Not much frustrates me, but our economic system does. Within its apparent brilliance lies a malignancy that will ultimately destroy our country—and eventually, the entire planet as we know it.
To be clear: There is no free market. And the fallacy that capitalism is the most efficient distribution of resources—aka our economic system—is a farce.
Like with religion, we have all been led to believe that our economic system is divine, or the best we can expect. What is true is that it’s the best for the few who decide to use it in order to take advantage of everyone else.
Ironically, most people do not set out to harm others’ financial well-being at all. They are just following the legal path set forth by our economic system.
Technology giant Bill Gates used the tenets of our system to build his wealth. The Koch Brothers inherited theirs. Gates did not grow up poor, but he was not a blue blood. The manner in which they acquired their wealth likely influenced these billionaires. The guy who knew what it takes to make a buck for himself, despite our flawed economic model, is much more compassionate than the ones who had silver spoons in their mouths.
But the reality is these two characters share more in common than not. They both wield power to control politicians and with that, policies that affect us all undemocratically. It is the benevolent pseudo dictator versus the evil dictator.
Our indoctrination about how things are and should be has left the masses somewhat unaware of a harsh reality: these guys’ excess wealth is our surplus labor and earnings denied. In effect, we gave them what shouldn’t be all theirs.
Bill Gates intrinsically realizes after the fact that he must return his accumulated wealth. He will never say it that way but the man knows math, and he has a heart. The Koch brothers believe they are entitled to their net worth, even though their only virtue was being born a Koch. Both the Koch Brothers and Bill Gates give away a lot of money, but their aim differs. The Koch Brothers are ideological while Gates is practical.
Money/capital is power. And we should not have an economic system where anyone can accumulate an infinite stream of capital. That accumulation is wealth denied others not because of worth, but because of a flawed economic model.
First, no one person can provide the service required to accumulate the sums that billionaires have. They are dependent on others. And if they are dependent on others to receive a profit way above those who work to create that additional capital, one can only classify it as legal theft. Think of it as a few notches above slavery.
Remember, the genesis of Bill Gates’ wealth was not his product, and thus not his intellect. Moreover, as his company grew, his wealth increased due to the legalized gambling that is the stock market, an instrument few can or should partake in given its divergence from reality.
Many wealthy people and people aspiring to be wealthy tend to believe they are entitled to the manner in which they created their wealth. They tend to think they have more worth than those who manufacture things, grow food, fix cars, design items, and much more. They would even disparage the person who calculated that it’s more efficient to accept welfare after thinking about their economic maximization. These same people use terms like “make my money work for me” or “work smarter, not harder.” They don’t see the similarity in their positions: everyone tries to maximize their “personal economy” given the economic model they are presently in. In the aggregate, it turns out the wealthy are the most significant takers of all.
The world needs a new economic model. It requires one that puts humanity over capital; one that rewards those who produce; and one that prevents the profits off of financial instrument (derivatives, stock options, etc.) that contribute nothing toward society but allow the lazy to find ways to make money irrespective of the economic conditions. The new model should work seamlessly with government, or ‘we the people,’ to decide what parts of the economy should be private and what parts public. We should base it all on humanity, first.
For starters, everything required for our basic needs should be public: banking, healthcare, utilities, energy, and mass transportation. Most everything else should be private. The previous statements may sound radical to many because we have been brainwashed into believing that maximal privatization is best for society, or more efficient. Reality has proven something completely different. More so than not, it has created ever-growing income and wealth disparity with those least deserving continuing to profit from our flawed economic model.
We must open our minds to the possibility of a more just economic model, and ignore the fear accompanying the false accusation that wanting one is tantamount to being a communist. Once we discard the notion that the economic model under which we live is the best or only one possible, it opens the possibility of transitioning into one that works for everyone.
PS: I posted this article at the Daily Kos. While I had some positive reactions, it generated a huge backlash from a sect within the Democratic Party that seems unable to unleash themselves from the tenets of neoliberalism including a form of capitalism that is decimating its constituents and most Americans for that matter. Some resorted to implying that I am anti-innovation. I am not. I am anti-exploitation. Look, I voluntarily gave up my profitable software company to dedicate myself to political blogging/activism. But I do believe in free enterprise, not unfettered capitalism. I explained some of this to a listener who sent an attacking email when I objected to Trumps tax cut pilfer.
Democrats are going to have to read their platform and correlate it with the policies in their stump speeches. Also instead of playing into the Powell-Manifesto-inspired miseducation of the masses, they must reeducate using the real world, bread and butter problems faced by the masses. Lazy-path-of least-resistance is not sustainable nor will it work.