The Pyramid of the Capitalist System

The Pyramid of the Capitalist System, Old School Version: (click for bigger)

The Pyramid of the Capitalist System, New School Version: (click for bigger)

UPDATE: This entry is the most popular on this blog, believe it or not! Here is another one I found from Ants, Angels and Armor:

UPDATE 2: Here is yet another one, from Occasional Links and Commentary:

35 thoughts on “The Pyramid of the Capitalist System

  1. Belinsky August 20, 2008 at 23:27

    Ooh, I’ve had the old version as my desktop for a while now, but I like the new one!

  2. Anarcho-pragmatiste August 21, 2008 at 19:46

    I LOVE the new one!

    J’ai publié une version traduite et adaptée de “Why Anarchists must be pro-markets and anti-capitalism” dans mon blogue.

  3. Niccolo August 22, 2008 at 05:47


    I love the new one, of course, it’ll have vulgar libertarians spitting, but that’s why I like it I suppose.

  4. […] The Pyramid of the Capitalist System  by Francois Tremblay […]

  5. […] (Thanks to Francois Tremblay 2008-08-19.) […]

  6. Barry Deutsch September 16, 2008 at 12:57

    That’s great!

    Do you know who drew it?

  7. Francois Tremblay September 16, 2008 at 13:04

    No idea.

  8. Rad Geek September 16, 2008 at 22:17


    Where did you get the image for the “New School Version” from?

  9. Francois Tremblay September 17, 2008 at 03:10

    I don’t know, but it is widely available. Just search for “pyramid of the capitalist system” and you should see a couple of those.

  10. President Obama January 20, 2009 at 09:13

    […] is the New Capitalist Pyramid.  [See the old one […]

  11. Db0 February 7, 2009 at 22:43

    Brilliant! What is the source?

  12. […] (h/t to Check your Premises) […]

  13. Francois Tremblay February 8, 2009 at 03:58

    I really couldn’t say. I found it on Google Images.

  14. Db0 February 8, 2009 at 08:36

    No worries, I found out already :)

  15. Ruth Ferez January 2, 2010 at 14:51

    It is absurd to try and claim that religion is a Capitalistic device when Religion has existed since the dawn of man and because it exists in nearly every indigenous culture in the world.

  16. Francois Tremblay January 2, 2010 at 16:19

    That doesn’t make any sense. Are you saying that no ideology can ever be co-opted for other ends? That’s obviously false.

  17. […] discovered a more recent version on Francois Tremblay’s blog, which is more relevant to how the Capitalist Pyramid scheme functions today. var addthis_language […]

  18. ericantifa October 28, 2010 at 15:59

    this is a poster from the Industrial Workers of the World. You can buy reproductions of it from our online store at


  19. Shawnedw January 6, 2011 at 14:29

    It should be noted that we are looking at this image on computers that are products of this capitalist system. Also, you also are able to obtain internet access and have the time to look at the image. Finally, isn’t it kind of insulting the way the image portrays people that I am assuming come from third world nations. I would also like to ask those third world people how the command economies run by corrupt dictators are working for them and if they prefer that system to the capitalist system. I would also ask this same question of the people of countries like India who have moved towards capitalism if they would like to go back to the old system.

    • Francois Tremblay January 6, 2011 at 16:38

      I’m a socialist, so your point is lost. I’ve got nothing against making computers, and I don’t support command economies, or centrally planned economies like ours (corporate capitalism).

  20. Argus September 25, 2011 at 15:57

    That new one describes America to the last nut and bolt—but it ain’t Capitalism.

    Actually it describes ‘democracy’ as practised in most democracies of the world— but again, it ain’t Democracy.

    • Francois Tremblay September 25, 2011 at 16:01

      Let me correct you a bit.

      These graphics do not describe theoretical capitalism or theoretical democracy, no.

      However, they do very adequately describe actually-existing-capitalism and actually-existing-democracy.

      Whether this is a bad thing or not will depend on your leanings. I personally am definitely not a friend of either theoretical capital-democracy or actually-existing-capital-democracy.

  21. Argus September 25, 2011 at 20:10

    Sadly, the reality is that in order for some to consume some have to produce. Justice is when producers get to consume, trading (if they so wish) any surplus for someone else’s surplus. Injustice is when a producer’s property is taken from him to give to a non-producer.
    Trade, or theft.
    My leaning is towards trade. Anything other than pure trade is theft.

    You are a hundred percent correct in that the graphics accurately describe the systems we actually have; but to call them ‘capitalism’ is a terrible (deliberately emotional?) misnomer—fascism might fit, mixed economy, communism/socialism/whateverism too … but capitalism, not.
    We need a better name for what we have.

    • Francois Tremblay September 25, 2011 at 20:15

      So far I agree with you. However, I don’t see your problem with “capitalism.”

      Capitalism is defined as any economy where the means of production are privately owned. That is exactly what we have.

  22. Argus September 26, 2011 at 23:24

    My problem is with the emotive connotations of the word these days. It’s gone from accurate classification to pejorative, as in the widely linked “Foul filthy fat bloated capitalist pigs … “.
    And the means of production aren’t privately owned, unless the government can be considered ‘private’. Hence it is a mixed economy, conveniently but mistakenly referred to by the blanket term ‘capitalist’; one getting awesomely close to fascism.
    I gather (possibly mistakenly?) that you don’t like the idea of ‘democracy’. Your thoughts—can what we have be improved, if so, how?

    • Francois Tremblay September 26, 2011 at 23:37

      Well, the thing is, private ownership of the means of production IS exploitative. That’s why we are anti-capitalist.

      I am confused when you say the means of production are not privately owned. Are you denying the structure of the capitalist firm and the capitalist corporation?

      No, I don’t think democracy as we have it can be improved, except maybe by changing single-candidate voting systems to a system of approval voting. That would be nice, although it wouldn’t have a big effect.

  23. Argus September 27, 2011 at 16:14

    How is private ownership ‘exploitative’? Private ownership is when the guy who worked and/or paid for it has sole rights to it: i.e. he earned it, it’s his.
    Isn’t this basic justice?
    Theft is when someone who hasn’t earned it demands/commands the ‘right’ to exploit it. The right of might, which in no way is justice.

    • Francois Tremblay September 27, 2011 at 16:19

      Uh, yea. If you think a man being born in a rich family and being able to buy other people’s means of production so he can order them around is “basic justice,” then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I call that exploitation, not justice.

      Fuck property ownership. Fuck capitalism.

  24. Argus September 27, 2011 at 17:35

    As a worker all my life I’ve don’t object to being ordered around by someone who buys the services I’m offering, win/win. If I didn’t like it sometimes I moved on to where my contributions were appreciated.
    (I guess I’ll have to post on this.)
    However, I do not like unearned privilege.
    The privilege of being boss should be earned—by talent, not by being in the party hierarchy and greasing the right political wheels; or by being born into ‘aristocracy’. Carnegie made it on his own, Edison too, and many others.

    Good luck …

    • Francois Tremblay September 27, 2011 at 17:39

      Thank you for the dumbass laissez-faire propaganda. Now get out of here.

  25. Argus September 27, 2011 at 20:01

    Your call.

    I like your sheeple cartoon (header) — mind if I use it? (With due credits, of course).

    • Francois Tremblay September 27, 2011 at 20:03

      This is an Anarchist blog, so I don’t really see the point of you being here.

      The cartoon is not mine, so permission is not mine to give. I am also against IP, so I wouldn’t care anyway.

  26. Argus September 27, 2011 at 20:12

    Well, thanks anyway.
    Good luck with the anarching.

  27. […] The Pyramid of the Capitalist System  by Francois Tremblay […]

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