Which, socialism or capitalism, is more collectivist?

Abstract: Socialism is more conservative than capitalism, fixing places in society more. Committed to maintaining their equality, socialism favors the T (the soliTary, egotistic tendency) of the TD principle while capitalism better supports the D (the soliDarity, collectivist tendency). In the article I justify this conclusion which goes against the usual discourse, but which explains more clearly the success of capitalist societies against socialists, by an increasing gain in global power. Current capitalism, however, deserves its criticism, still carrying a conservatism of places, those of the annuitants, which truncate its principle.

New lighting

The T<>D principle, soliTary individual versus soliDarity collective, is the fundamental engine that I used to describe society in Societarium. Let us continue to illustrate it by looking at how natural selection operates on political systems. Why did capitalism prevail over its competitors and why is it nonetheless heavily criticized today? The T<>D principle clarifies the matter and provides guidance in the face of discontent.

Compared to socialism, capitalism is more collectivist than it seems. Socialism favors more the conservatism of places in society, establishing a right to importance simply by existing. This means making it a “hereditary” right, completely independent of the individual’s relationship with her society, of the efforts he makes for the collective good. Socialism thus creates a true aristocracy by birth, extended to all humanity, where every place is sacred.

Protectionism is not collectivism

While capitalism favors the relationships acquired by the individual with society to determine their place, which is mobile. The more the number of individuals increases, the more the differences increase, in an exponential curve. These contrasts make it possible to concentrate resources in the hands of a few decision-makers, who initiate more ambitious projects than in the egalitarian socialist distribution. The potential collective power behind these projects also follows an exponential curve. History has shown that the benefits for individuals are on average always better than with the protectionism of social places.

Despite this advantage of capitalism for society as a whole, its side effect is to increase individual frustrations, the human mind counting contrasts and not absolute data. The happiness felt is low even when we have everything necessary, if others benefit from the superfluous. It is thus confirmed that capitalism is an advantageous system especially from the collective point of view, while socialism is more so from the point of view restricted to the individual. These are not the conclusions we usually hear.

The concentration of means and motivations limits failure

The other advantage of capitalism is that by aggregating profits around its huge projects, it also concentrates motivations. The hierarchy of entrepreneurs and profits focuses the chances of success of projects in the midst of a largely indifferent population, without wasting all of society’s resources. In terms of the T<>D principle, it is the strength of the entrepreneur (the power of the soliTay) condensed in the interest of the collective (the power of the soliDarity) with an individual reward at stake.

The perversion of the annuity

How are criticisms of capitalism justified if it has so many advantages? Every system is imbued with a liability, that of the culture that created it. There is no revolution in politics as radical as scientific revolutions. The version of capitalism in place today still carries a heavy conservatism about social places, even if it is less fixed than that of socialism. Certainly some heroes of the economy proclaim themselves emperors of the system starting from nothing, showing the openness of the economic world. But these necessarily exceptional cases do little to conceal the reality of contemporary capitalism, where places are almost as hereditary as in the time of monarchies.

It is at the level of the distribution of powers that capitalism sins. It gives too much importance to the annuitant, a reserved and unearned place. The remuneration of individual effort is vitiated. A herd of workers who start with nothing is exploited by a clique of owners who start with everything. Dark side of capitalism, which in no way corresponds to its principles. Elitism has never been incompatible with the ideal of solidarity, as shown by the great patrons.

Which solution ?

A change of perspective is necessary, based on the TD principle. Everyone must understand that the value of individual heritage only has meaning from a collective perspective. The higher the wealth, the more it becomes attached in reality to the collective and not to the individual. The rights of the collective on a fortune increase proportionally to its amount, given that it is an exchange value. Public property has little say over a small inheritance, but more over a large inheritance. This is the principle already followed by proportional levies. The collective is part of the heirs!

But public power is not a manager in itself and does not want to threaten its companies, the engines of its power. It should therefore put its heritage up for auction, in the pure tradition of capital, so that these companies can once again recruit the motivations capable of making them grow. The problem of inheritance is, however, truncated by an anomaly: capitalism is global, planetary, while levy policies are national. It is impossible in practice to apply our previous principle, which I summarize as follows: the more important a fortune is, the more it is built on a vast collective, and the more it belongs to humanity as a whole. Because individuals defend themselves; those who inherit have learned to monetize the levies, by moving to the least greedy countries. There is a deregulated ‘wealth market’, even though it deserves global management. Capitalism still lacks a few levels of complexity.

Solidarity is the acceptance of difference

However, can we remain in the classic idea that in society capitalism isolates and socialism brings together, that the first is soliTary and the second soliDarity? I tried to persuade you that no. Remember, the human mind is attentive to contrasts, not to absolute well-being. Why this less-than-rational attention? Because human beings look for themselves in others, they look for what resembles them. They don’t like big differences, they ostracize them. At the root of social rapprochement lies the concern to find in the other, a movement that is soliDarity in appearance, but very soliTary in its sources. I extend my soliTude by making it encompass others, provided of course that they are like me.

True soliDarity is accepting others with their contrasts, their extra-terrestrial beliefs, their passions and their wealth different from mine. Certainly by being like this they compete with me and encroach on my portion of power, easily creating injustices. But it is not me who must manage these inequalities and say which ones are justified. It is up to the collective to do it, in the general interest. And reducing my frustration consists of strengthening my D, my soliDarity part, this representative of the collective who comes to speak on the platform of my own mind. Far too rarely these days?


1 thought on “Which, socialism or capitalism, is more collectivist?”

  1. Concerning socialism and communism, many people—if not most—make little distinction between the two. As is evidenced by a violent distaste for both. Which is played to best advantage by politicos of a right wing conservative stripe. As a practical matter, it does appear to me that socialism is both more conservative and collectivist. Neighbors to the north of the USA don’t get too excited one way or the other about their socialized medicine program: it is affordable, effective and one of the best in the world. My brother is over eighty years of age and doing nicely. My nephews and their families, ditto.


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