When I bring up alternatives to Capitalism, I’m often met with defensiveness. Our collective consciousness has been so conditioned to equate Capitalism with freedom that people often can't even imagine a world outside of Capitalism.
Some of the most common responses I hear are “well, we can’t live without money” or “there’s nothing wrong with Capitalism - we just need more ethical players.” And then, of course, there are those who believe that our safety is exclusively tied to Capitalism, ie "we'll lose our freedom without it".
The truth is that Capitalism is the opposite of freedom
- it's a system of oppression.
So, what is Capitalism, actually?
If we break down the meaning of the word Capitalism, we get capital (money or property) and ism (devotion or adherence to). So Capitalism literally refers to “the devotion or adherence to property/money.”
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme where the people at the top
(the resource owners) exercise power over the people on the bottom
(the value creators).
We get told we need to work hard enough in order to make our way to the top. But even if you work your ass off and, indeed, make it to the top, your "success" still relies on other people being on the bottom of the pyramid. There isn't space for everyone to be "successful". To seek safety through Capitalism is to seek safety by competing against everyone else in order to hoard resources. Fighting for your individual safety at the expense of the collective. As if there isn't enough resources for everyone to get their needs met safely.
Seeking safety through competition and
resource hoarding is a trauma response.
Within Capitalism workers give away their autonomy in order to meet their basic needs for food and housing. Workers don’t choose what they create or how they create it. Nor do they own the output of their labor. Rather, workers exchange their labor for a fraction of the actual value of what they’re producing. This is how Capitalists - the resource owners - make a profit. They claim ownership over the collective output and then convince you that you should be grateful they shared some of it with you.
Capitalism is a system where those who have accumulate more, while those who do not have must obey (or face starvation and houselessness).
It’s an unequal exchange of power. Naturally, people would not consent to this unequal exchange of power. I mean, why would someone volunteer their free time to help some one else hoard resources (AKA accumulate wealth)?
It was never a consensual agreement since its inception. The Capitalist class has constructed systems (through the use of violence) to keep people socially isolated, and thus under-resourced, so that they can take advantage of their unmet survival needs. Capitalists rely on people’s vulnerability in order to extract their labor for a fraction of its actual worth.
Capitalism is labor theft. Money is simply an exchange of energy, so being anti-capitalist doesn’t mean being anti-money. Being anti-capitalist means being anti-exploitation.
We can still use money to exchange resources in a way
that is mutually beneficial - not exploitative.
Collectives, for example, are co-owned by the people who spend the most time there. Workers are able to have a say in what they produce and how they produce it. They don't sacrifice their agency in order to meet their financial needs. This is one of many examples.
Stepping Out of Scarcity and Into Abundance
The word economy translates to "management of home." It describes how a team of humans distribute resources amongst themselves. The ruling elite class of Capitalists (resource owners) have controlled which narrative gets shared with the mainstream. They have constructed a false binary between Capitalism and Communism as if those are the only two economic models in which we could manage our resources.
This is another example of how scarcity has been manufactured to control the population. They reduce abundant possibilities into one of two options, demonizing Communism while glorifying Capitalism. They weaponize fear (of losing freedom) to convince folks that Capitalism is their savior - the only possibility - when, in reality, Capitalism suppresses freedom.
But when you step out of scarcity and into abundance, you realize that Capitalism is merely one of many ways to distribute resources within a collective of people. The possibilities are endless.
Here are some questions to train your brain to dream up possibilities outside of the binary:
What would it look like to live in a society where we weren't forced to compete against each other to earn our safety?
what if safety was a universal right and not something that relied on physical or mental ability?
How would the way we relate to each other change if we didn't associate vulnerability with exploitation?
What would become possible if our social alliances were based on trust and reciprocity instead of domination?
How does Unconscious Monogamy play a role in upholding Capitalism?
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Forest facilitates the Love & Liberation Network, an online community of non-monogamous folks learning to develop secure attachment without relying on hierarchies.
We meet weekly on Zoom to celebrate, inspire and support each other along this courageous path. Community is resilience 💜