Monday, March 9, 2015

Innovation and Capitalism

Great points:
Human innovation exists despite capitalism not because of capitalism. The assumption that capitalism makes these innovations and creations is inaccurate. Correlation is not causation.

People claim they love capitalism because of all the innovations and luxuries it has brought them. This is despite the obvious fact that we live in a capitalist system therefore must function within it to meet our basic needs. There is a more problematic element to this joke, the assumption that capitalism makes anything good or innovative happen. As stated above innovation exists despite capitalism not because of capitalism.

Vincent Van Gough painted some of the most iconic and innovative art in the world. Van Gough sold one single painting his entire career. According to capitalism this was not successful. Reality is that Van Gough had one thing in his favor, he did not have to contend with the cost of living. His brother paid his way as he painted and failed at capitalism. Many innovations are made in technology today through groups who work on open source projects. These are done not for profit but to better the world. The claim that the motive for profit is what drives innovation is false.

Capitalism exploits innovation. People create and innovate for many reasons. The capitalist system hinders this. How many great untapped talents have wasted their lives struggling to only meet the cost of living or scrape by without being able to even meet this? I’m sure most people reading this can say they have untapped talent. Many feel if only they were not focused on just getting by they could do more. We see this in privilege. Those of wealth and privilege are able to cover the cost of living while they focus on dreams, innovations and future endeavors. Others find they simply cannot make the basics yet alone put their time, money and efforts into the brilliance and creativity they have to offer the world.

The current system we have is a hindrance to human advancement. In a system of capitalism we see competition which requires a loser or many losers for one’s success. This is on top of the exploitation of labor which restricts the liberty and advancement of others through wage labor. We choose wage labor over pursuing our talents or brilliance because we wish to survive, not because we want to toil for the capitalists benefit.
I love Capitalism Because Of All The Good Things It Gave Us (Soap Box Books)

Related: Forget Edison: This is How History's Greatest Inventions Really Happened (Atlantic) That's not even considering all the accidental inventions: Whoops! The 10 Greatest (Accidental) Inventions of All Time (Gizmodo) It seems like the link between capitalism and invention is coincidence rather than causation.

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