What probably differentiates the Capitalist/Western System from Marxism/Communism the most is the completely opposite philosophies involved with each. It is rather tiresome to hear people continually point out all of the evils of Capitalism when Capitalism itself is a response to these very problems.
Capitalism is based upon the Bible. One inherent characteristic of The Bible is that it declares the imperfect nature of man which mankind is unable to correct, and therefore mankind must endure imperfection (sin) on this earth while we are here. Only through salvation and God’s power will things ever be “perfect” for us – and the Bible tells us not to even attempt to change this, but rather to work within the framework given to control these human imperfections. The Bible tells us to resist our temptations/evils, but also tells us we will never succeed in defeating evil – only God can do that.
Btw – I am not a Bible-banger promoting Christianity here. I am only pointing out the philosophical thought pattern that helped form Western Civilization, and because these thought patterns were based upon the Bible, the philosophical position of the Bible was also the philosophical position of society. The Bible preached that there is Black and White, Right and Wrong, and that only God can change these things – we cannot!
Therefore, Capitalism is not some attempt to create a utopia where evil does not exist, as so many Red-Sympathizers continually falsely allude to. Rather, Capitalism is the acknowledgement that humans are greedy and self-centered – that humans are inherently flawed – and Capitalism creates a framework to contain these baser, less honourable human instincts, and harnesses them in such a way that greed/self-centeredness are both more or less controlled, and that they are mostly directed in a positive manner for the greater good.
It is not much different than marriage 1.0 harnessing the human sex-drive and “putting it to work.” Capitalism merely harnesses human greed and “puts it work.” It’s kinda like we generally consider explosions to be dangerous and bad things, however, a controlled explosion in an environment of a cylinder and piston, as in a car engine, makes explosions positively beneficial for humankind.
An essential characteristic though is that these faults are inherent in humans and we cannot fix them, but rather, with must work with these flaws as we live in a flawed world.
In the nineteenth century, things began to change – philosophically speaking. G.W.F. Hegel identified “Dialectical Thought” and philosophically “proved” that “The Truth is Relative.” The idea of “The Truth is Relative” set the entire West upon its ear, after centuries of people using the Bible as the “standard” of Truth – and as far as the Bible goes, nothing is relative. God’s word in the Bible is ABSOLUTE TRUTH and it is not negotiable.
But, it is this idea of “relative truth” that Marxism is based upon. Also, Marxism is the belief that MAN is God himself, and therefore man has the power to change the fundamental nature of humans. It does not believe in firm rules about right and wrong – all truths are relative, and man himself gets to decide which truths he may follow. Also, if man is God himself, who puts limits on his behaviour or what he deems possible? After all, he deems himself even so powerful as to defeat the nature of humankind itself and create a Heaven on Earth. Why am I reminded of the arrogance of the Tower of Babel?
The Capitalist system forthrightly acknowledges that man is imperfect and will always BE imperfect. Sin is part of the world, and we have to live with it.
Marxism claims that man is God, and that through evolution and blank-slate hocus pocus, humans themselves can improve upon their nature so much that they can completely rid the world of all evil and create a Heaven on Earth, where we don’t need God’s offered paradise. (Who cares what God promises when WE are God?). Oh, and by the way, I recently read a history book describing the times of Stalin's five year plans - it said that most civil servants were making 4000 rubles a month while the peasants working on the collective farms were making around 150 rubles a month. Human greed and self-centeredness exists in the Marxist/Communist system just as much as it does in the Capitalist system.
Capitalists are like the car engine utilizing dangerous things (explosions) for the greater good. Marxists are people who want to create explosions from water rather than gasoline, not caring that water is not combustible – what does it matter to them? They are God after all, and even physics/nature must bend to their will.