Monday, 3 August 2015

How Russell Brand Donating the Profits from his Book “Revolution” to the New Era Cafe is an Example of what makes Capitalism Beautiful.

How Russell Brand Donating the Profits from his Book “Revolution” to the New Era Cafe is an Example of what makes Capitalism Beautiful.

After reading that Russell Brand had accidentally called a Jewish member of his audience a Nazi, I couldn’t wait to write a diatribe on him. I personally find Brand to be a sesquipedalian, patronizing nonsense-talker. In other words I find Brand uses over-complicated language to make himself sound more intelligent but I find his ideas tend not to have great substance - Tony Blair stated on his book “Revolution” that he literally had no idea what it meant. I find that Brand(along with other anti-capitalists) has a tendency to sanctimoniously snare upon the right-winged and appears to protest against anything and everything the conservative government sets out to enact. However, what infuriates me the most about Brand is that I find that he is a walking contradiction of what he preaches: he is epitome of a “champagne socialist”. Brand’s lifestyle appears to contradict his personal beliefs. For example the amount of money he has pocketed from his books, films and other personal appearances  has allowed him to lead a lavish lifestyle - he lives in a £2million rented home which is propertied by a company based in the British Virgin Islands known as “Tax Haven”.

However, from further study I learnt that  Brand had surprisingly donated the profits from his book “Revolution” to the New Era cafe - a social enterprise which employs local recovering drug addicts. The tenants of the estate had faced eviction from an American Company and faced trebling rent. Brand had protested against this and the due course actions were cancelled. Brand argues that the Cafe symbolizes what he describes  in his anti-capitalist doctrine “Revolution”. The cafe according to Brand is an example of a “grassroots movement”,“ It’s a model which is not for profit, a fully self-supporting new economic enterprise.”

I admire Brand for his involvement in this project and for a change appears to be “practicing what he preaches”.  I admire that he choose to donate the profits of his book to this charity - it was his personal choice. However this is the conundrum - this is why I like capitalism; it allows people to choose what to spend their money on.

Left-wing politics advocates high taxation and high public spending, which quintessentially means that more money will be taken off civilians and the government will decide what to do with it. This leads less opportunity for people to make decisions like Russell Brand has done to donate money to a charity. If this was already selected by the government, humans would not need to think about their personal financial choices.  The decision to donate money to charity is a moral decision -one has consciously thought about it and considered it to be a good deed.

This is the main reason I am a capitalist - people have more freedom and to have freedom is essentially more moral. This has been recognized before by the economists David Schwab and Elinor Ostrom: the structure of capitalism highly rests on ethics. In capitalist economies people acquire wealth because they earned it unlike in economies before where wealth was acquired through invasion and war. Capitalism is the only system whereby you can become wealthy without being a criminal.  In a capitalist system like the United Kingdom you gain wealth through working for it, if you do not wish to be wealthy you can then choose to donate your wealth to others - as Brand did. Capitalism does not encourage a division between the rich and the poor; the royals and the peasant; the bourgeois and the proletariat, in fact it does the opposite - it builds a bridge. Tom G. Palmer notes that capitalism allows common people to gain wealth and through this abolishing the long-entrenched systems of power.

Anti-capitalists claim that capitalism creates a class system, when actually it does quite the opposite - it demolishes the class system. The barriers between what is working, middle and upper class is now blurred as we are all the working class. People do no need to be born into aristocracy to become wealthy.  Capitalism encourages entrepreneurship because it is rewarded - people are not slaves to the monarch. The innovation and entrepreneurship that capitalism encourages benefits the whole economy, it is the reason why in large the greatest economies in the world are capitalist.  

If one finds they do acquire a great deal of wealth, one can then choose what to do with their money - you can choose to be charitable. Russel Brand believes that donating money to the New Era Cafe is an example of a socialist revolution but actually the fact that Brand accumulated the finances through entrepreneurship and then made the moral decision to donate the money to his chosen cause is only made possible through capitalism and is an example of what makes capitalism beautiful.