The search entry, “Capitalism Causes Poverty” yields 3,920,000 results. The search entry, “Socialism Causes Poverty” yields 2,320,o00 results. I’m actually surprised that there are so many entries on the latter. Maybe we are making progress.
Two points however. As a factual matter, neither is correct. You may hate capitalism. You may be an avowed socialist. You may hope there is some better way for the modern world to work. But you may not hold as a belief that, “capitalism causes poverty.” Why? Because poverty is the natural state of man.
For thousands of years of human civilization, the living standards of most people did not change. Life expectancies were short, incomes stagnated, death was painful, food was scarce and risk was everywhere. But nothing remotely resembling capitalism (it might be useful to define it) existed until perhaps the 17th century, and certainly it was not well “established” until the 19th century. How could something that did not exist until recently cause something that had always been around?
Similarly, you could probably argue the same thing about socialism. However, if we take the natural state of man to be one of plenty – then by all means you can correctly argue that socialism causes less plenty and that capitalism does not result in less plenty. But I do not suspect this is what folks think when they invoke terms such as these.
Please understand that this does not mean that man could not have escaped poverty under some other social “system” (again, system is in quotes because capitalism emerged, it was never instituted by some plan, leader, or vote … it just … happened) or that you even have to accept the improvement of living standards as desirable. You should not also interpret this to mean that capitalism automatically leads to poverty reduction, despite the evidence of the past that it has done just that. What it does mean is that we need a more serious understanding about what poverty is, and what forces serve to perpetuate and reinforce this condition. Economic growth is a new phenomenon, it is a marvel, and it is this growth which requires explanation, not the lack of growth.