I advocate for democratic socialism–not because I think it will cure our nation’s ills, but because I believe it is a better alternative to America’s version of capitalism. Capitalism, in it’s purest form, allows for private investment and ownership of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth, as opposed to state ownership of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth. It’s based on the doctrine (that’s a belief) of free enterprise.
Free enterprise holds that a capitalist economy can regulate itself in a freely competitive market through the relationship of supply and demand with a minimum of governmental intervention and regulation. Corporate America desires a capitalist economy–free from onerous taxation and government interjection–and the byproduct of low taxes is decreased access to government services for its citizens (that’s people–not numbers–not robots).
Corporate America desires autonomy by way of minimal regulation because this protects the profits and economic interests of often large and powerful private firms. However, government regulation and intervention is permissible–it’s actually encouraged–when the economic interests of big business are at risk.
A truly free market would disallow bailouts for banks and corporations. Therefore, our version of capitalism in the U.S. is a capitalism that permits socialized intervention for those who hold the most power–who’ve amassed the most wealth through the justification that financial intervention at the corporate level will benefit private citizens by providing job security and access to consumer goods…
But this is a fairy tale ideal which depends on executives willing to distribute wealth equitably and manage expenses responsibly. In short, for government bailouts of big business to positively impact private citizens, executives at the helm of such big businesses must be willing to forgo self interest. At the same time, the self-interest of its stakeholders is required for the sustenance of any capitalist economy.
Herein is a contradiction our current system will never resolve, and the absence of resolution is (and will continue to be) felt most viscerally by those citizens with the least money and the least power to effect change.
We cannot allow the invisible hand of the free market to gently guide our society to a brighter future. Such invisible hand is unsteady, and our collective security is not its aim.