Trump's Election Could Mark the End of Unrestrained Capitalism
Many politicians, pundits and editorialists offered wide-ranging explanations for the surprising election of Mr. Trump to the highest office in the land. They included: the spreading of false information, interference from the office of the attorney general, lack of trust in secretary Clinton, biased news media, etc. However, the real reason behind the election of Mr. Trump is probably much broader and deeper than any of the offered explanations. In fact, Mr. Trump's election may mark the beginning of the end for capitalism as we know it.
Everyone agrees that one of the main reasons for the election of Mr. Trump was the dissatisfaction of white men in suburban areas with their income levels and job opportunities. Lop-sided wealth inequality in the United States and most Western capitalist societies has shown that wealth, income and the associated political power are limited to those at the upper echelons of society, with little seepage down to the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Our democracies are in fact plutocracies, where the rich control everything. The accumulated resentment and disgust of those on the lower economic and social strata is what motivated people to vote for Trump. Hillary Clinton represented continued oppression by the 'establishment', while Mr. Trump represented a possible escape. Any systemic change is more attractive to the oppressed classes than the status quo. Similar resentments and possible elective upsets are brewing in other Western capitalist societies as well.
Although change may create hope and decrease resentment, if not done correctly it could harm rather than help those calling for it. In the United States, we are already seeing the beginnings of proposed changes by the Trump team that may result in increased racism and even violence. We are also hearing calls for major alterations in international policies and other agreements that could prove adverse to those seeking to escape plutocracy. We need to focus more on the real causes underlying the discontent of the lower classes, and design policies that will address their grievances without destroying the system itself. Otherwise, the cure may be worse than the disease.
Capitalism has proven itself to be the best economic system to elevate human living standards. However, when combined with selfish interests, unrestrained capitalism is responsible for expanding income inequalities. In the United States, we see people making hundreds of millions a year, while others are begging on the streets. Over forty million people are living in poverty here in the U.S. There is no justification for this. Capitalism must be restrained to counter insatiable selfishness and ensure more equitable living standards.
Among the changes that need to be considered are:
1. Much higher taxes on incomes above certain levels. There is no need for anyone to have incomes in excess of say 2-5 million a year.
2. Proper income ratios between CEO's salaries and those of their employees.
3. International controls on the flows of assets across borders designed to avoid taxation.
4. Increasing inheritance taxes, we don't need American dynasties.
5. Guaranteed Social security, minimum income, free education and medical care.