I wrote earlier about my thoughts on this compelling video discussing socialism vs. capitalism. I have more thoughts.
Once again I am not trying to argue one particular side. I am concerned rather about the waste of potential, money, and human life that our current system demonstrates. It is my goal that everyone has the opportunity to prosper in whatever sense they want. I am not advocating a particular form of life, but rather that we think about our lives in a thoughtful way.
As a middle-class white guy, I have benefited greatly from the current system. That doesn’t make it right for others. It has been unacceptable that in a country that talks about freedom, we mostly only have freedom for white males. Women and minorities get treated as second-class citizens. White men get treated differently by the police and the courts. Does anyone think that a black man could do what white men routinely do and get away with it?
This is not about any particular group of people, however. This is about the maximum benefit for the maximum number of people. Clearly, rich people benefit and we have seen their stocks and wealth rise. I am not anti-rich. I am not envious of their life. I am more motivated by the fact that so many people have to suffer for them to enjoy that kind of lifestyle. All my life I have seen hundreds of millions of people die needlessly because of policies that uniquely benefited the rich and hurt the common man.
The trickle-down theory of economics doesn’t work. The rate of productivity by workers is not reflected in their pay. The rate of inflation is far higher than the minimum wage can support. The system that promised people a chance to get the American dream hasn’t worked. Our health and lifespan have decreased as the rich have gotten richer. We vote and support policies against our own economic self-interest because of the poor education that leaders decide. Leaders that because of our poor education we voted in.
We see the result of this institutionalized stupidity. We see nurses and doctors who should understand science reject getting a vaccine. We pay for the socialized insurance and health care plans far better than any average US citizen gets for those who we elect to Congress. We buy, buy, buy like a machine without considering what makes us happy or if things can make us happy. We allow ourselves to be hypnotized by advertisements and scared by our laziness to find out the truth of things. We have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, but we only use it to confirm our own biases.
Is this the freedom that we brag about? The freedom to be unhappy, and to make the rest of the world suffer because of our own selfishness? US citizens pollute and use resources that are unsustainable and we have the gall to say we are unhappy. When the majority of the world lives on less than a dollar per day, how can we claim that our happiness is more important than other people’s existence?
For this reason and more, economic equality and justice are just as important as every other human right. I don’t claim to have answers, but we must be aware of the damage we are doing to ourselves and others. We need more empathy and concern about our fellow human being and less selfishness.