Defending capitalism

For the American experiment to work, you have to buy in

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In today’s climate of class envy – perpetrated, oddly enough, by some very well-to-do Democrats in Washington – the often contrived outrage can be wildly and inexplicably selective.

  RICK MCKEE/STAFF
RICK MCKEE/STAFF

For instance, a CEO’s salary is fair game for criticism, but an athlete’s or entertainer’s take is never mentioned by the self-righteous politicos.

That may be for several reasons.

One may be that Democrats in Washington, particularly in the White House, love their favored status among left-leaning celebrities. Such luminaries comprise the “cool kids” in American culture, and it’s fun and affirming to hang out with them.

A second reason may be that, for some baffling reason, liberals appreciate the beauty of competition and the wisdom of rewarding excellence in sports and performing arts – and the reality that there are inevitably winners and losers – but not in the rest of life. That may be a wholly undiscovered form of myopia.

A third reason may be a sheer, cynical political calculation: Democrats won’t get popular support for themselves, or be able to stoke useful distemper in the masses, by attacking voters’ favorite movie stars, talking heads and athletes. So they just go after the captains of industry.

That’s not a healthy situation for a self-governed nation that depends entirely on freedom and free markets. Folks necessarily must buy into what capitalism is selling in order for the American experiment to work.

Increasingly, they’re not, especially the young. They’ve grown up outside the menacing shadow of communism – the same shadow now falling over Ukraine. So to many of them, socialism and communism are just increasingly attractive lifestyle choices.

Those choices can sound pretty good when the “mainstream” media only criticize – and don’t exalt or even explain – the capitalistic system. Mostly, the national media: 1) point out capitalism’s warts and 2) compare those warts not to other systems of government and commerce, but to an ideal no other system can even approach.

All you have to do to compare and contrast capitalism and communism is to view satellite photos of the Korean peninsula at night. The contrast between the dark-as-night communist North and the blazingly lit-up capitalist South is – well, like night and day.

Yet in the West, capitalism is increasingly out of fashion – though it’s delicious how the anti-capitalist Occupy movement used smart phones and other fruits of capitalism to attack it.

Who’s going to defend capitalism while we’re all so busy enjoying its products and taking it all for granted?

The answer is, next to no one.

Perhaps the best thing for the commanders of capitalism to do – if they want to, oh, you know, save capitalism – is to stop needing to be defended.

That’s going to be a tall order. Especially when you read and hear, for instance, that a former chief operating officer at Yahoo recently left with a $58 million golden parachute after just 15 months’ employment.

That’s a tough pill to swallow for us working stiffs, to be sure. And it just looks awful.

But as the Washington Post noted, most of ousted Yahoo COO Henrique de Castro’s parachute was woven with equity – and, according to the company, “the stock price appreciated nearly 160 percent between the date of his offer letter and the date of his termination.”

You can judge for yourself whether that’s right or wrong. The bottom line is, thanks to the “mainstream” media and their class envy promoters in Washington, more attention will continue to be paid to capitalism’s excesses than its successes. And industry leaders won’t ever get the praise and glory that athletes and entertainers get; nor will the demagogues cut them any slack.

Given that double standard and scrutiny, our private-sector leaders need to act with honor and make the case for capitalism – for free markets, limited government, property rights, merit pay and all the other instruments of freedom that made this the most powerful nation and economy in history.

It seems clear no one else will do it for them.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/01/14 - 06:18 am
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Capitalism Day

Another obvious example is Red China as it has moved into capitalism. Although, it’s still RED, they have and continue to adopt the principles of self-reliance with people keeping what they work for. In the mid 60s they were actually starving. Famine was prevalent as collective farming proved to be unworkable and millions died. In contrast, under their evolving capitalism, it is projected to be an even more powerful economic force than America and even today food is so plentiful the poorest person eats well. Capitalism works, period.

To rival May Day when socialists celebrate we need a day to celebrate “greedy, unbridled, capitalism.” Locally, we could all pile in our luxury cars and parade down Ronald Reagan Blvd. in opulent Columbia County eating wings from Zaxby’s and sipping bottled water from the Columbia County aquifer private company. Instead of the hammer and sickle flag, we need one with a dollar sign on it to wave. Pull into the field down by the Lady Antebellum Amphitheater and let the peons compete against each other to see who will shine our cars at the lowest price while we eat our wings. No minimum wage nonsense in this setting.

deestafford
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deestafford 06/01/14 - 07:46 am
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There is a lot of meat on the bones of this editorial...

There is a lot of meat on the bones of this editorial.

The left sees numerous problems with capitalism and is passing them along using their control of the education system. The bible for the teaching of American history, when it is taught, it the book, "A People's History of the United States" written by the far leftist Howard Zinn. His book does nothing but point out the wards in every event of American History, none of the successes.

Another problem they see with capitalism is its inequities. One of the key tenents of today's left, along with ddiiiivvveeeerrrssssiiiittyyyy and multiculturalism, is equity. Not equity of effort but equity of results no matter what the effort. Everyone "deserves" just as much as someone else because not to have that is "not fair" and "fairness" is the key thing for anything the government or society does. It's interesting that the word "fairness" appears nowhere in any of our founding documents.

Ignorance of the rest of the world and how it lives is another reason the young and the left fall for the enticements of socialism. Socialism sounds so good when it is preached and sugar coated to the ignorant. That is how socialism/communism/marxism gains its footholds in Cuba, Russia, and other countries.

It sounds so good when the leaders tell people that capitalism is bad because of it is not fair for a CEO to make millions while the workers are not making a "living wage". It sounds good to tell people how they are victims of "the system" and "the man" are the causes of the "unfairness" and "inequities" and the root cause is capitalism.

That is the role of the community organizer to stir up these feelings of the people in his area. Then, lo and behold, when a community organizer gets elected president he carries the same flag into the Oval Office.

Capitalism requires work and intelligence. Two traits lacking among the left and their sheeple.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 06/01/14 - 08:10 am
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Although Obama is a

Although Obama is a neoMarxist, he does support capitalism ( he himself is getting rich off it) just a mix of state and private much like China is his goal to create his socialist utopia. Funny in my youth I was a neoMarxist too, but that "idealism" went out the window in "real" life and when I discovered earning money is rewarding (and most ideals are just that ideals) !!!!!! I've never seen a perfect system-and the ideal of communism sound great but good golly the reality turned into a nightmare. The best laid plans of mice and men.

dichotomy
37616
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dichotomy 06/01/14 - 09:19 am
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"perpetrated, oddly enough,

"perpetrated, oddly enough, by some very well-to-do Democrats in Washington – the often contrived outrage can be wildly and inexplicably selective."

Yeh.....there's a word for that........HYPOCRITES.

And have you noticed that ALL of their little "redistribution" schemes NEVER actually take anything from the "wealthy". The lower and middle classes ALWAYS foot the bill for wealth redistribution. Prime example....Obamacare.

Bizkit
35747
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Bizkit 06/01/14 - 09:50 am
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That's funny but so true.

That's funny but so true. Mitt was a "flip-flopper" but Obama had "evolved". Good golly some folks are so gullible.

Darby
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Darby 06/01/14 - 10:24 am
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In a nutshell, American national socialism

is little more than economic cannibalism.

The problem there is that inevitably your food supply runs out.

Darby
29476
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Darby 06/01/14 - 10:45 am
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Sure it just "seems" so unfair that

some CEO's COO's make out like bandits. And while it makes some feel superior to condemn and seek to punish rich, successful businessmen, the "cure" is SO MUCH worse than the "disease".

Economic decisions made based on "progressive" (GOVERNMENT KNOWS BEST) bureaucratic concepts of "fairness" ALWAYS fail.

For the latest example, all we need do is look to the VA scandal. And when things have been "papered over" there, we won't have long to wait for the next shoe to drop.

Free market capitalism is certainly not perfect and is without a doubt, "unfair". However, it is the closest thing to perfection out there and is far more "fair" and equitable than anything anyone else (including American leftists) have or will ever come up with.

The more "Big Brother" tinkers with our lives and our means of economic growth and survival, the worse things become. I refer you to the USSR, Cuba, Communist China, et al.

It's been said before, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

As is the path to ECONOMIC DISASTER!

corgimom
38720
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corgimom 06/01/14 - 11:16 am
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This editorial is just plain

This editorial is just plain silly.

Maybe the reason why Democrats like certain actors is that they contribute heavily to their campaigns- just like the business owners contribute heavily to the Republican candidates.

To suggest that it's because they are "cool kids" is just absurd, but typical for the ACES.

Actors are just people, they aren't any different than the rest of us. My cousin is a professional actress- she was in Gray's Anatomy a few months ago- and they are just normal people.

For those of you who watch Gray's Anatomy, she played the wife of the man who came in with bee stings done for "unusual" reasons.

Darby
29476
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Darby 06/01/14 - 11:21 am
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Let's not

allow the perfect to become the enemy (or destroyer) or the good!

Socialism is a deadly disease that will kill thriving societies.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 12:43 pm
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"Maybe the reason why

"Maybe the reason why Democrats like certain actors is that they contribute heavily to their campaigns-"

Then, again, maybe this isn't really the reason. You're doing the same thing that the editorial writer did.

"...just like the business owners contribute heavily to the Republican candidates."

What is your basis for this statement?

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 12:52 pm
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The typical Democrat in the

The typical Democrat in the street also rails against CEO pay but not against extremely wealthy and highly paid sports and entertainment celebrities. Has to be another reason than campaign contributions.

My guess would be imagined, and oftentimes real, ideological like-mindedness. Celebrities are often as loud-mouthed as they are short-sighted with their support of leftist policy.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 01:00 pm
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"...our private-sector

"...our private-sector leaders need to act with honor and make the case for capitalism – for free markets, limited government, property rights, merit pay..."

It takes a lot of self-dispossessing, educated and rational thought for these principles to gain traction. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the pool of the uninitiated who can be led to buy-in on these principles is shrinking.

Good luck trying. (Sorry for the pessimism, folks.)

carcraft
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carcraft 06/01/14 - 01:48 pm
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Well here is one of the best

Well here is one of the best defenses of Capitalism I have ever seen. Phil Donahue Vs Milton Friedman http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/14/that-time-milton-friedman-demolished-p... Corgimom rich people who vote for and support Democrats and liberals give lie to the myth that Republicans are the party of the rich, consider Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Larry Ellison. These folks are balanced out by the evil Koch Brothers. Of the four Richest in the World that are American 3 support Democrats!

carcraft
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carcraft 06/01/14 - 02:00 pm
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Why would the rich support

Why would the rich support Democrats? Cheap labor is good for the bottom line. As long as we get cheap illegal laborers out of South America and Mexico the bottom line of businesses that depend on cheap labor can stay in business and make excess profits. Agri businesses, certain manufacturing and construction all profit from exploited labor pools of illegal workers. So these folks are against increased boarder security, alien vises etc because it caps the ability of businesses to exploit workers.

carcraft
28588
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carcraft 06/01/14 - 02:01 pm
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As long as Americans remain

As long as Americans remain uneducated they are easy to manipulate and exploit. Obama and Dems good, Republicans evil..... just keep repeating it. Don't worry that the VA is a federal run health care system Obama care good, Republicans evil. Of course Obama care won't run out like the VA or the British health system with long waits, rationing, lies etc. Never mind that the government can't build a functioning web site with over $600 million dollars Obama care good and the Republicans want to deny you health care...Obama and Democrat good Republicans evil....LOL

carcraft
28588
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carcraft 06/01/14 - 02:13 pm
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The economy contracted last

The economy contracted last quarter, lowest labor participation rate since 1978, more people on welfare, middle class shrinking, illegal labor taking jobs from American workers and driving down the salaries for Americans. But remember DEMS GOOD REPUBLICANS BAD we must help the poor people that enter our coountry illegally, break our laws, (36,000 illegal alien criminals were released back into the US population to continue crimes like killing peole while DUI, raping, killing etc), illegals caught are bussed to Phoenix Arizona bus stations instead of back to Mexico!. But remember Republicans bad Dems good.

stuaby
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 02:39 pm
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carcraft @3:01 : Sheh! Heh!

carcraft @3:01 :

Sheh! Heh! Exactly.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 02:51 pm
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"Phil Donahue Vs Milton

"Phil Donahue Vs Milton Friedman "

I've seen this a number of times. You know what the difference between that debate now vs. then? In the same debate today, the leftist who's assailing capitalism would not sit there and be quiet during a refutation like Friedman's. (Which was indeed awesome.) The person(s) would shout over the rationalist, call him names, go into the Simon-sez routine, etc. I have to give credit to Donahue for at least letting the guy speak.

No way Maher would sit there like that.

Darby
29476
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Darby 06/01/14 - 04:36 pm
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"These folks are balanced out by the evil Koch Brothers.

Of the four Richest in the World that are American 3 support Democrats!"

.
Are we gonna forget George Soros?

burninater
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burninater 06/01/14 - 06:59 pm
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This is a serious

This is a serious issue.

Capitalism is a social institution designed to efficiently distribute resources. That is its function. If it instead distributes resources in inefficient ways, i.e. a superminority are capturing a disproportionate amount of resources, then it will be viewed as dysfunctional and either be modified or discarded.

Those who value capitalism would be well-advised to self-regulate their behavior to sustain capitalism's role as a resource distributor. That assumes, of course, that those gaming the system for disproportionate gains are concerned with more than simply their personal wealth. That may be a false assumption.

carcraft
28588
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carcraft 06/01/14 - 07:15 pm
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Aw yes, and how has say North

Aw yes, and how has say North Korea or Cuba or even Argentina distributed their wealth? Did Castro get the third tier medical care the peasants did? Yeh Right!!!!

carcraft
28588
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carcraft 06/01/14 - 07:17 pm
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Actually capitalism is

Actually capitalism is designed to distribute goods and services and allow for the creation wealth.

stuaby
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 07:45 pm
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From the _Oxford Companion to

From the _Oxford Companion to Politics of the World_,, c. 1993 Oxford U. Press:

Capitalism: "...a set of economic and legal institutions which together make the production of things for private profit the normal course of economic organization. In short, it is a mode of production, a way of organizing economic activity."

burninater
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burninater 06/01/14 - 08:01 pm
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"Actually capitalism is

"Actually capitalism is designed to distribute goods and services and allow for the creation wealth."
------
Not exactly. In a perfectly efficient capitalist economy, prices as a function of supply and demand reach the point where profit is minimized to zero. Wealth in the sense of maximum efficiency of resource use would exist. "Wealth" in the sense of individuals capturing economic goods for personal gain is not a function of capitalism.

In our economy, social institutions -- gov't, boards of directors, media, etc -- are captured and exploited by a small set of individuals to enable and capture profit far in excess of that which would exist in a pure capitalist economy.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 07:56 pm
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Also from the _Oxford

Also from the _Oxford Companion to Politics of the World_, c. 1993 Oxford U. Press:

Under "Capitalism":

"In the end, as long as profits can be made and spent as the profit maker wishes within a nonarbitrary framework, capitalism...will flourish."

Well now. If some would have their way, it will not flourish, because they cannot stand for anyone to get wealthy via capitalist activity. So they would rather sabotage his activity and wreck the prospects of all those who he employs, than see him succeed.

Given enough time, we may wind up returning to the feudal system of patronage rather than evolving into a socialist state. (Heck, it has already started in a number of ways.) Just depends on which party keeps control at the nation level.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/01/14 - 08:10 pm
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"In our economy, social

"In our economy, social institutions -- gov't, boards of directors, media, etc -- are captured and exploited by a small set of individuals to enable and capture profit far in excess of that which would exist in a pure capitalist economy."

Lots of nuance in that statement, but I'll credit you with it.

However, 1) No one is suggesting that capitalism is perfect. 2) Name the system that you propose that we replace it with.

burninater
9943
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burninater 06/01/14 - 09:08 pm
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3
"Name the system that you

"Name the system that you propose that we replace it with."
----
I propose that we replace our current oligopolist system with a capitalist one. I also propose that we acknowledge that not all value can be captured by market prices, meaning that 1) we do not view something as without value if it exists outside of the market, and 2) we manage some resources with non-market mechanisms.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 06/02/14 - 12:15 am
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Burn

It's not entirely true that we have an oligopolistic system. Yaya I know, mother jones, the nation, etc tells you it's so; can even give you an example or two, doesn't mean it's a representative example.

Capitalism trumps socialism, every time! We can pick and nit at capitalisms faults, I have no problem with that, but for YOU or anyone else to trash a superior system (proven superior ) in favor of a shown inferior system is the hight of hilarity!

There's a reason, a very good reason, Americans are suspicious of big gov, that reason is evident in our founding!

Just look to the founding documents for further education.

Young Fred
21145
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Young Fred 06/02/14 - 12:51 am
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In modern history, the most

In modern history, the most copied document is the US Constitution, and ten amendments.

Yes, we always have to be aware of excesses. But the very nature of our founding makes us aware. What, you don't think we as a country don't know when we're being taking advantage of? You think just because we can buy cheep pants at wal-Mart we don't care?

Grow up! I,d rather buy pants made in Vietnam than swallow views made in Barkley.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 06/02/14 - 06:30 am
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"I propose that we replace

"I propose that we replace our current oligopolist system with a capitalist one. "

You're looking for perfection in a system. This is impossible.

There is no set of laws that will ever be passed, in this world, to eradicate the ills brought on by the people participating in a system - no matter what the system.

Why? Because humans are fundamentally flawed; and until this changes, the law, the lawmakers, the law executors, those encumbered by the law, etc. will never be perfect. So there will always be ills such as power wielding, influence peddling, cronyism, poverty, etc.

The desire for socio-economic nirvana is analogous to the search for the holy grail. It is part of an corrupt orthodoxy and _m a n y_ people are being taken for ride in pursuit of it.

We do best by taking what seems to work, and attempting to ferret out the problems that we can; not fundamentally changing (destroying) the system, piece by piece, in search of something else.

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