Published on June 28th, 2016 | by Miguel Del Toral0
A Medical Perspective of Capitalism
As a future doctor, I have a penchant for analyzing everyday situations and relationships with a scientific, empirical mindset. That is, as I see social constructs and interactions, organizational structures and systems of both governments and communities, I try to reconcile them with organic, natural experiences and phenomena found in the environment around us. Perhaps in some vague way, I make sense of the often reckless and violent behavior we exhibit on both our planet and ourselves.
As a Socialist/Communist (I use the terms interchangeably.) and organizer, I have taken an interest in studying the relatively recent phenomena of our current socioeconomic system: capitalism. It is interesting and heavily intricate, so what follows is a brief summary of what I see when I take a look at the system that ended feudalism and built wonders far surpassing those of ancient history what must be done to cure this disease.
We live in strange times. We are capable of producing commodities at mind-boggling speeds. Humanity is able to eliminate most of the suffering on this planet, and allow every single human being to free their lives from monotonous, grueling toil and focus on living our brief lives to their fullest. We should be able to secure a comfortable life for almost every human being on this planet so they can be free to create and expose the truly magnificent potential of the human mind. However, in this era of overabundance and technology, of incalculable wealth and luxury, people are starving to death in streets, dying from preventable disease, and living in abject poverty. They are blind with ignorance, anger and fear. They are enslaved, exploited, murdered and tortured while a handful of people look on in contempt, hoarding their opulence and ordering their lapdogs to secure more for them while keeping the masses in line. This madness is the result of the current socioeconomic system called capitalism. The society is boiled down to two types of people; the workers (the slaves) and the bosses (the slave-drivers and owners).
While workers are indeed wage slaves, directly exploited by capitalists and business owners, those business owners are also enslaved in a different way. Entrepreneurs and capitalists, both large and small, think they own their businesses. However, they don’t realize that they have only become enslaved to them. Think about it: They have to devise ways of keeping their business open to generate profit and to externalize costs (often resulting in the detrimental effects to society, labor, and ecology we see today). They contrive to beat their competition, stay relevant, and create constant expansion; all to avoid stagnating because if they do, they’re ruined.
They’re enslaved to capital, that strange abstract concept given an almost physical form by the actions of businesspersons and entrepreneurs. It is propagated consciously and unconsciously by everyone infected by the concept. Like a virus, the concept of capital accumulation infects the mind and affects the thinking and mentality of the host (e.g. businessmen) such that it propagates itself perpetually until it, or the host, is destroyed. That’s why capitalism must spread and nestle everywhere. Like a virus, it must spread exponentially for no rational reason because it does not think. It isn’t alive and exists solely to reproduce itself in new, mutated forms as it attempts to adapt to any obstacles in its way. Capitalism uses corporations, businesses, businesspersons, and even the people as vectors.
It is hard for many of us to understand this because the infection happens at birth; we are raised since the day we are born to become slaves to capital in one way or another. We either propagate capital by becoming its engineers and workers, making its products to be sold to other slaves, or we become the bosses, businesspersons, and entrepreneurs who spread the infection everywhere and develop resistance to treatments against the system. You don’t treat an infection by treating the sores. You treat the infection by destroying the virus. As such, doctors are those who understand how the system works, who have studied the treatments and past experiments (both the successes and failures), and who have a greater knowledge of the inner workings and mechanisms of this disease. The doctors are the communists, socialists, and anarchists of the world. While their approaches may be different, their goal is the same: to alleviate the suffering of their fellow persons.
Their diagnosis as well as mine is as such: we have a bad case of capitalism. The prescribed treatments to this disease vary depending on the approach and method. However, they all involve the same simple, yet highly invasive procedure: we must treat this system as we would Ebola or HIV. That is, we must utterly destroy capitalism with the treatment of revolutionary socialism. Nothing short of a complete and total revolution will rid humanity from the infection of slavery. If left untreated, this system will most definitely kill us all. We must mobilize to stamp out this pandemic once and for all, for the greater good of our society, our environment, and the greater good of all humankind.