Enrique Miguel Sánchez Motos
Senior civil servant and author of “History of Communism. From Marx to Gorbachev”
hat is it to be a capitalist? Karl Marx belonged to the well-to-do middle class, his father was a lawyer. He married a wealthy aristocrat. When he moved to London in 1849, he had a difficult financial situation for about five years, among other things because he did not seek any employment either, except for writing a few articles for the New York Daily Tribune. During this period he lived on loans and some support from Engels. However, from 1856 onwards, thanks to his wife’s and his own inheritance, he led a well-to-do bourgeois life. Then, from 1869 onwards, Engels gave him an annual allowance more than enough to live comfortably. Engels also belonged to a well-to-do family all his life and owned his father’s business together with other partners. Were Marx and Engels capitalists? If having a bourgeois economic situation is not being a capitalist, and if owning the means of production is not a capitalist either, then Marx and Engels were not capitalists. Therefore, neither can anyone be called a capitalist merely because he or she has a comfortable salary, nor because he or she owns means of production or shares in companies. This is the situation of the vast majority of European citizens.
That said, who should be called a capitalist? It is more appropriate to apply this term to anyone who considers capitalism to be the most useful economic system for creating wealth. But what is capitalism, and is it correct to describe capitalism as a cruel and evil regime? Not at all. The demagogy of the left is oppressive and domineering. It relies on the Marxist lie and the famous book Capital by Marx and Engels. It criticises and pillories capitalism because doing so sounds very nice but it does not define what capitalism is. He only reiterates that it is very bad. However, the reality is that capitalism is simply an economic system that affirms the need for three fundamental instruments: the market, initiative and property. The market because supply and demand allow prices to be set. Without them, producers lack the indicators to know which products to produce in order to make a profit and at the same time satisfy the consumer. Private initiative because it is essential to create new products and services and to design and streamline the processes to produce them. Private property because every initiative involves risk and it is necessary to have property to guarantee the investments to be made or the loans to be borrowed. In short, the capitalist system is essential for citizens to have access to goods and services and to create better livelihoods. In it coexist everything from the individual self-employed, to the small, medium and large enterprise, from the small bar to the large hotel chain, etc.
However, Marxism is still going on and on, pretending to eliminate private ownership of the means of production, which include both the premises where the bar is set up and the coffee machine, because both are means of production. The absurdity of the Marxists is such that they do not want to look at communist China where there is small, medium and large private property. Not only that, but since 1978, China has been inviting foreign capital, “terrible and ruthless international capitalism”, to settle on its soil in order, it seems, to exploit the Chinese people. In short, it can be said that communist China is today the manifestation of the highest degree of ideological heresy, if one looks at it through the eyes of communists.
What has China done in the face of this difficulty? It has laughed at it. “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, the important thing is that it catches mice” said Deng Xiaoping and, it seems, capitalism catches them. China has thrown Marx’s Capital in the dustbin. Since the mid-1990s it has been openly talking about the “socialist market economy”, which is in itself a great contradiction. Indeed, socialism is characterised by the elimination of private property and private initiative and also of the market because, according to Marxism, the selling prices are already known in the company, before the products are brought to the market, which is a big lie. It is obvious that Marxism and communism did not know that there are sales! It is undeniable that the value of any commodity or service is established by supply and demand. There are no fair prices, only market prices. It is quite another thing to try to ensure that no one lives in poverty, but that everyone has an appropriate activity that generates a reasonable income.
In short, kind reader, capitalism is the system that makes the economy work efficiently. It is quite a different matter that the different capitalist nations, which are all the nations of the world except for the communist regimes of North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc., each have their own peculiarities. Pension systems can be public, private or a combination of both. The same is true of health care: there may be a comprehensive public health care system that assumes and provides all treatments, or a basic public health care system from which the extras are provided in the private sector, either through direct payment or through private insurance. Similarly, systems to alleviate unemployment situations can be different, such as the Austrian or Spanish rucksack. It is within the capitalist framework that there is room for both left and right. It must be forcefully reiterated that capitalism is not at all synonymous with social injustice but with efficiency, creativity and continuous improvement of processes. The Marxist socialist left has disappeared in most of Europe, with the exception of Spain where the PSOE still does not dare to call Marxism a criminal ideology, despite the evidence that communist regimes have been and still are far worse than the criminal Nazi regime.
So, going back to the initial question, are you a capitalist, the rational and objective answer is unequivocal. Let us erase demagogy and lies from our political culture and truly build democratic coexistence. That is our challenge.
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