Let me tell you a little story, about a place called Shanghai
. In the 1930's, it was the Pearl of the Orient
, a cosumerist
haven. In fact, it was probably more capitalistic
than many Canadian
cities today. Indeed, some people did suffer greatly from this system, and in came a little meddler named Mao Zedong
, who promised everyone that he would throw off the shackles
for a better, Marxist
future. By the way, this person was educated by the French communists
. Notice how Pol Pot
came out of Paris
as well. Those meddling French
Shanghai became a fanatical Maoist stronghold, no doubt a backlash of the capitalist excesses prior to 1949. Collectivism was installed here much more rigorously than the rest of China, the rapid deconstruction of consumerist society caused an overnight collapse of the regional economy. Money itself was removed, in its place were "goods coupons", which could be exchanged for (inferior) consumer goods. There was no consumer choice, everything was government issue. Shanghainese left their home in a mass exodus in the early 50's, many went to Hong Kong, some went to America.
Incidentally, some stores retained their consumerist traits, but they were patrolled by armed guards, and only the communist elite were allowed to shop in its glitzy grounds.
The 1980's brought about an economic restructuring. Consumerism rushed back into Shanghai, overnight there were massive shopping malls for the common people. Like an opiated mass, the Chinese people gleefully subjected themselves to consumerism. They embraced consumer culture and everything else that goes with it. While Americans were mourning the loss of their culture to the monster that is consumerism, the long deprived Chinese were plunging headfirst into it while a smile on their faces.
What does this mean? Not much. Just that Americans have had the privilege of capitalism for so many decades, they will never know how it would be to live in another system of government, say communism. People dissatisfied with capitalism should give some serious thought about the execution of its alternatives in history. Incidentally, and this is in all honesty, every single person I've ever met who is not satisfied with capitalism has never lived under anything else other than capitalism.
Every time I meet an American who rambles about the evils of capitalism, I have to think, "You fool. You should be glad you live in a capitalist society. I know 1 billion of my countrymen would die to live in a place like this." Consumerism may be ugly sometimes, but the alternatives are all much, much worse.
There I go again. Look. To the anti-capitalists out there, the next time you start to ramble about the evils of Americana, just give this a thought. Be glad you live in the greatest nation on Earth, because admit it, capitalism made it the way it is today.