No such thing as a benevolent capitalist
If I were to gift to you a piece of animal feces, you most definitely would not take it. Now what if I took the same piece of animal feces, pressed it into the mold of a popsicle, froze it, stuck a popsicle stick into it, then gifted it to you? Would you take it then? Of course not. Although the new gift appears to be a popsicle — an odd-colored one at that — it is still a piece of animal feces. We are critical of what is being shown and sold to us on this occasion, but how come we are less critical on other occasions?
We recognize the so-called “robber barons of Wall Street” from the Gilded Age as being exploitative of the working class. Excessively obnoxious in their displays of hoarded wealth, they commandeered electoral politics for their personal profit. We oftentimes don’t apply the same critique to those in our present time who are likewise exploitative, obnoxious and corrupt. Why is this?
In order to move onwards, we must make distinctions as to what constitutes a capitalist. The word — like most words we use — is thrown around with little thought. Some claim that because we live in a capitalist economy, we are all capitalists. This claim is quite hollow, as it would then follow that anyone who lives in a system with a prevailing ideology subscribes to that prevailing ideology. Take for example the prevailing ideology of individualism. We live in a culture where individualism reigns, but that doesn’t mean any one person is a raging egomaniac. The definition that some people — usually those on the right — offer, doesn’t hold up in this case. If we take their definition as the only definition, then the current system becomes totalitarian. The current system is totalitarian, I agree. But its totalitarianism does not have the capability of making every individual within the system a capitalist.
Here, we must use our philosophical brains to define what a capitalist is. We shouldn’t use the above definition because it fails in accuracy. We should instead use Marx’s definition, which comes straight from the structure of the economy. In this way we can define a capitalist in a way that their supposed “benevolence” will be seen as nothing other than a mythical fairytale, which describes nowhere near reality. For Marx, a capitalist is someone whose profit comes from a system he defines as MCM (Money-Commodity-Money). This is the movement of their capital. They have money, they purchase a commodity, then they sell that commodity for a price larger than what they paid for it, to make a profit. This definition constitutes a particular class within society: the bourgeoisie. The other class, those who are not defined as capitalists, earn their livelihood from a CMC system, (Commodity-Money-Commodity). The original commodity within the system is the workers’ own labor-power, which they sell to the capitalist in order to make a wage, which they then use to purchase a commodity that allows them to live and perpetuate the cycle. The distinction that must be made is between capitalists and those who support capitalism. This should be clear at this point.
I use Marx’s definition to reveal that a capitalist class exists within our current society. They are no structurally different from those modeling top hats, monocles, and canes from the Gilded Age. The modern-day capitalist class attempts to appear benevolent, whether it be in Zuckerberg’s minimalist wardrobe or Buffet’s modest home. But the appearance is all a facade. There is no such thing as a benevolent capitalist. There is only the definition that Migos offers, “Bad and Boujee.” These two descriptors, “bad” and “boujee” (bourgeois), cannot be separated, no matter how hard the capitalist class tries to dress themselves up as a popsicle. At the end of the day, that popsicle is still animal feces after all.