Capitalism: A Help or Hindrance to Society?

Maggie H Period 1. The Definition of capitalism is when a country’s trade is controlled by private owners for profit. According to Aristotle, associations that are formed by people, aim to achieve a greater good. Because of this it can be said that, politics cannot exist alone. Most would agree that the negativity in our society can be blamed on the city state and the politicians of our world. It is through being citizens that the political system of a country becomes valid; in order to live in harmony, we all need to live together as citizens rather than having higher positioned people controlling everything.

Citizens look out for one another and help each other thrive so that their society can prosper. In contrast, politicians are focused on benefitting only themselves and ensuring their own futures rather than care for their community. When citizens are doing their jobs and working, they benefit many people in the society and help each other. While the citizens are looking out for the whole, the politicians are mainly working on the things that will help them succeed in their own careers. Aristotle believes in the protection of private property but to him excessive capitalism cannot be tolerated, because it affects the daily lives of its people (Aristotle, 1). The strong and powerful are favored by capitalism, as they are able to fulfill their own desires at the expense of the poor and weak. Because of this, he believes capitalism doesn’t guarantee, or even help a person obtain a good life. Having people being better off with their living over others is not completely acceptable and should be brought to more peoples attentions.

In order to have a society that is strong and prosperous, the citizens need to work together and install leadership while expressing equality though fairness. When there is a major difference between people in a society, it becomes very difficult to come to an agreement on decisions for the society. This causes them to get tangled up in many disputes and problems with each other.            The political community works towards achieving a good life for the people in the state, and is a factor that continues to reoccur in every political community. According to Aristotle, true citizenship is when a person holds public office and uses it to make what is best for the state. This is through being fair and just and making the state a better place to live in for its citizens. This statement is directed by a constitution, laws and freedoms of its people. Having a constitution in a society is the key to obtaining a superior life through the leaders who guide and enforce it. Although constitutions are mostly seen as a good thing, they can also be seen in a negative way. A fair constitution is one in which all the needs and desires of every citizen is met and fulfilled. The unjust constitution is one which meets only the needs of the people that are in charge and hold a specific position in the government of the society. These unjust constitutions further prove that capitalism is an obstacle to providing a proper and fair life for the people of the society. The people that are in charge that don’t act with justice take advantage of their powerful positions to better themselves; they increase their own power and wealth while they neglect the people who gave them the power to govern. If the constitution is just, the state develops into a place with opportunities for all its citizens (Aristotle 5). In the presence of an unjust constitution, the poor community continues to grow poorer and is restrained from bettering their lives while the rich citizens thrive in wealth and power.

By having many different classes, the society cannot prosper properly together because of the many conflicts that occur between the different social groups. The state is put into balance by the middle class since there is a never ending dispute between the rich and the poor. This shows that it is essential for people to be content with what they have and who they are to be good to one another. By reading The Nicomachean Ethics, it can be understood that this is the best thing to do because not only will it bring harmony but it will also reduce oppression, conflict, and the evils that result from differences in opinion (Aristotle 4). The lawgivers of the community are held together by common good for society. They stay together and rule the community using a way that they all can agree on. Aristotle contemplates that an ideal city state should be ruled in a way so that it meets the happiness of all of its statesmen. The search for happiness would not be hard but made easy to achieve through the state. Each individual is unique and has his own special talents which can help contribute to society. Everyone should use his own knowledge to establish goods for the society and community. In this life, if happiness and goodness were to be achieved, this achievement would come to those who reprioritize, rejecting wealth and money as their top priority. Wealth and power should not define a person’s happiness; People shouldn’t be considered happy if they knowingly used their talents to only help only themselves as they leave other behind them. Many people are in constant search for the end of all because to them, every action performed in life is aimed to achieving something. Actions performed out of want fall short of achieving happiness and goodness, while doing what is right and what is good will help people obtain this achievement.

 Nevertheless, according to Karl Max and Fredric Engels, the situation of the society, the political institutions and history of life changes, is due to the forces of struggle between people to achieve similar economic situations so that they can realize their economic interests. All the struggles that have taken place in history seem to be because of the subordinate social classes aiming to get to places that the dominant social classes. The modern and industrialized society has gone through many struggles between the merchant class and the rich society. As the struggle continued, the dominant class in the feudal society gained even more power and overtook the merchants. Rather than the dominant feudal class doing away with struggles of the economic classes, the classes seemed to be replacing each other. The pursuit by the merchant class to obtain more wealth and conquer has changed the world into a capitalistic nation in terms of production. The traditional way of life, including trade and family, has been replaced with cities and a large exchange market. Now there is another class, which has risen due to industrialization, the proletarians, or the working class. This class works for the bourgeoisie, who exploit them for their labor with small wages making them dependent on the jobs that they offer them. The working class is followed by a lower class that is dependent on industries and factories. It is clear that the world will forever be in conflict due to capitalism, which seems to favor the minority, the rich class, and discriminate against the majority, the poor. This is a community of struggles for a virtuous life and the lucky few are able to achieve it without the rest.

The majority of the people believe that capitalism can be proven to be more of a hindrance to achieving a good life. This is because some people are better off and some are living a fuller life than others based on their influence and power within the community. Therefore, it is clear that the presence of capitalism, due to favoritism, will continue to pose conflict. As a community struggles to achieve a virtuous life, only those who go about achievement without the presence of self want, are able to attain it. All the power lies within the people to embrace the good side of capitalism, trying to balance the world so that it may develop in harmony.   


Works Cited: 

Jowett Benjamin. Politics Aristotle. Batoche Books, Kitchener. 1999.

 Marx Karl and Engels Frederick. Manifesto of the Communist Party February 1848.  Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969.  2004.

Ross W.D. Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle. Batoche Books, Kitchener. 1999. 



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