I sometimes think that the free market concept is treated like The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’s Quasimodo in the long novel of global economic history.
It is considered ugly and undesirable by most people who judge it at a mere glance without bothering to understand it. It is a bogeyman; a scapegoat for numerous societal problems that it has nothing to do with. In reality, the only time free markets do cause trouble is when they are manipulated or misused by elitists seeking to turn them into something other than free markets. And, even when free markets display their great value and internal beauty, many still prefer other systems that are intrinsically corrupt but flashier on the surface.
Capitalism is no longer working for most Americans, according to one hedge-fund billionaire, who says the expanding wealth gap dividing the haves and have-nots is creating a volatile environment with disturbing parallels to the economic and social upheaval of the 1930s.
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates LP, the world’s biggest hedge fund, says capitalism has developed into a system that is promoting an ever-wider wealth gap that puts the very existence of the United States at risk. In a two-part series published on LinkedIn, the noted investor argues that capitalism is now in need of reform — and offered ways to accomplish it:
‘I have also seen capitalism evolve in a way that it is not working well for the majority of Americans because it’s producing self-reinforcing spirals up for the haves and down for the have-nots. This is creating widening income/wealth/opportunity gaps that pose existential threats to the United States because these gaps are bringing about damaging domestic and international conflicts and weakening America’s condition.’
Socialism is having a moment. Or at least anti-capitalism is.
According to a 2017 survey from Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, one in two millennials say they would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy.
Taking it a step further, almost a quarter of them have a favorable view of Karl Marx and, weirdly, a few even see Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un as “heroes.”
A recent poll from Gallup similarly showed Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are more positive about socialism than capitalism. In 2010, 68% viewed capitalism positively. That number has dropped to just 45%.
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Just after the 10th anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers, co-founder of the Home Depot (HD) Ken Langone cited the market crash that followed as the reason many millennials have a negative view of capitalism.
“They were 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 years old,” Langone told Yahoo Finance’s Julia La Roche at the All Markets Summit on Sept. 20. “So capitalism did not present itself very well.”
Langone went on to suggest that countries that have adopted a socialist system aren’t doing well. To the millennials who seem to favor socialism, Langone said: “I’ll put you in my plane and I’ll fly you down to Venezuela, and let’s see how good socialism is doing down there.”
What is happiness?
It’s a very old question. And no one really knows the answer, although theories abound.
Aristotle was one of the first to offer what you might call a philosophy of happiness. For him, happiness consisted of being a good person, of living virtuously and not being a slave to one’s lowest impulses. Happiness was a goal, something at which humans constantly aim but never quite reach. Epicurus, another Greek philosopher who followed Aristotle, believed that happiness was found in the pursuit of simple pleasures.
The rise of Christianity in the West upended Greek notions of happiness. Hedonism and virtue-based morality fell somewhat out of favor, and suddenly the good life was all about sacrifice and the postponement of gratification. True happiness was now something to be attained in the afterlife, not on Earth.
The Enlightenment and the rise of market capitalism transformed Western culture yet again. Individualism became the dominant ethos, with self-fulfillment and personal authenticity the highest goods. Happiness became a fundamental right, something to which we’re entitled as human beings.
A few weeks ago, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) wrote an article for Vox explaining the movement’s goals – to end capitalism and radically change America.
In normal times, the declarations of a fringe party and ideology in America would not merit much attention. However, these are not normal times. A new Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of socialism – while only 47 percent view capitalism positively.
This pattern has been building for a while. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont took socialism mainstream in the party during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. Since then, Democratic Party candidates have been increasingly attaching themselves to the ideology.
Most notably, a telegenic young member of the Democratic Socialists of America named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated a senior Democrat in New York City’s 14thCongressional District and has since been on a whirlwind media tour, spreading the gospel of socialism.
For the first time in more than a decade, Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than they do of capitalism, a new poll said Monday.
Attitudes toward socialism among Democrats have not changed much since 2010, with 57 percent view it positively, according to the Gallup survey.
“The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47 percent positive this year — lower than in any of the three previous measures,” according to a statement from Gallup breaking down the numbers.
Republicans remain much more positive about capitalism than about socialism, with little change in their views of either since 2010.
About 71 percent of GOP voters viewed capitalism positively while just 16 percent had a positive view of socialism.
New York Post
Well, that escalated quickly.
The rise of “democratic socialism” has been one of the key developments in the Democratic Party in recent years, first with the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and more recently Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary win over party mainstay Rep. Joe Crowley in New York.
One of the ways the movement is presented is with the claim that this is not your grandfather’s socialism — or the socialism of the former Soviet Union, Venezuela or other failed states. It’s more “Scandinavian health care” than overthrowing the bourgeoisie.
But now a democratic socialist writer is leveling with voters, telling them that actually, yes, they want to topple capitalism.
Leftists are turning their backs on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after she declared herself a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist.
Speaking at a New England Council breakfast on Monday over bankruptcy policy, Warren reportedly told the audience, “I am a capitalist to my bones.”
Leftists, stunned by her remarks, took to social media to express their outrage.
Donald Trump is ’70s Man. He loves beauty pageants. He puts ketchup on his steak. And he thinks the surest signs of economic might are thriving smokestack industries churning out the raw materials for skyscrapers and locomotives.
Businesses and investors everywhere are on edge as Trump, himself a lifelong builder, is now attempting to translate his industrial-era economic worldview into action. Trump has promised to impose tariffs of 10% on all aluminum imports to the United States, and 25% on all steel imports. The stock market has wobbled on that news, and now Trump’s top economic adviser, former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, has quit in frustration over Trump’s tariffs. Investors have viewed Cohn as the strongest bulwark against economic nationalism that could trigger damaging trade wars, and his departure will undoubtedly unnerve markets further.
“If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country!” Trump tweeted, in all caps, on March 2. It’s also true that you don’t have a country, or at least a prosperous country, if you don’t have software, data centers, accounting firms and teachers. Yet Trump talks little, if at all, about the segments of the economy that are the biggest source of wealth and power these days. And he seems ready to risk damaging the economy to protect industries that represent a small and declining share of American production.