We Must Redefine Capitalism

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Ben Cohen
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Capitalism by Juliano Mattos.

by Ben Cohen

Capitalism feels no emotion - it is color blind, sex blind and age blind. It's single engine is greed, the naked desire for profit and economic efficiency. It creates wealth for some, and impoverishes others. Those at the top can control it, and those at the bottom must live in constant fear of it because capitalism is also human blind. It cares not for the people it devastates, and takes away what it once gave in the blink of an eye.

And for a variety of reasons, it is how we choose to to organize our economy.

The latest financial crisis underlined the fragility of a system that ignores people, and highlighted the massive inconsistencies in its philosophy. Those at the top have built in buffers to the system to protect themselves. When their fortunes are lost, they raid the tax payer to regain their wealth. When the rest lose, there is no one to turn to.

The nature of capitalism needs to be redefined. It is not a system of freedom, choices and markets, but a system that benefits those with capital. It should in fact, be called 'Moneyism', reflecting whom the system works for.

This system of greed and worship of wealth has infected every facet of our lives. We are defined by how much money we make, and our value is determined by our economic productivity. Those at the top insist that we too can climb the ladder and eat at the same restaurants they do, shop at the same stores they do, and wear the same clothes they do.

The simple fact is that we can't.

It is a winner takes all scam that solidifies wealth at the top, and sucks it out from the bottom. Witness the latest wheeze of corporate America, not content with having bled their workers dry. Those lucky enough to keep their jobs in this climate are now suffering the indignity of massive pay cuts in an effort to preserve corporate profits. And while Wall St continues to recover, Main Street does not.

We have been taught to fear the market, to accept its power and moral purity. If we lose our job, it is our fault. We didn't cut the grade. If we are not economically productive, we are no longer of use to society.

What a horrible place we have decided to build for ourselves.

When a system places profit over people, it cannot be sustainable, because after all, we are all people.

And at some point, we must say enough.

(photo by by Juliano Mattos)