Capitalism vs. Socialism - The Real Story Part 1

Ray Peach On January 11th 2012, Stuart Varney from the Fox Business Network defended Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital in a report called Capitalism vs. Socialism. However, when Texas Governor Rick Perry claimed that Obama was a socialist, the Socialist Party USA claimed that Obama wasn’t a socialist at all saying, “Socialists know what Obama is: another corporate funded politician placed in the White House to protect the wealth and status of the 1 percent.” Others deny Obama is a socialist by quoting the dictionary definition, and then asserting he doesn’t meet that definition. In another twist, the GOP strategist Frank Luntz attacks Capitalism saying, “[The] use of the term ‘Capitalism’ is not healthy to conservatives and the term should be removed from the Republicans’ vocabulary.” So the question is: who is right? This is the first in a series of articles, which will answer that question. To understand that answer, we will begin with the first known example of socialism – and it’s earlier than you may think.

The Birth of Socialism

In 1892, archaeologists uncovered a large cemetery of more than 3,000 graves on the west bank of the Nile River. These graves were different from what had usually been found in Egypt, because they were all basically the same. They were about the same size, and contained the same kinds of grave wealth, consisting of pottery, combs, spoons, and flint knives. What had been discovered was an ancient civilization dating back to about 4000 BC. These people became known as the Naqada.

What became interesting is that as the Naqada progressed over time, the size and number of the graves began to change. As more and more wealth became concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, the graves of commoners became communal graves, with little grave wealth, while the graves of the elite became larger and more ornate. By about 3200 BC there emerged the first dynastic state, or a state run by a powerful ruling family. This period represents the earliest known aggrandizement of politics supported by bureaucrats, where the control and distribution of strategic materials came to be controlled by the state. By this time elite burials contained large quantities of exotic grave goods, sometimes made of gold or lapis lazuli (a semi-precious stone), while workers were buried in mass graves with little or no fanfare.

After decades of research, archaeologists found that between 3000 BC and 1069 BC, Egypt went through several periods of expansion and contraction. Kingdoms would grow, consolidate power, build wealth and large bureaucracies, and then fall into corruption and economic collapse. When this was applied to other civilizations from around the world, a pattern emerged. Civilizations historically begin with a belief in a personal monotheistic deity, and while the civilization is growing, it develops science, art, literature, and economics. During this growth period, artifacts show that people believed in personal responsibility, and that all men were created equal in opportunity.

Over time, these civilizations became more tolerant of animism, demonology, polytheism and pantheism. As power and wealth moved into the hands of the elite, powerful families (aristocracy) began to see themselves as gods, and surfs as their personal property – something less than human. When the craftsmen and small business owners were destroyed, the advancement of science, art, literature, and economics was also destroyed.

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