Capitalism is Isolation
This is part of a series called Capitalism Is. It is not meant to be persuasive; I just want to look at how capitalism in practice works and affects society.
If you have the pleasure of working for startups, at some point you will be told that you’re family. I didn’t notice the inaneness of this statement when I first heard it. I genuinely thought, “How nice.” Sometimes a job can feel like family. Your co-workers are your friends – you laugh together. Your company gives you a good deal on health insurance and gives you time off when you need it. You might even lower your salary because the company seems nice to work for. This is pretty cool. But wait – what does this have to do with family?
Family is a social unit consisting of people related by blood or the choice to permanently be part of the same group. Nobody pays you to be in a family. You help out your family members, then they help you out, and we don’t keep tabs. I’m honest with my family members. I make sacrifices for them. We all want each other to be happy and fulfilled – whatever that means to us. We judge each others decisions for the other’s benefit. We know each other deeply. We might disagree, but always have each other’s back. I hope you see how a company can never be family. But for people without families, this false promise from a capitalist entity can trap them in psychologically manipulated servitude.
The truth is, capitalism is isolation. You are a sole entity, and you have to protect your own interests. For a time, you will work for the interests of your firm, if in turn the firm supports your interests. When that firm no longer provides what you want, loyalty is up for sale. This is not a bad thing – this is just how the free market works. Are you disloyal if you found a brand of toothpaste you like better than what you previously purchased? Not at all. Companies, even those who might call you family, are buying your services like you buy toothpaste. It is completely reasonable that at some point they might find a better way to do business than with your services. You should expect this. Business relationships are temporary. They are nothing like family.
This isolation is perhaps why strong family structures are crucial to capitalism. In a dog-eat-dog world, your pack is your greatest asset. 🐺