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Capitalism, Marxism, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Transcript of Capitalism, Marxism, and the Pursuit of Happiness
AP Human Geo
Pursuit of Happiness
Beginning of Capitalism
The earliest forms of commerce and trade that preluded modern capitalism can be traced back all the way to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.
What is Capitalism?
Capitalism is a free market economic system that is typically used by Western (and/or Western influenced) countries.
Pros and Cons of Capitalism
The people can privately own the means of production and distribution of goods
Motivation to work comes from competition
Diversity is accepted and encouraged
The people are allowed to exercise free will
Because of the uneven distribution of wealth and goods, crime is also increased
Diversity can lead to unhappiness
People who don't work are, in theory, 'leeching' off of the economy
Capitalism is the perfect 'breeding ground' for greediness and selfishness
Beginning of Marxism
Marxism was first put into use by Vladimir Lenin after the Russian withdrawal from World War I. He led the Bolshevik Revolution, helped create the USSR (aka the Soviet Union), and launched the communist era in Russia.
Ancient Greek Coins
What is Marxism?
Marxism is an economic and social system based off of the views, opinions, and theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles.
Pros and Cons of Marxism
Marxism states that the workers (the Proletariat) will inevitably rise up against the ruling class (the Bourgeoisie) and through a revolution, dissolve all social classes and distribute the wealth and goods equally.
Everyone has the same wealth and goods as everyone else
Governing body as opposed to one ruling figure
Motivation to work comes from the "one for all, all for one" ideal
There is no form of inequality
In practice, would only work for a while in a small and easily controlled area (ie: Socialist community of New Harmony, IN)
There is no diversity, which means no innovations culturally, scientifically, etc.
No class systems, limits people's natural tendencies to strive to become better
Both capitalism and Marxism have their faults. In modern day America, people tend to associate capitalism with freedom and the 'American Dream', while Marxism (including it's variations of socialism and influence over communism) is associated with oppressiveness, although in theory, it is made out to be harmonious and egalitarian.
The irony is this:
People living in countries that are more homogeneous (a pro for Marxism) are happier than people living in counties that are more diverse (a pro for capitalism).
If capitalism is the good guy, why isn't it making people happy? Does the true answer to happiness, in fact, lie in the failed heaps of Marxism?
Political cartoon showing the freedom of the American people versus the oppression of the Soviet people.