Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A capitalist only when it's convenient?

A while ago I met a bloke at a laundry mat. We were just chatting around our local community and the conversation moved to the economy and the capitalist system that we live in.

He was discussing how it wasn't that bad living in a dictatorship (he was from Iraq), as things were quite fair in terms of prices for things, where they generally were limits placed on how much you could price something as a storeowner, so as a buyer you knew exactly how much you ought to be paying for something.

That sounded quite reasonable, when he mentioned the example of buying tomatos for say $1 a kg, where you'd expect to pay the same everywhere else you go. There won't be any ridiculous pricing like $7-8 a kg for the same thing. The same thing with petrol and all other basic items. The way it is set up is so that the storeowner can make a living, and buyers can buy what they need. That seemed fair.

Of course this is only one aspect of the overall system, as wealth is distributed in a different way and many decisions on what happens around you are set by someone else. So what's set may not be entirely be in the best interest of all and/or a few. But for me, I'd need to understand and learn about the pros and cons of such a system as I'm sure there is more to it then meets the eye.

But during our conversation he made a comment about capitalism and how people are generally only a capitalist when it suits them, and he how people took advantage of others when it was convenient for them. He then mentioned the global financial crisis as an example.


So what struck me was that very comment, people are generally only a capitalist when it's convenient for them? Is that true? Who are these people? You and me? I hope to learn more about this from examples of how it might be so, so please feel free to share your thoughts and stories if you have some.