Professor Steve Acree
23 February 2015
Does Capitalism cause war?
Overtime, war has become destructive over the years. Some people believe that Capitalism is to blame for war, while others think Capitalism does not cause war. According to John Molyneux, a frequent contributor to the Socialist Worker, Capitalism causes war. Meanwhile, Andrew Bernstein, an author, and a professor of philosophy, Capitalism does not lead to war. An article, “Capitalism causes war”, written by John Molyneux in the year 2006, argues his beliefs on how capitalism causes war. An article, “Capitalism does not lead to war”, written by Andrew Bernstein in the year 2005, believes that Capitalism does not lead to war. We can all agree that there have been countless wars in the past. War has been a big topic in the world over the years and some people believe capitalism is the blame for war, while others blame other things like statism. Capitalism has produced more wealth and prosperity around the world than any other economic system.
Molyneux begins by addressing the latest war, which is the war in Iraq. He then lists numerous wars that occurred around the world and in Afghanistan. Molyneux says when one looks back over the 20th century, it appears that the world have been more or less continuously at war. Molyneux goes on by saying we have to first grasp the fact that the economic system we live under, which is capitalism, in order to explain the unending sequence of wars in the modern world. He believes that capitalism is a system of competitive exploitation. He defines exploitation as; the daily extraction of wealth by a minority from the labour of the majority, in itself generates bitter and permanent conflict. Meanwhile, Bernstein argues that wars were started by dictatorial monarchies, not capitalism. He says, “To understand the cause of war, consider the major wars of the 20th century.” Bernstein proceeds by talking about World War I, claiming that it was started by the dictatorial monarchies of Germany and Russia. “Nazi Germany caused World War II by invading Poland. Totalitarian Soviet Russia repeatedly initiated war by first aligning with Hitler in the conquest of Poland, then by swallowing up Eastern Europe in 1945, and later by supporting the communist invasion of South Korea.” He believes that Statism is the cause of war.
Bernstein believes that In a free country, such acts are properly regarded as criminal and punished by law. In a free country, government uses force only in retaliation against those who initiate it. He also believes that statist regimes of all varieties initiate force ceaselessly against innocent victims, first within their own borders and then without. In a free country, it is recognized that every individual has an inalienable right to his own life. In a statist country, the individual exists in bondage to the state, his life to be sacrificed at the whim of the state. Molyneux, on the other hand believes that wars are waged by the states and by the governments, not the people. He also believes that, “States act not on the basis of instincts, feelings or ideals, but overwhelmingly on the basis of vested interests.” However, Bernstein believes statist is the cause of history’s most savage wars. He goes on by saying that statist regimes launched the wars that ravaged much of the world in the 20th century. He believes that dictators are in chronic war against their own people.
Bernstein believes that it is a shame that the Nobel committee has repeatedly awarded its Peace Prize to the bringers of war. In 1994, the Nobel committee awarded the prize to Yasser Arafat, the [former] brutal dictator of the Palestinian Authority, who imposed a despotic regime on his own people and initiated a murderous war against the free citizens of Israel. He elaborates