Capitalism In America Essay, Research Paper
The United States has invaded, embargoed and bombed sovereign nations at the cost of several million people, all under the guise of capitalism and free trade. Whether it was the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Guatemala or the carpet bombing of North Vietnam, the defeat of communism was always the justification. Despite the best efforts of capitalist propaganda (known as the Red Scare) throughout the beginning of the Twentieth-century, how do Americans really feel about free enterprise?
Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the defeat of communism, foremost economists and financial specialists from the United States have been advising the leaders of Eastern Europe on the foundations and benefits of a free-enterprise system. The federal government-financed National Endowment for Democracy has spent a great deal of time and money advising the same policies in various parts of the world everyday.
The U.S.-controlled World Bank and International Monetary Fund refuse to grant their fiscal blessings on any country not aggressively pursuing a market system. The United States absolutely will not lift its embargo from Cuba unless Castro ditches his socialist “experiment” and hops on the capitalist bandwagon. Before Washington would sanction and make possible his return to Haiti in 1994, Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide had to guarantee the White House he would ignore his socialist inclinations and embrace capitalism.
Taking the facts into account, it would come as a great shock to the rest of the world that in actuality most Americans do not believe in capitalism. Indeed, it would probably come as a shock to most Americans as well. Consider a hypothetical TIME magazine or CNN news poll that posed the following question: Do you think our capitalist system should become more socialist? The greater percentage of responses would be a reverberating “NO!”. Without mentioning the evil C-word (communism) or other social antagonisms such as the Red Scare, how do Americans really feel about capitalism and the free enterprise system?
In 1994, a rather catastrophic earthquake rocked Los Angeles. In response to the sudden demand for such necessities as batteries, water and diapers, stores raised their prices like any normal, heartless, savage capitalist would do. A cry of protest rang out from all quarters of society. California senator Diane Feinstein declared “It’s not the California way and it’s not the American way.” More grievances were aroused when landlords raised the rent on vacant dwellings after many of the city apartments were rendered uninhabitable. “How dare they do that!,” was the undivided cry. In no time the California assembly passed a law making it illegal to raise prices more than ten percent after a natural disaster.
Squinting the haze of hypocrisy, it is obvious none of these people have took even a high school course in economics. Is it possible they were decrying the God-sent Law of
Supply and Demand? Did they think it had been repealed, or did they think it should be?
Even in congress, the members do not seem to fully trust the workings of the capitalist system. There is constantly proposals to stop the soaring costs of pharmaceuticals and health-care. Why don’t our leaders let the “magic of the marketplace” work its magic? Judges regularly hand down lighter sentences if the defendant did not actually profit from his crime monetarily. Labor unions are constantly attacking companies for slacking on workers rights and safety in their pursuit of net capital gain.
America lacks an appreciation for its supposedly cherished ideal of greater “choice.” People moan and groan about junk mail filling their mailboxes and e-mail, having their senses pursued and surrounded by omnipresent advertisements and commercials. People squawk about the arrival in their neighborhood of the bully national chain that suffocates and drives out their favorite friendly bookstore, pharmacy or coffee shop, complaining about how “unfair” it is that this “predator” has marched in and crushed the neighborhood little guy. But is this not a textbook example of how free, unfettered competition should operate?
Pervading all these attitudes and frequently voiced is a strong disapproval of greed and selfishness in glaring contradiction to the reality that greed and selfishness form the official and ideological basis of our system.