Capitalism severs us from our own humanity | Why Capitalism Sucks Part 3



hello and welcome back to why capitalism sucks this is part three of the series so if you're just joining us you may want to go back and begin with part one there's a link in the description otherwise let's in our last episode we talked about how capitalism puts workers in a state of constant conflict with the ruling class of capitalists now let's talk about how capitalism puts workers in conflict with ourselves a lot of capitalism apologists like to say that capitalism is voluntary according to this line of thinking workers are in a fantastic position under capitalism because we can choose to work wherever we want if your capitalist boss is treating you poorly or if you're not making as much money as you're worth well you're free to quit your job and go work somewhere else this makes it sound like an individual worker has a lot of power and freedom to improve their situation under capitalism so let's take a closer look at how things work according to this worldview a worker gets a job at a factory and the work conditions are terrible long hours bad pay no opportunities for advancement hostile managers this job sucks take this job and shove it says glipglop I'm gonna quit working for you and go work for your competitor oh no says the manager what are we going to do this factory can't function without your labor glipglop applies for a new job and gets it the new factory has higher pay and better conditions and everything works out great capitalism is a wonderful system since the arrangement between workers and capitalists is completely voluntary and we're all free to improve our position by changing jobs if a company doesn't treat employees well they'll go out of business and other companies who offer higher pay and better conditions will dominate the marketplace pretty great right except wait is this really how things usually work under capitalism is capitalism really voluntary do workers really have the freedom and ability to improve their lives under capitalism or is this freedom merely an illusion to answer this question we have to look at the power dynamics between employers and workers under capitalism in the capitalist system jobs are distributed just like other goods and services on the free market workers are essentially selling their work to capitalists this seems pretty fair on face value you want me to work for an hour well gonna have to pay me X amount of dollars for my work if this labor market were fair and voluntary we would expect to see a few things to begin with the market would have to have so many job openings that a worker will truly have a reasonable chance to quit their job and seek better opportunities elsewhere if they're being mistreated by an employer furthermore the stresses of a worker quitting should be equitably distributed between the employer and the worker it should be just as painful for an employer to lose a worker as it is for a worker to lose a job otherwise the employer will have an unfair position of leverage over the worker since the worker would have a lot more to lose than the employer if they quit their job this kind of balance might theoretically be achieved if the number of available jobs is approximately equal to the number of available workers if there are ten open jobs and ten available workers on the market it's conceivable that workers would have a relatively strong bargaining position when seeking employment if this were the case then workers would be interviewing prospective employers just as much as employers or interviewing them heck if there are more jobs available than there are workers then finding a job would be a fantastic experience the worker could even make unreasonable demands from the employer since they'd be a hot commodity on the job market now on the other hand if there are more job seekers on the market than there are jobs then the fairness completely breaks down and employers hold significant power over their workers since the prospect of unemployment would be daunting in this kind of environment most unemployed workers will face a long hard stressful period of time without income as they're forced to compete with each other for scarcely available jobs so it seems there are three possible power dynamic scenarios for capitalist job markets there might be more jobs than there are job seekers which gives workers power over employers the amount of available jobs might be roughly equal to the amount of job seekers which distributes power evenly between workers and employers or there might be more job seekers than there are jobs which gives employers power over workers so which of these scenarios seems most like our reality if you've ever been on the job hunt for a long time you know just how stressful it can be you aren't receiving any income the week's dragged by as you submit resumes to countless companies when you finally do get a job interview it causes tremendous anxiety as you must bow and scrape to impress your potential employers and convince them that you're the most pettite of person for the job competitive that's exactly what this system is under capitalism you are in competition with your fellow workers and other job seekers to curry favor with your employer your employer is firmly in control of your work life and you are forced to fight your co-workers for the favor of your employer with this in mind it's safe to say that most employers have tremendous power and leverage over employees under capitalism losing a job just sucks most of us dread the prospect of becoming unemployed and most workers put up with pretty crappy jobs because the alternative prospect of unemployment is terrifying especially if you have to support children or if you have a medical condition that requires expensive treatment or you're trapped in a toxic living situation and you want to escape as quickly as possible now I know what some of you were thinking if clip-clop can't find a good job on the market why doesn't he just start his own business after all under capitalism we're all free to become capitalists ourselves and own our own means of production right well let's take a look at the numbers in the USA the average worker makes about $30,000 per year the average worker only has about a thousand dollars and six thousand dollars in credit card debt and the average worker lives paycheck to paycheck the average cost to start a business in the United States is about thirty thousand dollars now sure you could try to bootstrap a business with less money but you'll still have to spend months without any income and the most common reason why new businesses fail is a lack of sufficient starting funds in practice the freedom to start your own business under capitalism is an illusionary freedom for the vast majority of workers you just can't be a capitalist without capital some capitalism apologists argue that workers can simply improve their circumstances by getting valuable training and education so they can get jobs that are in high demand but it's simply not realistic at all for most workers to go out and get a medical degree or a master's degree in engineering most of us are stuck with the training and education we have now and that puts most of us in a situation where we are completely at the mercy of merciless employers who have tremendous power over us on the capitalist job market and even if you do have one of those coveted advanced degrees and the most valuable skills on the market there's something your employers have that you don't the means of production you might be a world-renowned surgeon but unless you own a hospital your employer still has leverage over you you can be a brilliant engineer but unless you own your own factory you'll still be at the mercy of your employer and as time and Technology march on this situation is only getting worse for people in all job fields automation has been constricting the supply of jobs for over a century and cutting-edge innovations and artificial intelligence and robotics are making things exponentially worse things are only going to continue to get worse for workers in nearly every industry as long as we rely on the capitalist job market to put it simply under capitalism jobs are a commodity your labor is a commodity your labor is commodified no matter what you do if you're employed by a capitalist you are simply a cog in the machine of a capitalist enterprise and you can and will be swapped out and replaced by another worker or a machine or an outsourced firm in a developing country as soon as your employer finds out it would be more profitable to let you go do you ever wonder why they call it Human Resources because that's all you are a commodified resource to be consumed and eventually discarded by your capitalist employer this commodification of labor has even deeper ramifications for the working class because we're all trying to sell our labor on the job market we are in constant conflict and competition with our fellow workers because our employers have so much power over us we do not own our own labor we are confined and restricted and coerced within this hostile environment until we lose touch with our work and our fellow workers we are left isolated and alone and fending for ourselves in the mercenary market of jobs Karl Marx called this condition alienation an alienation can take many forms under capitalism workers are alienated from the products we create we never have any real ownership over the products and services we generate under capitalism we produced them for our employers and they are consumed by other people our employers tell us what to produce and how to produce it and they decide the price they will be sold for and they take the vast majority of the profits once they're sold because of this the objects we produce our alien objects the worst part of being alienated from the products we create is that we do not reap the benefits of a job well done if workers work harder and produce more products in shorter time we're only enriching the capitalists who own the company thus there's a complete connect between ourselves and the products we create for our employers under capitalism this brings us to the second form of alienation alienation from our labor we don't have any direct control over how we create products we're told what to do by employers and we must comply with those instructions or risk losing our job we don't have any say and how work is organized and we do not own the means of production we're just cogs in a machine owned by someone else because our work lives are so thoroughly controlled by our employers we are truly alienated from our own labor as marx puts it under capitalism work therefore is not voluntary but coerced forced labor now because we must compete with one another on the job market and on the job itself we are also alienated from our fellow workers sure you might be cooperating with your co-workers in the context of performing work duties but beneath the surface you are in constant competition with each other you're therefore kept divided from your fellow workers you never want your co-workers to out-compete against you because sooner or later you're probably going to run into a situation where it's you or them one of you has to be let go one of you is getting a promotion one of you is going to have to step on the other to move up or to keep from getting pushed down even our managers suffer from this division in competition pressure is put on managers and executives to make things worse for workers to make workers work longer and harder hours to maximize productivity and to minimize the amount workers are paid so that they can maximize the profits their employers are earning and secure their own positions within the company's hierarchy capitalism has created a dismal situation where the vast majority of humanity are severed from each other and forced to fight it out with each other so that capitalists can earn ever higher profits at our expense and all of this culminates in the fourth and final form of alienation alienation from our own humanity humans are by nature creative and cooperative beings we are social animals who are genetically programmed to work together to make life better for everyone Marx describes labour as our conscious life activity while other animals sustain their own lives through instinctive activity humans sustain ourselves through conscious activity what makes us human is our ability to consciously direct our labor in the world whether we're growing food or building houses or composing music and creating art labor therefore is simply the process of creating objects from natural resources through conscious thought capital some corrupts the very essence of our species so that we no longer create objects through our own thoughts we no longer own our own labor our labor is directed and controlled and exploited by the capitalists who command us to summarize capitalism is simply not voluntary it's a system of control and domination and it alienates us from the products we create the labor we exert the people we work with and the very essence of what makes us human until we own the means of production for ourselves we will be in constant conflict and strife with one another fighting tooth and nail for dwindling jobs as their automated away if you're a worker you're being alienated from nearly everything that matters in human life you deserve to have democratic input on the jobsite and you should be free to cooperate with your fellow workers just as our ancestors did before the development of arbitrary and unjust hierarchies you must take ownership of your own labor but that'll never happen under capitalism and that's just one more reason why capitalism sucks that's all for this episode of why capitalism sucks but we'll be back with part 4 sooner or later so click subscribe and stay tuned see you next time which has brought a better life to all the people in the USA but the key to making oil work for everybody is competition hello Marcia what was it competition not our kind of things at all while competition is downright unmarked give me another space beer clip-clop




Comments
  1. Hi, cool video. I love it. But you have got to be careful talking abt complicated economic processes because when you're marketing to people who don't already agree with u, they will take ANY problem in logic and run with it. The reason for this is because, as you probably know, the right wing is an ideology of ease, it is what we want to accept, because it makes life easy.

    My biggest gripe is how you spent so long talking about how many open jobs their are. America has millions of unfilled lowskill positions. It's simply wrong to think people don't have jobs to get. Some people are unable to cope with capitalist society and genuinely cannot get ANY job, but those people are fewer between and helping them cannot be done until we change the system.

    It really isn't all about job numbers. E.G, if my partner and I both had a min wage job, do you think we could afford rent? Could anybody? We, as the privileged underclass, are more worried about getting a GOOD job. When I was unemployed, my biggest worry was finding a job that was good enough to live on, not finding a job.

  2. One more dehumanising effect of capitalism can be summed as – "competition at workplace". Its such a disturbing thing that everyone takes for granted. The amount of backstabbimg and politics that goes to gain that one promotion is making us all inhuman. There are hardly any true friendships formed after you leave school because in a corporate environment you never know when you will be taken advantage of and thus you always have to be suspicious and on guard. Hell, even someone is genuinely good towards you it makes you think that person has some ulterior motives.

  3. Is that an ad I spot? Heresy. Commies aren't allowed to profit off of the backs of the working class. Lol, git gud liberals. May the free market bless your souls

  4. Capitalism does have many faults but what would you replace it with? Socialism? If so how do you avoid ending like Venezuela or National Socialist German Workers' Party? What alternative is better?

  5. Alright i just want to see if i can make sense out of this. It's not too different from a traditional left vs right, communist or capitalist type arguments. As if we haven't done that for so long. Why do you go back in time to find your own arguments against capitalism? Of course both systems are flawed. communism is like a hill, climbing it isn't hard and once you reach the top it doesn't look much different than it did from the bottom. Yet the slippery slope of capitalism is like Everest, how many people have ever been to the top of that compared to the population. Why can't we find the mountain that is an obstacle, but can be climbed with discipline by most people, and is still beautiful at the top? Why not just take out human legislature and let the machines do the governing for us. I bet our current servers could do a better job than most legislatures and bureaucrats. technology isn't biased and won't help the "Capitalist" or "globalist" at the top, and they can't govern humans without our input so our position of importance is secured. Technology doesn't destroy jobs, it does to some, but generally new ones are created. what do we do when technology takes all our jobs? well we can just eat all the insanely cheap and plentiful produce they farmed for us while we pursue the true "jobs" we want in life. Don't try to fix ideas of the past, thinking they will help your present. This is not a your right i'm wrong vice versa statement, just food for thought. Live prosperously!

  6. Hey, Great Vid! I don't really get the "voluntary" argument, though. Humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, was cave-man living voluntary in your opinion? Was tribal society voluntary? Would socialism or communism be voluntary? I'm not trying to criticize, I just don't really understand. What would be a voluntary economic system?

  7. I’m scared what happens when we achieve full Automation under capitalism. Under (most forms of) socialism we’ll just have an abundance of products we can just… you know, get. Want a guitar? A robot will make it for you in and ship it out with another driving delivery robot. Under capitalism you first need to buy the guitar…. but if no one has a job… I guess the only market is foreign countries who don’t have Automation yet. The American worker is obsolete now no need to care about them! Just need my trusty robot to build a cheep toy for some Cameroonian child!

  8. I have a job as an animator and its the best job ever I get to draw for a living. I wonder if in a socialist country would the government be willing to spend tax money on expensive animations. well fuck me and my job I guess I should just get to work in the fields getting paid what the government decides I should get paid

  9. There are headhunters though. It all depends on what you are offering the employer. Also most people in the first world overvalue their current job. The problem is people being illogical not capitalists.

  10. I aliens showed up and told American leaders that Earth needed to be destroyed to make way for a new Super Highway. The 20 riches Capitalist on Earth would agree that they would sign over the planet for all the Gold on Earth and transportation to a Moon base with a list of amenities.

    If you think some of the richest Capitalist are not thinking about space travel to another planet or the Moon to live, after they drain the Earth of every resource possible, then you are not giving the Sociopathic nature of Capitalist full credit.

  11. 9:00 isn't this a problem of industrialization rather than capitalism as such? it's not obvious that collectivizing the means of production will offer industrial workers will have the kind of autonomy over their labour that say a freelance writer or youtuber has

  12. Capitalism although not being as bad as feudalism or chattel slavery still has the master/subservient dynamic. Could you make a video debunking all the arguments and possible rebuttals to the idea of "crony capitalism".

  13. This is why conservative rich boys get mad with people who choose to not have children. Who's gonna wipe their asses and clean their toilets if less people are born?

  14. If I take a thousand Iraqi dinar every time I see people praise capitalism I'd be a rich person myself …….. why love a system that makes you hate your fellow comrade ? You know what capitalism does ? It sucks , and not in a good way lol…… seriously we need a revolution I'm done watching people suffer and workers almost die out of overwork everyday

  15. I told my right wing friends this when they asked me why i hate capitalism.

    A mugger threatens you with a gun and demands your money. He shoots you when you try to fight back.

    A boss threatens you with starvation and demands most of the value of your work.

    I don’t see much of a difference between the mugger and the boss, except the boss is usually more polite about it and you might get to chose who he is. You have about the same amount of control over the situation, which is nearly zero.

  16. Defenders of Capitalism have long used the argument that Capitalism is the best system, because it allows for competition, but oh boy, is there anything Capitalism hates more than competition. No country has ever managed to successfully go Socialist/Communist without facing massive attempts at sabotage from Capitalist nations. If Capitalism really was the only system that worked, you'd think they'd keep quiet and wait for things to collapse on its own, but they do not; they throw hissies and immediately start trying to bring down the newly-installed government.

    In addition, look at Trusts and Monopolies to further see how Capitalism will do whatever it has to, to strangle any possible resistance before it can get off the ground. Corporations justify moving production overseas to Mexico and Asia by saying that they have to go where the labor is cheapest, but whenever the consumer tries to do the same thing, like buy medication from Canada instead of within the USA, the Corporations lose their shit. Canada and Mexico are basically using and consuming the same meds as America; the difference is Canada and Mexico put price caps limiting how much the corporations can charge for their product.

    Regarding the entrepreneur argument, in addition to time and costs associated with startups, there's the plain and simple truth that some people just don't have the head for business. There is so much work involved in setting up a new business, so many hats the Boss must wear, so many responsibilities they have to juggle, and some people just can't manage it. I don't think I could ever be a boss for a wide variety of reasons, among them crippling anxiety, piss-poor social skills, issues with executive function, and inability to multi-task. In any case, society needs a wide variety of people working at a wide variety of jobs to keep going. Having everyone be a boss in society would be like having a body only made up of eyes; it just wouldn't work for obvious reasons.

  17. The movie "Sorry to Bother You" is a social commentary of how capitalism can run amuck.

    Certain unethical practices the company in the movie is being done by corporations such as Walmart and Amazon in the countries of China and India.

    In select low income states where where the job market is owned by large corporations, towns or groups of people end up working in legally slave jobs. Or the prison system that is written to have true legal slavery in states like Texas and Alabama.

    The scariest part is in the future. Legal capital slavery is being replaced by advanced automation. Estimates show that around the early 2030, 50% of the current jobs will be in automation. Normally when new forms of automation is created jobs are lose and new jobs based around this technology is created. The problem is the process of automation is much faster then job creation.

    Select resources are falling, Human Resources are growing, and current wages stagnant. We are about to hit a point where corporations will start to stop making a profit or lose resources/ capital because the customer/ consumer will not have a job or have the ability to buy the select products or services. Even if the corporations don't pay taxes like Amazon, at a certain point the corporations will lose money even at max proactively.

    Side note: when a big corporation taxes are raise they usually hire more people to make up the difference. Automation is a fixed cost that can't fixed the ability to raise money. Automation fixes one problem but not the other pieces.

  18. Look! Jordan “socialism will kill us all” Peterson is a Patreon supporter. (Yes, I’m aware it’s probably not the real guy)

  19. I am a capitalism enthusiast and I can argue on many fields, but just want to clarify some of the errors in the video.

    Firstly you don't have to be alienated from your labor or whatever you call it. You don't have to compete on market. You can work for your own good or make an organization in which people will cooperate and help one another instead of working for capitalists. But most of the people don't . Most of the people are choosing to sell their work on market, because it is better for them. Most of the workers would not be able to survive by working on their own and most of their custom-made organizations would not give them better possibilities than the market. You are saying that it's because they don't have capital. Maybe. But fact that they don't have capital is not caused by capitalism. Lacking capital is integral attribute of this world. Not many people are able to produce and save enough capital to set up efficient factory and they are able to do it only under capitalistic conditions. So without capitalism they would not do this, it means anyway it would be no capital for workers to start their factories.

    Second thing is messing up capitalists with enterpreneurs. Capitalists are providing capital, enterpreneurs are using them for organizing production. Sometimes one person has both roles, but it is not mandatory. If you are good enterpreneur, getting capital in capitalism is not hard. But for everyone it is better to have enterpreneurs that are organizing work in capitalistic way, to pay workers the lowest salaries possible. Even most of the workers if they are investing their savings, they are investing into capitalistic corporations, not for their own non-capitalistic production organizations that can give them goods in a way they want. Maybe not all of workers, and that is fine. It is their right, no capitalism enthusiast will argue with it. But for some of them investing in capitalistic organisations is just better and is giving more profits.

    Third this rhetoric questions like "what is more common, looking for months for a job or being able to choose an employer?" really? It depends. Now here where I live you can find work in a few days. There were worse years, but it depends on the wellnes of economy. And it is most of the time messed up by some anti-capitalistic ideas like not letting employers to kick off the employees, so nobody wants to hire or unreasonable payment requirements not suitable to the rest of the world, not by job automation. By job automation we are creating more and more capital, so more and more tasks can be done, which needs more workers. Making mess in economy by unreasonable empowering employees are the cause that companies are not opening new job positions.

  20. Working in a mailroom at a financial services investment company we once went to a big meeting led by an executive above us. She told us they "can only pay a janitor so much, based on the market value of the job." It made me wonder if her job was under similar scrutiny.

  21. Loved it. Thanks, Emerican!

    There's a little bit of overlap with my upcoming video about Carol Dweck's book Mindset — particularly regarding competition within the work force. Even within a capitalist company though there can be a great deal of variance in the amount of cooperation between workers and/or executives — ways to create a corporate culture in which co-workers aren't in such stiff competition and trust and help one another. The details don't really lend themselves to being explained in this comment, that's part of why I'm making the video. But long story short, while I'm generally of the opinion that co-ops and such where workers own more of the means are a better model, there are ways to make capitalist corporations much less alienating (to the work and to co-workers). In the long run that may well be like putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

  22. 6:15 Also, even if all the workers who were unhappy with their situation somehow miraculously did get degrees in engineering or medicine, the flood of workers in those industries would saturate the labor market and devalue the labor of all those newly minted degrees, resulting in the aforementioned "too many workers" problem where employers again have way more power than the now highly educated (and in our current system buried in student debt) workers. You just cant say "everyone is suffering, therefore lets educate everyone and that will solve the problem" because even if it were possible, the solution would be self-defeating. So education under capitalism, even in a best case scenario, is necessarily a solution for a privileged few.

    I'm not sure it's relevant, but I'm a 20yr software engineering veteran and I gave it up in 2016 to be a comedian. 😛

  23. I tried telling my bosses that the way they handled work conflict between another employee and I was handled in a way that was very hurtful. Now I'm only scheduled one day a week, and it's a lunch. If you're a server, this a death sentence. I also can't look for a new job because I'm in school and can only work a small amount. I'm about to graduate and am hoping that I don't get fired until then, because once I graduate I can work more, and thus be more "hireable" by other restaurants. We'll see though. I'm wondering if I should talk to my manger's boss, and let him know that the managers are retaliating. I think it will blow up in my face. But if it blows up in everyone's face then it's worth it.

    Anyways, fuck capitalism. And if you read my rant, thank you.

  24. Yes, individual workers have very little to no power in capitalism, that's why we have to organize. Large groups of workers absolutely have power in the capitalist system and if you get a large enough group they have ultimate power in this system. Profit is both the primary focus and the Achilles heel of capitalists, be they individual entrepreneurs or corporations. That's why so much money and effort are spent trying to keep us divided and why those in power are trying to turn our system into a neo-feudalist one. Boycotting can and does eliminate businesses that do the wrong thing. People seem to not realize that the principle behind that absolutely scales up. We have the power collectively to force businesses to pay a living wage. You could add "provide health insurance" to that as well, but I feel like healthcare has no business being run on capitalist principles.

  25. Thank you for this video! I literally had a conversation with a coworker at a bar last night where I was attempting to get them on the side of unionizing. Some of their replies were within this framework about, "if we are going to put in this much effort, why not just start a new business?"
    (Coming from someone who's had a startup failure I knew this wasn't the easier option)

    Probably will send this to him later if I didn't convince him well enough last night

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