A definition of capitalism

“Capitalism is based on the severing of meaning and price and the upholding of price as the ultimate form of meaning.”

So said the Guardian newspaper on its definition of capitalism.

Until just this moment I was unsure of the meaning of capitalism, other than it had something to do with making money and has a bad reputation.  I like the definition of the Guardian.  Historically the value of a commodity was based on its usefulness and meaning.  With the emphasis of price over meaning, it is easy to see why so many products are being offered for sale which are useless and meaningless.

The cash strapped British government recently offered for sale at £300 million ($450 million) all its woods and forests that it held in public trust, describing Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood fame as “an attractive investment opportunity for the timber industry.”  The people of Britain have a relationship with its woods and forests that defies words to describe, but that primeval connection was awakened when everyone went nuts.  The British government beat a hasty retreat and abandoned its plans to sell the forests to the corporates.

The Guardian in its article complained about the splitting and preparation for sale of the national British post office and mail distribution.  The Royal Mail has long fallen into the clutches of capitalist thinking with high prices attached to poor delivery service, to the extent I am thinking of moving against them with a rival delivery service.

I am unsure what this makes me to be if I hold meaning to be priority over price, though I doubt I am a capitalist.  I am practical enough to know it is a good idea to turn a profit in any business activity.

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