Does Capitalism Encourages Bullying?

Evidently, bullying is a systemic cultural problem in capitalist societies. Why bullying is so entrenched in a capitalist society? Does the social aura of a capitalist society encourage bullying? The very traits of capitalism are rife with aggression and competition.  Are we living in a failure-blaming society? How the mainstream public treats the weak and the disadvantaged?  I would say, capitalism is inherently a bullying force. 


“Capitalism assumes competition — winners and losers.” How Capitalism Fosters Bullying, Mark Karlin
In a sense,  the loser represents the weak in the stereotypical capitalist society. 

The influence of Social Darwinism: “ Survival of the Fittest”

Self-improvement and excellence are justified. Competition is encouraged in a capitalist society and compassion is rare.  However, what’s the interrelationship between evolution, competition, self-interest and self- survival? What about morality, or does it matter? What’ the mainstream definition of winners in a capitalist society? Capitalism is about competition, power, and survival of the strongest. 


Charles Darwin’s Ideas on Evolution

Herbert Spencer coined the term ‘survival of the fittest.’ Spencer asserts that capitalism based on Social Darwinism. Nevertheless, a bunch of socialists including the National Socialist Party in Germany utilized the ideas of Social Darwinism to support their version of eugenics.

The Underlying Causality of Bullying

How does the social aura define and treat the weak,  and the disadvantaged? Whether socioeconomically disadvantaged kids encounter greatest risk of bullying at school? Or, whether the introverts have a higher possibility to be the target of bullying on the campus and at the workplace?

Do schools value and honor kids’ differences, interests, and talents? Are there too many bad models on mainstream social media? As noted, the bullying phenomenon around the world is commingled with problems in children’s homes with unfit parents, poor role models around the kids, and unhealthy school systems, which overly focus or nearly exclusively on grades or academic standings rather than cultivating kindness or educating their character.


Bullying at school: High percentage of teens are on the edge of ending their life

School bullying should be treated as a major health problem for children. Strikingly, a 2011 survey indicated that 20 percent of high school students have been the victims of bullying, in which including humiliation, collective isolation, rumors, back-biting, etc. Not surprisingly, studies found that high percentage of kids suffer from depression and they harbor suicidal attempts.


Collective Isolation

Collective isolation is one of the common forms of bullying which generally be ignored, which can potentially lead to teen suicide.


Studies found that youths at high risk of suicide and the occurrence of teen suicide do spike over the years. It’s time to express alarm about school bullying. Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is a story about a teenager who describes her decision to commit suicide by being the victim of school bullying. Significantly, this TV series prompts a conversation between school bullying and teens’ high rates of suicidal attempts.


A study in the journal Psychiatric Services featured responses from 87 kids aged from 10 to 17 and found that those who have watched the drama can easily relate themselves intensively with the central character Hannah because school bullying is pervasive. Hannah is a transfer student who has suffered from sexual assault, rumors, and collective isolation.


What is assured, the rate of suicide attempts among American teens is increasing dramatically. What makes teenagers take their own lives in their brilliant youth? Do they experience too much mental or physical torturing at the campus with nowhere to run away? How many cases of school bullying without being exposed?


“We believe that influencing the bystanders is a key to successful prevention of bullying.” — Professor Christina Salmivalli

Bullying is a pretty common issue around the world. Accordingly, about a fourth to a third of all students have been bullied in school. Bullying often doesn’t happen once. Instead, bullying is a perennial issue at school. School bullying is repeated, intentional and continual harassment and violence. Long-term bullying can also cause depression, anxiety, mental health issues and even dropping out of school.


As reported, the crux of the recent bully-induced suicides are students who felt they had nowhere to go that they can’t figure out other options or accessible solutions. The bystander of bullying plays a critical role in ending school bullying. 

Finland Ends School Bullying by Anti-Bullying Program “KiVa”: The Influence of the Bystanders


KiVa’s efficacy

Finland’s anti-bullying program called Kiva, which  literally means “against bullying.”Finland[1] has been asking students this question with an attempt to pioneer an effective anti-bullying prevention program.

What would you do If you saw bullying? 

Teachers are not always around, so they can’t always help. Thus, the significant aspects of KiVa focus on teaching bystanders what to do if they see bullying.


In a press release, UCLA professor Jaana Juvonen asserts “Our findings are the first to show that the most tormented children — those facing bullying several times a week — can be helped by teaching bystanders to be more supportive.”

The KiVa program asks the students to crystallize the idea of bystander empathy through computer games and simulations. KiVa is an evidence-based program to prevent bullying effectively, which chiefly focus on prevention, intervention, and monitoring. Its developers have been studying the phenomenon of bullying and its mechanisms for decades.


The team is led by PhD, Professor Christina Salmivalli and Ph.D., Special Researcher Elisa Poskiparta. The program has been developed at the University of Turku in Finland.[3]


 We know that classrooms vary considerably with respect to the degree of bullying problems, and this variation can be explained by classroom norms and actual bystander behaviors (whether students witnessing bullying tend to take sides with the victim or to join/reinforce the bully) [….] For instance, socially anxious children are at high risk of being victimized, especially in classrooms where reinforcing the bully is normative (occurring at high levels). We believe that influencing the bystanders is a key to successful prevention of bullying [….]Empathy is not enough. Many students who have lots of empathy towards victims still do not act upon it. We need to provide students with safe strategies to take sides with the weaker ones.” The Global Search for Education: It Takes a Community, by C. M. Rubin (Blogger and Author, “The Real Alice in Wonderland”)

In the games, the kids take control of cartoon avatars that are put in a variety of bullying situations they might encounter in school. Johanna Alanen[2] told Upworthy “ For instance, they might witness a bullying incident and they have to decide what to do, whether to defend the victim or do something else. There are different options on how to defend the victim. Their choices have consequences and lead to new situations. In the game, students can practice how to be nice to someone and what kind of nice things you can say to someone who would like to be included in the group or is new in the school.”


The programs allow the kids to see what consequences might be for certain situations, all in a virtual setting. The students are also given advice and feedback about what to say to someone who has been bullied. The program can help teach the students to be more empathetic and supportive of bullying victims.


Juvonen’s analysis found that KiVa reduced the odds of a given student being bullied. Data also shows that the program might also help reduce depression and increase self-esteem for kids who have already been bullied. Significantly, Finland has adopted KiVa as a national anti-bullying program.


[1] Finland has been recognized as one of the most successful education systems on a worldwide scale.

[2] KiVa’s International Project Manager


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