So last night I saw the new Michael Moore film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” While I don’t necessarily agree with everything he does, and while I know also that there are two sides to every coin, I can’t help but feel as if some of the things he highlighted must be true. And even if people don’t agree with him, I don’t think that we can deny any longer that somewhere, somehow, and in some way, something went dreadfully wrong with the way we live.
Was it just the inevitable result of free market capitalism? I think it might be, because the general idea is that we want want want want want and want some more. Competition is good because it drives companies to offer more and more options to consumers and at the same time it drives prices way up. In theory, perhaps, capitalism would be the way to go because competition, theoretically, would make companies lower prices to gain more business. In practice however, there seems to be just one level of prices that all companies that are seeking to serve the competition: high.
The thing about competition also is that it is incredibly stressful. The stress of constantly worrying that you may go out of business because your competitor IS actually slashing his costs, but he’s doing it because he has more money in the bank and by driving his costs down, he’s hoping to put you out of business quicker so he can hike his prices back up after eliminating the competition. That doesn’t help anyone, friends. The person with the most money doesn’t necessarily have the best product.
So is socialism the answer? Socialism in theory would work amazing. Just like capitalism in theory would work amazing. Socialism, I think, has a weakness in that the people responsible for the distribution of wealth can be easily corrupted. Once the distributors are corrputed, the whole system will rapidly fall apart.
But then, so is capitalism. Look at what’s happening right now. The gap between the rich and poor has grown incredibly distant, I wonder if there really is a middle class at all, just one huge lower class and a tiny fraction of upper class.
I don’t know the answers to solve our problems, I don’t know how we are ever going to get ourselves out of this hole we’ve collectively dug. When I look at all the layoffs, the unemployment rates, it’s brings everything straight home. Somewhere, someway, somehow, and at some time, something went wrong and will take a lot of work and hard thinking to make it right.
until next time,