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The Evolution of Pornography

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WARNING : Explicit! Mature content! Juicy! Stop reading now if you do not want to read about Ronn’s fetishes and sexual objectification of the female body.

NOPE. I’m not going to write about my fetishes. Nor I’m going to write about sexual fantasies.

But I do think pornography is something fun to write about. Why? Simply because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. Because pornography is the most consumed content on the internet. And because I personally think it is one of the best inventions to (virtually) fulfill the deepest need of human primal instinct (Freudien theory).

Plus, it’s an industry which I have been observing for many good years, so I think it’s time to put down some digital ink on this topic. Here we go.

In The Beginning ..

My first impression of pornography wasn’t really good. In fact, I thought it was awful. When I first watched pornography, especially Western pornography, I thought it was ugly, dirty, gross, and distasteful.  I refused to believe this level of pornography will appeal to anyone other than 60 years old sweaty sticky old men who somehow just have fetishes for everything ugly.

I genuinely felt pornography is a very badly packaged product that people will just keep buying anyway because people desperately need it. Sorta like TM’s Unifi. It’s expensive and not blazing fast by international standard, but Malaysians will still subscribe to it because they crave for ‘fast’ internet. We just don’t have many quality choices around.

Sure, pornography makes lots and lots of money… by selling an inferior product to a desperate market. However, I’ve always thought pornography could be at a higher level. The level where the industry makes lots of money selling a more tasteful product instead.

And then, I witnessed the revolution of Japanese pornography.

The Evolution of Japanese Pornography

Japanese pornography before the year 2000 did give me the same vibe as Western pornography but with just 2 main differences – Japanese actresses are more submissive compared to the western counterpart and their movies have more weird fetishes themes. And so yeah, equally as bad if not worse.

But it all changed in the mid of 2000’s. Around the year 2004, S1 Style Studio revolutionized and revamped the entire Japanese pornography industry with some pretty ingenious marketing killer moves.

Basically the two killer marketing moves they made were:

1 –  Relabeled ‘Porn’ to ‘Adult Video’ & relabeled ‘Porn Actresses’ to ‘Adult Video Idols’.

2- Made adult video idols mainstream.

So, how did S1 Studio make them mainstream? Apart from all the adult movies the girls performed in, they also …

  • Occasionally placed the girls in Japanese TV drama series as cameo
  • Fund movies for the idols to be a leading actress in some B-grade movie
  • Feature them as guests in TV game shows and entertainment shows
  • Organize fans meeting sessions
  • Producing music singles and albums
  • Mini concerts for them to perform singing
  • Produce music videos

Plus, instead of portraying the girls as sluts or some hyper horny creatures, they maintained the cute, innocent, and clean idol image in their adult movies. Fully naked of course. And no weird strange movie themes. Straight forward themes doing common role playing. Because the main focus is not about fulfilling some sort of strange fetish pleasures in the viewers. It’s all about showcasing the idols’ talent and beauty.

Suddenly, these girls are no longer porn stars.  They have useful talents. They are entertaining.  They are some sort of celebrity. They have fans following. It’s a newly defined industry.

What are the benefits of mainstreaming the adult video industry?

  • Creating new buyer behaviour –  By making adult video mainstream, people openly supporting the adult video idols has become culturally acceptable. No longer guys sneakily go into a shop to buy porn in Japan. Whenever a guy buys an adult movie, he is doing it not because he is some desperate horny guy (even if he is) but because he is supporting his favourite idol.
  • Gives a cleaner image –  These girls have useful talent. They perform. They are not just some shoddy actress. That’s why they are all over the TV. They are idols.
  • Creates following – Just like in JPOP and KPOP industry where fanatics will buy every single album and attend every concert of their favourite pop groups, fans of the adult video idols will also buy every single of the adult video release to complete the collection.
  • Expanding the pornography industry – People who wasn’t interested with pornography are constantly exposed to the cute and pretty idols on TV. Chances are they will check out the adult videos too.

S1 Studio was once the most popular studio popularizing legendary idols like Sora Aoi, Maria Ozawa, Honoka, Rio, Yuma Asami, Akiho Yoshizaki, etc.. But from 2011 onwards, they have since lost their throne to IdeaPocket due to lack of innovation and lack in aggression in recruiting new and fresh idols (because female idols will naturally lose their appeal once they pass the age 27 or 28, not only in adult video industry but also in JPOP and KPOP industries. It’s a natural thing.)

Sure, non-idol-mostly-weird-ass-gross-themes pornography do still exist. But the mass no longer go for them. It has became a niche. All the new videos on the best-sellers frontpage typically have an idol on it. Japanese pornography has evolved vs 10 years ago.

Evidence of how Japanese adult video idols went mainstream – A  music video of a pop group consist of all popular adult video idols.  (And yes, I do recognize most of them ;/)

The Incoming Revolution of Western Pornography? Or Just a Niche Market?

The Japanese pornography industry evolved by making their idols mainstream, boosting their popularity, and giving them a cleaner image thus making adult video culturally acceptable. How about Western pornography? Sure, some of the top porn actresses do get followings to a certain extend, but the entire industry landscape did not evolved much at all over the last many years.

However, I noticed a niche porn industry going on in the last 1 year which coincide with the ongoing habits of the social media world and new trends. And i’m start seeing the potential of the next generation of Western pornography. It’s not happening yet – But i’m gonna boldly make a prediction for the next evolution of pornography (and which I believe should happen)-

An all new Pornography industry for the female market

Pornography has traditionally focused and targeted the male market only. But i believe, pornography can evolve by just shifting the target market to the female market. And I strongly believe it should be the way to go. I based my analysis and prediction on the 2 points below:

Point A (WHY): The Rise of Artsy Stuffs and other Trends.

1. Tumblr – In the past few years, Tumblr has gotten more and more popular, especially among the female demographics. What is on Tumblr? Basically all the most interesting pictures and GIFs on earth are on Tumblr. And if you pay attention to what sort of pictures girls usually reblog on Tumblr, they are usually artsy, semi-erotic, sexy pictures. For example, a pretty boy sexily kissing a pretty girl with some random quotes.  Judging by all the pictures girls like viewing on Tumblr, I think the site it’s sorta like a porn for the ladies.

2. Instagram – As smartphone gets better and better, now everyone can take photos with their smartphone. We have now a trend where people like to add filters to the picture to create an artsy feel and sharing it with their friends.

3. Fifty Shades – Another upcoming trend I foresee is the rise of mainstream erotic novels. I think the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has broken barriers in many ways – Girls are not shy anymore to show they are reading an erotic novel and openly discussing about it.

4. X-Art, Met-Art, Joymii, Orgasms.xxx – Sites for artsy porn. They are still mainly catering to the male market but I believe by just slightly tweaking up the business model, videography and with some good marketing, artsy porn could easily penetrate the female market because I believe it is naturally appealing to the females.

When all the dots are connected , I strongly believe that there can be a huge potential for female pornography market to boom. It’s almost an untapped market. In the future, pornography will not be exclusively a guy thing only but could also for female too. And to make it happen we will probably need to make artsy porn mainstream.

Point B (HOW): Changing Standards To Fit New Market

As an avid gamer, I have witnessed how gaming industry in the past evolved from a traditionally male market and opened up itself. 15 years ago, female gamers were virtually non-existent.  Today, every 1 in 4 gamers are female. Of course, females don’t just naturally come and adopt gaming all of a sudden for no reasons. It’s all about the industry changing standards – By focusing the game to be fun instead of challenging. By focusing on attractive graphics and story-line instead of the gaming mechanics. By making games short and easy instead of long and difficult. By giving a more feminine feel to the game rather than masculine or macho feel.

And it’s the very same reason why I quit console gaming and despise this new standard. It’s the very same reason, why I prefer playing 15 years old games rather than new games. But at the same time, I’m aware that my personal vendetta with this new gaming standard is futile and one-sided. That’s because they gained many more female gamers for every one Ronn who quits.

Similarly, for the next generation of pornography, the standards can be changed to appeal to the female audience. We can get cues of what female want in the erotica department from the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Detailed, dreamy, fantasy-ish, passionate, the forbidden fruit, etc. Sounds pretty close to videos from X-Art.

I’m a big fan of X-Art videos. I personally love artsy porn for many reasons. For one, I think it’s extremely beautiful, clean and natural. It’s tastefully high quality. It’s like the iPhone of pornography. X-Art, in my opinion, did everything right by challenging the status quo of current hardcore porn and setting their own standards.

1. Good looking actors & actress (typically Eastern European girls who has a more natural beauty look)

2. Beautiful background and settings – From house, hotel, sea, beach, forest, or even outdoor city, everything is just beautiful. It’s like a perfect dream. (True story – I was watching one of the X-Art’s video and I was so marveled by the beauty of the sea and i was just staring at it for some time)

3. More intimate and passionate scenes

4. Better video filters to create a more artsy color and feel.

Artsy porn is definitely not for everyone. But if they can create a scenario where for every one old sticky sweaty man leaving but gaining several female customers at the same time, I would say it’s a good trade. A very good trade actually.

2

Conclusion

Some may argue pornography may not appeal to all female. Surely, just like gaming industry, most females are not attracted to gaming despite how the gaming industry has evolved over the years. Heck, not even all males are gamers too. Some people may like it, some people don’t. It’s just the way of life. It’s just business.

But just like any other industries, if you could just increase the market share by 1% or 2%, you would probably be a champion. At this moment, every 1 in 3 person who watches porn is a female. Imagine the potential if it goes to 1:1

Right now, artsy pornography is on a very niche market. Will artsy porn become mainstream? Will the mass adopt the new pornography standard? As a multi-billion dollar business industry, I surely do hope the demand will not be forever dictated by the taste of old sticky sweaty men. To make it happen, it will need the power of female market to influence the supply and demand of pornography production. If the ladies are sold by artsy porn, then we would probably see the evolution and adoption of the next generation of pornography in the next few years.

Written by elan85

December 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm

SSTWO Mall needs some serious help

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I have only been to SSTWO Mall once in my whole entire lifetime eventhough the mall is just 5 minutes drive away from my house. It was a lunch with friends – but we ate and left straight after without exploring much… And I have never stepped on the mall for the second time ….. until two weeks ago.

I decided to pay SSTWO Mall a visit because I got to know a shop called  GNC which sell protein shake there.  Why do I need to buy protein shake? Because when a man wants to buy some protein shake, he will walk in to the mall and buy it.

But I ended up didn’t buying any. Anyway.

But this time, I had the opportunity to take a proper look at the mall. I walked around, floor after floor, to check out what’s cool there. Obviously, I was disappointed as there were nothing remarkable, reflected by all the empty-unoccupied-vacant shops.

Then, I noticed there were a bunch of people dressing very nicely. And so I stalked them for a while, and they were all heading towards Dynasty Dragon restaurant at the most upper level for a wedding dinner. Take away these bunch of wedding-dinner-goer people, and this mall has 50% less people.

The more I looked at the state of the mall, the more I raged. A beautiful mall, but everything is just wrong. What raged me was the lack of direction and purpose of what SSTWO Mall wanna be.  It is as though they are leaving it to fate, hope for the mall to succeed automatically while in reality letting it rot along the way.

And I have thought, they should just let me be the director and manage the mall. I walked around for 15 minutes and ideas just kept flowing in my head on how to improve this mall. And I thought, things will not go any more worse even if I fail in any of my plans.

Analysis

Out of the 10 biggest shopping malls in the world, Malaysia has 3.  And it speaks volume of how big a shopping culture is in Malaysia and how competitive the shopping mall market is. Hence, to succeed, every mall must have purpose and reason for people to step on the mall. There are basically, two major directions a mall can take to succeed –

A – Themed shopping mall 

Fashion – Sungei Wang, Starhill

High End-ish / Premium – Bangsar Village, Empire, Pavillion

Tech/Gadgets – Lowyat, Digital Mall

Food – Curve, Publika

Bazaar – Amcorp Mall, Curve, Summit

B – Generic shopping mall – Everything under one roof, whatever you want to find.

Example – 1Utama, Mid Valley, Sunway Pyramid, Times Square, Tropicana Mall, etc.

The secret success of a big-ass generic mall is simple, really. You just need to have three things and you are pretty much set to go.

1. Cinema (GSC, TGV)

2. Hypermarket (Tesco, Carrefour, Giant, Jaya Grocer)

3. Plenty of food options.

And everything else is just additional reasons for people to spend time walking around.

This is where SSTWO Mall failed. They are obviously not a themed mall since there are so many rojak shops. They have neither a cinema nor a reputable hypermarket, so they are not competing with the big boys. SO WHO ARE THEY?

Why should people go to SSTWO Mall? No reasons at all. And it builds up the viscous cycle –  less people visiting the mall, less money flow in, shops starts closing down, even less people coming in, even more shops close down and the cycle will  loop perpetually. Eventually SSTWO Mall will slowly die off and become nothing but a ghost mall.

Therefore SSTWO mall should start reversing and creating a positive loop instead. It doesn’t matter which direction SSTWO Mall is taking, whether to be a themed shopping mall or a generic one, as long as they choose one. Just like any business, a mall without any sort of direction or proper goals will die off.

Strategy

The easier path to take is obviously to push all the way to become a well-defined themed shopping mall .. especially for food or bazaar ala Curve’s style. It is the easiest way out I can imagine with the state of how they are now.

But since I’m already assuming the position of an armchair critic, where everything seems easy to be done as said, then I will just bullshit all the way through with some strategies on how to be a successful generic mall.

Here are the 5 points strategy.

1. Branded hypermarket – When I surveyed the surrounding of SSTWO Mall, all I see was condo, house, condo and more house. It’s basically a mall located in the middle of a housing area. When there are so many people staying in one area, groceries will be high in demand. This is when a hypermarket will come handy. And currently, there’s one supermarket in SSTWO Mall called Urban Food Supermarket. No offence but who the hell is Urban Food Supermarket? Nobody knows about them. People only know about Giant, Carrefour, Tesco and Jaya Grocer. Urban Food Supermarket represent nothing in people’s head. That’s why people go to Tropicana Mall for groceries and not to SSTWO Mall

Action : Get one of the big boys hypermarket in.

2. Cinema – 10 years ago, I learned that contrary to popular belief, piracy did nothing to stop people from going to cinema.  It’s because cinema offers something which almost every household cannot afford – big ass screen and big ass speakers. However, standalone cinema which shows only 1 movie at a time collapse, because there are no varieties offered. GSC and TGV in a way revolutionized cinema by shrinking the size of cinema hall and offered up to 10 ongoing movies at the same time for people to choose. And that was the start of the era of people visiting shopping mall to watch movies in cinema. If you do some surveys, watching movie will always be one of the top 2 activities in shopping mall along with eating. Now that I have explained the history of cinema in Malaysia, does this make any sense to you SSTWO Mall?

Action : Get GSC/TGV in.

3. Entertainment (especially for young people) – Bowling, karaoke, archery, arcade. There is only a snooker place/bar which hide itself at the most top floor. With so many houses around the mall, chances are there are many younger people staying around the area too. Secret of young people – they are allergic to money. They wanna throw it out from their pocket as soon as they can. But first, you must give them reasons why they should throw the money away. And SSTWO mall is not giving people any reasons other than food and maybe some ChaTime.

Action : One bowling centre and a karaoke lounge, and you will be giving plenty reasons to SS2 and Section 17 people why they should head over. Really.

4.  More bars with expensive food – Personally, I’m not a big fan of beer or alcohol but I do recognized the uptrend of people hanging out at bars with expensive western food (which will cost around RM50-RM100 per meal). The great thing  about PJ location especially SS2, Section 17, and Damansara is that it’s a predominantly Chinese population. Which means you won’t lose out a lot running non-Halal business. And Jaya One has set the standard pretty good.

Action : Mix the variety of existing food and restaurants at SSTWO Mall.

5. Free rent and just cover the basic utility cost like electricity, water, management fee – The 4 ideas above is about getting as many cool retailers in as possible – And the best way to get them in is to offer a nothing-much-to-lose reason. What is better than not charging any rent? Sure, there’s still some renovation cost and furniture cost, but free 1 year rent? Pretty good deal, I think.

SSTWO is already leaving a shitty impression to people that it’s a dying mall. It’s now or never before it’s going to collapse if no new retailers come in.

Action : RM0 rent for 1 year.

Few day ago, I was driving across LDP highway, and I noticed that Paradigm Mall is ready for their launching. Such a weird location, but I think they are gonna do well just for the simple fact that they have GSC and Tesco. And they will be having a grand ceremony by inviting celebrities in to perform. I won’t really bet my money on them failing anytime soon. There are plenty of stuffs SSTWO Mall can learn from Paradigm Mall on how to kickstart and launch a mall properly.

Written by elan85

May 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

The unforeseen potential bubble in Malaysia.

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1. When I was in college, I was quite fascinated when i first learned about the news of dotcom bubble bust. There were plenty of hoo-haa and the global economic landscape were looking pretty grim during that period. Yet, I do not have the complete idea of how exactly bubble bust work and what caused the bubble. Soon, i heard many other different bubbles too  like … stock bubble, property bubble, gold bubble, etc. etc. What’s obvious to me was that it seems everything which has to do with investment and money are somewhat related to … bubble.  It took me quite a while to kinda figure out the whole concept of this bubble bubble thingy. And when I did, it changed the way of how I look at Supply & Demand forever. Supply & Demand is not just one of those hundreds of not-so-practical theories we learn in economic classes. Supply & Demand is actually the fundamental of everything economics.  And if there’s one big take-away, I learned that economic bubble collapse is actually directly related to Supply & Demand.

2. I am really a simple guy. When I was in school, every meal costs only around RM3 or RM4. That was because i spent most of my time eating in cheap Chinese restaurants. When I was in college, the spending for each meal increased to around RM5 to RM7. Around 50% increase compared to my school days. I was still mostly eating at the same cheap Chinese restaurants, and occasionally at fast food restaurants and some mid-end cafe while hanging out at shopping malls. The few ringgit increase of expenditure is understandable. Inflation, that’s what we call it.

3. It has already been 3-4 years ago since I’ve started working. Now, my meal cost around RM10 on average  …. 100% increase from my college days and around 300% increase from my school days. In a typical week, I spend around 30% of my time eating at mid-end restaurants and the rest of my time eating at same cheap Chinese restaurants. Some of my friends could spend up to around RM20 per meal on average, especially those who frequent mid-end restaurants.

4.  Now the question – why does my spending on food increased so rapidly within the time span of the last 10 years? I am certainly not eating more, but I’m surely paying more and more for food. Here’s why – the increase of disposable income – I can now have the luxury to dine at mid-end restaurants more frequent than ever before. With the increase of disposable income among urban dwellers in Malaysia, suddenly, food is no longer a necessity. Food is a luxury to many. More and more of us are subscribing to the philosophy of  living to eat instead of eating to live. Food which are not tastily cooked is now one of the biggest crime to humanity (Yea. First world problems…..)

5. If we strictly look at this whole picture from a Supply & Demand point of view, it’s quite simple really. People now have more income and disposable income, hence the increase of demand for quality food, and high expectations on quality environment and quality service from restaurants. We think we deserve them because we can afford it. Naturally, more aspiring entrepreneurs will see this opportunity to invest and ‘supply’ in mid-end to high-end restaurants to meet the demand of good restaurants and good food from people. Plus, the profit margin for mid-restaurant is really good too.  When there’s an abundance of demand of mid-class restaurants, rest assured there will be influx of supply to meet them. (Because money is the prime motivation for many people in this free market system)

6. Many years ago, when Starbucks just got started in Malaysia, I thought – who the hell will pay RM7 for a cup of coffee? This sum of money can buy me a meal already! But not only I was wrong, in fact, Starbucks mushroomed like crazy year by year in Malaysia. Now, after all these years, a cup of Mocha Ice Blended cost almost RM13, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. How can this coffee shop can get away with crazy price tag of RM13 for a cup of coffee? Very simple – the power of Demand due to having huge disposable income.

7.  Recently, I was observing more on this new economic trend in eatery business. I was driving around SS2 and Damansara Uptown areas, and took some good time to observe around. What I noticed was many low-end Chinese restaurants have died off one by one and gradually replaced by mid-end restaurants. It’s safe to estimate that now, we have more mid-end restaurants around Petaling Jaya then low-end restaurants (i estimate). So, what does this tell us?

  • On one hand, I think this is great because it is signalling the prosperity of our country’s economy ….. sort of like evolution – Low-end restaurants evolved or died off and replaced by mid-end restaurants because the environment allows it to happen (higher income society). From eatery business perspective, we have moved ourselves up to a higher level of status. We all can afford quality food and service now.
  • But on the other hand, I’m not sure if this is just some mindless trend or fad. Maybe the income of most Malaysians didn’t really increase at all.  It is more of like .. there are many people eating at mid-end restaurants, so it’s not cool anymore to eat at low-end restaurants … and people just pay for the hefty price tag even if they are broke just for the sake of acting as though they can afford to eat good food (status/peer pressure).

8. I’m no economist. I do not have any data or analyst skills to know what’s the REAL reason low-end restaurants are dying off and rapidly replaced by mid-end restaurants. Nor do I know what will happen to Malaysia’s economy in the next 10 years.  Maybe we will continue to prosper. Or perhaps we will meet with a bad recession and economic downturn in the next few years. I don’t know. But one thing which I will dare to predict is… if Malaysia, touch wood, to get hit by a very bad recession, i foresee the collapse of many mid-end restaurants simply because Malaysian disposable income will drop, hence food will not be treated as luxury anymore during that period. People will start to see the pain of spending RM13-RM14 for a cup of coffee or for a set of meal.

9.  When an economist give a forecast that there are more Supply than Demand in a particular market, that’s how they will declare it to be a bubble. And when this high supply, low demand forecast slowly kick in as reality, then that’s when bubble bust will happen. I think mid-end restaurants are growing quite uncontrollably around Petaling Jaya. Many entrepreneurs have jumped in to this mid-end restaurant boat to ride this high disposable income wave together. It’s great if Malaysians continue to have high disposable income to sustain this demand, but if it ever comes the day when the boat is crushed by underwhelming demand, I think, it will sink pretty bad.

Written by elan85

September 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Economics

Idea From Karl Marx

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I had a very interesting conversation with a friend of mine on the world’s economic system. It all started out when he talked about Milton Friedman’s idea on free market. Friedman believes that the best form of economy is when the government do not intervene with the economy and leave the market completely 100% free. Basically, no welfare, no subsidy, no social services. The market should be left on its own alone, which will result in striving competitions and the ‘invisible hand’ will put everything into places nicely.

And i immediately thought of Karl Marx, the man who opposed free market aka capitalism. Contrarily to popular belief, Karl Marx is not an ‘evil guy’ who spread ‘evil’ ideology (whenever the word communism is mentioned, we automatically think of Karl Marx). Most people do not have clear idea of his philosophies and more importantly, Karl Marx did not established the so called evil communist nations (Lenin, Stalin, Mao). Just because some murderers loves eating apples, it doesn’t mean that every apple lovers are murderers.

Let me share with you briefly how did Marxism begin.

Max Weber, a German sociologist, wrote a thesis (in his work The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) arguing how the rise of Protestantism (with other form of Abrahamic religions) have influenced heavily on the economic institutions throughout the history. You might think – religion had an impact on the economy systems? I must be kidding.

Actually, it is pretty much similar to Steven Levitt’s work in his book Freakonomics, where he argued that there is a correlation between legalized abortions and crime rates – basically, legalizing abortions will reduces crime rates. When i first read the abstract of the topic, i kept wondering how two seemingly unrelated subjects could have influenced each other. But once i read in detail, i immediately got the idea that there are many things in this world which we can’t just use ‘common sense’ to perceive them. After all, common sense is what told the ancient people that the Earth was flat and the Earth is at the center of the universe.

Back to Max Weber’s work, he argued that the emergence of religion has resulted a form of ‘acceptance’ by people that the existence of different social classes is justifiable. If you’re born rich, you’re lucky because it is God’s will. If you’re born poor, you have to accept it because it is also God’s will. Plus, everyone should obey the ruler because he is the God’s representative (or something along the lines). Hence, the serf and feudalism system emerged where the poor people (peasant) work at rich people’s farm (landlord) and everyone is expected to accept this destiny gracefully.

Napoleon Bonaparte, the legendary French leader has once said :

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

Rebellious by nature, after reading work from Weber (and also Feuerbach’s work The Essence of Christianity) Karl Marx denounces religion as the ‘opium of the masses’- just like opium, it actively control their will and make people obsessive with it without questioning these beliefs. It is the most destructive force to humanity.  Karl Marx also believes that as long as people project their longings onto God, people would passively accept material conditions and injustice in the real world.

Now, what is this ‘injustice’ Karl Marx was talking about? It is basically the injustice between the rich and poor and the injustice between employer and employee … something which most people will neglect or will accept without questioning. 

Suppose that a girl, let’s call her Kelly, works at a bakery shop. She spends 12 hours a day in the shop baking cakes and the shop will sell the cake at $10 each. Suppose that the shop manage to sell 30 cakes a day, that means the daily revenue will be $300 daily. However, she is only paid $60 daily for her wages ($5 an hour).  The rest of $240 will be kept by the bakery shop owner. This is how capitalism works.

Therefore Karl Marx argued, if Kelly is the one who did all the work for the shop why is she not paid her full value or perhaps sharing profit with the owner of the bakery shop? The owner of the shop afterall, did nothing but only giving instructions on what to do and merely having ownership of the shop. Kelly is the one who did all the hard work.Karl Marx criticized this economic system and called it a form of ‘exploitations’ where the rich people exploit the poor people as modern-time slavery.

Let me explain more about exploitations using back the same bakery shop example. The cake is sold for $10. Suppose the cost for making that cake is $2 and in a fair and square world, the remaining $8 profit (for each cake)should be divided between the owner and Kelly, making it $4 for each person. However, in the capitalism world which is driven by profit, the owner or employer will want to maximize his/her profit. So, how will the owner maximize the profit? By giving a minimum wage to Kelly, which is $5 every hour, and the owner keeps the rest of the profit for himself/herself. If Kelly is not happy with $5 wage, the owner can simply kick Kelly out and find another person who is happy to receive the minimum wage. That’s the ‘cruelty’ perceived by Karl Marx with capitalism.

Karl Marx is extremely critical with the people for accepting this ‘injustice’ by default. Why are owners entitled  to profit derived through our sweat? Because they own the property, we respond. But why should we accept this legal system? Marx asks. Why did we not reject such unfair system? Why do we have to follow the ruling class’  beliefs, laws, culture, religion, morality and patriotism? Since human being is the most fundamental aspect of the economy, shouldn’t the economic system emphasizes on the population? Why do we have to divide and categorize people into so many classes? Can’t we all be a classless society where we are all equal?

This is the most fundamental reasoning of Karl Marx and the essence of Socialism.

 My view.

Capitalism still wins. What Karl Marx did was to point out at the weakness of capitalism. However, reversing weakness does not necessary give you strength. Karl Marx is certainly a fascinating guy with some glowing idea and philosophy of his own. What he missed is he didn’t take account of human’s nature in engaging in competition and our relentless desires to achieve the unachievable (hence invention and innovation). Putting it shortly, human being gets bored easily and we always crave progressions.

It is not difficult to understand the difference between capitalism and socialism. Capitalism focus on individual’s benefits where individuals are motivated by his/her own interest. Socialism focus on collective benefits where individuals are motivated by social, groups or community’s interest.

Since capitalism is so effective, it is pretty self-evident to me that human being are inherently selfish and we always put our self-interest first before the social group or community.

Written by elan85

July 22, 2008 at 1:28 am

Posted in Economics, Philosophy