"Capitalism" as written by and Danny Elfman....
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with free enterprise
Don't try to make me feel guilty
I'm so tired of hearing you cry

There's nothing wrong with making some profit
If you ask me I'll say it's just fine
There's nothing wrong with wanting to live nice
I'm so tired of hearing you whine
About the revolution
Bringin' down the rich
When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby!

If it ain't one thing
Then it's the other
Any cause that crosses your path
Your heart bleeds for anyone's brother
I've got to tell you you're a pain in the ass

You criticize with plenty of vigor
You rationalize everything that you do
With catchy phrases and heavy quotations
And everybody is crazy but you

You're just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And you tell me that we've got to get back
To the struggling masses (whoever they are)
You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain
What the hell do you know about suffering and pain . . .

(Repeat first verse)

(Repeat chorus)

There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism

Lyrics submitted by Golgotha

"Capitalism" as written by Danny Elfman

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Capitalism song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentEven the author's own statement that the song is satirical aside, if you look at the lyrics, it becomes obvious that the song cannot possibly be straightforward. The protagonist is a closed-minded jerk that speaks in stereotypes. If the song was indeed intended to be serious, it would not be told from the perspective of such an obnoxious character. That's how satire works, and is something that the songwriter in question has done quite a bit - criticize something not by yelling about how bad it is, but by talking about it from the perspective of someone who agrees with it, with exaggeration, to highlight the ridiculous points of the matter.
    Now, of course, the joke is intensified when all those people that actually are exactly like the song's narrator barge in proudly throwing the same stereotypes around, completely overlooking the satire and shoving their feet deeper and deeper into their mouths.
    The song isn't even about capitalism really, it's about the people that think this song is straightforward and agree with it.
    AwkwardlyReversedon January 24, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI find this song interesting and disturbing. To get a better idea of where Danny Elfman was coming from when he wrote it, look here:

    boingo.org/articles/… (1989)

    Quote: 'For a while, he traveled outside the country, including an extended stay in Africa. While some of Oingo Boingo's early songs took aim at American institutions--"Capitalism" made sarcastic comments on the U.S. economy--he generally endorsed democratic values.

    He told Lawrence Henry of Music Connection:"I'm not a doomist. My attitude is always to be critical of what's around you, but not ever to forget how lucky we are. I've traveled around the world. I left thinking I was a revolutionary. I came back real right-wing patriotic. Since then, I've kind of mellowed in between. It affected me permanently and totally. "'

    Which I can very much sympathize with - as a staunch liberal who has walked away disgusted from more than one online forum because the people there seemed more interested in policing each other's "hardcoreness" than doing anything that might, say, lead to an actual change in society. Activism is great, but circle jerks are not activism. There's this sort of hairshirt mentality that says that aimless acts of self-denial will improve the world, and I think that this is the real target of the song. (Mind you, SOME acts of self-denial will improve the world... but it really depends on the extent to which you're consuming resources in the first place.)

    I remember a time when I went to a war protest, just *before* they started the second Iraq war, and found that the downtown streets had been closed off for the purpose. So we could march around and talk at each other. And that was when I realized that the U.S. Government, sometime between the nineteen-sixties and now, had found the 'solution' for the 'problem' of free speech: put it in a nice little box where nobody listens to it but the people talking.

    Since then I have been careful about my "talk, talk, talk". I try to spend my energy saying things where I believe they'll be heard by someone whose mind they might change, not preaching to the choir. And so I can kind of respect this song for reminding me where the pitfalls are.

    In short I think there are two messages here - one somewhat parodical/exaggerated, and one serious. No one with the tiniest shred of education actually believes that there's NOTHING wrong with capitalism: even super-hard-core libertarians tend to understand that the system needs some adjustment to work well. But the deeper message is a criticism of ineffectual, poorly-thought-through political styles. I think that part of it is absolutely serious - and in some ways downright sensible.
    TheYellowSignon July 02, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAccording to Danny Elfman "It's serious satire". Now all I need to do is figure out what the hell that means...
    PursuitofLifeon March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthere's something about the way that danny stresses the "-ism" in capital-ISM. not sure exactly what it means, but i don't think this song is as straight forward as it seems.
    truth_or_happinesson December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is trying to say how stupid arguing is.

    The way the song is describing how the Capitalist is thinking makes capitalists seem like jerks. But it's also saying that the people protesting against it are equally as ignorant and annoying.

    "The Man" seems like an ass to the people, and the people seem like asses to "The Man"
    Jibilyon October 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. I think I'm the only commenter who actually thinks this song is serious. I really hate those commies...
    Nillerzon November 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe songwriter himself said this was about the Socialist attitude that The Clash brought to the scene. And frankly, it's very true. I've yet to meet a socialist who actually went through the crap they talk about (being poor, "The Man", being discriminated against, etc). I've experienced all those things and I'm still the heartless a-hole that I was to begin with. God Bless Capitalism.
    JewMan7493on January 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReading this song literally would be to overlook the lyrical complexities of the other songs on the album. As previously stated, Elfman has said in an interview that the song is "serious satire." Like the best satires, it makes a real point through absurd comedy and critical framing.

    The song presents the sociopolitical mindset of the early 1980's for pointed ridicule. The political portraits are painted from the conservative perspective, noting the neo-conservative surge of the early eighties (note: Ronald Reagan). It underscores the absurd qualities of both the gushing guilty conscience of the over-eager liberal, and the maliciously cold-hearted self interest of the die hard neoconservative. Both parties are defrauding themselves and each other (i.e.: the Nation) of authentic meaning by discussing opinions and attitudes about the fact of suffering, rather than doing something about that suffering. One righteously ignores the real suffering of their fellow men from on top of the pile in blind allegiance to the sovereignty of greed, while from a cushy gallery above the filthy masses, the other righteously prosthelytizes against the evil minds fueling the same suffering. Neither knows anything about the real suffering of the masses, but assumes authority on the matter under the guise of knowing "what's best" for everyone. In the end, everybody perpetuates the cultural delusions they inherited.

    Since this is from a neoconservative's perspective, It is understandable that a self-identifying neo-conservative wouldn't see the slight of hand. We have to deduce the assumptions, prejudices, contexts and beliefs of the subject (the neoconservative) through their commentary on the object (liberals and their ideology), but to take this song at face value would be tantamount to taking "Little Girls" at face value. Believing wholly in only the plain, written meaning of the song will totally and completely miss the point with ideologically evil and comically perverted results.

    ***TL;DR: It might sound like mindless pop, but if you aren't disturbed and amused by this you didn't get the joke.***
    VITRIOL999on February 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou know, I saw the kid in this video and I thought, that's exactly the kind of guy who Elfman was describing in 'Capticalism': youtube.com/…

    Whether you are a socialist or not (or some masked fascist from Antifa), you just have to be honest and admit that Venezuela is a total failure as a country - but this guy couldn't even do that! Even if you consider the way Venezuela were blindsided by falling oil prices, you have to agree that 'repatriating' foreign investments was a REALLY bad idea, long term.

    Sure, Chavez gave it all back to the people - but by destroying those external relationships, when oil can't even buy toilet paper, no one is willing to help them.

    I agree that Elfman is more of a centrist - every interview I've seen with him suggests that - but I also know that this song zeroes in on the 'middle class Socialist brat' stereotype because it's true.

    That's how it became a stereotype!
    ctlizyrdon May 16, 2017   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis song is a reality check and a slap in the face to ALL those pretentious, rich urban white liberals who promulgate socialism and liberal ideals in order to make people think that they're a "good person" and advance their social status. I actually think this song is FAR more relevant to the politically correct 1990s defined by the dot.com boom(which MANY of those PC liberal hypocrite grunge meisters took part in) and limousine liberals.All you lib-ass hiptards who hailed Obama as the messiah back in 2008 thinking he could solve all the worlds problems could also learn a thing or two from this song if you're so inclined.
    Sozlukon October 30, 2011   Link

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