Monday, June 21, 2010

Assault on Capitalism

To say that there is an assault on capitalism in this country is an understatement. From the bailouts of wall street and motor companies to the calls for the Venezuela style take over of BP the assault is obvious. I have only two quick thoughts I'd like to share.

1. We don't currently have a capitalist system. The government is intertwined in both banking the motor companies, oil, just about every sector of the economy we see struggling is already highly regulated by our government. The arguments that it was capitalism that led to the economic troubles we see is a fallacy.

2. (And this was the real point of this post) Nearly every day I hear people whining and complaining about how much money the gas stations make on a gallon of gas. I hear people complaining about the cost of health care, insurance... etc.

The same question always remains. If you really believe they have such a high profit margin, then why haven't you opened your own business. You could undercut their price and make money hand over fist. You don't even have to become a doctor. Just open a clinic, hire some docs, charge a lower rate and watch the people flock in your doors. They will be glad you are charging less, and you can swim in all your profits like scrooge mcduck. But you don't. I wonder why. Either you are not willing to take the risk, or you don't really believe what you are claiming.

There is also another option. It is possible that you don't believe there should be a profit allowed. That clinics and doctors should be run as non-profits. In which case you are a hypocrite.

I think your industry should be non-profit.


scotterb said...

I think first one needs to define capitalism. When I watched the Michael Moore film "Capitalism: A Love Story," I agreed with much of what he said, except that as you point out, our system isn't capitalistic. It is a kind of oligarchy, with government in bed with big money. The left decries big money, the right goes off against big government, and the two "sides" don't realize they're just attacking (and defending) different parts of the same beast.

Capitalism to function requires either shared informal rules (likely only possible in small systems), or a functioning legal regulatory system designed to protect people (from fraud, unsafe practices, environmental damage, etc.) I suspect that it functions best when workers are partners with owners, rather than on 'opposite sides.' In a country as large as the US, it's hard not to have the powerful economic actors get the capacity to corrupt the powerful governmental actors. I don't think either left or right have the solution right now. I don't think an answer can come from ideology either...but it would be nice to get a functioning capitalist system rather than the oligarchy we have.

renaissanceguy said...

Jay, you are so right. I am sick and tired of things being blamed on capitalism that are the fault of government control and regulation.

As you point out, lots of people hate profits--except for their own.