How Unbridled Captalism Is Ruining Western Society, And The World As A Whole
Let me be perfectly clear from the start: I am not against the manufacture of products that fill a true need. What I am against (and always will be) is the materialist bent that society in general has taken, where consumption is the goal, rather than a means to an end for the consumer.
Let's take as an example a young man or woman who has saved up $3000.00 over a period of 3 years. He or she seeks to purchase the best automobile for the money, and wishes to own it outright. This person goes to a dealership, but instead of being shown a vehicle that would meet their needs, they are shown a brand-new $20,000 car. The amount of money needed for a down-payment is 10%. Since they have more than 10% (and operate under the illusion that a newer car will last longer than an older car they could pay for in full), they accept the offer. This person is now driving a car that, in the long run, will cost them (in principal and interest ) almost twice the money that they would have paid if they had the money to pay off the $20,000 vehicle in full.
The usual argument I hear is that such deals are "good for the economy". The stark reality is that such deals benefit the owners of dealerships. Instead of the money going back into the local economy, the owner spends the money on what would---to an "ordinary" person---be considered "luxury items". Thus, the money the owner gains is kept within a very small circle of businesses. This is a closed system, and, as such, has no benefit to the economy as a whole.
There are also societal costs to consider. In a limited capitalist system, the government passes rules and regulations that charge manufacturers for the disposal of waste from their industry. This is Economics 101, as I learned it in college. There are also regulations set for the benefit of the workers, such as minimum rate of pay, maximum number of hours worked, benefits such as paid vacations and sick days, health insurance, and the like.
In the US today, there exists what some have labelled "Reaganomics", or the trickle-down theory of wealth. This system does not benefit society as a whole, as can be seen above with the example of an owner of a dealership. Since American society is now based on "limited" governmental oversight as well as trade agreements that have hurt the American worker immeasurably, corporations are free to dispose of their waste (and their American workers) as they see fit. The government refuses to raise the tax rate on those who can best afford to pay for it. Indeed, they lambast disabled workers and those on welfare due to lack of jobs, calling such programs "entitlements", while giving multinational corporations tax loopholes big enough to fly a starship through. Some of these corporations end up having a negative tax owed at year's end...which the government gladly refunds to them.
I am sick and tired of hearing how the US is a "beacon to the world", setting up such organisations as the IMF and the WHO, while half the planet---3.5 billion people, to be exact---live on less than $1.25 a day.
It is truly a beacon of darkness, rather than light.