Are we capable of altruism?
Question from the Internet:
“Is capitalism a system that exploits reciprocal altruism?”
No, capitalism does not exploit reciprocal altruism. This is for the simple reason, that no human being is capable of true altruism.
We are all born with the same, inherent human nature, which is 100% self-serving, self-justifying, egocentric, and individualistic. Even those, who seemingly constantly act for the sake of others and serve others while giving away everything they have, act from very solid, selfish calculations. They act that way because this is what gives them pleasure and fulfillment.
We simply cannot move a finger if our human ego does not provide the fuel necessary to move. We can’t even think about an action that doesn’t bring us some sort of benefit, payment, or recognition.
Capitalism is the system that showcases the original human nature the most. Raw capitalism is the system that promises the maximum individual profit and fulfillment to the person, through ruthless competition and at the expense of others. Capitalism — as we practice it — is based on excessive overconsumption in a society where everybody aims at producing and consuming goods way beyond their necessities.
This does not mean that the other governing, social or economic systems are any better. They were introduced by similarly selfish, egotistic, and exploitative people in response to the failing capitalism, ending in disaster due to a small minority manipulating, controlling, and exploiting the majority.
It does not matter what ideologies, systems, and civilizations we build as long as everything we do is based on our inherent nature. Only by changing and further developing human nature — so we would be able to act and exist for the sake of others as much as we inherently act and exist only for the sake of ourselves — can we build better and sustainable human systems.
This has to be a purposeful and conscious action and development, where we acquire pleasure and fulfillment from altruism, while we also know and feel that our ego would have liked to selfishly exploit those others who we are now altruistically serving. When we reach this duality between our inherent and acquired nature and can balance it, then we will become true altruists.