This argument is well known, and has gained even more frequent use in recent months largely due to the rise in popularity of Bernie Sanders and what he mistakenly calls “Democratic-Socialism.” It’s really nothing more than a reemergence of the “New Left” of the 60’s and 70’s. These people argue that it is not necessary to abolish Capitalism, but rather they advocate for what they call “a mix of Capitalism and Socialism.” Which shows a gross misunderstanding of what both Capitalism and Socialism are. But their misuse of these terms is not what I want to talk about. What they really want is highly regulated Capitalism. They believe this is preferable to Communism; “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” they say.
Well, we aren’t talking about babies or bath water, I am not interested in hollow platitudes or idioms. We need to make decisions on our society based on material conditions and facts instead. And the fact is that Capitalism is inherently flawed. Even if greed and lust for power were non-existent, and we didn’t even need any kind of regulation, Capitalism would still be immoral and unstable. For these reasons alone it should be abolished. And if it were even possible to regulate Capitalism into a moral and stable system, it wouldn’t even be desirable. Because this system would be so bloated with bureaucracy that it would be expensive and alienating to the population, exacerbating the very problems you hoped to eliminate. This is why it is not possible to regulate Capitalism, to rely on Social-Democracy to make Capitalism an ethical and stable system; the more you try to make Capitalism better, the worse it makes the system, compounding the problems of Republican Government and even Capitalism, because Capitalism benefits from greater bureaucracy.
Capitalists thrive in bureaucracy, they don’t recoil from it. Bureaucratic Republican systems become slaves to their structure, they cannot adapt easily and quickly to changing conditions, allowing them to be exploited by Capitalists to retain power and expand their wealth. It’s why they’ve always built such bureaucratic Governments to begin with. We even saw this happen in the wholly anti-Capitalist Soviet Union, whose massive and complex bureaucracy was skillfully used by Capitalists to turn the system in their favor through programs like “Perestroika,” which allowed private ownership and management of businesses for the first time in the Soviet Union, and eventually brought an end to the Soviet Union. How much more so do you believe they can influence a system that isn’t even opposed to Capitalism? Political power resides with those who control the means of production. If you want the people to have political power, if you want a healthy Democracy, then the people need to control the means of production.
“But look at the ‘Nordic Democracies,’ they prove that you’re wrong.” This is the common argument from the Social-Democrats today. They are right that Social-Democracies like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, are better than a system like that of the United States, because they aren’t quite as brutal to their populations. But also keep in mind that these systems have only been in place for a few decades, not quite long enough for the inherent flaws of Capitalism to catch up with them as hard as they have in other countries. And we know that these contradictions will catch up with them, because we saw in 2008 that even these countries are not immune to financial depresion. They were affected just as badly as the United States and the U.K., they just had better social-welfare programs to offset some of the pain for the majority of the population. But still, homelessness, poverty, and severe financial inequality, all still exist in these countries. Because the labor of the working-class, the Proletariat, is still exploited, and it is still a Capitalist system that is subject to the contradiction between wages and profits. Just because it’s slightly less oppressive, doesn’t make it a solution. Would it have been acceptable if the United States had merely imposed laws that required slaves be treated humanely, instead of abolishing the institution altogether? Of course not! An immoral and oppressive system is still that, even if you force those being exploited to be treated a little nicer. It must not be tolerated in any form, but instead must be ended altogether.
Anyone can see the problems with trying to regulate a Monarchy, or a Dictatorship, into an ethical system. Without abolishing the Monarchy or the Dictatorship, the only effective method is to denude the Monarchy or Dictatorship of all power, transferring it to a Democratic body. Meaning it’s no longer a Dictatorship or a Monarchy, but rather a Democracy with an expensive and pointless figurehead that has no actual power (yes, the U.K., I’m looking very judgmentally in your direction.) The same rule applies to Capitalism, because it’s the same situation. The only way to effectively “regulate” it is to make it not be Capitalism. Any talk of allowing the private owners, the Bourgeoisie, to remain in control of the means of production, but forcing them to behave ethically, is no different than arguing a King should remain in power but be forced to behave ethically. The only means of accomplishing this changes the system into something else, something Democratic, something Socialist, and renders the Bourgeoisie without any actual power. At that point, wouldn’t it make more sense to just abolish their position and make the means of production mutually owned as well as Democratically controlled? Our ancestors realized this in regards to monarchies two hundred years ago when they threw off monarchies in America and across Europe, replacing them with Democracies (or at least attempts at Democracy.) It’s time we realize the same thing in regards to Capitalism.