A psychopath commits violent and antisocial acts without compunction. Psychopaths lack empathy and remorse. They are egotistical but often charming, and they can be skilled at manipulating people. These are traits deeply embedded in personality structure.
Capitalism is like a psychopath.
Often capitalism’s opponents forget this. Instead, they pull their punches, criticizing “neoliberal” capitalism, “free-market” capitalism, “corporate” capitalism. It’s as if they believe a true capitalism, one without qualifiers, one that’s maybe not so bad, lies out there somewhere, waiting to be reclaimed. Or they blast corporations and CEOs—organizations and leaders—not the capitalist system. Or they simply condemn greed, making the problem a moral failing.
Capitalism is a system that cannot be other than psychopathic. Get rid of all the greedy CEOs, all the rich white men at the top, and replace them with saints, women, people of all colors, and the results will be the same. As long as society is capitalist, it will be psychopathic.
There are very simple reasons for this. Capitalism is based on investment to maximize profits. In a competitive market, high profits attract investors and low profits drive them away. Profits are made by selling products, and consumers flock to lower prices. Prices are lowered by cutting wages and employment and by exploiting both nature and society without paying back. This causes immense harm, but any capitalist refusing to do so will be driven from the market.
Reforms won’t change this. True, they can moderate the savagery of naked capitalism, but only to a degree and for a time. The fire burning at the core of capitalism is the ceaseless pursuit of profit, forever.
Capitalism must maximize profit, and everything standing in the way will be swept aside. There is no choice: capitalism is inherently psychopathic.
Communism, however, has no built-in need to maximize profit. Communism has a choice where capitalism does not: communism can choose to put other values first.
Does this mean that communist societies are incapable of psychopathic behavior? Sadly, no. Any conceivable human social arrangement can be hijacked and misused.
Nevertheless, capitalism, because it is inherently psychopathic, is absolutely guaranteed to lead to immense harm. Communism is not.