Capitalism, Socialism, Communism… they’re all political and economic theories. Yeah, they have been thrown under the umbrella of political science, but they aren’t a pure science. The keyword here is theory and like all theories, they have flaws. And the flaw of these economical systems is that they are based on the assumed predictability of human behavior, but history has taught us that human behavior is anything but unpredictable.
For a long time, capitalism has been the system that we most trust. We believe in it because it’s the best system that “gives a shot” to everyone. It gives everyone an opportunity on wealth and how much of it you can acquire depends only on you. “How much effort you put in, is how much reward you’ll receive” goes the saying. But this principle is crumbling.
Matt Miller over at The Daily Beast explains:
Wealth in America increasingly comes not as the proverbial reward of the “free market,” but from rigged compensation systems that reward mediocrity or outright failure. This is causing a brain burp among many professionals — a group I call the Lower Upper Class – because it’s an affront to an idea they’ve cherished since they first started bringing home A’s from school and acing their SATs.
American capitalism is a meritocracy, they’ve always been told, a place where people basically end up economically where they deserve to. Yet you can’t open the paper nowadays without seeing screaming evidence that this notion is a fraud. Does former CEO Kerry Killinger deserve to retire to an island with $100 million after destroying Washington Mutual? Did Bob Rubin deserve his $115 million for making Citigroup a ward of the state? And what about the several thousand less-prominent geniuses across Wall Street who made off with less loot (but tens of millions nonetheless) peddling mortgage-related securities that produced illusory profits?
I still believe that capitalism gives everyone an opportunity at wealth, but it definitely doesn’t give everyone what they deserve.