By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers (crisispapers.org)
Capitalism is in crisis across the globe. When both the President of the United States and the Pope take out after its worst manifestations within days of each other, you know there's an internal time-bomb inside this dysfunctional economic system.
Though the American population clearly feels and is forced to deal with the ramifications of this failing system, it's highly unlikely that capitalism will be dismantled in favor of full-bore socialism. (Even though recent U.S. polls demonstrate that "socialism" no longer is a boogeyman to be frightened of.) So the question now is which type of economic system do we want to live under: hardline, I've-got-mine-Jack-you're-on-your-own capitalism? "capitalism with a human face"? democratic socialism? a new blend?
While we're considering those choices, let's look at a little history.
Back in the 1930s, following the economic crash and Great Depression, both socialism and communism were gaining force in the United States and around the globe.
To cut the legs out from under those leftist movements, the aristocratic President Roosevelt borrowed a bit of socialism for the creation of the Social Security system and other people-friendly programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) to put out-of-work laborers temporarily on the federal payroll to help construct roads, bridges, parks and public buildings.
OUR OWN GENERATION'S DEPRESSION
In our own time, we're still suffering the after-effects of a semi-permanent economic depression fueled by greed and the lack of tough, appropriate regulation of the finance and banking sectors. The economy remains in dire straits; the gap between the truly wealthy and the rest of us shows little signs of closing. The long-touted "American Dream" no longer offers a means by which many of the poor and middle class can make their way up the socioeconomic ladder.