f you look up “capitalism fights racism” in Google, the top search results will show articles like: “Is Capitalism Racist,” “Capitalism without Racism: Science or Fantasy,” and, “The Rise of Capitalism and the Emergence of Racism.”
Reading those titles, it would seem as if the most triumphant economic model the world has ever seen is rooted in a racist, hegemonic structure meant to benefit society’s overlords. It’s a good thing we have Google to open our eyes to this inhuman system.
Facetiousness aside, (post)modern Western society views capitalism as the very ugly elephant in the room; it doesn’t want to admit that it’s a crucial cog that keeps civilization functioning, and would rather oggle pipe dreams like socialism through heavily rose-tinted glasses.
We are led to believe that the free market is the force responsible for so much of the injustice, racism, and inequality seen in the modern world. But is this true?
What Capitalism Has Done
The fact of the matter is, capitalism as a system has always been a force for good, and this includes the tumultuous history of the United States. Even during the eras of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, periods that saw rampant civil rights abuses perpetrated on black communities, capitalism was the saving grace, helping people rise above their situation, the adversity they faced, and a culture still reeling from the effects of civil war.
“It is a striking historical fact that the development of capitalism has been accompanied by a major reduction in the extent to which particular religious, racial, or social groups have operated under special handicaps in respect of their economic activities; have, as the saying goes, been discriminated against.”
With forces in social media, legacy networks, and the government working towards undermining the idea that capitalism is a force to promote individual liberty and agency, it’s important to revisit a few stories of how the free market lifted people out of poverty and combated racism.