Capitalism in the Field of Practical Application

These points summarizes the principles of the theory of capitalism. Its followers have made of them incomes table principles which must not be doubted, criticized or challenged. In doing so they have exaggerated and over- stated their case. Events have shown that many principles are open to criticism when they are transferred to the field of application. The following are some of the weak points which are underlined in practical application.

  1. The natural laws which the bourgeoisie still quote to support the theory of a free economy do not measure up to the exaggerated claims made for them. Neither in word nor in deed is this so.

    Commenting on this, Lord Keynes says that the world is not governed by a strong government, motivated by moral and natural laws which achieves a reconciliation of personal and communal interests. It is not right to conclude from the principles of economy that an enlightened interest ensures progress and social prosperity. Similarly, to say that interest is always enlightened is incorrect. We often notice that the people who try their hardest to secure benefits for themselves and for their own purposes alone, are so excessively weak and foolish that they find themselves unable to realize their aims as opposed to rendering essential and lasting services to the community.

    The actions of the bourgeois capitalists testify to the fact that their interests were not enlightened. They came together in action against the interests of consumers, employees and the government which safeguards order and secure welfare. They conspired together in order to get for themselves whatever benefits and profits the Industrial Revolution could yield. These conspiracies were of themselves a refutation of the greatest claim they advanced in support of the economy i.e. that equilibrium in securing benefits by everybody was the element providing for a natural inter-reaction.

    This state of affairs led the well-known economist Adam Smith, the greatest of advocates of free economy, to declare that seldom did merchants and craftsmen gather at a meeting which was wound up without a plot, or a decision taken to raise the prices of commodities. Even at public meetings they attend they commit such a grave crime.

    Thus, bad results appear when the opportunity presents itself and the principles of free economy are applied, when this freedom becomes a murderous tool in the hands of powerful individuals who conspire together against the many who are weak in order to satisfy their own desires and individual inclinations.
  2. During the Industrial Revolution the mistake made in an exaggerated application of the principles of free economy became clear. During that time, the means of production changed basically and the machine replaced man and animal power. In this way, ten persons could produce the same amount of manufactured goods with thousands of people had produced previously. This led to a situation where only a few could work while many others were left unemployed.

    When the unqualified call for non-interference by government in the work of individuals is heard _ that call which invokes the principles of private ownership and the freedom to work the error in its basic assumptions becomes apparent.

    How can it be that one single man, or a number of men, can set up a big automatic factory which floods the market with its products simply because he has in his hands the means to do that ? At the same time, we overlook the many thousands of others who could produce the same by hand, or in their small factories, or in their homes.

    I do not mean by this that machine production is not a good thing. I simply mean that it should be organized and that the usage of machines should not be made permissible to all. It is the duty of the government to think first of the producers who will be left without work. Where will they earn their living and how ? This question did not arise under capitalism and the result was unemployment on a large and unrestricted scale which became an independent issue for society in a form which had never been seen before in the history of mankind. One cannot ignore the effects of unemployment on life; it is not a private question. It is the basis of many of life's problems and difficulties, civic, moral, material and spiritual. At this point one question presents itself : Can an individual group of individuals, dispose of their properties in a way which engenders numberless problems in social life? How could anyone allowed to argue that such a cruel proposition is the right of a select group of people who continue to render services to the common interest and themselves perform a lasting service? The idea that the national government should remain silent over the actions of individuals which affect the entire nation, or close its eyes to the effect upon the whole nation of the actions of a few people, is without any foundation .
  3. It has become clear that whenever capitalism develops into the stage of industrial revolution, the more widespread does poverty become and the more stringent becomes the grip of financial crisis. This is in addition to the unemployment which forces thousands of people to hasten to the capitalists requesting of them jobs either against wages or monthly salary.

    At this point, the fifth capitalist principle is to be applied which differentiates between the employer and employee and the wages of those subject to the law of supply and demand decrease. Not only that, but such people often become degraded and lose their human sensibility. They are obliged to surrender to whatever restrictions and regulations the capitalists impose on them.

    There is not one of them who thinks of objecting in any way, for the simple reason that there are thousands of unemployed who look at him grudgingly and yearn to replace him in his work. In such a case, he must feel far happier than many others.

    The bourgeoisie are wrong when they indicate their support of the principle that fair and balanced wages get adjusted themselves in the general competition by the interplay between the employer and employee. It becomes clear that this principle has already lost its generality and that it can only be applied on one side by the capitalist alone. The employee has to accept whatever is offered to him, he has to accept work for longer periods of time and even for very small wages. Such people are treated like animals; they have no alternative but to live in narrow, dark dwelling and their health suffers as does their character and mental outlook. Selfishness deprives the souls of such people of a sense of human values and the hearts of fathers, sons and brothers become bereft of sympathy and affection. Not only that, but fathers feel the burden of their sons and womenfolk. The result is that not even one walk of life is left immune from the harmful effects of a mistaken and extremist free economy.
  4. The capitalists have neglected natural ways of trade and industry which they pretend to boast of. They fabricated another way which clashed with the common interest and which made prices go up unnaturally and slowed down production. They had many methods sometimes, they purchased all commodities available in the market, depending on their wealth, and stored them till the time came when these commodities completely disappeared from the market and the demand for them became pressing. In this way, they dominated and controlled the market and caused prices to go up in an unnatural way. At other times, they used to burn manufactured goods or throw them in the sea, lest big quantities of these same- goods flood the markets causing drop in prices. At times, they mediated between the original producer and the consumer, with the result that commodities were exchanged amongst themselves one after another while relying on the money they had in hand and the facilities of quick means of communications which they enjoyed. In this way again, prices go up since each one of them makes a profit without rendering any service in the field of production or improvement. They carried out such transactions without even transferring goods or commodities from one place to another; this is what happens in the (Contracts Exchange).

    Sometimes, they dedicate their energies and resources for the production of luxuries. Though various media of propaganda and advertisement, they provoke the desire of people who might not yet have acquired necessities and push into their imaginations the idea that such articles are indispensable. This action is taken by them because the production of luxuries is very lucrative while the production of necessities offers less profit. At the peak of such methods comes the domination of weak countries for the sake of serving the interests of the colonialists. The countries are divided into spheres of influence each one to be exploited by one particular power which turns the dominated people into machines serving the colonialists. In order to safeguard their interests, the colonialists fostered troubles in these countries in an attempt to divert the people's attention from the things which they took away from them. We, the Egyptians, have had that experience and, consequently, we know all about it.
  5. The capitalists enjoyed liberty to take further steps in the same direction, deviating from all other systems of different periods. They allowed individuals to accumulate money and to invest it through usury - this method was condemned by the thinkers of ancient times. Centuries before The Bible and The Quran, Aristotle and Plato also attacked usury; it was considered by all the communities of the world as dishonorable and mischievous. But the capitalists ignored all considerations of society and divine religion and disregarded all ideology so long as their own system would lead them to the accumulation of immense wealth.

    Such people are the slaves of individual gain and not the pioneers of social reform, as it is claimed. For this reason, usury became the only legal form of trade and financial transaction. Later, they enacted laws of the land which secured the interest of the capitalist rather than that of the debtor. In this way, the happiest of men was he who could accumulate wealth by hook or by crook. others, of course, be they thinkers, inventors or legislators, were of no importance. Each one of them, being concerned with his personal concerns, was exposed either to loss or gain, but the man who lent his money through usury sat at home quiet and happy, since his profit was assured and of his losses was secure, regardless of ideologies and humanitarian considerations. He cared only for his money and his gains which were collected despite the ordeal of the debtor who was totally destroyed. The greatest calamity was that the mischief had its effect upon governments rather than individuals. Governments used to borrow money to construct roads and railways and the like and were then obliged to collect taxes from their citizens in order to pay the debts. In this way, the malady remained inherent in the body of the whole nation, both government and the people, destroying everything. It is surprising that when a nation is involved in a war, it does not pay any attention to those killed or wounded or afflicted with calamities in their homes or those who lost their fathers or sons or husbands. These people are conveniently left by the state without any support or compensation. But those who lent money to the state, and were for this reason considered to be its legitimate sons. continued to receive their interest from the Treasury, even for a period of hundreds of years. It is ironical that some of those who laid down their lives in war have to subscribe, along with others, to pay such interest. In this way does a system which is founded on usury reveal the injustice and wrong it does to the real workers and producers in the state a wrong done to safeguard the interest of a few capitalists who have no interest in the welfare of others. Under these circumstances society, both populace and government, became the servant of a band of capitalist overlords who occupied their position because of wealth and because of the rights granted them by law.
  6. Selfishness and deceit created characteristics in people which do not require of a person that he forgives or succors someone else. What kind of society is this in which very great differences exist among its members and in which the ties uniting various elements of the nation are lacking?

    Such a society, with its dissident groups each one harboring animosity against the other, cannot exist indefinitely. If such a thing happens, it will be due to suppression and want, and it is inevitable that one day society must vanish taking with it its so-called stability.
  7. The darkness of thought about the matter has been so thick that it has flooded the minds of the capitalists. Without realizing it, they produced stagnation both in themselves and their society by saying that the individual's attempt to secure private interests in a free economy in itself paves the way for the development of ways and means for increasing production. They try to forget that any society, with its millions either of unemployed or persons with small and limited earnings, cannot purchase the huge quantities of goods exhibited in shops. On the contrary, these shops will suffer depression, which in turn will lead to the discontinuation of production by factories, increase in unemployment and economic depression. As a result production either completely discontinues or everybody searches for a sphere of influence in one of the underdeveloped countries to use it as a market for his products. This is the point which gives rise to differences and wars.
  8. The Capitalists sitting idle in their homes do not work, either physical or mental. They lack nothing either physically or mentally; they have health and money and leisure. On the other hand, the destitute are always ready to accept the demands of the capitalist overlords. While the former wish to satisfy their sweeping desires, the latter are driven to flattery and hypocrisy. Thus does capitalism outline the basis of society in which it exists. Such a society is completely corrupt; its wealthy members are simply exploiters and its poor members are slaves. There can be no spirit of co-operation or compassion in it each of its members seeks nothing but his personal interest.
  9. In addition to that, under the shadow of a free economy, though itself becomes confused. As has already been demonstrated, society suffers from successive problems which stem from the corruption enveloping the system. For this reason, thinkers are sought out in order to find a solution to the problems, but they in turn distort the facts, either to please the capitalists or in fear of their violence. Such people do not try to find out the real causes for problems; they attribute the causes to particular local reason and pay no attention to the true ones. They never link problems with their real sources which are the direct outcome of capitalism and the solution they reach is always unreal. In this way, they cause people to go round and round in empty circles in an attempt to find the two ends of the problems. This state of affairs creates doubts amongst the nation and restlessness and other social sicknesses prevail.

Bearing all this in mind, how can a community ensure the services of its members if they are left absolutely free to secure their private interests? The capitalists have proved that unbridled selfishness seldom proves to have regard for justice, particularly if it gets into its hands economic and political power and if it is assigned the task of legislation. In such case, capitalism tries only to secure the maximum of private interests. No better description of capitalist society could be found than that given by the United States President, john Kennedy, in the book (The Strategy of Peace) which contains a number of the speeches and statements made by him about certain American and International problems. John Kennedy says (Nearly one out of every two young American men is rejected by Selective Service today as mentally, physically, or morally unfit for any kind of military service. Still more are screened out after induction». «The Navy releases statistics showing more men in naval prisons than the entire Norwegian and Danish navies combined _ and showing enough men branded deserters to supply a full crew for an aircraft carrier. What has happened to us as a nation? Profits are up - our standard of living is up - but so is our crime rate. So is the rate of divorce and juvenile delinquency and mental illness.

We are, I am afraid, in danger of losing something solid at the core. We are losing that pilgrim and pioneer spirit of initiative and independence - that old-fashioned Spartan devotion to (duty, honor and country). We think that we don't need that spirit now.