Capitalism vs. Socialism

The recent problem with capitalism is exactly because it is not being allowed to run its normal course. “Too big to fail” policies apply artificial pressure to the system in ways that do not allow capitalism to work in its most truly democratic nature – letting consumers decide who succeeds and who fails.

Perhaps well-meaning, but misguided politicians try to steady the ship, and end up capsizing it in the process. They pick winners and losers, rather than letting those who based their business on sound economic principles float to the top and letting those who took foolish risks fail.

It is evolution of business, but you have to let it do its job without unnecessary meddling, or you can’t very well blame capitalism itself when it fails to produce the kinds of results that it has produced in the past – when allowed to work as designed. Injecting government control causes capitalism to fail in the same ways that socialism and communism fail to produce sustainable economic growth and development.

When capitalism was allowed to work as designed, it led to the alleviation of more poverty and human suffering than any other system of government in the world’s history. When America was actually capitalist (not our current “socialist light” system), the wealth that it generated for its citizens was the envy of the world.

Now, you can argue whether that is a good thing or not in our consumption-driven society, but it’s difficult to make a good case against capitalism’s effectiveness in generating wealth. No other system even comes close, because capitalism is the extension of choice, which works in concert with people’s ambition to succeed and their “pursuit of happiness.”

Socialism limits those choices and tries to force people to act in ways that they don’t see as working in their best interest. It demotivates them and deflates their ambitions to be and do more. People have less incentive to produce and excel, so they do less, produce less, and become less in the process.

The size of the pie shrinks as government seeks to distribute it more evenly. This is an acceptable outcome to many, especially those who take a scarcity worldview, where when someone else gets more, that somehow must mean that I get less.

Personally, I believe that we must learn to be happy with less, because I’m not convinced that the pursuit of material things is a cause that’s worthy of our blood, tears, and sweat. Happiness is worth it – and it has seldom been my observation that more wealth produces more happiness. It may produce more comfort, but that’s not at all the same thing as happiness. In fact, the people who are most comfortable in life are often the most miserable, because they are not pursuing a dream.

A very wise man I know – a simple rancher named Dencil “Red” Rippey – said one of the most profound things that I have ever heard. “The happiest people in life are those who have a goal, and who get a little closer to that goal each day.”

I’m working to transform my life into one of happiness, where I have a sufficiently big goal to drive me to strive each day to get a little closer to attaining my dream.