The evils of capitalism are often portrayed through huge, transnational corporations, exploiting resources and enslaving workers. Apple, Gap, Samsung and various other brands that have become commonplace in western society are all examples; when people think of the problems capitalism causes, these seem to be the ones that get the blame.
There’s good reason for this, as it is these companies that perpetuate injustices so profound that they disgust many across the political spectrum. Largely based in developing countries, they employ labourers to work in appalling conditions for very low salaries, driving the economies of developed nations. Yet, if we’re trying to undermine these companies and the economic monopolies they create, is it sensible to turn to small, local businesses instead?
Businessmen of this kind actually occupy a class of their own; the petite bourgeois. It comprises people like shopkeepers and local entrepreneurs, and lie sandwiched between the bourgeois and proletariat. At first, it might seem sensible to turn to them for the essentials, even if it only means going to an independent cinema, or buying your eggs from local sources now and then. But what if I told you that, by avoiding the corporate giants, by trying to starve them of their consumers, you’re only resisting the inevitable.
It is a theory rooted in Marxism that the petite bourgeois will eventually vanish, swept up by the bourgeois and the proletariat respectively as monopoly capitalism dawns, meaning small businesses will eventually give way to larger ones. We’re already seeing this trend occur today, as increasing globalisation allows companies to expand across the globe, and we can sensibly conclude that it shall continue to occur until the death of small-scale capitalism. I’m not saying that it’s pointless to buy from local sources – it’s definitely the morally better option – yet if you’re doing it to undermine larger corporations, you’re trying to dam a torrent with stones.