Undressing Capitalism – The Naked Truth

American life and society is based on the concept of Capitalism. Its antithesis, Communism or Socialism, has become the anti-Christ of the American dream. Yet Capitalism has fostered dreams of success that have become nightmares for many.

What is Capitalism? Does it reign supreme over Communism as the rightful heir to the next world order, or is there a third way that engenders the concepts of both Communism and Capitalism, lifting the poor out of poverty, yet preserving the rewards for the entrepreneurial that Capitalism fosters so well?

Capitalism is based on competition. To better understand the concept of Capitalism, we have to observe more closely the effects of competition.

This is best understood by relating to football. I don’t pretend to understand the complexities of American football, but football is football, and football by any other name, like ‘soccer’, will smell as sweet.

Football is made up of many teams all competing for the opportunity to win some magnificent trophy. After many play-offs, teams are eliminated until only two remain. These winners of the semi-finals, compete for the final prize – the grand trophy. Only one can be champion.

But, what of the the other teams who were knocked out in the earlier stages of the tournament? In the excitement of the Super-Bowl, everyone’s forgotten about them.

Yet, in our analogy of competitive football and Capitalism, those ‘other teams’ represent the bulk of ordinary Americans. Probably around 99% of the US population.

In our analogy, they are the losers – the forgotten teams. Competition is about beating everyone else. For every winner, there are a legion of losers.

In reality, Capitalism is about maintaining a few winners, while creating a host of losers.

Of course, in a perfect world, the winners care for the losers by providing jobs and salaries for the losers to live in relative comfort. It’s called ‘sharing wealth’. The winners cream off the bulk of the rewards, leaving the scraps for the losers, who do most of the work.

Communism, or in the Western world, its slightly more acceptable cousin, Socialism, differs from Capitalism by recognizing that those who do the bulk of the work deserve the bulk of the reward.

While Capitalism is fostered by the powerful few as a means to keep the many under control, threatening loss of jobs, recessionary consequences, and general suffering as the results of over-zealous demands on the system, Socialism endeavors to spread the bounty Capitalism bestows on the few, around those who do most of the work i.e. the other 99% of the American populace.

That seems a much fairer system to me. Yet, every year, the Rose Bowl is won by some high-fallutin’ banker CEO who walks away with $100 million or $200 million dollars or more of cash earned by the brow-sweat of ‘ordinary Americans’.

Of course, if you mention that fact to those ‘ordinary Americans’, they’ll likely spit in your eye and call you a ‘commie bastard’.

America is Capitalism; Capitalism is America.

Commonsense plays no part in the equation.

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4 Replies to “Undressing Capitalism – The Naked Truth”

  1. There are all kinds of governmental choices beyond pure capitalism, socialism or communism. A country should allow individuals to prosper from their own work but I do believe the expense of some things like education, police and fire protection, and health care should be shared by all the citizens. If you ever saw the movie The Corporation, it showed that the corps are a mentally ill form of capitalism.

  2. I’ve noticed that there’s much paranoia here in the US on two fronts – racism and socialism/communism – probably a result of recent history, recent enough for parents/grandparents/teachers to have passed on the infection to younger people.

    I wonder how different the USA might be today if McCarthyism had never existed? Capitalism might be on equal footing with socialism, more in line with things in Europe.

    I have this tucked away in my Favourites – “Two Cows”
    I love the last one of all. 😉

    http://www.aeriagloris.com/Resources/humor/TwoCows.htm

  3. A truly failed experiment, RJA and as mentioned above by FS, American corporations as depicted in the wonderful doc. “the Corporation” are psychopathic in the extreme – they are structured in a way that preys on the most weak and vulnerable of society and are immune, on the whole, from accountability being an “entity” unto itself, separate and distinct from the shareholders.
    The fear of socialism/communism has been a hugely successful brainwashing of the American public, most of whom would not be able to define it if asked.
    XO
    WWW

  4. Flimsy – never saw ‘The Corporation’, but I’ll look out for it. A mix of capitalism, communism, and socialism seems a good idea provided only the good from each is stirred into the pot and the stale and rotten isn’t left to contaminate the dish. Greed is the greatest spoiler of political cuisine. Unfortunately, there’s never been a politician’s cookbook that didn’t have lashings of it in every recipe.

    Twilight – ‘infection’ is a perfect description. America may not have deliberately engineered the Cold War, but went far along the road of hyping the ‘evil’ of the then USSR. The remnants of that hype are now firmly established in the national psyche.

    Loved the ‘Two Cows’.

    WWW – yes, the difference between indoctrination and education. In the latter you learn by asking ‘Why?’ In the former, you just learn.

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