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Capitalism During Irish Patato Famine

Essay by   •  September 24, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,081 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,981 Views

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"Capitalism was at the root of both the Irish famine and Katrina disasters. Neither disaster would have been disastrous without capitalism."

Capitalism is defined as an economic system that is based on private ownership of capital. In a capitalist economy, the means of production are distributed to private persons and the market functioning determines the production and pricing of goods and services. Capitalism promotes economic growth by providing an open competition in the market. It provides individuals with far better opportunities of raising their income and thus achieving economic growth. Capitalism results in a decentralized economic system. In a decentralized economy, individuals are open to more number of options in business. They are exposed to competition and have to face different challenges thus forcing them to find solutions in order to stay in competition with their competitors. It is in a capitalist economy that hard work is rewarded. Capitalism gives rise to an economy thus allowing the consumers to regulate the market. A competitive market facilitates the manufacture of a wide variety of products and the formation of a wide range of services. Consumers are happier in a capitalist economy. It encourages people to work towards financial freedom. Some consider the fierce competition brought about by capitalism as its major drawback, thus believing that a capitalist economy can give rise to unfair competition. Capitalism makes an economy money-oriented entitling corporations to look at the economy with a materialistic point of view. Profitability remains their only primary business goal, causing the stronger/bigger corporations to buy out smaller businesses. Employee rights are compensated, many corporations throwing ethics out the door, forcing productivity to rise. The problem with capitalism is that the money and the decisions are the preserve of an elite few.

In both cases of disaster, the famine and hurricane Katrina, there were great disparities between the rich and the poor. This set up a scenario that developed over many years that put those poor people in a situation to be most devastated by a disaster. The Corn Laws were designed to insure that British landowners received all financial profits from farming, this law made it too expensive for British citizens to buy grain from any other country. These laws enhanced the profits and political power associated with land ownership while causing harsh times for the poor class. The land owners had plenty of food, the country was very wealthy but the Irish remained poor, and thus the food was exported to countries with populations that could pay a higher price to buy it. In 1846 the Corn Law was repealed thus dropping the price of corn because corn could be imported from other countries. Due to the development of cheaper shipping and faster shipping (steam) and modernization of farming equipment, Britain was able to buy cheap corn from North America and the Russian Empire. The now open markets caused smaller farms whom did not have the money for updated equipment an extreme disadvantage with trying to keep up with the larger, richer pocket farms. The land owners, the people who had money thus the power to make laws, were not making as much money because the

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