Capitalism: Has got nothing to do with Democracy

Can we now scratch out that pithy bullshit idea that capitalism and the free market economy are vehicles for democracy, eradicating that lunacy from our lessons and group-think and understanding of the world and her politics, today?

As motivating arguments, I present two not-entirely-incomparable new stories from the digital world of our time.

  1. Adobe cancels Venezuelan accounts without refund, based on Trump’s edicts: https://www.ft.com/content/0c6ddd44-e95d-11e9-a240-3b065ef5fc55 2
  2. Activision Blizzard ban an e-sports player (and deny him his already-earned winnings) because China (he showed solidarity with the Hong Kong human-rights protesters): https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2019/10/08/blizzard-ban-pro-hearthstone-player-over-support-of-hong-kong-protests/ 

(HINT: You can read any FT article for free if you search for the headline on Google and click the result, there. The headline for point number 1 is: “Adobe shuts accounts in Venezuela to comply with US sanctions”)

Both of these stories have one thing in common: they show capitalism and the free market that enables it to be a cess-pit from which a certain type of company arises — companies that do whatever promises the most profit. Democracy has nothing to do with that.

In the first, we have a company bending over to comply with the edicts of a democratically elected madman. In the second, we have a company capitulating under perceived scrutiny of a regime that frowns on free speech. In neither case does the company do so grudgingly, with apology or remorse or with any effort to lesson the blow to the people to whom they are showing the hard heel of the fine-print.

Adobe could not have issued refunds, as far as I understand it, because Trump’s edict prohibits “transactions”, but I don’t see why they couldn’t stop charging their Venezuelan customers from the next billing period and allowed their subscriptions to remain active until the end of the current one — such a move seems far more fair and obvious. Doing that, with apology, would surely have been the better and more palatable way to comply with an unjust ruling.

In the second case, Blizzard had no reason to do anything at all — there was no legislative motivation for THEIR arseholery. Blizzard surely know that their fans are fickle and of short memory — they’ll have forgotten about this, next week, and all those “influencers” who deleted their accounts in indignation will just re-subscribe when that’s cool again — whereas a ban from China would be long-lasting, potentially never rescinded, and a huge impact on their profits. They simply chose to support the “democratic” regime in China because money.

What do you think?

Written by James

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