Capitalism Is Not Your Friend

William Hawes
13 min readOct 27, 2021
“Crisis Capitalism” by is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” –Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology

“If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t pulled the knife out, much less healed the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there.” –Malcolm X, in a March 1964 interview

How does our capitalist economic system work? Upon what structural elements does it depend, and how does money function in a modern economy? These are some questions nearly everyone has pondered at some point in their lives. As pretty much everyone knows, the system we call capitalism has built the modern world and is the basis for mainstream economic theory. According to most establishment pro-capitalist economists, capitalism can provide for a decent life for all of humanity, conserve wildlife and ecosystems, and maintain prosperity for nearly everyone if we only listen and apply their theories.

According to capitalists and their political, academic, and corporate advocates, all the failures, assumptions, loopholes, and lack of pricing in externalities can be fixed if we reform politics to properly account for a pristine capitalistic theory shorn of all the “ideological” laws and measures which get in its way. Is this really true, or are capitalists and pro-capitalist ideologues merely attempting to justify a system which benefits themselves at the expense of the world’s poor and working classes, as well as other species and the web of life which sustains us?

According to Merriam Webster, capitalism can be defined as: “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision; and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market”.

The obvious question to ask, then, is: does capitalism “deliver the goods?” Does our system properly price, produce, and distribute goods in a rational manner to account for human, non-human, and ecosystem needs? Is capitalism…

William Hawes

Author of the ebook Planetary Vision: Essays on Freedom and Empire. Visit my website