10 May 2016

Millennials hate capitalism and greed

The Blog

In a May 1st article appearing at the Center for a Stateless Society website, anti-statist writer Kevin Carson explains why Millennials tend to respond positively to the term "socialism" in poll results. Capitalism gets a much more negative reaction.

This is especially relevant now as people wonder why the "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders was able to go toe-to-toe with corporate backed Hillary Clinton for Democratic Party nomination as President of the United States. It happened despite many Americans (likely older generations) despising anything called "socialism" and assuming it to be solely the work of North Korea or Joseph Stalin.

Carson explained that the Millennial generation is distressed by the greed and oppression brought about by modern corporate capitalism. Many young people are familiar with the ideas of academics who try to explain just how disfiguring and tyrannical current capitalism is. Rampant capitalism is is actually coercing even the capitalists' favorite bogeyman - the regulatory state - just for its own profit.

Alluding to sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein's theory (read all our coverage of Wallerstein) of the expansion of capitalism across the world, Carson writes that Millennials have got it right if they associate capitalism with greed and power rather than freedom:
Historical capitalism began five or six centuries ago, not with free markets, but with the conquest of the free towns by the absolute states and the mass expropriation of peasants from their traditional rights to the land by the landed oligarchy, and continued with the colonial conquest of most of the world outside Europe. Since then capital has continued to rely heavily on the state to socialize its operating costs, erect barriers to competition, and enforce illegitimate title to all the land and natural resources engrossed in previous centuries. This history of conquest, robbery and enslavement is in the basic genetic code of contemporary corporate capitalism.
Some writers have tried to explain away Millennials' positive views of socialism with the condescending assertion they are "confused" about dictionary definitions. Carson dismissed this assertion as "dumb" and devoid of any comprehension of history.

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