It seems to be the fashion for people to hem and haw about how the United States is spiralling downward towards (horrors!) socialism. I’m still trying to figure out what the big deal is.
Capitalism is, by definition, survival of the wealthiest. In its purest, most unadulterated form, capitalism involves certain entities becoming very, very successful, while supressing others who would aspire to become as successful. It’s a very selfish philosophy in that it stresses the survival of the individual over the survival of the society, much as most Western religions stress the survival of the self (notions of individual souls) over the Eastern philosophy empasizing the sum total of everything over the notion of the individual. So, if capitalism is such a selfish thing, why do Americans as a people seem to despise socialism, when its implementation would benefit the majority of its population?
“Don’t forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.” – John Dickinson
As was pointed out to me a few months ago, the American dream wasn’t always the greedy acquisition of money up to and including disadvantaging other people to reach that goal; it was originally the right to live without fear of persecution, with the ability to persue one’s individual dreams and aspirations.
To clarify a bit further, I’m not advocating scrapping capitalism in favor of a socialist system. I’m merely pointing out that prostrating ourselves at the altar of pure, unbridled capitalism has a very predictable outcoming — the upward movement of money from a large pool of people with a decent amount of money to a very small group of people with far more money than they could ever spend. Rules and regulations in America have existed since the genesis of this nation to attempt to keep those with power from using that power to harm or disenfranchise those without power. “Conservatives” who would prefer to strip the Federal government of oversight power do so at an incredible harm to those who are not fortunate enough to be born into or exploit their way into money.
Lastly, I’d like to put to bed another notion about Capitalism and taxation which has been irritating me… Those on the top of the financial food chain seem to be very unhappy about shouldering a larger percentage of the tax burden than those on the lower end of the spectrum. There’s a very simple explaination to this, which brings everything very sharply into focus:
In capitalist societies, those who are rich make their money off the backs of poor people.
No one is worth 10 million dollars a year — they simply can’t produce goods and/or services to equal that number. A banker never really *produces* anything for anyone, instead taking the role of enabling production by loaning money to those who would actually produce goods and services. That is, if they are actually lending money to anyone. Something seems really wrong with banks having CEOs earning tens of millions of dollars or more. I think if they weren’t hating the idea of universal healthcare because they might be a few mansions short of keeping up with their snooty CEO friends paying for their share, they might not be such bad people. But back in reality, they’re just horrible people.