It is becoming clear that Capitalism as it exists today in the United States is no longer satisfying the evolving needs of a great many Americans. It is resulting in widening wealth inequality, failing schools, deteriorating infrastructure, poverty --nearly one in four American children goes hungry -- and high unemployment. Temporary work has become a mainstay of the US economy replicating the feel of Mexico or Guatemala.
The unbelievable accumulation of wealth by the top 1% is fostering the call for a real revolution to correct the imbalance and address society's mounting problems. The situation is fast becoming permanent and irreversible. There is an urgent need to redress the great imbalance in fortunes between the very wealthy and the poor.
Life in the United States could hardly be described as a democracy anymore. The rich have everything including health, happiness and political power. The poor have almost nothing. It is unclear why any one person, or family, needs to have or inherit billions of dollars. What would anyone do with these vast amounts of money anyway? You can't eat two chickens at the same time. The idea that the very rich are the ones who create jobs for the needy has long been disproven. Most of what the rich do these days with their money is to rent it in various ways and avoid paying taxes. History tells us that the existence of islands of extreme wealth in a sea of poverty often leads to catastrophic events and revolutions.
At the very minimum, we need a new economic and tax system that addresses those glaring disparities. To keep our economic vitality however, we should at the same time also try and preserve the capitalist mentality that is the engine of our prosperity and development. The details of any new system will need be worked out through national discussion and review. This article presents one proposal. I shall call it Fair-Capitalism in an effort to ignite the dialogue.
Capitalism in America:
Capitalism in the America is as old as the country itself. The original settlers built their fortunes under severe and challenging circumstances. They fought the natives, the environment and each other to secure a foothold in the new country. They suffered a lot from fear, hunger, disease and war. They were rugged individualists in the truest sense of the words. They cared mainly for themselves and their families and defended them against mounting and persistent dangers at all costs. This unrelenting fight for survival did not give them much opportunity to develop socially integrated and interdependent communities. It was everyone for himself. They could not pay much attention to the unfortunate, the poor, the sick or the different. The ones who did not, or could not, carry their own load were considered lazy, morally deficient and undeserving. The economic system rewarded hard work and initiative and looked negatively on the weak, struggling or different. That individualistic attitude still persists today in the minds of many Americans.
However, that was the past. Today, America is a very different place. The white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who originally settled the land are now in the minority. The huge industrial and manufacturing base they worked so hard to establish, is slowly moving elsewhere. The wildly expanding economy that provided opportunities for all is now a fading memory. Today, many educated Americans, willing to work and participate in the economy cannot find the jobs they need to feed and clothe themselves and their families. The job market is changing so dramatically (and possibly permanently) that it may never be able absorb all those who are presently unemployed or underemployed.
Now, to keep our country safe and prosperous, we need to care more about the poor and sick among us and understand that they became that way mostly through no fault of their own. We need to do this, not only because it is the moral thing to do, but also because doing so will help all of us, both rich and poor. We need to think of ourselves more as an interdependent society with shared interests, desires and responsibilities rather than a bunch of separate and independent individuals. Measures such as social security, Medicare and Medicaid were great when they were enacted, but they are not enough anymore. The needs of our society grew and our responses need to be upgraded. This is especially true when so many in our country want to end those benefits designed to help the poor and the unable.
The Problem of Poverty: