The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, coupled with the demise of the Soviet Union is seen as the symbolic end of communism as an ideology that challenged the capitalist order led by the West through the era of the cold war. Imam Khomeini refereed to this demise in its early phase, in the letter to Gorbachev, stating that communism belongs to the museum of political history of the world. The demise of communism was not difficult to predict as it works against the essence of human nature; – absolute prohibition of private enterprise is like celibacy. Basic human instinct of acquiring wealth or seeking to procreate cannot be suppressed permanently in any society. Therefore, the victory of capitalism was inevitable as it permits human (instincts) nature to flourish whilst communism seeks to suppress it.
So, is the capitalist economic model ideal? Of course, unlike communism the human instincts cannot be suppressed but equally it should not be allowed to function with very little restraint as is the case with Capitalism. Indeed, it is human nature to acquire wealth to meet the needs of food, clothing and shelter, but a culture that teaches profit maximisation also cultivates greed and exploitation. There is a clear distinction between making profit to secure ones material needs and maximising profit, looking for a constant increase of profit regardless of its impact on others.
This mindset is rooted in one of the fundamental axioms of the capitalist economic system, which is the definition of scarcity: material resources are scarce in relationship to the infinite human desires. However, human desires may be infinite but human capacity is not. We may wish for infinite amount of wealth but we can only consume so much. An individual can only wear one pair of shoes even though he may have abundant pair of shoes. Why teach them to constantly acquire wealth, consequentially depriving others, when an individual can only consume a limited amount of wealth? This is poisonous!
Internally the capitalist class will exploit the masses, and unequal distribution of wealth is a feature of capitalist societies, as they the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Many would argue that communism was a reaction to the ‘fruits’ of capitalism, naturally it calls for a fairer distribution of wealth. Externally, capitalist nations take far more ruthless measures to secure economic resources. The track record of capitalism speaks for itself; we find almost in every decade leading capitalist states are engaged in some sort of genocide, seeking to secure its economic interests which it cloaks under some lofty values like spreading trade, science; in recent times it has been the spreading freedom and democracy. Only a fool would believe that Capitalist nations are benevolent states in the business of liberating people from dictatorship, it only works for profit.
The Free Market doctrine of Capitalism is based on demand and supply and has no room for moral or any other considerations. Accordingly anything can be supplied as long as there is a demand for it. Thus, the business of child molestation, prostitution, drugs can be economic products if there is a demand for it and people should be free to supply such things. Free human beings kidnapped from Africa by Capitalist pirates and forced into brutal slavery, genocide committed in Latin America for the lucrative gold, drugs were pushed by Queen Victoria to the Chinese population, now the carnage for oil in Iraq, the list of examples is endless. Money does make the world go round but it also makes the world bleed!
The Free Market model does not accommodate the basic truth that society is not homogeneous. People exist with various capabilities, not everyone can compete and survive. The model is based on the motto of survival of the fittest where the elimination of the weaker members is inevitable. I wonder if such economic models gave impetus to the nasty philosophy of endorsing the right of some master human race or vice versa.
In defense of capitalism, people may cite the generosity of wealthy individuals and companies in the way of donations. But donation is of little use when they have acquired billions by depriving so many in the first place. What good is giving aid to Africa by raising money through pop concerts or some other form of entertainment when it is being bled through the loans and extortionate interest rates known as compound interest, which is interest on interest? Then came the ludicrous trickle down theory, for wealth has to be created by a few which would trickle down to the masses. This is in fact a lie, if the existing wealth is distributed fairly that would solve much of the economic problem. It is no surprise the emphasis in capitalism is always with wealth creation but not distribution. Why should only the few have the privilege to create the wealth and the masses to accept what trickles down from them. This is nothing but an attempt to justify the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few, wealth can be generated by many and contributing towards a better distribution.
So what is the alternative as we live in a capitalist dominated world devoid of the communist alternative? We know we need an economic system that allows human instincts to flourish but not to function without any restraints, a system that does not view the allocation of economic resources in isolation of all other values. That system can only be offered by Islam.
It is for this reason that the capitalist world fears Islam as it does threaten its economic interests. This threat is not because it seeks to be a competitor but provide an alternative that it is fairer, a system that does not seek to exploit but engage in real trade. This is not a slogan but it can be seen in its values.
This subject is too vast to be captured in one single article. If you really wanna know how the system works and how Islam is the only solution to all the problems caused by these systems, please read the following books written by non-muslims authors.
1- Confessions of an Economic Hitman – John Perkins
2- Economics of 1% – John Weeks
3- The Trap – James Goldsmith
4- Economic system of Islam – Taqqiuddin Nibhani