Feudalism vs. Capitalism vs. Communism vs. Socialism

Wherein I argue with a meme

Susan Brassfield Cogan



I will post the actual meme I’m arguing with below because I don’t want it to be the main photo on this article.

My mother once told me that I would argue with a fence post. It was probably unwise to point out that the phrase is a cliché. But she was absolutely right.

Therefore when a friend — with way too much time on her hands — linked to this on Facebook, I had a strong urge to argue.


I’m no conservative. I’d love to believe the meme is true and blame it all on capitalism. But it’s not true.

Poverty has a bunch of causes. Socialism (democratic socialism) would relieve a lot of it. I’m a huge fan of universal basic income or a reverse tax. I’m more in favor of the latter.

Capitalism creates wealth

I’ve described the rudimentary outline of basic capitalism before, but I’ll repeat it here.

  1. You take come kind of raw material.
  2. You shape it into something, adding value.
  3. You sell it to someone who doesn’t want to go to all that trouble, but do want the end product and is willing to pay you for it.

My usual example is soap. I know how to make soap. The process is messy, smelly and time consuming. I’d rather just drop by the local grocery store and pick up a bar or a bottle. I also don’t like to sew and would rather buy clothes. I wouldn’t want to cure my own bacon or make my own furniture. I can do that stuff, but would really, really rather not.

Capitalism’s effect on poverty

I blow hot and cold on sweatshops. I hate them. They are exploitative and cruel. But imagine an area where everyone is living on a few cents a day, trying to scrape a little food out of the ground. Children dying of malnutrition is a commonplace.

But … someone moves into the area, buys or builds a large building, moves in some equipment and hires people to run the equipment. Now people can…



Susan Brassfield Cogan

I write self-help, life coaching, and political opinion. I am a creativity and mindfulness coach https://linktr.ee/susanbcogan