Farewell to Poverty
Farewell to Poverty
Twenty years ago in my Poverty and Social Progress, which served as a textbook in many colleges and universities, I demonstrated that widespread poverty is inevitable under the present economic system. Subsequent events have proved its accuracy in this regard. The accentuation of the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and of the disparity of incomes between the small privileged class and the vast majority of the dispossessed has gone on apace. The delusion of an ever increasing mass production has been disproved. Capitalism cannot distribute most of the wealth which might otherwise be produced.
Strange as it may seem, few sociologists and economists have subjected capitalism as an economic and social system to critical analysis. They often misconceive its intrinsic nature. It has recently been defined by an American economist as "a system making general use of capital equipment," and by the German economist Sombart as "an economic system significantly characterized by the predominance of capital." Every system utilizes genuine capital. Collectivism uses it even more than capitalism which creates much fictitious capital. Such definitions lead only to confusion.
Social scientists in general have displayed little historical hindsight and almost no scientific foresight. Most of them are dominated by the existing system and cannot see it in its evolutionary setting. Many economists are so deeply immersed in capitalism that they cannot discern the forest on account of the trees. They think of it as a permanent and relatively immutable economic system.
The first part of this book describes the finance, corporate and monopoly phases of capitalism. It depicts the rapid disappearance of competition. The accumulation of surplus capital and of debt and the inadequacy of purchasing power limit production narrowly. Science and technology are hampered . . .