Supporters of Capitalism will tell you that anyone with a brain should realise that it is the best system.
A famous quote (incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill) goes along the lines of:
“A young man who is not a socialist is in need of a heart. An older man who is not a conservative is in need of a brain.”
The following people might just prove whoever did say that to be mistaken.
Regarded as one of the wisest men in history, he was one of the founding fathers of America and he truly knew what intelligence and wisdom was.
“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”
He was an inventor, a scientist and a philosopher. Here are some of his views relating to the ideologies of Capitalism.
- “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”
- “He that displays too often his wife and his wallet is in danger of having both of them borrowed.”
- “He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.”
- “Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.”
- “Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain: and it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.”
- “I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.”
- “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.”
- “If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”
- “If you desire many things, many things will seem few.”
- “If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.”
- “If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.”
- “Industry need not wish.”
- “It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.”
- “It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.”
- “It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.”
- “It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”
- “Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it.”
- “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”
- “Necessity never made a good bargain.”
- “No nation was ever ruined by trade.”
- “Our necessities never equal our wants.”
- “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.”
- “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
- “The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it.”
- “There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.”
- “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
- “Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion.”
- “Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.”
- “Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
- “Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.”
Judging by the words from the man, Franklin believed that production, innovation and work were important in a society, but their importance lay with the overall growth and improvement of peoples lives. He clearly recognised that things like leisure time, charity, good deeds and family were of more importance than building personal wealth.
Capitalism only encourages the acquisition of material wealth. Successful business people will often advise people that to succeed you should put aside your desires for family and social lives and focus on your work. It is a solitary exercise, one that requires a person to be self involved and put themselves before others. Once wealth is gained, a business person tends to look for even more. In the end, they would have worked all their life for selfish gain and leave nothing of worth for the world.
One of Americas most respected Presidents. Revered for his wit, his kind heart and his family values. He is often the man given credit for freeing black people from slavery. He recognised that no man had a right to own another. Cooperation is the way to build a society.
Here are some of his words.
- A house divided against itself cannot stand.
- Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
- Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.
- As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
- Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets.
- Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
- Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.
- Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
- Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.
- He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.
- I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.
- I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
- I can make more generals, but horses cost money.
- I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
- If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.
- If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance.
- Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
- Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
- No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.
- Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
- Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.
- That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.
- These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
- Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
- Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
- Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
- With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.
- You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.
Clearly, the important things to Lincoln were equality, freedom, cooperation and democracy.
He wanted a country where all would live in comfort and happiness as a community. He wanted fairness for all and for the best and kindest people to be in charge.
This final quote seems to address capitalism directly, proving Lincoln cared more for people and their efforts than the acquisition of material wealth.
- Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
Yet another founding father and esteemed President.
Here are some quotes from him.
- It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.
- Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.
- Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.
- Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.
- Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.
- Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
- I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.
- The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.
- The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
Churchill was a famous Brit who fought the Nazis (National Socialists) and defended our shored from tyranny.
That did not mean that he did not believe in equality and justice for all.
“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”
- All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
- Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement.
- An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
- Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.
- Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
- Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
- Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.
- I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
- If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.
- In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
- It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
- Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
- Really I feel less keen about the Army every day. I think the Church would suit me better.
- Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
- Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.
- The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
- The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
- There is no such thing as a good tax.
- We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Though Churchill had a few good things to say about Capitalism, he also saw its downsides. The same can be said for Socialism.
He understood that a middle ground needed to be found.
Yet another American Founding father and President who follows the same pattern.
Following are quotes from him.
- A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
- All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
- But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
- Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
- Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
- Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
- Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
- I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
- I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
- I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.
- I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
- It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
- Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
- My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
- Never spend your money before you have earned it.
- Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
- Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
- Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.
- Power is not alluring to pure minds.
- Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
- Taste cannot be controlled by law.
- That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.
- The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
- The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
- The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.
- The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
- Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
- To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
- We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
- When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.
- Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.
- Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
Scientist, philosopher, all round great thinker.
He wrote books on various subjects including Socialism and would often make comments in public expressing his views. Some are here.
- A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
- All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.
- Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
- Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.
- Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
- Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.
- Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.
- In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
- Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.
- One strength of the communist system of the East is that it has some of the character of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion.
- Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
- Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
- Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
- The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
- The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.
- The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
- The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.
- I advocate world government because I am convinced that there is no other possible way of eliminating the most terrible danger in which man has ever found himself. The objective of avoiding total destruction must have priority over any other objective.
Political and ideological Indian leader. A philosopher who opposed tyranny through non-violent protest.
These are some of his quotes.
- A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
- A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.
- All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.
- Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.
- An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
- Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
- For me every ruler is alien that defies public opinion.
- I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.
- I claim that human mind or human society is not divided into watertight compartments called social, political and religious. All act and react upon one another.
- I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
- Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid down, does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth.
- Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.
- Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
- It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.
- It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
- Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.
- Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.
- Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold on to it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort.
- No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.
- Poverty is the worst form of violence.
- Peace is its own reward.
- Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
- Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
- That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.
- The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
- The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and the most spotless.
- The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.
- There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.
- To deprive a man of his natural liberty and to deny to him the ordinary amenities of life is worse then starving the body; it is starvation of the soul, the dweller in the body.
John Maynard Keynes
A leader in the move towards welfare and benefits for the unemployed in the UK. His ideas were that all should be provided for with their basic needs, and anyone who desired extra luxuries must work for them.
“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. ”
“The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success. It is not intelligent. It is not beautiful. It is not just. It is not virtuous. And it doesn’t deliver the goods.”
It is clear that all of these people, regarded as wise men or in some cases geniuses had strong beliefs based in building society based on equality and freedom for all.
They opposed the ideas of personal wealth and material gain when it conflicted with the well-being of the nation.
Although they appreciated the value of work and the importance of progress, they believed that the most important thing was the happiness of people.
To them Capitalism in it’s pure form is a terrible thing. Innovation, production and hard work are things to be rewarded true, but not at the expense of peoples lives. Society should be built to free people from hardship, not trap them or force them into it.
They could see the importance of both ensuring the well-being of everybody while also encouraging the growth of the individual. To them, neither pure Capitalism or pure Socialism was a feasible system.
They knew that a middle ground that incorporated both was the ultimate answer.