Economics: capitalism is good for something – but what exactly ?

It seems to me that our capitalism is not doing what it was originally intended to do.

The original idea behind the usage of a capitalism in America was to let people decide for themselves how they wanted to make money, and as a consequence all kinds of interesting ideas could come to life in a marketplace.

I do not believe that capitalism was intended to be a tool for the arrogant or the greedy to scoop up excessive amounts of money and to empower one’s self or one’s corporation beyond the scope of promoting the general welfare.

I believe that at some point wealth becomes somewhat treasonous, even immoral. America’s current capitalism, unbridled as it is, seems to be working against a large percentage of people.

Intelligent consumerism should be the counter balance to open-ended free-market capitalism. Consumerism is the people’s check and balance mechanism against wayward capitalism. In this day it is, functionally, as powerful as our democracy. Consumerism is our tool to determine how the national currency flows: to whom it flows and to whom it does not flow. If our implementation of consumerism is without discretion then our capitalism will get ugly.

But intelligent consumerism is practically impossible. I, for instance, love Ronald Mcdonald too much to ever believe that there is anything bad about McDonald’s … joke … but the point is that it is quite easy to persuade people’s consumerist behaviors.



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14 responses

  1. “I believe that at some point wealth becomes somewhat treasonous, even immoral. America’s current capitalism, unbridled as it is, seems to be working against a large percentage of people.”

    It isn’t wealth that corrupts, it is political power. But otherwise I agree with you – there is no real capitalism left in the world today, and we are all going to pay the price of politico-capitalism.

    hpx83
    http://savecapitalism.wordpress.com/

  2. Wealth does corrupt. That’s why politicians except bribes. Capitalism was designed to give much to few and little to many and it’s working in America.

    capedconstablecaleb

  3. Capitalism in its free form is a natural function of humanity. You do not need to design it or create it, because it naturally occurs. Problems occur when we try to altar or harness it.

    And works best with moral people.

    Dan O

  4. laissez-faire [gov’t keeping its hands out of business] is the best form because it allows people the most freedom to choose.

    capitalism is a choice. practice socialism or communism or anarchy.

    the point that needs to be stressed is non violence and voluntarism.

    coercion is the problem, not wealth. that’s why the saying is “power corrupts”

    Jesse
    thisisbunk.wordpress.com

  5. “Wealth does corrupt. That’s why politicians except bribes. Capitalism was designed to give much to few and little to many and it’s working in America.”

    The argument is backwards – the politician accepting a bribe does not do it because he is wealthy – he does it because he is a crook that wants to become wealthy without working for it.

    And please explain your basis for claiming “Capitalism was designed to give much to few and little to many”. Capitalism wasn’t “constructed” it is the natural order of human actions, admittedly corrupted by politicians and a whole lot of other lesser beings

    hpx83
    http://savecapitalism.wordpress.com/

  6. Capitalism is not the natural order of human actions. In the beginning was more of a socialist bend with the sharing of everything. It was what was best for the tribe not the individual. Capitalism is designed to give much to few. We cannot blame politicians for the actions that we have made. We elected them. We called for this and that with our selfish desires. We demand to get ahead as if it is our right to be rich. Politicians are just using that right and becoming corrupt. Corruption begins with power and power is brought on by money.

    capedconstablecaleb

  7. “Capitalism is not the natural order of human actions.”
    Then what is?

    ” In the beginning was more of a socialist bend with the sharing of everything. It was what was best for the tribe not the individual.”
    And this is what socialism will bring – a return to tribalism. Is that your view of a successful society, where the one who hits harder and kills most gets to decide?

    ” Capitalism is designed to give much to few.”
    Again, what do you base this on? Do you know what capitalism is?

    ” We cannot blame politicians for the actions that we have made. We elected them. ”
    We elected them to govern. Governing does not mean abusing. We are free to blame politicians for everything they do in error – and the solution to avoiding errors is simple – remove the power from the politicians.

    “We called for this and that with our selfish desires. We demand to get ahead as if it is our right to be rich.”
    I am proud of my selfish desires. I live for me, and not for anyone else. Why should I live for you, or ask you to live for me? I demand not my “right to be rich”, but my right to make what I wish of my own future without being stopped by the government or any other band of thugs.

    ” Politicians are just using that right and becoming corrupt. Corruption begins with power and power is brought on by money.”
    Politicians have no rights, should not have any power except that to uphold law and order (and if they fail they should be replaced). And once again – remove the power over money from the politicians and they will not be as corrupt.

    hpx83
    http://savecapitalism.wordpress.com/

  8. There seems often to be a psychological pattern in many of those very good at accumulating wealth – combining a confident selfishness with a lack of social conscience. But rather than recognising this as a form of mental or at least social illness (in the way criminal behaviour is) the leading western governments (i.e. the US and Britain) have, for the last 20 years or so, actively lauded and venerated this behaviour, even applying it to situations and institutions to which it has proved disasterous – witness the case of a hospital in the UK where a large number of patients have died because of an overweening focus on the practises of market economics

    Carol McGuigan

  9. While I completely agree that capitalism is often abused and American consumerist attitudes are too easily manipulated by the media, these are not reasons to discard capitalism. In my opinion, the USSR proved that socialism = mediocrity death of the individual human spirit, and it’s interesting to note that China, for all its collective wealth, only makes money by selling goods on a capitalist market.
    By the way, on what grounds do you all the modern American capitalism “unbridled?” Capitalism is more threatened today (by redistributionism and hellacious monetary policy) than even before in American history.

    Steve

  10. I think it very unhelpful when people suggest the only alternative to (yes unbridled) Capitalism is Soviet Communism or State Capitalism as practised by China. There’s a whole world to be won by revolutionising our thinking on these matters by perhaps using the best of the old e.g. co-operativism and creating the new – sustainable green technology and energy creation

    Carol McGuigan

  11. So we DO have a discussion! I want to clarify that what you describe as an ‘unbridled’ capitalism is no more than a mere shadow of the unregulated laissez-faire capitalism that we enjoyed in the early part of the Industrial Revolution. Moreover, our present form of “unbridled capitalism” resembles only in name the economic system preferred by anarchists and true libertarians. Instead we have a draconian policy-based tax structure, and volumes of archaic, obsolete, politically-motivated industry regulations. The American economy, madam, may be more pure than those of other countries, but by definition is far from ‘unbridled.’

    Steve

  12. Hmm, well firstly if capitalism was still as unregulated as in the early days of the industrial revolution our planet would have even fewer human-friendly decades left. Secondly, global capitalism is considerably less regulated in third world countries than in the developed world; for example we in the UK import coal from the Ukraine mined by non-unionised labour and Chile where children still work underground. So we’ve just moved the ‘bad stuff’ further away where folks won’t get upset about it – or if they do we won’t hear them. Thirdly, if what happened to AIG happened when it was ‘bridled’, then I’d shudder to see the effect of it really running ‘free’.

    Carol McGuigan

  13. Oh, I see what the problem is. You equate capitalism with industrialism. Industrialism and the subsequent environmental fallout are serious problems, but not at all linked to the economic systems under which they were created. Otherwise, China would not be the world’s biggest polluter. That’s a fatal flaw in your logic. I sincerely doubt that in a general sense any learned person considers developing nations more capitalistic than developed nations.
    In mentioning AIG, you damage your own argument. The federal government last fall wrote a $180 billion check to AIG in the most disgusting display of socialism imaginable. The many abuses of the stimulus measures (past, present, and future) are all the more reason to keep government out of business and the economy.

    Steve

  14. No Steve, I equate unregulated capitalism with greed. China is employing capitalism in its rapid industrialisation, production and trade. Because China is one-party regime, it is State Captialism. In capitalism, especially the kind we’re seeing run into trouble at the moment, wealth ends up in the hands of very very few people who don’t see they have any responsibility or connection with their fellow human beings. Put simply, capitalism is about putting profit before people. Again by referring to China you seem to assume I’m advocating the kind of regimes seen there until recently, or in the USSR as my preferred alternative. On the contrary, I think that as a thinking, creative species we now have the chance to create better, fairer ways to produce, trade and live – ideally ways that mean our grandchildren will have a future. Also many ‘developing countries’ under global capitalism are de facto ‘colonies. of the developed world – we exploit their resources without responsibility for running them; again profit before people. I agree that your government should not have ‘bailed out’ AIG. They should have let them fail. But what they did was nationalise the debt and privatise the profit (not socialism unfortuntely)

    Carol McGuigan

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