Capitalism

This is a hard entry to write simply because I am far from an economic theorist. I find economics very challenging and can’t even balance my own check book, much less truly understand huge economic paradigms. What I can say, without any trepidation, is that I hate capitalism.

I have long believed capitalism to be a wicked, nefarious, rotten system. I have long seen it as a system based upon brutality. I have long seen it as a system based on greed and callousness.

Capitalism is defined as “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” “Private owners for profit” is the key phrase there. And it could not be more obvious that this profit is not equally shared by the masses. It is owned by the 1% and other economic elites.

Like so many others I come from a working-class/lower-class family. My parents have struggled their whole lives economically. I give them all the credit in the world for raising three kids on such a small amount of money and holding on to jobs for decades in order to keep the family going. Despite gaining four degrees, I have not been able to surpass my parents in terms of economics. In fact, I am in worse shape because at least they were able to own their own home. My brother and sister also struggle economically and have not surpassed our parents in terms of income.

This is not a rarity. This is the norm. People, with few exceptions, do not surpass the economic class of their parents. Part of the American mythos is the rags to riches lie, that you can start off with nothing and earn your way into the 1%. This does not happen. Period. This ties in with the other lie called “the American dream.” This states that if you work hard enough you can rise up the economic ladder. The “myth of meritocracy” is a good phrase for describing the reality here. It is a myth that merit will carry you up the economic ladder. As we know, we live in a racist, sexist, heterosexist country [among many others isms]. So being a white, cis, straight male is in itself a kind of currency. Fairness or hard work is not the way it works in the USA. Capitalism is at the base of virtually all forms of oppression. That is not to say it is more important, but that cash play into racism, sexism, etc. in vitally important ways.

Meanwhile, socialism is defined as “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” As it stands right now, the community has no power under capitalism. The rich, powerful and elite, including government officials, have all the power. We would have to overthrow capitalism to move into a system of socialism. I wish it could happen tomorrow. But it is going to take a very long time to do so. I do see the beginnings of revolutionary thought through some of the movements that have come forth in the past several years since the beginning of the Occupy movement. I am a socialist and I believe that the means of production should be regulated by the community as a whole. In the personal realm, I know for sure that I am never going to get ahead given the ratio of my debt and my income. Capitalism is a wicked system and it needs to be dismantled so that people can experience true security and true freedom.