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The Human Tragedy Of American Capitalism

Capitalism In America Today

As Donald Trump continues pointing fingers at the Democrats for our economic woes, now is a good time to clear the air about our economic system in the World today. The fact of the matter is that we have a predominately capitalistic economy but it really hasn't worked for the majority of Americans. Instead, only the top 1% of the population are the true beneficiaries of current economic policies. We have to understand what capitalism really is in order to felicitate a remedy to the financial crisis so many millions of US citizens are in today. And we are not alone either. Practically every other country in the world today is faced with one form of an economic crisis or another.

Webster defines capitalism "as an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit." Income that is involved in a capitalistic system is categorized in two parts; one is profit and the other is wages. Profit is what is received by virtue of control of the tools of production {the people that provide the capital} Wages are received to those who sell their labor {the workers}. Simple enough, right? Not so fast. What happened in 2008 when the government decided to bail out these so called leaders of industry and finance in the name of rescuing our economy our capitalistic system just became more convoluted. As a consequence of pumping billions of dollars to select industries that by the way were instrumental in causing the financial collapse in the first place did nothing to alleviate the economic woes of the public. All our government did was put a band aid fix on a hemorrhaging economy. A fix that only prolonged the inevitable.

Today, what we have is a mixed bag of an economic system, a two tier level of economic theories. Governmental control of certain enterprises, a socialistic economic structure on one hand and private industry, capitalism on the other. Today, what we are seeing two almost incompatible economic philosophies operating not in harmony with one another but are precariously close to rendering a complete collapse of our whole economy.

The United States government in the time of Teddy Roosevelt was when corporate leaders the likes of the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilt's, the Carnage's and others of vast wealth took advantage of the non-existent regulations concerning workers. The workers were exploited beyond belief during the so called gilded age of the Industrialized Revolution of the late 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Had it not been for the Government's intervention during the early 1900's the workers would still have been at the mercy of the Robber Barons. As it was wages were so low, working conditions were too intolerable, and the fact that our youth especially school age children were being forced to work along side their adult counterparts. We must remember child labor laws were non-existent back then. All of these factors which had been coming to a head for years forced the government to initiate reforms. Reforms that improved working conditions for our labor force.

We can thank Teddy Roosevelt for the initial reforms that eased the way for our labor force to have some semblance of improved working conditions. All because of his relentless pursuit to equalize the playing field, sort of speaking, in corporate America. We would be wise to remember what Roosevelt said in 1901: " The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trust are creatures of the state, and the state not only has the right to control them whenever need of such control is shown but it is in duty bound to control them." Incidentally, no President since Nixon has followed TR's advise. What we are witness to today as a result of unbridled corporate corruption is a disparate of wealth worse than in any third world country and an unemployment rate over 20% in many areas of the country. Not to mention the underemployment rate which nobody has yet to really focus on is at an all time high.

When the Depression hit FDR realized that to insure the solvency of a nation it was vital to implement greater reforms. The establishment of Social Security, the FDIC and other safeguards for the general public all of which put more control of industry in the hands of the Federal Government. The government had a large stake in our capitalistic economy. Every decade since has seen the government encroach more rules and regulations upon the way businesses are run and operated. In light of all this encroachment by Government the morality in our society continued to decline. A shadowy substance that only casts a very small amount of decency in the actions of businesses has evolved today in the United States.

Wage disparity in our capitalistic economy has become so wide it really is as though were are back at the turn of the 20th century. Corporate leaders [the Capitalists] are getting richer while the workers are becoming poorer is all too evident today. What continues to make this all possible is the continued intrusion of governmental policies that have been going on for the past 40 years. Instead of structuring the regulations in favor of the workers all the federal Government has done is created more opportunities for the "Capitalists" or more bluntly put, today's Robber Barons, to create more wealth for themselves.

Our government has now become so entwined with big business that the enormous amount of regulations and procedures that have become an internal part of the way business are run today has only crippled the American worker. There have been many incidences that show how ridiculous some policies have become. One was a very tragic case where current corporate policies that were in place today prevented any attempt of saving a man's life just because they were prohibited from intervening. In this case it was Wal-Mart's policy. Where's the morality in this event. It just points how far our government has intruded by policies that reframed individuals or organizations from being a Good Samaritan and in this case save lives. Hypocrisy at it's finest hour where government has set up agencies such as OSHA just to prevent such disasters whether it happens.

The ever elusive balance between governmental intervention or intrusion into the way business are run today remains as elusive as ever. There has been very rare occurrences in which benevolence in the way policies are shaped, proposed, or implemented in our economy today. Had we followed the example of what Teddy Roosevelt did continually, government and business would have coexisted in a way that would have produced more balance in wealth distribution and a drastic reduction in underemployment and unemployment all of which still remains as elusive as ever.

What we are still seeing today is that our government still is not only involved but in collusion with "Big Oil' and other prominent industries. Those Climate Change deniers, those Republicans have continued to have a hand in the driving force behind those huge corporate profits. We are also seeing that 1% turn a blind eye to what is actually occurring right under their nose. It really seems pretty pathetic that our elected officials act so callous to what is really going on. In every county and state all across the country we are seeing price increases of everything we buy. This in itself should set off a national outcry and yet there has been no noticeable reaction from those most benevolent leaders of state. Questions should arise as to what is causing everything we buy to suddenly increase? Could it be those huge quarterly earnings that keep campaign coffers filled with ready available cash have a hand in the ever widening of the wealth distribution? The few haves amidst the multitudes of the have not's.

When the multitudes of the have not's have consistently increased in numbers it is no wonder the push for higher wages is taking center stage today. Americans largest employers the McDonalds, Wal-Mart and other large retailers who are known as the cheap labor industries and realize the exorbitant salaries of their executive officers and corporate profits have all put a national debate on raising the minimum wage to light. Compounding the tragedy of our capitalistic economy is the fact that so many college graduates with so many student loans amassing billions of dollars in debt are now refusing to honor the commitment to pay back those student loans. The reasons are many. The education today one receives most often is insufficient to meet the needs of the ever evolving workplace. The education needs of the students have failed to equip them with the skills needed to succeed. The failure of our educational systems today is quite evident when the United States students are not even ranked in the top 10 of industrialized nations. 

Today, what jobs there are don't match the skills they acquired while in school. At the same time the what jobs there are corresponding wages don't even come close to matching the cost of living today. That includes being able to pay back those student loans. And, what jobs there are, are being taken by non college graduates. China today is faced with the same dilemma, when their college graduates the jobs available in fields of study are far less that the number of college graduates

Another sign of the human tragedy of capitalism in America today is the fact that when governmental safety nets like Food Stamps and Section 8 vouchers have all seen vast increases. It is a not too well known fact that today over two thirds of the American population are dependent on the government for one or more forms of assistance. It has been governmental policies like our trade deals especially NAFTA and now this Trans Pacific Partnership that have and will have a major role in the diminishing job market for not only college graduates but for so many other millions of Americans. Meanwhile corporate profits increase and the wealth gap continues to widen.

America is not alone in the economic quagmire of capitalism. Europe especially Germany over 50% of their population have seen their earning shrink and are now dependent on some form of governmental assistance. Greece is on the verge of a total economic collapse. Even China, that powerhouse of manufacturing, is already facing signs of economic turmoil that would only continue to widen financial and economic woes all over the world.

The balance of a socialistic and capitalistic base economy can be very effective in securing more equality, higher wages and more opportunity to climb up that income mobility ladder. The problem is our political structure has for the past 40 years caters to the 1% leaving the 99% to languish in quiet desperation hoping their fortunes will turn for the better. But, instead more stagnant wages, more loss opportunities, and lower standard of living have only continued to develop for too many millions of Americans.

We have to realize there can be a balance where government subsidizes complement the workplace. Daycare would go a very long way to offset the burden of working parents. That's just one facet that would save money and insure more productivity. Again, the biggest problem is still our own government. Those budget cutting blood hounds of political expediency haven't yet fathomed the idea of more funding for infrastructure development or anything else that would benefit the underemployed, the unemployed and the majority of the American public. Another idea for more mobility up that income ladder is society wide profit sharing to give workers some share of the returns of capital that now have only benefited the 1%. Do you think our pompous elected officials ant the corporate heads of industry will go for that?

One thing is for sure the way if our capitalistic economy remains as is today the greater the wealth gap will become and the future of the United States will be forever clouded by the forecast of financial calamity for millions of Americans. Let's hope that an end to the human tragedy of our Capitalistic economy becomes a reality. A brighter future could very well be a reality. We can only hope.

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The Human Tragedy Of American Capitalism
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