Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

Einstein Nukes Capitalism

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

(“And with zis final X in ze top corner, herr Oppenheimer, ze game is mine!”)

Albert Einstein was renowned for his contributions to the realm of theoretical physics, but he didn’t shy away from philosophizing about issues beyond his forte. In his 1949 essay called “Why Socialism?“, Einstein highlights some of the key faults with unfettered capitalism, namely, the way the super-rich often hold all the chips, and use their power to undermine democracy.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones.

The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society.This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature.

The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

While these eloquent words certainly make sense, the problems pointed out by the great theorist are not unique to capitalism. These same issues – concentration of power at the top, corruption within politics, and control over the media – can be found within any economic system.

Granted, a system like socialism, that promotes social services, builds communities, and offers safety nets, can seem like a viable solution, but it too can fall victim to corruption and propaganda.

See, whatever label we give to our system, be it socialism, capitalism, or whatever, is not as important as having a society full of engaged individuals with empowered minds. When the power is distributed amongst the people, and not just concentrated with those at the top, the system caters more to the will of the people.

Fortunately for our generation, technology is providing the path for humankind to grow empowered and unite on unprecedented levels. We’re in the process of doing away with the old oligarchies and ultimately ushering in a more just global civilization. Power to the people!