Is Capitalism Dead?

I hear these days that capitalism is under attack – a life threatening justification for all types of defenses designed to terrorize us into believing that Obama and all his ‘followers’ have come into power with an agenda to end Capitalism as we know it.

I know this claim is absurd because of who spouts these angry cries of impotency for failing to do the economy right when there was a chance, justifications for wishing bad on our current president since ‘fickle’ voters turned away from the blueprint.

We just don’t have the time to go down the extremist road that, quite frankly, for the 70% of the population that blames the financial disaster on the past administration, the attack claims seem ludicrous given that we all witnessed our country’s surplus eight years ago turn into the largest debt we have ever known.

Capitalism as we have known it is dead. Yet, Capitalism is alive.

Capitalism is at a critical juncture. We need to admit rather than be paralyzed by what we see happening, or run for the cover of old ideologies that may indeed have lead us to where we are now. And please, let’s not even bother with the offer to duke it out old- fashioned style as suggested by some.

I learned when I was in business school that there are two types of capitalism – the one based on the theories I was taught, and the one that I witnessed. Long over short, everyone their merit vs. nepotism, diversity vs. special privileges, collaborative success vs. each man on his own.

So it is that I find the false messages about attacks on capitalism even more dangerous in its deception. If the financial disaster is any sign to us as a country to contemplate our economy, we better listen up.

When I think back to the theories I learned in business school, something doesn’t match up. An example is airline ticket prices. Today, I can fly to Guadalajara, Mexico for $150 round trip. Mind you, I can’t afford $150 now, but back when I could, tickets were $450 round trip, when, of course, I couldn’t afford $450. Price is expected to rise when the costs are spread over fewer customers, not over more. When passenger travel was at its peak, why were ticket prices so high, why did it become acceptable to practically charge customers for their pillows?

If you take the airline example, and look at the workings of our economy, you will see this error repeated over and over. Until, boom! One day, the economy explodes and we are in the worst financial crisis we have ever been in our lives.

To blame the crisis on Obama, or even this particular stimulus package equaled only by the one given under the last administration, shows me there is little interest from these particular critics in moving this country forward. Instead, falsehoods digress into fantasyland where the Randian desire to protect one’s little assets is tantamount to ‘saving’ capitalism. From what? Reality?

Admitting that capitalism needs an overhaul is necessary, but not a threat. Rather, it’s part of our recovery.

The facts are clear. Capitalism offers incentive to work and create one’s own destiny. The facts also show that capitalism has not been able to raise up everyone’s boats, and many barges have capsized. The facts also show we still know little about the global interaction of capitalism after ten plus years under a new global order.

Do I believe capitalism should die? No. But I also don’t believe we should stick our heads in the sand about the level of corruption that was shared among the players in the financial crash and the impact of their choices on the state of capitalism today. I think the way to heal capitalism is by confronting our losses, learning lessons and refining capitalism for a better future.

What makes me resent people who make the dangerous claim capitalism is under attack is that now their arguments suggest a connection between race, in that, all these minority people were given home loans, ‘like usual’, they failed, and now we are in this mess. Yes, I hear between the lines. The code words are there, those insidious words that seeks to blame the crisis on minority people, borrowing money on loans gone bad; loans, it is said, made by democrats who wanted to appease their minority constituents.

What is so terribly unfair about this tactic to gain back a presidency is the impact these claims have on the future. Much like the immigration debates, the people who use this tactic seek to stir up anger rather than lobby solutions. Big media reverberates the message without any examination, like – Is this true? Why or why not, backed up by evidence – perpetuating these messages couching hate and threats helps no one.

Capitalism was bastardized by many, many, many people. It wasn’t just here in the U.S., it was around the world, and explains why drooping economies abound. Its not, as Fox News would have us to believe, the result of population increase among minority people around the world, punctuating the theory with images of poor minority people around the world gathered in large crowds, usually violent. So bad is the situation, the channel’s hosts move capitalism’s supposed demise up to the top of their lists of what will bring the world down now that their guy is no longer in the presidency.

Enough is enough. Class wars rallied with racism will get us nowhere, and quite frankly, we do need to get somewhere. Recovery. We will recover. I have more optimism now then ever because we are awake as a country. I hope we don’t lose our chance to really evaluate. Not whether capitalism is “under attack”, but whether capitalism, as its been done over the last fifty years, is the full answer.

When I hear people equate defending capitalism to democrats bashing Bush – please, please do not equate fighting for tax breaks to people defending the country against lies, violations of the constitution and the rights of citizens, torturing, and instigating hate, division and war.

Capitalism as we have known it could start recovering by growing a heart, and never uttering comparison between tax breaks, and the rights and lives of humans.

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