Capitalism vs. Human Kindness

Just before we begin, for those of you who are reading this outside of Australia (if you exist), Gina Rinehart is Australia’s wealthiest woman and person (valued at almost 100 billion dollars, I believe) and she is a mining tycoon. In response to a tax proposal from the Australian Government, Gina Rinehart began an ad campaign and is attempting to buy newspaper agencies out in order to get to the end goal of aborting the tax. The tax works under the principle that all mineral wealth that is dug from Australian land should have a tax on it, something twenty or thirty percent of all profits. The idea is that the destructive mining of Australian land should benefit the Australian people more.

If you have any kind of rationalised reason for why the idea behind this policy is wrong, please let me know via e-mail if you still have it when I’m done (

The case has been repeatedly made (mostly by big-business) that we live in a capitalist society, and one of the core tenets of a capitalist economic structure is: if you have the means to achieve/pursue success, you also have the right to achieve/pursue that success. Of course, this tenet is affected by law, like any other action. So if you have the means to shoot somebody and take all their money, which could be construed as pursuing success, you shouldn’t, because it’s still illegal.

Now, for a number of reasons, I have an ideological difference of opinion with this concept. I personally am a fan of a philosopher called John Rawls, whose political philosophy I encourage you all to look up or even wikipedia. Aside from that, I also believe, as the title suggests, that this form of capitalism and advancement and propping up of success goes against human kindness, which is something we should all strive for.

In this capitalist society, it has come about that Gina Rinehart has become very rich by exploiting the land that we live on. When something challenged that wealth, she scrambles and spends large amounts of money to defend it. Human kindness, as a rule, would dictate that if she could instead spend that money to help other people considerably poorer than she, such as the disabled or mentally challenged, she should, because it would be kind to do.

She would likely respond by saying, as most capitalists do, that: people are poor mostly by their own lack of effort. I contradict that, always, saying that capitalism provides the opportunity to become rich, but not to the disabled or the mentally challenged, almost by definition. If you are incapable of pursuing success for whatever reason, capitalism and you are going to have problems, because as the rich get richer and bathe in money and buy expensive cars and houses, you are going to have trouble putting food on the table.

Luckily for you, the government exists. The government provides some level of base equality care to people who need it, say, the disabled. They get the money to do this from tax.

Naturally, when the government introduces a perfectly logical tax, the rich that it affects automatically scramble to try and stop it and keep their wealth. The concept of capitalism has become so entrenched in the Western World, that these rich people have forgotten the reason we have taxes and government: to help the unable, to do a human kindness. Now, the populace gets angry at the mention of a tax that won’t give them an instant benefit, or do others a human kindness. That, however, is the problem of instant satisfaction in today’s society, and not the point of this.

Author’s Note:

Again, this was previously on tumblr, which is being abandoned. Enjoy. Criticism encouraged.

The point of that whole little diatribe was to point out that people who attempt to combat a tax that will undoubtedly help others just because they want to stay rich, are in fact the evil bastards of the world.

I’ll reference something else now. In Australia, currently, we have a government health system called Medicare that works reasonably well, and covers everybody for not that many things, the latter part being it’s major flaw. So, as in, for example, America, people like their private health care funds. In Australia, at the moment, there exists also a rebate for private health care subscribers. This comes from the government, and everybody, not just those on private health care, even the poor who rely on Medicare, have to pay a tax to fund the rebate.

Recently, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has proposed to change the rebate, so that anybody or any family who earns a collective total of more than $250,000 a year should be unable to make use of rebate. They argue that this should be means tested.

There has been staunch opposition by rich people who actually earn that much. Think about this, though. They can easily afford it, they’ll just have to fly around the world a little less each year, but they still oppose it. What they are effectively saying is that people who earn 60 grand a year, which is not much in Australia, should pay a tax so that they, the rich who earn more than 250 (at least four times the poor people in this example) grand a year, get a discount for something they can easily afford anyway.

I ask you. Is that human kindness being shown, or is it the selfish greed that drives the capitalist ideology?


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