I think most of America’s problems stem from two things.
Firstly, we are supposedly a capitalist country and democratic republic. And yet, it seems as if capitalism and democracy, by their very nature, are diametrically opposed. Until the people that are supposed to represent us stop taking campaign money from business lobbyists and religious organizations, we can never hope to realize the freedoms we thought our constitution protected.
(supposedly/ideally) is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. Politically, it is the system of laissez-faire (freedom). Legally it is a system of objective laws (rule of law as opposed to rule of man). Economically, when such freedom is applied to the sphere of production its’ result is the free-market.(source)
Closer to the truth of the matter, yet still idealistic, may be the Wikipedia definition:
An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital assets and goods. In a capitalist economy, investors are free to buy, sell, produce, and distribute goods and services with at most limited government control, at prices determined primarily by a competition for profit in a free market. Central elements of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, and a price system.
What capitalism seems to mean in America now, though, is closer to Jafar’s idea of the golden rule:
It feels like everything is crony capitalism,
I found it rather interesting (in a sad and ironic way) how Ayn Rand described capitalism.
When I say “capitalism,” I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.
That’s all swell, but we really don’t have separation of church and state either. But this will never stop until politicians are disallowed from taking campaign money from lobbyists and churches. Until that happens, politicians will always be more influenced by what their contributors want then by what the people want. Some people debate the meaning of the “separation of church and state” mentioned in constitution. Some people, myself included, feel that parts of the constitution are obsolete. Sacrilege! But I do wonder, how “ironclad” can it be if it can be “amended” so much? I think regardless of what was intended then, I think today one can not write legislation for a whole country based on one religion, and with many politicians in the church’s pocket, that’s pretty much exactly what’s happening (think about how they’re trying to jam prayer back into school and force women’s reproductive rights issues.)
Anyway, it’s my opinion…my belief…that between the capitalism that keeps the poor poor–
Attempts at eliminating minimum wage and claiming it will “help” the poor (one can only guess at the ass backwards logic behind that one). Forcing taxpayers to subsidize their profits by footing the bill for all the Walmart employees on welfare or food stamps as a result of their pitifully inadequate wages, and let’s not forget the government bailing out Big Business–
–and the religious conservatives bent on forcing us all to follow their rules and code of morality through legislation (lobbyists giving money to influence representatives…and here money comes into play again) the majority of America is in a stranglehold. Basically, if we’re not CEOs of the gas companies, we’re the schmucks who pay 3.69 a gallon because we have no real recourse. After all, our representatives’ campaigns are probably being financed by the gas company. This is a very simplistic generalization, but you see what I’m getting at, and I am not the only person who feels the weight of being low man on the totem…
Let me finish up by leaving you with another Ayn Rand quote to think on:
When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.