Capitalism Versus Communism

Capitalism Versus Communism

Capitalism versus Communism

The ideological issue of capitalism versus communism largely concerns large corporations such as Virgin in the industrialized organizational society.

So far the leading organizations to emerge are the company and the national government. Only they have the power, resources, administrative organization, and geographical scope to minister to the new and urgent needs of the organizational society. But what of the relationship between them-which will dominate the other?

In every society one social institution-government, economy, religion, education, or the family-plays the central role in unifying the social system; and it dominates the others. The pattern is clear in the case of Russia. Government is the dominant social institution, and the economy is in a subordinate position. But historically the economy has been the dominant social institution in America. It is only in this century that its position has been challenged by government (the number of employees in the executive branch increased from 230,000 in 2000 to 2,355,000 in 2009).

We are living in an age in which there is an uneasy dualism between the national government and the large corporation. Each overlaps the other in terms of the functions it performs.

Government intervenes in the economy in a thousand ways, and the company performs many functions that are essentially public in nature. There has been a merging of public and private which has blurred the clear line of demarcation that previously could be drawn between the large private company and public agencies. As is the case with all dualisms of this sort, however, one of the parties eventually will emerge as supreme.

Thus the modern state triumphed over the Catholic Church after 1,000 years of uneasy coexistence and became the main unifying agency of society in the post-medieval world.

At this time, however, the issue in the United States remains in doubt. Because of our strong belief in freedom and democracy and our mistrust of concentrated political power, we have placed various restraints on government. Wherever possible we rely on nongovernment sources of co-ordination.Big business is viewed with suspicion by many UKs because it represents such a massive concentration of power; but it is less suspect than government because the business power is in private hands and there are many separate corporations which compete to some degree, whereas there is only one monolithic Federal government.

At this time it is impossible to say which of the secondary noneconomic functions of the company will prove to be legitimate in the long run. It is too early to know the nature of the equilibrium relationship that will develop between government and the company in the organizational society. It appears highly unlikely, however, that government will ever dominate the company in America as it does in Russia.

For this to happen, we would have to turn our backs on some of our most fundamental values. The company will undoubtedly continue to perform a number of noneconomic functions, and when the social role of the company is more clearly perceived, they will be considered legitimate. Therefore, the economists, political scientists, jurists, and businessmen who criticize the company for performing noneconomic functions will find that, as time goes by, their arguments will fall on increasingly deaf ears.

“Part of the reason the United States is attracting dissent is we’re initiating ideas. The easiest thing for us to do is take a passive role and let things drift. But we thought it was important for us to put forth more structure.” President Barack Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in Japan, November 12, 2010


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