Please bear with me; I'm no economist or political science major or business major. Heck, I'm an absolutely terrible person with maths. It's just that I've been thinking about somethings and I keep coming back to a weird conclusion again and again. Surely there is something to my thoughts.
Or maybe not. I do promise to do some research on this idea...
It's Just That...
It seems to me that our economic system in this country, capitalism, isn't working. Over the many years that I have paid any attention to the news, to our economy, to our communities, to our social policy problems, to our environment, so many problems come down to our economic system where money is king. Not just Trickle Down Economics. But so many of our decision seem to be made de facto due to the fact that money is made somewhere. As though there isn't a good rebuttle to that. It's a bad decision but someone is making money from it or they own that property, therefore we have no right to suggest a better solution.
Yeah, like, still bear with me here. I'm trying to be clear but I'm not sure that I am clear. I'm not even sure that I'm right about this...
I first started thinking about this about thirty years ago when Dad and I were driving down a particular highway that was lined with abandoned factories. The buildings were rusted and idle and truly an eyesore. Not to mention unsafe. I said to Dad something about how the owners of those buildings seem to have some responsibility to leave the land in a cleaner condition before abandoning a lot like that. Dad just sushed me and told me that I didn't have any idea about things and didn't know the real problems.
Well, I guess I still don't because I still wonder how factory owners (the wealthy ones who build and own the place) can just move their operations to another location, leaving the leviathan abandoned buildings standing there with no other use. I can look around the the St. Louis metropolitan area and see dozens of buildings that fit this description. Then, who has to remove the buildings in order to clean up the place? The city? That makes no sense to me.
Am I missing something?
How about how we are polluting entire riverways and lands from our mining operations and fracking. But because there is cash to be made it's ok? How can such decisions make any sense at all? Why does the bottom line seem to carry so much weight in decisions like this? I'm not convinced that it isn't a mental illness of some kind to require more more more in spite of the obvious needs of humanity and our world, for resources to be used elsewhere.
Deforestation? Removing large swaths of old forests, new forests, rain forests in order to make room for more human expansion. Illegal logging, wildlife's loss of habitat, loss of green spaces, loss of space for indigenous peoples. There might be a quick buck to be made, but at what cost? Who can and will stand up and say no more, OF COURSE NOT?!
I swear, I'm not on a rant. I'm trying to explain what I've finally figured out for myself about capitalism, not that I have any idea what would be a better system than capitalism...
Here's an obvious one.
The wealthy 1% do not use their money. They store it away, leaving less to circulate, putting less into the economy, making the possession of the cash itself to be a goal. I don't get that, is it an issue of monetary hording(?), but that's neither here nor there. The result is that the people with the disgustingly large loads of cash do not spread it around in ways that make sense for any community. Except for a few notable people, money is horded away instead of put into useful, admirable places. Investing in people, communities, causes. Making this world a better, more peaceful and green place. Instead, their money is hidden somewhere... And that's OK, admirable, even, because they have earned it. (supposedly)
These same wealthy people, then, pay off political machines to watch out for their interests. Like they need that, except to gain more money. I mean, why not pay off political machines to support policy that makes this world a safer, more equitable place? I'm not sure that capitalism actually supports ethical decisions like that. I even wonder if there is a level of wealth that should never be reached by human beings or corporations...but I don't know...
Maybe I DON'T KNOW SQUAT and I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance here. Again and again, though, I see humans whose acquisition of cash is obscene and whose use of that cash is equally obscene. These people tend to have connection to the power sources in our country. Why does their wealthy equal power? Is that a typical part of capitalism?
Aren't these things a part of a capitalistic society because the wealthy humans, families, and corporations seek to keep a hold on their money or seek to provide profit to investors? Child labor, intolerably low wages for families, lack of access to health care, lower access to positions of power for those not in the upper 1%, poverty, homelessness, things like Puerto Rico and Flint, Michigan not getting immediate care from our country, massively underfunded schools, war, building up munitions and bombs to ridiculously frightening levels, the wealthy getting away with crimes that they are able to hide, not to mention the huge and powerfully wealthy corporations that actually affect unfair change in our policies, the leap for young adults from living with parents to becoming independent, unemployment, enormous gaps between the classes of people, the lack of research into better fuel sources and other things that might improve the quality of life, the fact that large corporations control what we see on the news and in social media which gives them huge control of public opinion, HUGE environmental crises due to industrialization and product creation, massive life-threatening trash problems, huge hurdles to overcome for small businesses to get a toehold in the economy, people who hunger and thirst for more more more, entire nations are deeply set in poverty, healthcare becoming so ridiculously expensive that most people can't afford even the most basic of care much less life-saving procedures, exploitation of those living in poverty, only those industries that get investment money will make it in the marketplace, the overall devaluing of human life and of animal life and of all life, people living with physical, emotional, or mental health issues are living in poverty and those with money disparage these people as leeches, lazy, or unworthy. Why should our country be so wealthy when the source of that wealth is so obviously from mistreatment of other countries and other peoples?
And I'm not even trying hard with this list.
As a nation with a capitalistic economic system, we look at so many of these things and lament, sad, but that is the way it is. We can do nothing to repair these systems because it is too expensive. All the while, large sums of money are held by large multinational corporations or extremophile wealthy families and we think well, they earned it (or inherited it) so it's ok.
I don't know.
I'm not smart.
But some of these things seem like no-brainers.
I know of no solutions, only more questions. Just that this is worth thinking about and learning more about...
What do you think?
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