On Capitalism and poverty

Imagine a small, remote fishing village, basically untouched by globalization and not integrated into the global economy (perhaps there's a local barter economy). Using our own standards, the people would be considered "living in abject poverty", even if they were doing perfectly fine.

Then a company comes in, buys the rights to land and water, and employs the people. All of a sudden, they go from self-"employed" to corporate employed. By our measures, we've lifted them out of poverty, but have we made their lives better? We may have introduced them to new technology, but that new technology creates cravings and desires and illnesses that simply didn't exist before.

This is the flaw in saying that capitalism always makes things better. Capitalism is certainly better than any large-scale economic policy we've devised, but a multitude of small-scale economies would be a healthier solution for the planet. At least then, if the house of cards comes tumbling down, there will still be some functioning parts of society.

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