Giving capitalism a bad name

Successful economic system should be defended in face of Occupy crowd

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We’ll say it again: If the Occupy Wall Street protesters are upset about taxpayers seeing little to no benefit from massive corporate bailouts – and about fat executive compensation in the era of layoffs and high unemployment – we’re with them.

We’re not sure the Occupy crowd is as lucid as all that, but just go with us for a minute.

We’re still waiting for a few overfed CEOs to see the light, slash their pay and use the savings to hire everyone they can find work for.

How can they see the frustration and anger and protests going on in cities all over the world and not understand that the very system they rely upon for their success – capitalism – is under siege? It’s being tested, being cross-examined – certainly by younger generations who simply aren’t schooled in or shaped by the titanic struggles of the Cold War, and thus don’t know the dangers they’re inviting. But if history teaches us that communism and socialism are both immoral and ineffective, history also is replete with young generations demanding more than pat answers to deep and urgent questions.

The fact remains that capitalism has some very good answers to the questions being posed to it – but at this point of the proceedings, those answers aren’t being put forth in any coherent way by the capitalists. If capitalism’s defenders are muddled and muted, it’s a little incongruous to complain that the Occupy Wall Street folks are worse (though, truth be told, they are).

What are the capitalists waiting for? Do they think the roiling fury they’re watching is just a momentary fad? Do they think they can take capitalism and freedom and peace and security for granted?

Where is capitalism’s defense? Is it muffled because its excesses are so indefensible? Is it because they know they’ll come off as feudal lords? Perhaps it’s just difficult for someone earning $30 million or more to speak out at a time such as this.

Well, someone has to do it. This isn’t the America the captains of commerce grew up in. Income disparities have ballooned over the years, and have been put in much sharper focus by the crash of 2008 and the sustained slowdown that has followed. The bailouts only picked at the sores. And with the shadow of the Soviet Union gone, the specter of socialism and communism just doesn’t haunt our kids like it did their parents.

We can laugh off those in the Occupy crowds who loudly applaud the communists in their midst – and yes, that’s happened – but our young, especially, need to be shown how those folks are wrong. They need to learn, as their elders seemed to know intrinsically, that capitalism, under which they have the freedom to become what they can – and keep what they earn – is the only real fair and moral covenant among men, and that socialism and communism, under which the fruits of your labor aren’t considered yours, are inherently inequitable. They are ghastly wrecks littering the path of man.

What youths may know about all this – other than the comfortable lifestyles they enjoy and the fancy devices capitalism provides their palms – is what liberal comedians like Jon Stewart or ultra-liberal propagandists like filmmaker Michael Moore tell them. Moore, who grew plenty fat and happy on capitalism himself, made a movie cynically and sarcastically called Capitalism: A Love Story. One hint: It’s not a romantic comedy, though his hypocrisy is hilarious.

In short, the other side is making its case more openly and unashamedly than ever in our lifetimes. We can no longer assume that our young understand the beauty of individual liberty, the process of wealth creation, or the importance of private property rights to freedom and security. It appears our schools aren’t teaching it.

Who, then, will tell them?

And when will the capitalists stop giving capitalism a bad name?

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Riverman1
83904
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Riverman1 10/20/11 - 05:19 am
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Capitalism is simply an

Capitalism is simply an economic system of buying what we need from those who sell to make a profit. It can't be given a good or bad name. It's a one plus one equals two concrete system, not some nebulous altruistic society equalizing tool.

Shareholders own companies and can do with them what they think is best as far as executive compensation. They elect boards that determine executive pay. The fact is some executives are worth every dime they make even when it's in the tens of millions.

A wise CEO keeps the shareholders happy with and good share price and dividends which means they keep THEIR money in the company which means workers have jobs.

The Chronicle's parent company could have benefited from a CEO who saw the demise of print journalism and not left the company a couple hundred million in debt they couldn't pay. That's why you are now ranting against capitalism.

By the way, the Chronicle still needs to make drastic changes to embrace the world of the Internet if it is to survive.

carcraft
25813
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carcraft 10/20/11 - 05:36 am
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Riverman-The Chronicle isn't

Riverman-The Chronicle isn't ranting, I don't think, against capitalism. the Chromicle is asking for a defense of capitalism. Those folks that are protesting against Capitalism adore Steve Jobs and morned his passing. Those cheering communisim don't particularly like it when their I-pad of lap top are stolen and redistributed amoung the needy! I was glad to see Obama teleprompter redistribute, how many teleprompters does one President need?

TParty
6003
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TParty 10/20/11 - 08:11 am
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Let's make a line with

Let's make a line with Socialism on one end, and Capitalism on the other. Still with me?

Lots of things that nations do fall between these two points. Adults argue whether these things are good or bad, and how they can be changed to improve the lives of everyone in the nation. We are not a "pure" capitalist country! We DO in fact exhibit some form of socialism depending on what you're looking at.

Socialism is where we give our money to the government, and they provide things like water, roads, firemen, police, and schools. You've probably even had the fire department come to your school to show off their big fire trucks.

"Pure" Capitalism (or free market economy) is where businesses compete with each other to provide the best product and service, where the group of people who do the best job are rewarded by consumers choosing with their dollars. Successful businesses grow or continue to provide their services, while poorly run businesses run out of money and are not able to continue their services. The government has no say in the interaction between people and business.

Lots of people like Capitalism, because it's a fair way to know who is providing the best good or service for the best price. Sometimes, the government "interferes" with pure capitalism, and they make "rules" on how the game is to be played. For instance, you have to pay people a minimum wage, and pay them even more if they work over 40hrs a week. Also, you can't endlessly pollute (Thanks EPA).

Sometimes, the government people who change the rules are actually being PAID by corporations to change the rules in their favor. Budweiser did it (distribution), Haliburton did it (Desert Storm), GE is doing it now (Thanks Obama!) and the banks did it. Some of the people in Congress were actually working for some of these companies beforehand.

So now, business and government are VERY much tied together. But what do you call it? People are still voting with their dollars like capitalism, but the government is also controlling how your tax dollars are spent, and giving them to corporations without your consent. This is like socialism, but now the net benefit to the consumer is questionable (at best).

The last little bit here is that the banks all failed. They had a job, they had billions of dollars from millions of people, and they blew it. Individuals who knew this was coming all pulled out as much money as they could into their personal accounts, where they couldn't be held accountable for doing their job so poorly. At this point (and this is important) the public chose not to support these companies who devalued the market and took it all for themselves. At this point, there is no Capitalism. There is no "voting with your Dollars" taking place. Not in any form of the term "capitalism" can you call the government taking your money and giving it unsupported by the public to a corporation who failed to do their job.

TL;DR: Giving away tax money to billionaires is not Capitalism, is not in the same ballpark as Capitalism, it's not even the same sport.

david jennings
590
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david jennings 10/20/11 - 08:14 am
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The economic situation is not

The economic situation is not very good right now and that is a rightfully great concern. We have many problems,however lately a bigger concern for me is I see this country more divided now than ever before. The President rants about the wealthy hating the poor,Perry and Romney acting like children,Pelosi praising protesters when they defecate on the US flag, I pray for a candidate that will come up with an idea to promote a little unity because without it we will never accomplish much.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 10/20/11 - 08:45 am
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Capitalism works. Crony

Capitalism works. Crony Capitalism doesn't. We must keep the politicians and bureaucrats from intervening by picking winners and losers (the winners donate the most campaign money to them).

Stop the Government. There's not much we can do about private firms. That is up to the owner or the board of directors. It is also up to the customers who can walk away from them any time they want. Just please stop giving them MY hard earned money to use.

faithson
5158
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faithson 10/20/11 - 08:59 am
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'liberals like Jon Stewart

'liberals like Jon Stewart 'TELL THEM'... just goes to show how out of touch this conservative publication IS. If you conservatives are worried about how your beloved 'market system' is portrayed on COMEDY CENTRAL you need to get a better handle on your problems. Satire has always been a useful 'theatrical tool' to express the human condition. You would be well served to watch at least the first segment of Jon's show to understand how off base you can be on criticizing what these comedic writers come up with using the available political ''fu-pa's" from both sides. Tues's show was especially good when Jon juxtusposed comments politicians have made about the 'tea party' and 'occupy wall street', some really good hypocritical politicians out there, on both sides. Humor is a wonderful 'outlet' for venting the frustration many find in our political system.

faithson
5158
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faithson 10/20/11 - 09:16 am
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Actual capitalism is not the

Actual capitalism is not the problem. The problem is when very large corporations, under the guise of 'capitalism' have so much sway in the economics of the supposed 'free market'... If the result of capitalism is costco and wall mart at the expense of 'local' enterprises, I vote for the locals and would promote ideas and actions that support my local communities. If going from Georgia Railroad Bank and Trust (80's) to Wells Fargo (CA bank) is the cost of un bridled Capitalism, I say put a Bridle on them.

harley_52
23274
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harley_52 10/20/11 - 09:23 am
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Capitalism is the only

Capitalism is the only successful economic system man has ever devised. If you think about it (and if you understand anything at all about human nature) Capitalism is the only economic system that CAN survive.

When I say "survive" in this context, I mean "cleanly survive." I mean survive without blood, guts, and skeletons all over the place from humans who refused to be treated like animals. Humans who believed that freedom from enslavement and oppression for themselves and their families was more important than life itself. Yes, other economic systems have survived for a while (depending upon the number of bodies buried and on the brutality of the dictators) but only Capitalism survives in the long run. The reason is obvious.

Only Capitalism allows an individual to set his goals as high as he chooses and then allows him the opportunity to achieve those goals. People are free to work as hard and as long as they choose and to make the difficult choices required to achieve the kind of wealth they desire when others are unwilling to make those hard choices. No other economic system rewards the individual commensurate with the personal efforts involved in creating wealth as does Capitalism and it's because people are naturally inclined to pursue their own self interests and those of their families beyond all others. When they see the fruits of their hard work being forcibly taken from them and given to others who have chosen not to prepare and not to work that Capitalism breaks down and becomes one of the other junk economic systems that eventually leads to oppression, enslavement, and social chaos.

Children used to learn that at home and in school. Not so much any more. As schools became infected with left-wing, socialist leaning teachers and professors they stopped teaching that reality and began teaching children Capitalism is bad and that some notional, theoretical, idyllic economic system where everybody works together in happy commune and all contribute the fruits of their labor to the common good would be "fairer" than Capitalism where only the "greedy" survive.

Liberals have given Capitalism a bad reputation and convinced younger generations it's evil and "greedy." At the same time they've used their political power to create a poorly educated, generally helpless society where one can only survive with government supervision and assistance.

We have allowed it to happen so we all share the blame. Whether we can turn it around in time to avoid chaos and an end to America as we have known it is, in my honest opinion, very doubtful.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 10/20/11 - 09:43 am
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Liberals have given

Liberals have given capitalism a bad name harley52 - which is very sad for our youth - they do not realize the opportunities they could have.

It's kind of ironic when you think about it. Liberals love all that is government. Government intervenes in capitalism & messes it up. Liberals and liberal politicians blame capitalism. How messed up is that?!

faithson
5158
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faithson 10/20/11 - 10:34 am
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0
@chillen, i think you miss

@chillen, i think you miss the point when you put the problem on liberals only. of the 500 or so legislators in DC, how many have a working relationship with economic Capitalism ???? Always said, when the farmers were marginalized from representing the people, we lost a great 'voice' of reason in running our government. It is not the party for the most part, it is the people who represent the party. The dem's do have a constituency of lower class urban people who must be appeased, so they are at some disadvantage when discussing real solutions to our economic problems. Very hard to close the barn doors when the horses have already gotten out, but close them to some degree we must while at the same time collecting more from those that have more. BOTH at the same time is only fair. Of course all expenditures must be stabilized prior to adding the amounts collected and saved.

harley_52
23274
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harley_52 10/20/11 - 10:54 am
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Chillen said "Liberals have

Chillen said "Liberals have given capitalism a bad name harley52 - which is very sad for our youth - they do not realize the opportunities they could have."

It's not just that they don't realize the opportunities they could have, it's worse. They've been taught that Capitalism is evil. That businessmen are all "greedy." That socialism is good and a much better economic system than Capitalism. Their government leaders now confirm it for them either with a wink and a nod, or by more openly supporting their street protests and lawlessness in open attacks on Capitalism as an institution.

Egged on by Hollywood, their President, and some of their Congressional leaders, these people aren't after capitalists who've gone astray, they're after the system.

Riverman1
83904
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Riverman1 10/20/11 - 11:02 am
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About that line that has

About that line that has capitalism and socialism together. It doesn't work. Capitalism is an economic system, plain and simple. Interfere with it and you start to have problems.

There are ways to fund the government that have nothing to do with interfering with capitalism. That's the key, look for revenue that doesn't mess with the hand of the market.

Capitalists have also demonstrated they are the most generous people in the world. If you believe we can legislate a valid minimum wage that works, let's make it a hundred bucks an hour. Look at any country in the world that has done well and capitalism has led the way.

Criticism of Haliburton is the biggest bunch of Malarkey around. They were given a fast, no bid contract to get supplies to Iraq to take care of the troops. It wasn't cheap delivering fuel and other things. They made little in profit is the truth and got out of the contract as soon as they could.

Riverman1
83904
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Riverman1 10/20/11 - 11:09 am
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From the Merrian Webster

From the Merrian Webster Dictionary:

Definition of SOCIALISM
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

Capitalism has no business being on the same line with socialism even if it stretches from here to Ludowici.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/20/11 - 11:13 am
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harley_52
23274
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harley_52 10/20/11 - 11:24 am
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0
Riverman, your quote from

Riverman, your quote from Webster's is fine, as far as it goes, but you left this on out.
******
3
: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.
***

It's the most important one.

The "transition" occurs because of a "crisis." There are those who seek to create a "crisis" to hurry the process along.......

Riverman1
83904
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Riverman1 10/20/11 - 11:27 am
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Harley, you are absolutely

Harley, you are absolutely right. I stopped at 2 to be concise, but that probably is the most important because it states it's a transition to communism. Again, capitalism has no common goals with socialism.

harley_52
23274
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harley_52 10/20/11 - 11:45 am
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Riverman1 said "Again,

Riverman1 said "Again, capitalism has no common goals with socialism."

You're right, Riverman, polar opposites. One system encourages individual excellence with the demonstrated result of raising society as a whole. The other system discourages individual excellence by encouraging mediocracy and equality with the result of stagnation and social decline. Ultimately, working people tire of providing for more and more of society and must be forcibly "encouraged" to work for the good of the rest of society. As has been observed by others, Communism is Socialism enforced by the barrel of a gun.

Socialism never works for long and Communism always stacks up the bodies of those who seek freedom from oppression.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 10/20/11 - 11:46 am
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Better watch out riverman &

Better watch out riverman & harley - they'll label you tin foil hat wearers just because your eyes are open & you see the handwriting on the wall of what could be (and what many want it to be).

When people are hurting & broke (like now), they’re the most vulnerable. They look for somebody, (anybody) who can lead them out of the economic turmoil. Remember Cambodia's Pol Pot? Germany's Hilter? I hope some day in the future someone blogging doesn't post "Remember America's obama?".

When faced with terrible circumstances, people beg their govt to do something. Politicians will always be happy to "step up to the plate" and "help" or "fix things". You just might not like the outcome. I seem to recall someone in the obama administration saying "never let a good crisis go to waste".

I leave you all with a Mark Twain Quote. "While history may not repeat itself, it certainly rhymes."

Riverman1
83904
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Riverman1 10/20/11 - 11:51 am
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Chillen, honestly, that's why

Chillen, honestly, that's why I didn't include the 3rd definition saying it is a stage in a transition to communisim because the liberals would think I was name calling. But it's right there in all its objective glory in the dictionary.

harley_52
23274
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harley_52 10/20/11 - 12:04 pm
0
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Riverman said "Chillen,

Riverman said "Chillen, honestly, that's why I didn't include the 3rd definition saying it is a stage in a transition to communisim because the liberals would think I was name calling."

You're so sweet! :)

Bizkit
31421
Points
Bizkit 10/20/11 - 12:08 pm
0
0
Amendment XIV to the United

Amendment XIV to the United States ConstitutionSection 1. No State shall make or enforce any law, … nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.
I don't understand why the progessive tax code isn't discriminatory and deny equality before the law. I should be invalidated by the SCOTUS. The UN universal declaration of human rights also demands equality before the law. Why discriminate against people by their income-is it any different than race? Well aren't the rich mostly a bunch of fat middle-aged white guys. Age, race, and gender discrimination too.

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 10/20/11 - 12:10 pm
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0
River, the Comical had a real

River, the Comical had a real gem in the forums with some folks on there regularly 'scooping' Matt Drudge but they stupidly ignored it.

Local banks are no more capitalist than the Wall Street Banks. Warning to the successful in this town: Putting your money in half of these banks is like turning it over to a meth addict.

onlysane1left
216
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onlysane1left 10/20/11 - 12:50 pm
0
0
" a stage of society in

" a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done."

If Marxist theory is read, you will note that the transititon mention above is not a Coward-Piven created crisis, but a transition after the work party revolution. Also note this is Marxist theory, not an actual system that has been put in place.

TParty
6003
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TParty 10/20/11 - 12:50 pm
0
0
It's obvious capitalism is

It's obvious capitalism is the only way to go, I'm just curious about some things, and am hoping for some input.

A person with an idea for business will be able to gather some capital and they'll build their building or factory. But don't they build it nears roads, and move their product via roads that we all paid for? Don't they hire workers that we all paid for through public schooling? Doesn't the owner and investors feel safe knowing we are all paying for police, fire fighters and other emergency workers?

harley_52
23274
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harley_52 10/20/11 - 01:03 pm
0
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onlysane1left said "If

onlysane1left said "If Marxist theory is read, you will note that the transititon mention above is not a Coward-Piven created crisis, but a transition after the work party revolution."

Can you think of anything that might precipitate a "work party revolution?" Cloward and Piven did. Do you know what it is?

sid2279
0
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sid2279 10/20/11 - 01:03 pm
0
0
We're finally at the next

We're finally at the next step in our evolution now that we've shaken off the Horatio Alger-based slumber. There are so few real life rags-to-riches stories but each are celebrated so disproportionately that they keep most people glazed over enough to think they all have a shot at achieving that dream. Many of us have gone to college, we've gone to grad school, are working on PhDs, have gotten married, have children and the house but we lack the audience with the people walking atop that glass ceiling - an audience which is necessary to get anywhere now - but achieving all those comes at a high cost payable to the very people we've hoped to become and saddling us with enough burden to keep us in our places. It's not Capitalism per se, it's the Capitalists.

allhans
23645
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allhans 10/20/11 - 01:06 pm
0
0
If capitalism is so bad I

If capitalism is so bad I wonder why this capitalist country is being asked to send more aid to Libya.

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 10/20/11 - 01:33 pm
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What we have certainly is not

What we have certainly is not capitalism because bank profits are privatized while bank losses are socialized. It is CORRUPTION capitalized.

Bizkit
31421
Points
Bizkit 10/20/11 - 01:41 pm
0
0
There are a lot of PhD's

There are a lot of PhD's bringing down 100 K or more but I agree there are a lot paid crap-like me. But that is because I reaped what I sowed too. We have a global economy. Name a country that doesn't implement capitalism. Even old USSR, China, and Cuba have state capitalism. Socialism as an economic entity is dead but still the social aspect lives on in some. We all pay taxes that support roads, schools, police, etc so we all benefit. But that isn't socialism. Socialism when the "state " owns all the businesses and forms of production. Fannie and Freddy were created by State then given away to private and now reclaimed. I don't understand why there wasn't a congressional investigation related to both. We can easily blame all this financial crisis on Congressional Dems that forced banks to make bad loans which of course they sold off as a good business practice. Then the Dems controlling both houses ignored Bush's pleas to investigate and do something about the impending crisis, but of course every one shoots and blames the messenger. Frank and Dodd both belong in prison. Bizarro's kitchen.

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