What are the social consequences of capitalism?

Capitalism or economic development has brought in some good consequences which are as follows:

(i) High Standard of Living:

Capitalism is the product of industrialization. Industrialization has increased production. Now men do not have to toil for bread as they used to do in the primitive days. The necessities of life are easily available.

(ii) Economic Progress:

Capitalism has led men to exploit the natural resources more and more. The people exert themselves utmost for earning money. This had led to many inventions in the field of industry, agriculture and business which have contributed to economic progress.

(iii) Exchange of Culture:

Capitalism has led to international trade and exchange of know-how. People in different countries have come nearer to each other. The development of the means of transport and communication has facilitated contacts among the peoples of the world thereby leading to exchange of ideas and culture.

(iv) Progress of Civilization:

Capitalism was instrument in inventing new machines and increasing the production of material goods. Man is to day more civilized than his ancestors.

(v) Lessening of Racial Differences:

Capitalism has also led to the lessening of differences based on race, creed, caste and nationality. In the factory the workers and officials belonging to different castes co-operate with one another and work shoulder to shoulder. Inter-mixing of castes is the off-shoot of capitalism.

But inspite of above good consequences capitalism has proved a curse instead of a blessing. Its bad effects are the following:

(i) Greed for Wealth:

Capitalism is based on greed for wealth. It has raised wealth to the pedestal of deity. Wealth has become the be-all and end-all of human life. The modern man is mad after wealth. He wants to earn more and more wealth by any means. The idea for morality does not enter into the means of earning. It has thus to moral degeneration.

(ii) Destruction of Human Values:

In a capitalist order, everything has come to be measured in terms of wealth. All values of human life such as love, sympathy, benevolence, love and affection are evaluated in terms of silver coins. Every person wants to get the maximum. The sole criterion is wealth, not value.

(iii) Materialism:

Capitalism manifests materialism in its extreme form. Religion and spirituality lose their force. Religion becomes the opium of people. Religion becomes hypocrisy. The big capitalists save lacks of rupees by way of tax through contribution to fictitious charitable institutions. While people are short of goods, the capitalists hoard them to soar the prices.

(iv) Artificiality:

Capitalism has transformed modern culture into mere artificiality. Today there is false courtesy. One does not find gentility and human touch. One can see false prestige, mere artificiality, and sheer advertisement even in art and literature, nothing to speak of diet, dress and speech etc. Life today has become artificial.

(v) Emphasis on Sex:

Capitalist culture lays emphasis on sex. Marriage has become a mere agreement for the satisfaction of sex hunger. The capitalists advertise their goods through the display of sex instincts. Literature and movies are based on sexual passion. Pre-marital and extra-marital sexual relations are on the increase. Man is lacking in self control.

(vi) Imbalance in Social System:

Capitalism has led to an imbalance in the social system. It has failed to adjust itself to the welfare of society. It has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots and crated insatiable greed for wealth among the people.

It has changed the very outlook of human beings. Wealth has become an important criterion of status. It has led to the moral degeneration of man. Obviously, capitalism has failed to bring about the moral development of man. It is injurious both to society and the individual. In short, it has proved a curse to humanity instead of a blessing. Karl Marx was its bitter critic.