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Common Reasons Why People Don't Reject Capitalism?

+6 votes
There are a lot of reasons that I can think of off the top of my head:

- Misinformed about the definition and histories of capitalism
- Wanting to maintain integrity owning a small business or working for someone else
- An inability to imagine alternatives or a negative connotation with anti-capitalism
- Sincere belief that with "all it's flaws, it's still the best system"
- Apathy about systemic issues

What reasons can you think of? As a bonus, what do you think can be done about it?
asked Feb 29, 2012 by Squee (2,850 points)

5 Answers

+5 votes
Most common reasons I've come across that you didn't have already:
-fondness for First World consumerism
-inability to escape binary of Big Business or Big Government
-inability to escape zero-sum and infinite growth paradigms
-fetish for some technology they believe would only exist under capitalism
-"people like having stuff" (seriously heard that one a few times)
-naturalisation of capitalist identities & behaviours
-class privilege
-faith in reform toward government regulation of businesses
-faith in upward mobility
-belief that we have individualistic competition on a level playing field, creating a fair meritocracy defined by work ethic

What I do ideally: encourage pro-capitalists to experience situations of capitalist oppression and liberation in temporary autonomous zones rather than living off of invisible exploitation, just "going with the flow", or acting as obstacles to those in struggle.

What I do really: talk shit and write comprehensive arguments.
answered Feb 29, 2012 by AutumnLeavesCascade (10,510 points)
+1 vote
The reason I have encountered most is that people have other interests (obviously situated within the capitalist context) and that these may tend toward an escapist and/or distracted mind set. Packaged leisure activities, media spectacles, and especially sporting events consume much of the remaining physical and intellectual energy for many working people that are not otherwise struggling at subsistence. Anti-capitalism may never be (or seem to be) exciting or interesting enough for some people wanting an escape or craving excitement of some sort.

I can add but little to the reasons listed thus far by you and ALC. Those are great examples as well.  People are indeed misinformed about capitalism. Confusion runs deep throughout society, as do various erroneous assumptions about what capitalism is, what it is not, and what it is capable of.  And this, coupled with the a fore mentioned media-induced delirium, makes the challenge all the more great for anarchist and anti capitalist.

I do, however, think that one of the most interesting things anarchist intellectuals can do is to point out to working people the irreconcilable divide between work place safety rules vs capitalist demands on production. A working persons imagination can sometimes be captured thus as it exposes a stark reality of capitalist exploitation, while simultaneously validating the individual experiences of the wage-slaves themselves. This is usually best to do after a co-worker complains about something (even if it is as benign as boredom). This is powerful in that it points towards opportunities for agitation and possibly informal self organized struggles within the workplace. Referencing news events in which anarchist are involved provides a broader context for wage-slaves immersed in their own everyday lives as well as topics for further discussion.

Also what ALC said about temporary autonomous zones is indeed valuable. I see it as a combined effort of street based struggles, work place struggles, and anarchist cultural agitation/education.
answered Mar 1, 2012 by skitter (4,430 points)
I like what you said about timing agitation. In my experience individual one-on-one discussions have radicalized friends more than my writings, simply because it crosses into their direct experience a lot more easily. Another thing I do is just bring up to the insulated people current instances of struggle to show that there is in fact a resistance and reasons to resist.
+2 votes
i would say that one fairly common reason is FEAR. particularly fear of the unknown: "what would we DO without capitalism?"

which speaks to the inability of so many folks to reject ideas, institutions, etc., without having a fully functional "replacement" system.
answered Mar 3, 2012 by funkyanarchy (12,210 points)
–1 vote
They had not been given another option.  Anarchy as far as I have seen, sees the good in tearing capitalism down but does not offer another concept or solution in its place.  So the choice presented is capitalism or nothing.  

The advantage anarchy has over government forms is that there is no state or domination minded ccompetition.   Rather than just anti-captialism along with its practices and values, new systems could be develope on new values and new practices based on earth friendly and sustainable production.

Indentifying the problem and eliminating it is only half of the answer.  With a full answer people would see a clearer choice or at least another possibility.
answered May 27, 2012 by afunctionalworld (3,290 points)
hmmm. afw, who do you think needs to "give" people things?
put differently, i think that people operate outside of gross capitalism (that is, blatant or obvious capitalism) a lot. and that people have good associations with that operating (giving gifts to friends, cooking for people, sex that is not for money, etc). i'm not sure what exact definition of anarchy you're using, but as many people here have stated at various times, anarchy can be seen as a lot of the behavior that we do that comes naturally (to the extent that there *is* a naturally, of course).
Yes all this s true, but i am speaking of these practices at a large scale. where others receive the benefits of others and the number of others without direct knowledge or association.  Do you think there is a way that can happen on a large scale?
dot, if you have read much of my stuff, would you say I have a view contrary to anarchy, or just an optimistic approach rather than a more realistic one?
sorry for the late reply, i only just saw this question.
i have read a fair number of your responses, i think, not all of them extremely carefully. and i wouldn't gauge whether your view is anarchist or if you're getting voted down because of your optimism. sometimes you seem realistic, sometimes not. mostly there seems to be some communication issue - like you're thinking about things differently enough from other folks here that it's hard to understand you, or that your writing could use some work, or both, or perhaps something else.
0 votes
People prefer short term comfort over long term happiness? Or perhaps they don't know the difference between "living in comfort a step above survival" and living a happy and meaningful life free of exploitation? Answered your question with two more haha.
answered Jan 28, 2013 by AngryCunt (1,560 points)