Capitalism And Social Darwinism Essay

1395 words - 6 pages

The economic system and ideology of Capitalism modifies the patterns of social, political and economic relations justifying a culture of Social Darwinism. As Capitalism modifies culture, its connection to Social Darwinism becomes obvious. The success of Capitalism is derived from the backs of the working class. Capitalism establishes a culture of paternalism that limits the autonomy of organizations, society, and the state. The social mobility of the poor and working classes is denied, and their condition is seen as voluntary. Social programs designed to end or limit poverty are destroyed with the justification that they are handouts, and the unequal distribution of wealth goes on infinitely. Social Darwinism is a reaction to Capitalist ideology.
Capitalism is an economic system described by Adam Smith is his 1776 work, The Wealth of Nations. Smith is referred to as “The Father of Modern Economics.” Adam Smith argued for laissez-faire, or hands off, free-market economy. Smith argued that a free-market would self regulate, and succeed without state interference. Some writers now propose that Smith would have favored a system that provided consumer protection, health benefits, environmentalism, and penalties for improper or greedy behavior. Modern Capitalism is associated with the German philosopher Karl Marx. Marx explained the natural state of Capitalism is “Crony-Capitalism”, a state in which the economic system is controlled by corruption, nepotism, and cartels.
Social Darwinism is the term used by Historians to describe the application of Darwin’s natural selection to society. Charles Darwin published his famous study, The Origin of the Species in 1859. Darwin’s theory, based on the observations and knowledge gained by Darwin on his five-year expedition aboard the HMS Beagle, explained that natural selection was a mechanism for evolution. Biologists saw the value in Darwin’s research and while not his intended purpose; Darwin’s work resulted in Earth shattering cultural implications.
Darwin never specifically mentioned humans it was popular 19th century philosopher Herbert Spencer, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Spencer took key concepts like competition, and natural selection from Darwin’s theories and applied them to society. Spencer argued that government intervention in the form of welfare, public education, and universal healthcare would only help the weakest humans survive thus undermining the entire human race and justifying Capitalism. Society began to see a moral worth in money, and the rich became better than the poor. The greatness of a society was equated with the individual success of its members. Supporters of Social Darwinism deny compassion and assistance, arguing that helping anyone is a detriment to society. However, this thought assumes that the individual struggle for all is the same.
Proponents of Social Darwinism tried to connect a biological process with a social process...

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