Capitalist Mentality

From GiftEconomy
Jump to: navigation, search

The capitalist 'exchange mentality' is easily summed up in the maxim that "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch". i.e. That scarcity is a natural state, that no one does anything for free, that any gifts which appear free must inevitably have a sting in the tail. If this cynical maxim seems appropriate, it shows how far we have come from our hunter gatherer roots, and how effectively teaching of "economic literacy" and incessant scarcity of the money-based exchange have come to dominate our world view.

Predatory Nature[edit]

Capitalist mentality.jpg

Capitalism presents itself as an engine of innovation and 'economic development' is aggressively promoted as a benefit for all, though its impact on individuals' lives is far from an unqualified benefit. In fact, some regard it as predating on the rest of society, citing the psychopathic nature of Homo economicus as an explanation for why capitalism acts in this fashion. The ongoing process of monetization is the expansion of the realm to which this principle can be applied, and a corresponding shrinking of the (... end of sentence missing)

Psychological Aspects[edit]

George Lakoff proposes a paternal archetype, the Strict Father Model, in which the father's role is to discipline his offspring sufficiently painfully that they obey his rules. This archetype may provide some justification for capitalist mentality in that the market is understood as being an adult extension of this role - those it punishes by denying access to goods and services are deserving of their fate by dint of lack of self-discipline according to its rules. This parallel is questionable in that it equates virtue with selfishness, not traditionally an easy ethical argument to make, but one can see how it could be exploited by Machiavellian rich intent on justifying their material abundance in the midst of others' scarcity.

Research[edit]

Research has shown that primates and young infants both exhibit altruistic tendencies and have a marked preference for fairness. Little systematic research has been done into the effect of socialisation into a highly monetised culture, though anecdotal evidence exists to suggest it is associated with poor mental and physical health, high anxiety, materialism, social disconnection and accompanying de-skilling as compared to more traditional societies in which more goods and services are provided without financial reward. In short, the more people apply monetary values, the more relationships suffer.

Media[edit]