Economics On Trial: Defending Capitalism
How Capitalism Is Not the Perpetrator
As a millennial, I hear time and time again from my counter-parts that the free-market system of America, capitalism, is wrong, immoral, even selfish. Capitalism exploits workers and turn us into robotic slaves. If capitalists love freedom so much why do they force lower classes into labor? But are these claims true are these fair accusations? Is capitalism really a system for the rich, greedy, and power-hungry? I say no, and here's why.
For the purpose of simplicity I'll refer to capitalism as "free-market system" from here on out.
Simply put, the free-market system is economically and morally superior to any other system because the system enables only voluntary actions between individuals and the system does not allow for coercion. The simplest way to explain it is like this; if I want something from you, I have to do something for you. A trade is made, a voluntary trade with no coercion. The free-market system is not a zero-sum game, it's a positive sum-game because you have what I want and I have what you want and we are volunteering to exchange what we have for what we want. Let's say I do some yard work for a friend and he gives me forty-dollars. I now have forty-dollars and I decide to buy a pizza from a restaurant. The restaurant decides that one pizza is $7 because that is how much they value the pizza at. They have what I want (the pizza) and I have what they want ($7) and we voluntarily exchange the money for the pizza. The restaurant and I both win because we both got what we wanted.
What about big businesses and corporations? You know, the ones that are "too big to fail"? Well in the free-market system, we the people have the power to kill those business if they do not meet our needs. If a business does not produce satisfactory products, they go out of business because we refuse to buy their products, vice versa, if a business creates an outstanding product that works and benefits us that business will be rewarded by receiving money from us.
In another way we influence businesses is with the economic protest. This form of protest goes back even before the Civil Rights movement but I will use it for an example. At the time, Black people could not sit at the front of buses and sometimes might not even be allowed on buses. So people began to stop riding buses, they refused to reward the bus companies. The free-market system only cares about one color; green, the system only cares about money. The system itself does not care if you are Black, White, gay, or straight. Let's say a Christian baker, for example, does not want to bake a cake for a gay couple. What do we do? Instead of forcing the government to get involved, why do we not flex our economic-muscles? If a business does something we don't agree with why don't we stop giving that business our service? If enough people stop going to that business it will be forced by the free-market system to either a.) go bankrupt or b.) bake the cake for a gay couple. Economic protest is the best way to end racism, sexism, or any disparity within a business. The people within the system have the power to decide if a business will be successful or not.
Government, ironically, is to blame for a lot of the problems we see with the free-market system. For example, with our "vote by the dollar" method if a big-business is going under, the government will use our taxes to bail that failing business out and that doesn't sound fair at all. With the auto-bust of 2008–2009 big car makers were going under because they were not producing a car that met the needs of the people. In a free-market system we would've said that they were done that they should sell their equipment to someone who can do it better and cheaper. Instead of rewarding growth and ingenuity by letting the free-market do its job, the government stepped in and bailed out that business and rewarding failure. Companies like GM and Chrysler were no longer accountable to their customers they became essentially untouchable by taking your money and giving it to GM and Chrysler. This works perfectly for politicians, big corporations, and big unions but it never works for us, the American people. A free-market system can only work if there is limited government and under this system only you and I can decide which businesses succeed and which die.
This is how our founders wanted it to be, they wanted us to decide the outcome of the economy and for the government to play a very limited role in this process. They wanted us to have the power, not big-business, not politicians, or big union reps, us and that is how it should be.