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The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn't Working


The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn't Working

Paul Buchheit

To followers of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan, and to all the business people who despise government, 'community' is a form of 'communism.' Even taking the train is too communal for them. Americans have been led to believe that only individuals matter, that every person should fend for him/herself, that "winner-take-all" is the ultimate goal, and that the winners have no responsibility to others.


All societies are based on a balance between socialism and capitalism. No exceptions. The key is balance. Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan espoused abolition of the former and the supremacy of the latter at ALL costs. Their twit-like worshipers are reaming what's left of a decent country out of its core values. Some competition (capitalism) is good if properly held in check by cooperation (socialism). We need to have a real dialogue about the BALANCE rather than the triumph of one or the other.


I really hate columns like this one.

What on Earth makes Buchheit imagine that Capitalists want to eliminate such outcomes? To the Capitalists, those are features, not bugs.

And if he doesn't really believe that they want to, then why is he doing straw men?


I truly don't believe you can make a case for that, but I'd be very interested to read it if you want to have a go. Or are you equating competition with Capitalism? Friendly competition, e.g. a pickup softball game, is certainly good, but it has nothing to do with Capitalism.

I'm confused! confused


Yes, exactly WiseOwl. We need more smart government involvement and less government capture by wealthy interests. Of course, this is a difficult enough task, but we also need truly well educated politicians and government officials to know when to adjust the levers of capitalism. For starters, when demand is weak, government needs to spend more. Ultimately, I would like to see everyone getting a monthly government stipend, with the ability to work at will, whether public or private, and depending on the commitment of the worker, being paid low wages for irregular part time work, or better wages for a steady job. People would have more freedom and less worry.


Some competition (capitalism) is good: who builds the better mousetrap?

...if properly held in check by cooperation (socialism): what are our COMMON values? How do we nourish them?

I am as guilty of the next person at wanting to rail against capitalism. I have to consistently remind myself that it is unbridled capitalism against which I should rail. Rinse and repeat--I'm in a seemingly infinite loop.


The balance should not be 50/50 though. Some suggest about 70 percent socialism and 30 percent capitalism.

The article is excellent. Though I think what we have right now is no longer regular capitalism anyway. It is corporatism or even fascism where the corporations and the rich control the politicians who in turn give favors only to the powerful rich. It is a greedy vulture capitalism run amok.


50/50 of course not. The right ratio: I haven't a clue. I have no desire for imposition, only dialogue.


The starting point is a just society. In my opinion a just society is a society without have nots. There will be haves, but the haves share will be contingent on what it takes to make sure there are no have nots. Alexis de Tocqueville argued in "Democracy in America" that there was a danger that the country would create an aristocracy of wealth, and that is what has happened. Obviously, the estate tax rate has to rise progressively, to 99% or more in some cases, to put a stop to an inherited aristocracy of wealth. It isn't difficult to determine what fundamental human needs must be satisfied in order to create a society without have nots. Socialism is the flip side of democracy.


"I have to consistently remind myself that it is unbridled capitalism against which I should rail."
I can't help but thinking this ought to say, 'I have to consistently remind myself that it is unbridled sociopathy against which I should rail. You see a distinction where I see only a seamless spectrum.


Private businesses and sales are not capitalism. They should continue with heavy regulation and should be as cooperative as possible. Capitalism (stock markets, wage and debt slavery, large corporate entities imperialism . . . ) must be abolished.


Actually, the USA does not have a capitalist system. The economic system of the USA ios much closer to the economic basis of the fascism philosophy. Remember that Mousolini said that fascism should really be called corporatism.


Our government needs to encourage employee ownership of corporations.


Capitalism probably enabled us to have the car, the vaccine, and the ambulance... (the second and the last which were inspired by socialism, no doubt). The ability/desire/functionality to store "wealth" for future purposes is NOT a bad thing, UNLESS it becomes the ONLY thing.


I'm sure you're a nice person, but this post left me speechless. Considering that capitalism is only 250 years old and socialism considerably less (and far more variable), to suggest that all societies have this mythical "balance" is the height of historical silliness.

You would have been on vastly stronger ground if you had just typed "all societies are based on a balance between hunting and gathering.


in his defense, the theoretical sales pitch of capitalism does make these claims, and he's liekly attacking it at that level.

I have a similar but slightly different gripe. If he thinks capitalism is a failure, than what does he think is the economic direction that should be pursued?

I've noticed a terrible tendency among hand-wringing liberals to not only criticize liberalism but also capitalism (hello Hedges, waving at you), but when pushed on what they do believe in, mumble something about nothing and refuse to commit to any actual alternatives.


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Socialism is actually pretty old. Many indigenous cultures have a history of socialism that stretches from the present day back many centuries, including North American natives.


It takes ALL the people voting direct democratically to balance capitalism and socialism.

A few representatives are too easy to bribe, coerce and kill by conservatives of right or left.


Exactly, i logged in to pull those three points and say:

Capital IS SUCCESSFULLY controlling these, as it intends.