Jurassic Park and Capitalism

May 30, 2015

I never imagined this day would come, the day I write about two of my favorite things: dinosaurs and capitalism. Yet here I am. In case you didn't know Jurassic World, the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park films, is set to premiere in theaters on June 12th. These films have been among my favorites since I was child. I have already purchased my ticket and I couldn't be more excited to watch the film. Because the release date is fast approaching, conversations are bound to come up in regards to the nature of the film. I recently had a discussion with someone who proclaimed, "Jurassic Park perfectly depicts why capitalism is evil". I couldn't believe my ears.

The first thing I want to do is debunk this statement. Jurassic Park does not depict the evils of capitalism, it does however depict the fall of mankind and what follows after man tries to play the role of God. Greed is a major theme within these films, no doubt, but only someone who equates greed with capitalism will connect those two together. The unfortunate truth is this, that danger and greed are found in every ideology backed by man because man is inherently flawed.

Let's quickly recapitulate the first film. In 1993 we are introduced to a man named John Hammond who has led the way, alongside a team of researchers and scientists, in the re-engineering of dinosaurs. He decides to capitalize on the creatures with the concept of a dinosaur theme park. He invites two paleontologist and a mathematician to the island, the location of the dinosaurs' habitat, to gain support and approval as to prevent the loss of investors, many of whom feel uneasy about the park due to the recent death of an employee. Long story short: chaos ensues and more blood is shed. In the second film we see that Hammond is a changed man who wants to have the island quarantined. He declares on CNN, "These creatures require our absence to survive, not our help. And if we could only step aside and trust in nature, life will find a way." Here we see redemption in man.

As for Jurassic World, it is set twenty two years after the horrifying events of 1993. The movie trailer shows the dinosaur theme park open to the public with several thousand visitors. As if that's not enough, the scientists decide to take it one step further by creating a new genetically modified dinosaur. And yes, more people are killed. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that none of the attendees we see were forced at gun point to visit the park. If we lived in a world where the catastrophic events depicted in the films took place everyone would have knowledge about the devastation of human and dinosaur interaction. Books would have been written and documentaries filmed. Then of course, there's good old common sense (which seems to be disappearing even in the real world). There's no logical explanation for the attendees' willful ignorance. They decided to risk their own lives to see dinosaurs up close and personal for the sake of entertainment. Let's not dismiss the consumer's role in this entire debacle, something anti-capitalists often overlook in general. A demand for a dinosaur theme park in the market place had to have been present in order for someone with no moral code to come along and take advantage.

I am a capitalist, however should I have lived in a science fiction universe in which dinosaurs roamed the earth once more, I would have been outspokenly opposed to the concept of a dinosaur theme park. If you truly hate capitalism, go right ahead, however using the example of men who gamble human life for profit to back your claim of the "evils of capitalism" isn't a well thought out approach. You're essentially capitalizing (oops) on a corrupt man's use of an economic system in which you oppose to make gains (oops, again) on your preferred system. It's easy to highlight flawed men who utilize something that you hate, the challenge is to acknowledge the good that capitalism has done for the world—which outweigh all its "evil" men.

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