

If you carefully exam a capitalist society you surely realize some things are profitable because they are useful to exploitation, and others are not profitable because they are useful to the exploited people: the working class.

Class struggle is real under a capitalist society. You can’t please everyone because not everyone will be benefited from some economical, political, cultural choices. Check what material dialectics tells us about the history of mankind (spoil alert: no one, or almost no one, across the history of mankind abdicates their privileges willingly).

So if the working class wants to see some justice happening then right-wing people must be afraid of communist revolution tendencies. That’s, at least, one way we can see capitalism trying to look less evil (that is: when the spectrum of communism is haunting it, competing with it).

Utilitarianism is a wonderful philosophy, however, the utilitarians only want what is useful for themselves

Utilitarians such as Bentham, Mill, and others, suggested egoism would regulate society leading us naturally to the common good, but at what price? When workers, who are part of the economy, go on strike (when they get desperate enough to do so) demanding not to be overly exploited or making demands against the interests of powerful people, then the so-called invisible hand of the market (which would regulate everything naturally leading us to the common good) becomes the hand of the cops shooting and beating the unsatisfied working class (isn’t this a hack of utilitarianism too?).

“If capitalism is unfair, then the communist revolution is inevitable?”

Who knows? I’m not telling you should not hack society for your profit. All I’m doing here is not lying to you about what capitalism really is: it’s very cruel and certainly is not the best way to organize society.

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A.P. Bird

M.A. in Philosophy. Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and a King Kong graphic novel got me into science fiction when I was a kid. alexand3r.bird@gmail.com