I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about our “greedy” capitalist society. Quite often they are referring to Walmart, the oil industry, and companies who “ship jobs” overseas. There are others, but one of these poses a serious question for capitalism:

Walmart (and hundreds of other retailers) purchase the majority of their products from China. China is a communist country. Are selling and purchasing communist goods acts of capitalism?

Certainly, a cornerstone of capitalism is the free market, but what is it when that “free market” that a capitalist nation purchases from is a communist country? Some might argue that it qualifies as a mixed market economy, but that is a moot point for various reasons and is irrelevant to the question.

People who complain about the “greed” of capitalism will argue that profit driven capitalism is what drives corporations to purchase cheap products from communist countries like China. However, I argue that it is (1) our fear of inflation that drives companies to find cheaper markets like China and that (2) searching for these cheaper products in a communist country is not capitalism.

It’s not like we don’t know China is a communist country. It’s not like we don’t know that the Chinese government filters all money that we send to Chinese banks when our corporations buy products from their factories. We also know that we could, if we wanted to, manufacture these same products in America or another non-communist country. And we also know that our government has given China, a communist nation, favored nation status. With government intervention in support of a communist nation, how can anyone consider the actions of Walmart and other retailers who purchase from a communist country capitalist greed?

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  1. Jesse

    One has to keep in mind that there is a difference between the concept of the free market and ‘state capitalism’.

    As far as corporations seeking better markets, regulations/taxes are a huge factor in addition to inflation.

    Also, just a point of contention on the word capitalism. One problem that is ingrained in the West’s understanding of capitalism arises from the fact that Marx is the one who used the term, defined it, and opposed it. So naturally Marx’s interpretation of capitalism is what is taught. This is why so many in America blame the market and capitalism. Misunderstanding….

  2. Kiran

    Walmart also buys products from illegal wood harvesters (mafia) trafficking through, I think, China to Russia, who are clearly outside the communist system while residing in that communist country. I don’t know if that’s greed, but it’s certainly “free” trade, isn’t it?

  3. Jesse

    true free trade, or the free market, means that entry into the market is not regulated. try naming an occupation that you can enter into without getting a license or whatever for… lol.

  4. Jesse – of course, there is limited capitalism in any economy. However, what I’m suggesting is that what people call “capitalist greed” is actually communism.

    Also, naming an occupation that you can enter into without getting a license: marketing and advertising come to mind.

    Also, requiring a business license is certainly not considered non-capitalist. In fact, all writers about capitalism mention government involvement with business on this level as a requirement.

  5. Jesse

    i don’t know about that. the US has a lot of communist measures, but i think there’s a lot of socialism and fascism involved here as well.

    There are lots of ways to get a “license”, but just think healthcare. one huge reason it is so expensive is due to the cost of entry in to the market.

  6. I can’t argue with you about healthcare. This is a truly failed system that is not being run as a capitalist industry by any means.




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