The United States was founded as a capitalist country by its founding fathers. A capitalist country is one where economic activity is driven by markets and transactions in the market (Amin 15). However, everything in the economy is regulated by public rules that define transactions and markets. Capitalism is whatever takes place when there is freedom to pursue commerce without an interference by the government. American dreams are built on the foundation of capitalism which allows people to work hard and raise themselves on the social ladder. Despite the benefits of the system, it has come under a lot of criticism particularly from the millennials. The paper looks at whether capitalism is the best way American can guarantee economic success to its people. Currently, capitalism is not the best way America can provide economically to its people.
Capitalism is preferred to its perceived promotion of economic growth which is enjoyed by the vast majority. Today, however, economic growth has slowed in the majority of the capitalist economies including the United States, Labor productivity gains flow upwards after which they fall significantly (Marable 67). The outcome is economic stagnation and an unequal society accompanied by financial bubbles which when burst, lead to disastrous financial effects. Over the last five decades, the economy of the United States has experienced growth but at a very slow rate. The continued slowdown of the growth is due to structural inequality. Surplus that is generated in the economy remains at the top. The productivity of workers is at an all-time high but very little of the wealth goes into the pockets of the workers. The wages of manufacturing workers have also rapidly declined over the last three decades (Marable 93). In such a capitalist economy, it is not surprising that the quality of life has not improved for the majority of the people despite an increase in the productivity of laborers and social wealth. The happy planet index which examines how ‘happy’ a nation is carried out a research with its findings based on a combination of life satisfaction and life expectancy. The study revealed that the tenets of capitalism no longer guarantee human happiness. It only generates depression, loneliness, waste of human potential and heart disease (Moore 172). This burden to individuals is what I consider the worst evil of capitalism.
A lot of the damage done to individuals by capitalism has a lot to do with the lack of concern for collective needs (Moore 174). Currently, the United States infrastructure is crumbling. Electrical systems, roads, cities, public water system and bridges are headed towards collapse. The Ecological footprint per capita of the United States is high and exceeds whatever can be sustained at a global scale. As a result, it leads to the degradation of the earth system. Another downfall of capitalism has been on the public education sector. Public schools are poorly funded and the quality of education is significantly below standard (Marable 113). Majority of the produce is now nonessential including wasted labor. Slowly, the most powerful nation on earth is living up to the John Kennedy Galbraith’s postulations that capitalism generates public suffering and private wealth. Today, massive amounts of resources and labor are set aside for military purposes while a great amount of productive capacity remains idle (Moore 177). Considering all these happenings, economic stagnation is here to stay for the next coming decades.
The young people in America have also not been helped by capitalism in the new millennium. They are entering an economy where they do not have any meaningful role to play. I have read that fewer jobs that are useful and utilize the best capacities of someone promote dignity and honor. Unfortunately, today there are very few jobs for the youth entering the job market (Amin 56). The few jobs available are degrading, wasteful and alienating and are difficult to get with the high rate of unemployment and underemployment. The United States now faces a situation where there will be increased labor saving technologies that are revolutionary in nature. Yet, these technologies will be deployed to benefit the few at the top instead of leading to a better quality of life for most people if not all (Marable 89). In some respects, the new labor savings technologies will be perceived as the enemy of the communities and workers who depend on working in farms and factories. Likewise, the coming generations will see the fertile lands that have always been used for crop growing be developed into gated communities and tacky residentials while a good part of the cities and other urban areas will be left to rot. All these actions are due to free will and it is the price most members of the society will have to pay for being in a free society. It is the price paid for being a capitalist nation and where the needs of the wealthy people come first before the middle class and poor majority. The results of such a system are already being seen and they are nothing short of being disastrous and irrational.
Today, blatant corruption has become a norm in the United States on the watch of capitalism. Majority of players in government have become non-accountable (Moore 181). The corruption being addressed in this case is the degeneration of the system by politicians and the dominant culture of greed that has become institutionalized (Amin 83). During the Great Recession, the biggest investors and institutions came together to demand billions of dollars of public money from banks then later awarded the individuals at the helm of these banks huge bonuses for bowing to their demands. It reminded the whole world of just how a self-government can be manipulated. It reminded the whole world that when those atop of the economic chain need bail-outs, there is no time for debate. The only option is to give them what they want when they want it.
In conclusion, capitalism in the economy today is absurd as an economic, social and political system. Capitalism only strives to deliver profitability to a few corporations and investors. Today, a capitalist government in the United States has brought nothing but suffering to the people. Labor productivity has gone up but it has not translated to better living conditions. Taxes have been increased but the quality of services have gotten even worse. The economy is growing at a snail’s pace to the detriment of the majority. Only the rich have been the beneficiaries of a capitalist system that has promoted corruption and greed. It is time that the United States abolish capitalism and adopt a system that guarantees its citizens and the country prosperity.