Efficiency has nothing to do with capitalism.

Despite the fact that “capitalism is more efficient” is an oft-repeated bromide, capitalism actually has no relation to efficiency and is often very inefficient. That’s the case put forward by Richard Wolff in The Raw Story.

Many goods and services once made in the US and western Europe for those markets are now produced elsewhere and transported back to them. That wastes resources spent on the costly relocation and consequent return transportation. The pollution (of air, sea and soil) associated with vast transportation networks – and the eventual cleaning up of that pollution – only enlarges that waste.

The factories, offices and stores abandoned by departing capitalist corporations increase the waste of resources and of workers’ lives. In the surrounding communities, tax bases eroded by capitalists’ departures mean reduced social services, public spaces, and qualities of life for all but the richest. Those vast wastes of resources and damages to lives offset whatever small efficiency gains corporate relocations only sometimes achieve.

Corporations rarely count, let alone compensate for, the resources and lives wasted because of their relocation decisions. They only count the benefits to their profits, growth, and market share from moving. Moving is advantageous for them; they neither worry about nor count whether moving is efficient for the economy or society at large.

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