Letter to the editor on capitalism
Source Walt Byars
Date 06/04/22/00:33

Some economics students here at USF wrote a laughable rant praising
capitalism on dubious grounds in the student paper. I plan to write a
letter to the editor in rebuttal. Tell me what you think and suggest
changes if possible. I cant go over 400 words. The original article is

The letter to the editor on April 20th which defended capitalism made
mostly dubious arguments. The authors are basically correct that income
differentials under capitalism roughly reflect how much someone's
performance appeals to the person(s) who pays them. But is this really
good for society?

Let's assume that managers who perform well (i.e. increase the firm's
profits) do indeed get compensated for their superior performance. This
feature of capitalism may give businesses the incentive to produce useful
products using minimal resources. On the other hand, it can just as easily
give those who produce environmentally damaging goods an incentive to ramp
up their output. It may give bosses the incentive to implement fragmented
labor processes because team production, even if it's more efficient,
helps workers communicate and organize and thus lowers profits. It may
also give an incentive to emphasize racial and sexual divisions among
workers for this very reason. In economics courses, it is frequently said
that technical progress will hurt some workers but benefit society as a
whole. Of course, in systems in which one can experience huge changes in
income there is an incentive for the "losers" to block the implementation
of the welfare enhancing technology.

But does capitalism even do a great of rewarding performance
differentials? If workers aren't doing piecework, it is difficult to judge
the effort of an individual laborer. If multiple people are working on the
same project, who is responsible for the problems? As for managers, who
monitors them in large corporations owned by thousands or millions of
different shareholders? Does any individual owner have an incentive to
monitor the bosses or will all of them wait for someone else to do it?

The letter claims that workers in the public sector will perform poorly
because those who do so aren't paid lower salaries than those who perform
well. This argument makes the critical and unjustified assumption that
people only will satisfy others if there is money in it for them. This is
not really my experience even in the capitalist U.S., and I believe a
convincing argument could be made that the institutions of capitalism
themselves may socialize people to care more about money than they would

The letter emphasizes choice, but what about advertising? Does the person
who buys Axe Body Spray because of the bombardment of advertisements
really make a choice? If you answer yes, then surely you can't think that
people choose to see all of the commercial images and peer pressure they
are subjected to. The authors also confuse capitalism with free markets.
Historically, people didn't choose to work in capitalist firms. However,
the force of state frequently eliminated most forms of non-capitalist

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