Know your root problem (and it’s not Capitalism) || with IIT Delhi
The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner: Do you think that capitalism is at the root of the problems we face today? If yes, what can the individual do? For example, at societal level, income inequality has kept on increasing; at the economical level, greed drives many business decisions; at the individual level, we are put in a race to achieve more levels in monetary gains, and this extends also to how we deal with education, housing, travel, and healthcare, which are very expensive nowadays. So, I want your opinion on this. Do you think that capitalism is the core issue to be addressed, and how should we go about it?
Acharya Prashant (AP): It’s not as if human beings are alright within themselves and pure of intention, simple and innocent beings, and then somehow an alien system called capitalism invades them and victimizes them. But somehow that’s how a lot of us would like to think, because this line of thought places the blame of our present condition on something alien to us. So, we are then happily able to justify being what we are and claim innocence.
Where does capitalism come from? If we say capitalism is to be blamed for our situation as it is, where does this economic and social system come from? It comes from the mind of man. It comes from our own tendencies. Capitalism is just a way of organization of the economy. What does it say? It says that private individuals will have the right to function economically as they please and that they will have the freedom to earn profits, and supply and demand will determine the market prices, and the government would not interfere in such matters.
Now, you are giving somebody the right to do economic activity as per his choice. Per se, how can this be blamed for the mess we are in? Let’s say you give the right of production and the right of ownership of capital and resources to some other entity, like the government, which we think of as an alternate system. You give the ownership of resources not to private entities but to the collective entity called the government — will that really change things? Because if the mind of the human being is corrupted, then so will be the mind of the government.