Different social systems are built on different sets of values and perceptions of the world. Political science offers some nears of comparison between capitalism and socialism and the various ways, in which the two ideologies are applied around the world (for some practical implementations of the two systems of government deviate substantially from their theoretical foundations). History offers insight into societies that have adhered to both ideologies with various degree of success and allows one to make conclusions based on past events.
However, neither discipline can give a finite determination regarding the superiority of one social order over the other. An argument from the point of view of ethics must consider the conclusions and consideration of both history and political theory to determine the moral specifics of both capitalism and socialism. The decision which one is superior depends on one’s views on what is moral and what is not. The research question proposed is rather abstract: which social system is “moral. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “moral” as “relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior”, “conforming to a tankard of right behavior” and “expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior”. The common word between all definitions is “right”. What is “right” and what is “wrong” depends on the individual values of each person. The same dictionary describes “social system” as “the patterned series of interrelationships existing between individuals, groups and institutions and forming a coherent whole”.
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Therefore, a thorough examination on the morality of the two systems must consider the relationships of people with other people and with institutions. It must also evaluate the coherence of each society. This essay will attempt to explore the moral assumptions behind both systems. It will describe the moral pro-s and con-s of capitalism and socialism and their practical implementations. It will then present an opinion defending the moral superiority of capitalism, which will be based on the author’s personal viewpoint of morality.
In my opinion, as a level of social cooperation that involves everyone is impossible to achieve, the “right” approach to social organization requires that each person is given the chance to achieve the most they and then share it with the rest of the society. Capitalism is the economic and social system in which capital and land, the non-labor factors of production, are privately owned; labor, goods and resources are traded in markets; and profit, after taxes, is distributed to the owners.
Socialism, on the other hand, is a way of economic organization which advocates either public or direct worker ownership and administration of the nears of production and allocation of resources. It could also be construed in the context of central planning of the economy and a developed social welfare system. A comparison of these two ways of social organization and heir implementation around the world in their ideological, historical and practical aspects yields a multifaceted picture. Capitalism is based on egoism – the ethical teaching that finds self-interest and the strive to make oneself better off, at the base of morality.
The capitalist social system aims to build a society, where everyone is free to pursue their individual goals, so long as their actions do not infringe the liberties of other persons. Thus personal initiative to succeed is encouraged and harmful actions toward others are discouraged by the rule and enforcement of laws. Everyone has equal right to purchase nears of production and utilize them to generate profits. This social order did not form as a theory under the writings of a given political scientist. It emerged gradually over time and took time to evolve into a system, which today is practiced differently in different political entities.
The economic system of Sweden, per SE, is based on private ownership of factors of production. However, the high tax rates in the country, supplemented by a state healthcare system, a developed mechanism of state education and the progressive lifer policies, render it a social democracy. One of the main issues of the practice of capitalism is associated with inequality. The rights and liberties of all may be guaranteed. However, the ability of one to access good and services depends on the capital they have accumulated. Hence, the richest (and their families) get the best food, education, healthcare.
A De facto inequality is thus induced in a system of De lure equality. This discrepancy grows in magnitude over time as the capitals of the rich are compounded. As money is used to purchase labor as a nears of production, n argument can be made that an economic slavery exists as employers force their employees to work longer hours. Indeed, in developed capitalist countries many people define themselves with their professional position or profession and devote more time to their Jobs. Importantly, the ones who succeed are not necessarily the brightest and a layer of poor and hence socially-marginalia people emerges.
These people do not have control over their destiny and feel rejected by the rest. The practice of capitalism is also hampered by problems with the enforcement of the rule f law. When money is the currency of power (regardless of one’s position in society they need money to acquire goods and services) every rational human being would seek to maximize their utility through acquiring more goods and services. When a conflict arises between the economic interests of a given person and legislation, that person can share a portion of their economic profits with the man or woman, responsible for imposing the letter of the law.
It is also possible for one to use their position to secure economic advantages for someone else, who would pay for the favor. These practices are commonly known as bribery and corruption. To state that everyone has equal rights before the law in a capitalist state would be superficial. The social division that stems from the economic inequality described above nears that the richest can afford the most goods and services. However, it would also be superfluous to associate money with happiness and happiness – with moral.
Of course, a social system where everyone has the chance to maximize their happiness can be considered moral. Given the abovementioned characteristics of capitalism ND the definition of a social system, the following conclusions can be made: 1. Capitalism creates different social layers and as each person is concerned with the own well-being, societies are not close-knit. Due to the egoistic nature of the ideology the relationship “person-person” is generally based on competition and lack of mutual understanding. 2. The relationship between people and institutions is based on respect and regulated by law.
Institutions are seen to serve the purpose of keeping people within the boundaries of the law and not helping them. After all, each institution is made up of competing individuals. 3. The coherent whole in the face of the state exists more as a conjunction of individuals and the sense of community is limited. On the other hand, families as elements of society are rather closely linked and family relationships are strongly respected. However valid for most capitalist societies (and especially valid for the US as the largest capitalist state in the world), these conclusions are not all-exhaustive.
The capitalist society, built on the moral assumption of egoism, is not entirely made up of self-interested materialists. Most of the world’s largest charity and humanitarian organizations are founded in the richest states. Very often rich people donate large amounts of money to noble causes around the world. Charity causes in neighborhoods and small towns are regular. Therefore, a sense of community and helping others is part of the mindset of people in capitalist society. Therefore even a system, founded on egoism, embodies strong elements of altruism. There are disputes as to what the true nature of socialism is.
However, C. Bradley Thompson defines socialism as a system of collectivism or common wineries of goods and resources and this essay will use his definition. The theoretical idea behind common use of resources is related with a planned economy, whereby an elite of a few selected intellectuals and statesmen directs the development of the whole country. The basic assumptions behind this political order are that individuals place the common good above their personal well-being (or at least they should) and that a collective effort directed by a few would by highly effective.
The moral basis of socialism is altruism or the belief that human beings are leafless and concerned with the others and the greater good. Although the socialist system views man as kind-hearted, it generally discourages the idea of self-initiative and entrepreneurship. Instead it proposes an idea of collective ownership to stimulate everyone to work for the common good. Thus collective initiative is fostered and positive interaction with the others is encouraged through the legal and institutional framework. Ideally, everyone would have equal right to all goods and services regardless of economic statute.