Commentary  Capitalism comprehension problems

Re: “Giving consumerism a fright” | Commentary | November 1

It’s standard practice at The Daily to try to link everything to politics, but to be taken seriously, someone needs to pull out their first-year economics notes.

Consider Julia Bloom’s review of the costume shop, Eva B. She identifies lots of great features which I completely agree with: more and better costume choices, a more interesting shopping experience, and, because of its business model (renting instead of buying), lower prices and less waste. It was a great review. But then someone must have decided it wasn’t political enough, and threw in the subtitle: “Eva B’s costume rental challenges Halloween’s capitalist spirit.”

Quick, does anyone know what capitalism is? Extrapolating from every Daily article ever printed, capitalism is everything that sucks, like poisonous spiders and birdshit. Used in a sentence: “Fuck, I totally bombed that midterm. It was so capitalist and oppressive!” Anti-capitalism, conversely, could be presumed to refer to rainbows, sunshine, and unicorns.

Actually, capitalism is an economic system that organizes about two-thirds of Canada’s economy. It has many flaws, of course – often discussed on these pages. Eva B, however, is an example of capitalism working quite well. Bloom showed that Eva B offers a better product at a lower price than its competition. In this way, the innovative owner attracts customers and makes – gasp – a profit! – while consumers simultaneously benefit. He’s not following instructions from a government or charity – he’s making a living as a businessperson in a free market.

So yes, Eva B is great. No, it does not challenge capitalism – it IS capitalism. In order to improve our economic systems and create fairer, more sustainable societies, we need to understand what we’re talking about. Right now, it seems like The Daily hasn’t got a clue.

Nick Annejohn
U2 Engineering