from one of my favorite blogs:
Capitalists often cite individual freedom as a positive attribute of their system. Why is it that a system that produces mindless and bland conformity (as we all know from our experience of life) gets to pose as the champion of the individual?
It’s down to some basic fallacies. The capitalist says “you can go out and be whatever you want, do whatever you want, follow your dreams, work hard to achieve them!” etc. What they actually mean, however, is that you can go out and earn money however you want. Of course, we all do want money, because under capitalism, we’ll starve without it. So this supposed ideology of the individual begins with everyone wanting exactly the same thing.
This ‘freedom of the individual’ then boils down to choosing between the jobs available to that individual, or starting their own business, or starving. Hardly anyone is lucky enough to have a job that no one else does. That choice generally leads to conformity, doing exactly the same thing as many other people, every day, in the same place, with the daily humiliation of having to pretend that this is what you actually wanted.
Some ‘lucky’ workers will be able to follow a ‘career path’ in which this mapped out, preordained, conformist work lasts continuously until they are old, with the financial remuneration slowly but steadily increasing over the decades.
Or, you can start your own business, and ‘compete’ in the marketplace. This is the capitalists favourite choice, the one that really seems to sell the ‘individual freedom’ line. The problem is that competition implies conformity. You can only ‘win’ if you are all playing the same game. There’s a tiny amount of people who have had a genuinely unique business idea, but the rest are all doing exactly the same thing as their competitors, but they are trying to do it slightly better, or cheaper, or faster.
Despite the capitalist rhetoric of ‘risk taking’ that option is really only available to the rich, for whom it’s not a real risk at all. The small businessman, given a choice between conforming to market norms and the possibility of homelessness, almost always chooses conformity. So, that’s a dead end for individualism too.
None of the choices that capitalism offers the individual avoid conformity. For all their lies about freedom and liberty and individualism they produce a robotic and lifeless society, which in Emma Goldman’s words;“condemns millions of people to be mere nonentities, living corpses without originality or power of initiative”
Capitalism is the ideology of the uniform, the time card, the name tag and the stop clock. It’s the ideology of boredom. It is standardised, predictable and dull. It is the enemy of creativity, free expression and self determination. For all its bullshit about liberty, capitalism is the mortal enemy of individual freedom.