It is said that the 62 of the richest people in the world controls over half of the world’s wealth. This is the ultimate despicable truth that is hushed behind the hypocritical glorification of ‘Capitalism’. So how did the average Joe’s capitalistic ideals enraptured in the ‘American Dream’ bring about such glaringly obvious inequality in society? So many people now question where it all started to go wrong. But the truth of the matter is simple.
Capitalism was never the right answer to begin with. To get proper answers we should first of all be asking the proper questions. Instead of inquiring as to why Capitalism went wrong we should be asking whether it was the right answer in the first place. Instead of questioning the flaws of Capitalism we should be looking into how to undo the dire situation those flaws have land us in. Let us recall where it all started.
In 1989, triumphant Germans had brought down the greatest symbol of division within Europe- the Berlin Wall. There onward started the decline of Communism in Eastern Europe. The fear of suppression and violence was torn down in the hearts of the people just as the Berlin Wall crumbled to reunify East and West Germany. This newfound freedom uplifted the population and it was not long after that the USSR came to its end; with it Communism fell. Capitalism was dictated superior and thus began the long and tedious journey to build the modern society as of today.
For decades, capitalism allowed the average man to rise high in society. With this Capitalism was embraced by so many nations, so many communities and so many people. However, this embracing has led to capitalism dragging the average man and woman seeking better fortune, to their graves with false hopes and dreams. There is no better time than now to review whether Capitalism was indeed the victor when Communism fell in Eastern Europe. The answer is a bit hard to discern. It is not glaringly obvious, but bare with me.
Throughout human History we have been trying and failing to find a balance between two extremes; Communism and Capitalism. However, just as a see-saw is hard to balance, finding a balance between Capitalism and Communism is near impossible. Why? Communism is mostly pro-public sector whereas Capitalism is mostly pro- private sector. At any given time, which country has ever bore witness to the public and private sectors working hand in hand? This inability to co-exist is due to the fundamental values in these two extreme ideological economic models. Let us start with Communism. Communism wishes society to embrace selflessness, tolerance and fraternity.
All people are of equal value. If you had ever read ‘ Animal Farm’ by George Orwell, Communism’s flaws become apparent. Humans are born selfish. They are born to compete and they are born to seek profits wherever they go. Communism does not distinguish between the man who works hard and the man who doesn’t. If he is not recognized for his work, why should he work more than the man who gains the same benefits with less work? Although a beautiful utopia on paper, it is not realistic and cannot be applied in society when it goes against the fundamentals of being human. Capitalism on the other hand is not any better. But for complete different reasons. Capitalism embraces the idea of the man who deserves shall reap the reward. People are never equal. Their actions make people differ from one to another. Capitalism unlike Communism embraces what it means to be human. Greed, selfishness and competition go hand in hand with capitalism. But it has one obvious flaw.
As capitalism embraces human greed, profit motivation becomes a necessity in anything and everything we do in society. We no longer go to the supermarket to buy a roll of toilet paper. Those days are long gone. We go to the supermarket to get the best deal when buying a roll of toilet paper. Why is it that we put a price on water and shelter- basic human necessities? Simple. There are insufficient checks and balances in capitalism to stop or keep in check one of our most despicable human qualities – greed.
So with such a disturbing flaw in Capitalism how did it bring victory over Communism? The truth is – Capitalism was never the victor. Even though people believed Capitalism triumphed what truly triumphed was a relatively better balance between communism and capitalism. The idea of a victorious Capitalistic society was nothing but a delusion. Since what deferred from USSR’s communist regime were Capitalistic ideals, people believed that Capitalism emerged victorious.
It is this grave mistake that led us to the harsh reality of 62 people owning as much wealth as billions of people. If a system balances out 62 people on one side to billions on the other, it is obviously flawed. So what does work? The society that isn’t ideal but can survive is where Capitalistic ideals recognize and reward hard work. Yet at the same time embraces communistic ideas where checks and balances are in place to prevent money hungry capitalists from destroying the environment and society to gain crispy green papers. Plenty of which they probably already have.