Capitalism vs Socialism - Which Is the Moral System?

Topics: Capitalism, Socialism, Communism Pages: 5 (1668 words) Published: September 8, 2013
Different social systems are built on different sets of values and perceptions of the world. Political science offers some means of comparison between capitalism and socialism and the various ways, in which the two ideologies are applied around the world (for some practical implementations of the two systems of government deviate substantially from their theoretical foundations). History offers insight into societies that have adhered to both ideologies with various degree of success and allows one to make conclusions based on past events. However, neither discipline can give a definite determination regarding the superiority of one social order over the other. An argument from the point of view of ethics must consider the conclusions and consideration of both history and political theory to determine the moral specifics of both capitalism and socialism. The decision which one is superior depends on one’s views on what is moral and what is not. The research question proposed is rather abstract: which social system is “moral.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “moral” as “relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior”, “conforming to a standard of right behavior” and “expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior”. The common word between all definitions is “right”. What is “right” and what is “wrong” depends on the individual values of each person. The same dictionary describes “social system” as “the patterned series of interrelationships existing between individuals, groups and institutions and forming a coherent whole”. Therefore, a thorough examination on the morality of the two systems must consider the relationships of people with other people and with institutions. It must also evaluate the coherence of each society. This essay will attempt to explore the moral assumptions behind both systems. It will describe the moral pro-s and con-s of capitalism and socialism and their practical implementations. It will then present an opinion defending the moral superiority of capitalism, which will be based on the author’s personal viewpoint of morality. In my opinion, as a level of social cooperation that involves everyone is impossible to achieve, the “right” approach to social organization requires that each person is given the chance to achieve the most they and then share it with the rest of the society. Capitalism is the economic and social system in which capital and land, the non-labor factors of production, are privately owned; labor, goods and resources are traded in markets; and profit, after taxes, is distributed to the owners. Socialism, on the other hand, is a way of economic organization which advocates either public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources. It could also be construed in the context of central planning of the economy and a developed social welfare system. A comparison of these two ways of social organization and their implementation around the world in their ideological, historical and practical aspects yields a multifaceted picture. Capitalism is based on egoism – the ethical teaching that finds self-interest and the strive to make oneself better off, at the base of morality. The capitalist social system aims to build a society, where everyone is free to pursue their individual goals, so long as their actions do not infringe the liberties of other persons. Thus personal initiative to succeed is encouraged and harmful actions toward others are discouraged by the rule and enforcement of laws. Everyone has equal right to purchase means of production and utilize them to generate profits. This social order did not form as a theory under the writings of a given political scientist. It emerged gradually over time and took time to evolve into a system, which today is practiced differently in different political entities. The economic system of Sweden, per se, is based on private ownership of factors of production. However,...
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