sophia_sadek (sophia_sadek) wrote,

Fascism and Capitalism

How are fascism and capitalism related? Before we investigate this question we need to agree on a definition of fascism and capitalism. Both are social constructs that are conceived differently in different social circles. I have heard it said that a lone fruit vendor qualifies as a participant in capitalism. This does not conform to the definition of capitalism with which I am personally familiar. Likewise there are people who consider science to be essential to fascism and associate free thought with the f-word. This does not conform to the definition of fascism with which I am familiar.

A lone fruit vendor might participate in capitalism by borrowing money in order to stay in business. She may be forced to purchase the fruit from an agribusiness due to the lack of independent growers. She may pay rent to a landlord and protection money to a mafia thug. All of these things can integrate the fruit vendor into the hallowed system of capitalism, but merely selling fruit does not constitute capitalism.

Likewise fascism exploits science in order to achieve its ends, but science is not essential to fascism. The Italian fascisti used the fruits of scientific technology to dominate territory in Africa. The German fascisti used technology to perform ethnic cleansing efficiently. The American fascisti use technology to integrate the fascisti of multiple ethnic backgrounds. Just because the fascisti use the fruits of science does not make science inherently fascist.

The archetypal fascisti of ancient Rome were masters of capital and science. They collected rent in the form of tribute. They lent precious metals at interest on a multi-national scale. They employed technology to train and equip their military and to build civil structures. They burned books and executed rebels to maintain the status quo. It could be said that there is no significant distinction between capitalism and fascism.
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