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Will Malson Capitalism Bad; Democracy Page 1 of 5

Capitalism Bad; Democracy

We’ve come here today to provide an answer to the great question: to compete, or to cooperate? As
such, my philosophy is that cooperation is superior to competition as a means of achieving excellence.

What is the heart of the clash between competition and cooperation? In its truest and purest form, it is
the conflict between capitalism and socialism, the ultimate competition, and the ultimate cooperation.
When it comes down to it, do we want to be competing, or do we want to be cooperating? I’ll give you
the answer in 4 steps. But first, let’s start with some definitions.

Socialism: “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of
production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
(Oxford American Dictionaries, 2010)
True Socialism: Communalism.
Communalism: “the principle or practice of living together and sharing possessions and
responsibilities” (Oxford American Dictionaries, 2010)

Now let’s get into my contentions.

“I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and
dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position.” Zizek 04
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STEP 1: COMPETITION IS A EUPHAMISM FOR CAPITALISM. Ellen Wood 99


Ellen Meiksins Wood [for many years Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, is the
author of a number of books, including Democracy Against Capitalism and, with Verso, "The Retreat
from Class (which won the Deutscher Prize), The Origin of Capitalism, Peasant-Citizen and Slave and
The Pristine Culture of Capitalism], "The Politics of Capitalism", The Monthly Review, Volume 51,
Number 4, September 1999 (HEG)
This is why it's not enough to say, as some of Brenner's critics have done (including John Foster in the
June issue), that the primacy he gives to competition is contrary to Marx, who insists that competition
doesn't cause capitalism's laws of motion but is simply their external manifestation in the movements of
individual capitals. The point is that no other social form has laws of motion that work through the
mechanisms of competition. No other social form is subject to the imperatives of accumulation and
innovation, which are driven by competition. And competition is the mechanism of capitalism's basic
laws of motion because in capitalism, as in no other system, the irreducible condition of access to the
means of self-reproduction is market-dependence and subjection to market imperatives. We can't even
understand capital's perennial efforts to circumvent competition without taking account of that
irreducible condition of market-dependence and the competitive imperatives that go with it.

“I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and
dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position.” Zizek 04
Will Malson Capitalism Bad; Democracy Page 3 of 5

STEP 3: CAPITALISM PREVENTS DEMOCRACY. CAPITALISM ENABLES ELITES TO


DOMINATE POLITICS—IT DOES NOT FOSTER REAL DEMOCRACY. Robert Reich 07
Robert B. Reich, former Harvard University professor, “How capitalism is killing democracy,” Foreign Policy, September-October 2007 (HEG)
It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Capitalism and democracy, we've long been told, are the twin ideological pillars capable of bringing
unprecedented prosperity and freedom to the world. In recent decades, the duo has shared a common ascent. By almost any measure, global capitalism is
triumphant. Most nations around the world are today part of a single, integrated, and turbocharged global market. Democracy has enjoyed a similar
Three decades ago, a third of the world's nations held free elections; today, nearly two thirds do.
renaissance.
Conventional wisdom holds that where either capitalism or democracy flourishes, the other must soon
follow. Yet today, their fortunes are beginning to diverge. Capitalism, long sold as the yin to democracy's yang, is
thriving, while democracy is struggling to keep up. China, poised to become the world's third largest
capitalist nation this year after the United States and Japan, has embraced market freedom, but not
political freedom. Many economically successful nations--from Russia to Mexico--are democracies in
name only. They are encumbered by the same problems that have hobbled American democracy in
recent years, allowing corporations and elites buoyed by runaway economic success to undermine the
government's capacity to respond to citizens' concerns.Of course, democracy means much more than the process of free and fair
elections. It is a system for accomplishing what can only be achieved by citizens joining together to further the common good. But though free markets have
brought unprecedented prosperity to many, they have been accompanied by widening inequalities of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and
environmental hazards such as global warming.

“I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and
dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position.” Zizek 04
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STEP 3: SOCIALISM IS KEY TO DEMOCRACY; IT IS COMMITTED TO THE CAUSES OF


THE POOR. Ralph Miliband 94
RALPH MILIBAND [Marxist political theorist and sociologist], “THE PLAUSIBILITY OF SOCIALISM”, New Left Review I/206, July-August 1994 (HEG)

Socialism itself must be viewed as part of a democratic movement which long antedates it, but to which
socialism alone can give its full meaning. [1] The idea of democracy has been drastically narrowed in
scope and substance in capitalist societies so as to reduce the threat it posed to established power and
privilege: socialism on the contrary is committed to a great widening of its compass. The unenthusiastic
prophet of democracy in the nineteenth century was Alexis de Tocqueville. In his introduction to
Democracy in America, published in 1835, de Tocqueville said that democracy, which he equated with
the ‘equality of condition’ he thought he had found in the United States, was also making its way in
Europe. ‘A great democratic revolution,’ he wrote, ‘is taking place in our midst; everybody sees it, but
by no means everybody judges it in the same way. Some think it a new thing and, supposing it an
accident, hope that they can still check it; others think it irresistible, because it seems to them the most
continuous, ancient, and permanent tendency known to history’; [2] and in a preface to the twelfth
edition of the book, written in 1848, he also asked: ‘Does anyone imagine that Democracy, which has
destroyed the feudal system and vanquished kings, will fall back before the middle classes and the rich?’
[3] Dominant classes in all capitalist countries have ever since the nineteenth century fought hard and
with a considerable measure of success to falsify de Tocqueville’s prediction: socialism is the name of
the struggle to make it come true. Thus conceived, socialism is part of the struggle for the deepening
extension of democracy in all areas of life. Its advance is not inscribed in some preordained historical
process, but is the result of a constant pressure from below for the enlargement of democratic rights; and
this pressure is itself based on the fact that the vase majority located at the lower ends of the social
pyramid needs these rights if those who compose it are to resist and limit the power to which they are
subjected.

“I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and
dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position.” Zizek 04
Will Malson Capitalism Bad; Democracy Page 5 of 5

STEP 4: COOPERATION’S ULTIMATE MANIFESTATION IS SOCIALISM.AmbroseBierce92


Ambrose Bierce, "The collected works of Ambrose Bierce", Volume XI, Chapter 1: "The shadow on the
dial", Page 17, Copyright 1912 by The Neal Publishing Company (HEG)
Socialism and Anarchism are parts of the same thing, in the sense that the terminal points of a road are
parts of the same road. Between them, about midway, lies the sys- tem that we have the happiness to
endure. It is a " blend " of Socialism and Anarchism in about equal parts: all that is not one is the other.
Cooperation is Socialism; competi- tion is Anarchism. Competition carried to its logical conclusion
(which only coopera- tion prevents or can prevent) would leave no law in force, no property possible, no
life secure. Of course the wordls " cooperation " and " competition " are not here used in a merely
industrial and commercial sense; they are in- tended to cover the whole field of human act- ivity. Two
voices singing a duet — that is cooperation — Socialism. Two voices singing each a different tune and
trying to drown each other — that is competition — Anarchism;

In conclusion, the choice before you today is thus: to embrace capitalism with competition or socialism
with cooperation. With capitalism comes the retrenchment of an elite state, devoid of democracy, with
no hope of recovery. With socialism comes the very heart of the democratic movement that competition
inherently lacks. Thank you.

“I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and
dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position.” Zizek 04