Sunday, October 4, 2009
Capitalism vs Socialism
I am not at all opposed to people getting rich. I believe entrepreneurs have justifiable rights to profit from investments of capital, time and energy. I support free enterprise, but I do not support the direction American life has taken in the last several decades.
I have been a customer of Bank of America (BOA) for nearly half a century; they reflect the current trend in Capitalism. The current BOA, like other corporations, is a result of economic canibalism--greed--bigger is better.
I have come to realize that at the core of this libertarian ideology is a fascistic greed. Bigger is better means buying out (eliminating) the competition--monopoly. This fascism is dictatorial in politics--the complete opposite of more “competition” mouthed by current Republicanism.
Such practices are aided and abetted by a compliant (non-interfering) government. Any complaint against this “free market” (so called) is labeled “socialism”--unAmerican. BUT, NOT SO! America has always insisted on enough rules so that a bunch of nobody-colonists could have an equal playing floor with King George, be it the King of England or George Bush!
Government OF, FOR, BY the people--Abe Lincoln--is government that finds no justifiable reason--no moral excuse--for the inequality we have allowed to develop, while we put down those who are different, or resist. An example of this was found in the 2007 Compensation Study that found the average CEO pay at S&P 500 companies 344 times higher than the average worker's wage.
The top 50 investment fund managers took home 19,000 times as much as typical workers earned (19 with three zeroes).. No one, writes David Callahan, “should be merely the means to someone else’s ends - whether its for pleasure, power, or profit.” (The Moral Center/Orlando/ Harcourt, Inc. 2006/277).
This is like writing the rules of the basketball game in favor of the 7-footers and too bad about the little guys under 6’; never mind that the 5’ 7” point guard may be as essential to the team as the 7’ center. My financial conservatism would only allow one Referee for a ballgame, but practicality shows additional referees keep the game more competitive, more honest, and much improved all around.
So I have no problem when the President wants to give citizens a public option for health insurance. I applaud regulations placed on Wall Street and out of control CEO’s. I find no acceptable way for justifying this behavior in a “democratic” society. For a society that claims to at least nominally endorse Christianity, and claims a majority who believe in God, there simply is no moral excuse for this, except self-centered greed.
Capitalism worked extremely well without such radical inequities in the three decades following World War II. When inequalities soar, the whole system runs into trouble. It happened at the end of the 1920s, when I was born. We have it again today.
In our struggle for power between the few and the favored, we have pursued a TRICKLE-DOWN theory (advocated by Ronald Reagan) that is a form of feudal socialism found in the Middle Ages and depended upon the divine rights of Kings and feudal Lords. That mindset believed affluent persons need to control the wealth and provide for the less able peasantry (even our Colonial Fathers hesitated to give voting rights to commoners, peasants, and non-property owners).
That hits home to a lot of us, so we need to remember that at some point, those with wealth amassed it with the labor of others. We now find ourselves needing to democritize--balance things--our economy and practice a TRICKLE UP economy that allows the masses to responsibly manage their own affairs. Never forget: it takes “producing workers” to enrich the entrepreneurs and corporations, who cannot produce products and wealth without their assistance.
There will always be one talent, five talent, and ten talent people, but both labor and management deserve a “LIVING” wage. Investing money should bring no greater dividends than the investment of time and energy--lifeblood. The entrepreneur deserves a profitable share of the worker’s produce. The worker deserves a respectable share of the investor’s produce. Each should enjoy the fruits of their labors, but those profits deserve to be distributed with a “Christian” equality.
TRICKLEDOWN assumes wealth is the beginning point. However, that wealth needed producing laborers at some level. Free Enterprise allows the wealthy to invest their wealth in jobs for workers, for which the workers are paid. Trickledown pays as little as they can get by with, regardless of the cost of living.
WEALTH begins with people, creative ideas, and hard work. The wealthy need workers--not slave laborers--to produce products. People produce products (become workers), from which both workers and investors benefit. SHUFFLING PAPER is the stuff of con artists and corporate criminals and produces no real wealth.
Some thoughts from Walking With Warner,