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Sommaire section D
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Section D - How does statism and capitalism affect society?

This section of the FAQ indicates how both statism and capitalism affect the society they exist in. It is a continuation of sections B ( Why do anarchists oppose the current system?) and C (What are the myths of capitalist economics?) and it discusses the impact of the underlying social and power relationships within the current system on society.

This section is important because the institutions and social relationships capitalism and statism spawn do not exist in a social vacuum, they have deep impacts on our everyday lives. These effects go beyond us as individuals (for example, the negative effects of hierarchy on our individuality) and have an effect on how the political institutions in our society work, how technology develops, how the media operates and so on. Therefore it is worthwhile to point out how (and why) statism and capitalism affect society as a whole outwith the narrow bounds of politics and economics.

So here we try and sketch some of the impact of concentrations of political and economic power has upon society. While many people attack the results of these processes (like state intervention, ecological destruction, imperialism, etc.) they ignore their causes. This means that the struggle against social evils will be never-ending, like a doctor fighting the symptoms of a disease without treating the disease itself. We have indicated the roots of the problems we face in sections B and C; now we discuss some of the other problems they create. This section of the FAQ explores the interactions of the causes and results and draws out how the authoritarian and exploitative nature of capitalism affects the world we live in.

It is important to remember that most supporters of capitalism refuse to do this. Yes, many of them point out some flaws and problems within society but they never relate them to the system as such. As Noam Chomsky points out, they will attribute the catastrophes of capitalism "to any other cause other than the system that consistently brings them about." [Deterring Democracy, p. 232]

That the system and its effects are interwoven can best be seen from the fact that while right-wing parties have been elected to office promising to reduce the role of the state in society, the actual size and activity of the state has not been reduced, indeed it has usually increased in scope (both in size and in terms of power and centralisation). This is unsurprising, as "free market" implies strong (and centralised) state -- the "freedom" of Management to manage means that the freedom of workers to resist authoritarian management structures must be weakened by state action. Thus, ironically, state intervention within society will continue to be needed in order to ensure that society survives the rigours of market forces and that elite power and privilege are protected from the masses.


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