I get out of bed every morning at 5:30. Nature calls and I head down stairs for a cup of coffee. Within the first 15 minutes of my morning, I get my first “news” notification about an article raging against the rigged capitalist system of the United States. Even in the dazed state of the morning, my waking brain starts to throw up the red flags. Crony capitalism and government ballots protect big business? Something here doesn’t add up. In a capitalist system, the term “government” and “business” should never appear in the same sentence, assuming the sentence isn’t “Government and business leave each other alone”. As the sun rises, I slip on my $7 walmart slippers and come to a realization. These articles may not be an accurate representation of the economic system. It’s almost as if there is an agenda biasing the representation of information. Who could imagine such a thing?
For a long time, the media has been misrepresenting capitalism. The idea of privately owned businesses regulated by the government has replaced the free market and become the new normal in America. Make no mistake, a market where the government regulates and taxes every legitimate form of business is about as free as a convict taking a walk in the yard.
Credited as an idea popularized by Adam Smith, Capitalism describes an economic system completely independent of the government. Under capitalism, the economy would be free to expand and contract as it wishes. Wealth would be accumulated by those who’ve earned it, and legal barriers to accumulate wealth would be non-existent. Like communism, true capitalism has never been realized. Prejudicial government policies and slavery restricted free market access to minority groups. Unlike communism, Capitalism doesn’t cause entire nations to spiral into authoritarian dictatorships and genocide. In fact, true capitalism doesn’t have the capacity for such atrocities, because the government wouldn’t have the funds necessary to commit them.
Now I could drone on and on for pages about the Invisible Hand and supply and demand; however, I have little time, and you have the ability to Google, so allow me to get right to the point. At its most simplistic and basic definition, the term capitalism can’t be applied to the United States. In the past four months alone, the government has dolled out trillions of dollars in stimulus packages, small business loans, and a fairly hefty bailout of the airline industry. The buck doesn’t stop there. In the past recession, the government bailed out the mortgage companies, the banks, and the auto industry. They’ve meddled in higher education, health insurance, and the energy sector. Some will argue that this is a form of “improved” capitalism, where the benefits of free markets are reaped but no one gets left behind. A true free market advocate would know that capitalism is an all or nothing system. You either have a free markets or you don’t, and the world we live in shows that this “enlightened” system has left plenty behind.
The multi-billionaires and corporations that give capitalism a bad name, mostly exist because the society has turned its back on free markets. Do you know what happens to the banking industry if the government doesn’t bail them out during the mortgage crisis? It collapses, but the demand is still there so bankers with better practices take over the market. Do you know what happens to the price of tuition if the government stops subsidizing colleges? It goes down, because there aren’t many teenagers with $100K sitting in a savings account.
Your problem isn’t with capitalism. The remaining elements of capitalism are what accounts for all of the positive aspects of our economy. Cheap goods, luxury items, and technological advancement are all attributable to free markets.Your problem lies with your government. The government has instituted a corporatist social welfare state to line their pockets and make you dependent on them. In the world of “To-Big-To-Fail”, capitalism is not the problem, it’s the solution. Free the markets; free the people.
Michael A. Romano