Mr. Webster tells us that Capitalism is “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods.” He goes on further to say “investments are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” When my eyes are reading those words, my brain is telling me “blah blah blah.” My personal definition of capitalism is less favorable than Mr. Webster’s and I believe there is a thin line between capitalism and modern-day slavery. A line which is often crossed. My experience has taught me that most people really don’t understand capitalism and some just don’t care. The top 1% of the US Population likes it that way and will do whatever is needed to keep the status quo as is. Recently, the New York Times reported that “the richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.” So here we are stuck in the mud of capitalism with no chain or towrope in sight.
The best way for me to explain capitalism is to offer a scenario. There is a single mother with 2 children. She isn’t an intellect but is a hard worker who is very productive. She has a job that pays her minimum wage. She works really hard but is still living in poverty. No matter how hard she works, there is no chance for advancement. She is destined to be poor and overworked for the rest of her life. There are issues with this kind of employment. First, are the underpaid employees going to work hard or are they going to just do the minimum? With no chance for advancement or pay raise, there is no incentive for the employees to work hard. Second, a mother of 2 making minimum wage is below poverty and qualifies for public assistance. That assistance is paid for with taxes that we all pay and in which many can’t afford. This is capitalism and this is an example of it not working. Sure the owners and shareholders like it but what about everyone else?
Now let’s look at the same woman but now she works in an economic socialist system. She may start her job making the minimum but whether or not she will see pay raises is totally up to her. She isn’t enslaved by capitalism and living in poverty with no chance to escape. The amount of money she makes is directly correlated with the work that she puts out. The sky is the limit with this system. She doesn’t have to worry about her job being sent overseas to a foreign country and she will always have the ability to dictate her income. She can now earn enough money to support her family of 3 and no longer needs public assistance. That translates to less taxes needed and more money saved by the tax payers.
We have been made to believe that socialism is giving money to those who don’t deserve it. We are told that it’s just redistribution of wealth. Nothing can be further from the truth. As long as we will listen and believe that propaganda, the top 1% will keep throwing it at us. The truth is that socialism solves the problem of unemployment. It stops jobs from being sent overseas. It gives the workers incentives to work hard and be productive and leads to lower taxes. With the application of just a little common sense, to me, there is no downside to socialism. Capitalism creates inequality on a very large scale. It enslaves workers to jobs with low pay and no advancement. It is more expensive for the 90% of us who are not super-wealthy. Socialism is a way to true equality in our society and something that we all should consider.
Former Vance County Commissioner