Does Capitalism Destroy Culture?


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  • HenryC

    Culture requires wealth. If you are hungry, don’t have clothing or shelter, you do not create art. Sameness does not deny culture. If everyone creates the same type of beauty, it may be boring, but it is still beauty. Capitalism mainly spreads through choice, not force. It give people more choices by creating wealth, not less.

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  • Daniel Betti

    “Capitalism is not perfect. Like democracy, it needs vibrant mediating institutions, rich civil society and a strong religious culture to control its negative effects.”
    But capitalism destroys civil society and religion, does it not?
    Capitalism creates so many outlets for diversion, people rarely experience the same things in the same way anymore. And innovation changes those things we do share so that different generations have different experiences. Football today, for example, is not the same as football of the 1980′s. The rules have been changed to promote the scoring of touchdowns and the culture has changed to promote the personality of the players- all to sell more jerseys, more tickets, and more television ads.
    As for religion, who has time or faith for that when life is filled with luxury? Capitalism has created an extraordinarily wealthy society, and one rich with diversity and opportunity. But just as that diversity undermines a coherent civil society, so luxury undermines faith and discipline. Who needs God when I have money? Who needs discipline life is free and easy?
    You place most of the negatives associated with capitalism in the category of consumerism, but how consumerism that not integral to capitalism itself? Capitalism encourages individuals to sell on the free market whatever people will buy. People will buy what makes them happy, right then and there. Capitalism would not abide a law against products of instant gratification, would it? But that is what many people will choose when they are offered. Over time, the prosperity that capitalism creates settles into decadence, luxury, and hedonism. Culture and religion will not survive luxury, which is the promise capitalism delivers.
    That, anyway, is the Platonic critique of capitalism I have been working on. Capitalism provokes our desires and supplies their wants so efficiently. Unfortunately, the constant sting of desire sends our spirit and reason to the sidelines, as the necessary and irrational appetites come to rule in our souls. And ruin them.

    • Micha_Elyi

      But capitalism destroys civil society and religion, does it not?
      –Daniel Betti

      No, it does not.

      (You’re assuming what you’re trying to prove.)

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