Capitalism’s Future is Neigh

               Capitalism. There are diehard adherents to a system which has proven to be fundamentally flawed and only cares about the almighty dollar sign. Capitalism does have its benefits, it is a relatively free system when considered with other closed economy systems as communism practiced in the Soviet Union and one geared towards war under the National Socialists or Nazis in Germany. Capitalism alone did not defeat tyranny, because the governments of the “free world” controlled prices, rationed materials, food stuffs, other consumer goods, and unleashed the Arsenal of Democracy. Capitalism is a good system of government and the nearly unchecked capitalism of the United States is not prepared or will ever be ready to handle the future of humanity.

               Unregulated capitalism is a dream of many people, often the well-off, rich investor class because apparently, they need a second ten million dollars yacht, a new private jet, or their forth home! Oh, the humanity of being rich, sorry, the humanity of being a “job creator”. Spare me the faux outrage about the millionaires and billionaires complaining, most of them are not actually job creators. Small businesses still create the majority of jobs in today’s market, while most of the layoffs occur at mega corporations. There are only a few corporations which appear to have an employees’ wellbeing in mind and provide them with good health, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and sick leave. Even these corporations make mistakes, Netflix has appeared to let higher-level executive and soon-to-be-mom go because she was pregnant. And Netflix was supposed to be one of the good companies to work for. Not all mega corporations are bad, and not all small businesses are good, but most small businesses are more employee friendly.

               There is a fantasy among the diehards of unregulated capitalism that says the market will correct itself and care for people. This unhinged delusion has been proven wrong again and again, corporations only care about the bottom line and pleasing shareholders. The idea of trickledown economics of giving the mega rich more money, will trickle down to the lower people is bullshit to the highest degree. The idea of trickledown has been tried three times, during Reagan, George W. Bush, and Trump, and only thing it has done is create rack up the national debt and accelerated the income inequality between poor and rich.

               Do mega corporations care for their people? Yes, as long as they are able to make money for them, other than that, it is a resounding, hell no. Is there a blizzard headed your way, and is your work to slow to call off because they adamantly believe the storm will fizz out or not be as bad as the meteorologists say? Well, you better get to work! And if they do call off, they may let you take a vacation or paid time off time to make up for the pay – assuming they provide you the luxury of having that benefit. God forbid if you get sick, not every employer offers paid sick leave or even more deathly, paid bereavement leave. I am a firm believer that the government should mandate at a minimum, five vacation days, five paid time off days, five sick days, and five bereavement days – all at an employee’s full rate of pay.

               Why the government? Because corporations have shown themselves time again and again not to care about the best interest of their employees, and a lot of times about their own customers. Corporations tend to ask their employees to consider the interests of the corporation or business over their own, and yes there does need to be some leeway here between employer and employee. However, an employee should not be treated as a number, but rather a human being who deserves a work-life balance. An employee who feels appreciated, who gets time off to relax, time to take care of a sick child, family member, or themselves, to mourn the loss of a friend or loved one, these are the type of employees a business wants. But besides hollow words of valuing their employees (or in new age lingo, team members), do employees (corporate overlords) offer? Not much in times of time off, sick leave, or leeway with attendance issues. Oh, is it a blizzard outside and the state highways and interstate are closed? Well, take extra time but don’t be late because our bottom line comes before your safety! Though, we might cancel if the Apocalypse happens, but don’t hold your breath!

               Very few corporations or large businesses care about their employees besides the laws that have been enacted – and even then, they donate millions of dollars to lobbyists to persuade lawmakers to enact new laws which strip away at hard won benefits. From “right to work states”, lawsuits argued all the way to the Supreme Court to strip away union dues, labeling employees as “independent contractors”, wage theft by restaurant owners from the servers, the list goes on and on. A new movement has been born, one being waged by progressives to help reverse the dangerous course that has been paved by capitalism. Other countries, most predominantly in Europe, offer a milder form of government and capitalism, something that Bernie Sanders and AOC have called democratic socialism.

               There is a backlash against capitalism, one which has run amok for decades in the United States. There was little consequence towards the big banks in helping cause the Great Recession in 2008. There is little jail time or financial penalties to companies which regularly defraud, misled, or mistreat customers, investors, or the government agencies which are meant to regulate them. To me, capitalism has only one group of people to blame: themselves. A lot of politicians and upper management of businesses should act as if the lower classes should be benevolent about having a job, but in reality, a lot people need a full-time job and a part-time job just to survive.

               Businesses like to tout their “excellent” benefits package but upon closer examinations its usually just hogwash because most of the benefits have been mandated by legislation. Companies have mostly eliminated pensions because it costs them a great deal of money, instead employees are offered to create 401k plans, are lucky if their employer matches an employee’s contribution (some do up to a certain percentage). Burdened with low wages, high costs of living, healthcare, and sometimes not enough hours, very few millennials and a substantial portion of Generation X have been able to save up for retirement. My generation (I’m an older millennial) is forecasted to be less well off than our parents, a first since the Great Depression.

               America is at a crossroads, the future of a better society rests on the general election in 2020, otherwise by the time the next general election comes around, it may be too late.

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