American Society is Too Immature for Capitalism

While I drank my coffee this morning, I stumbled upon the above post in my Facebook feed. As the various commentators, myself included, argued the benefits of sharing verse stealing from one another, of which evidently socialism and taxation are forms, it became very clear to me that the issue at hand isn’t socialism vs. capitalism, but the very fact that Americans are children wanting to play with a very grown up idea, and failing miserably.

I love money. I’ve always loved money. I studied economics as my undergraduate electives and fell in love with money even more while pursuing my MBA in International Business. While I stuck with technology as a career, and then eventually homemaking, I continued my love of money, or more importantly, the story of money. I regularly read books written by economists just for fun. To me, money is beautiful, not because supply-side economics looks nice as an equation, but because money is the truest historian of humanity. Money is our scribe.

            If you want to know who you really are as a person, then study your bank statements. Where do you spend your money? Whom do you spend it on? Why? How do you feel about your purchases? How did you earn your money? How do you feel about that?  Do you ever take the time to think about this? If you do, you will know more about yourself than any shrink will ever tell you. Money never lies. Money is pure. Money will tell you the story of your heart.

            Go deeper, look at each purchase and ask, what’s behind it. What did it take for that car to be in your garage? What resources were needed? What amount of labor? Where was it built? Why do you need it? What does it say about you? The story of money is rich, and deep, and never, ever false. What you see might make you uncomfortable, but it’s still the truth of who you are as person, both emotionally and intellectually, at the time the money is spent.

            Follow the money and you shall know the truth.

            Money tells the story of our society. A peek at the government budget for the United States of America tells us who we are as Americans—fearful, warmongering, self-interested juveniles set on the acquisition and hording of money and profits at the expense of human lives. Why would I say that? Because any country that spends more than half of its resources on war is afraid. And people who are afraid don’t make very good capitalists.

            Capitalism is the golden jewel when it comes to money. Free trade allows humans to invest, invent and imagine. A strong merchant class allows the flow of information in and out of a society. A strong labor class allows for the creation of high quality products to improve the lives of the community. This ideally happens within the structure of freedom. The freedom to choose your craft or trade, the freedom to acquire capital and investments and the freedom to spend your money according to your values. When viewed this way, what could go wrong?

            There are three components to the creation of goods—raw materials, labor and capital. Where do we get our raw materials? From the earth. Where do we get our labor? From humanity and technology, which has been invented by humanity. And where do we get our capital? From banks, family members, profits, venture capitalists, Kickstarter campaigns, crowdfunding, rich guys with nothing better to do and the sale of stocks. When a human is empowered and living from a place of ingenuity, these three things are in balance. The higher the person or society moves up Maslow’s hierarchy, the clearer their thinking and the ability to plan long term kicks in. This is what capitalism requires—healthy adults who are secure enough to see the bigger picture and operate from a place where the relationships between raw materials (nature), labor (humanity) and capital (money) are in harmony. One is not focused upon to the detriment of the other.

            A person who lives in fear, who’s afraid of losing something, whether it’s their yacht, their stock options, their job, their house, their hot girlfriend, or even their national identity or status among peers, will not be able to keep the three in balance. And since capital eventually produces profits, which is what remedies the person’s fear and insecurities, then that is where the short term, fearful human will focus. How do I get more capital? How do I pay my investors and still make a buck? How can I implement a system of trade laws that maximizes capital so I can have never ending growth? This person will not consider what happens to nature when its resources are over-mined for production, nor what happens to their workers when benefits are reduced in order to increase the bottom line. Capitalism becomes CAPITALism.

            Many Americans claim the government should stay out of the economy. But yet when business leaders pay the government to create labor and environmental laws that enable them to make more money, that’s progress. Why? Why is it progress to operate from the mindset of a child? A toddler can’t understand why he needs to share. His parents show him that. Sharing isn’t about taking from the 1% and giving back to the 99%. It’s about implementing capitalism in a way that keeps all three things, nature, labor and capital in balance.

            And it takes an adult mentality to do that. America, unfortunately, doesn’t have what it takes. We’re the selfie-stick culture. The mine, mine, mine culture. The individual reigns supreme culture. America has become the place where adults think its fine to throw a tantrum in public because they’re tired of being politically correct. America is a place where on one hand, Donald Trump is a contender, and on the other Hillary Clinton deserves to be the president because she’d be the first female president, and she's wanted it all her life. Seriously? Donald Trump is the trope of our time and who cares if Hillary is female and has wanted to be president all her life? Both of these candidates soothe the American insecurity and fear of not being good enough.

             Which is a problem, because unruly children often require authority to behave, and historically authoritarianism is the opposite of freedom. So we're at an impasse--on the one hand we're a democracy that requires a capitalistic economy and on the other hand we still can't manage to stop bullying one another on the playground, which requires someone of a higher authority to step in and tell us how to behave.

            Capitalism requires a certain emotional and intellectual advancement from its people. Money itself has always required this from us. To me, money isn’t the root of all evil, it’s the refusal to grow up and see the connections between all of us that causes all the evil in the world. Money is just the messenger.

            And everyone knows you shouldn’t kill the messenger.


starrdusk said...

I think you have made some good points here and because I know the depth that you have given to the study of these things I trust your conclusions that you come to in area's where I myself, for instance, have not studied.

Something is missing though, and one doesn't notice it until the end; the actual purpose of the article.
I am not certain you have given enough of a strong conclusion to be able to call you facist or other wise. When you made mention of Trump and of Hilary, I began to expect more on your opinion of that political point. (by the way, I think that there are other points that make Hilary a possible good choice beyond just that she is a woman and has fought for this position for long years; her foreign knowledge of the stage ahead is one; and the fact that she is a woman has its own strengths beyond just being a woman, but being a woman who has had to fight the males with in her culture and those males that she has to stand up to and with and against daily in meetings and in the position of the clubs that they belong to all build to make her womanhood more meaningful then just any woman who might come aboard. She's been playing and fighting with the Big Boys a long time and that embraces a lot more then most realize in many categories)
But, all that being said, and as well as you have spoken your well founded opinion on the subject of money, I am left not certain what you want people to do with it, other then to look at their own relationship with money.
I myself do agree with you on the fact that nobody is entitled to the money of the rich and those who make the world go round with the money, or who can stop it in its tracks if so desired. I believe that with out those who accumulate wealth we would be lost when it comes to facing future adversities and growth. But this also now brings into question the idea of a universal income for all, or as it is better put, a universal standard of living for all; if people are not entitled to it, why would we expect this form of care in our world to make sense? I think I feel that is where we are left hanging with the ending of the article here.

Nicole Sallak Anderson said...

To clarify, I think people need to mature to the point that worshiping and hoarding capital no longer becomes the norm. When a person sees the totality and includes nature and labor as just as important as profit, we will be truly free.

Money must move, like blood. If it pools in one place, society hardens and grows stagnant.

The only reason we can't grow up enough to see how the balance must always be in place, that raw materials, labor and capital are three parts of one whole, is because we don't take the time to know our needs. Once we know our needs, we can begin the honest discussion of basic standard of living (though if we cared about labor as much as we did capital, that discussion would be solved.)

The way to know our needs is to study our personal relationship with money, for money will tell you exactly who you are and what's important to you.

So yes, it begins and ends with our own relationship with money and ideally with that exercise, an evolution of consciousness that frees capitalism from it's infantile state and improves our society as a whole.

Hope that clarifies things a bit!

Nicole Sallak Anderson said...

And one more clarification...I DO think that money needs to come from the rich and be redistributed back into the system, not by raising income taxes, but by ending corporate welfare of all forms, including subsidies, by increasing the minimum wage and establishing a worker's right to healthcare, shelter and food and enacting environmental laws that charge big business to clean up their mess, and lastly, to break up monopolies so that small business can have a chance again to flourish. These things balance the system. This isn't socialism, or fascism, it's bringing balance back to the free market--nature, labor and capital.

I just didn't include policy ideas in the blog because the focus of the article was on the immaturity of the American psyche and how our relationship with money needs to be further investigated before we can call capitalism a failure. The free market hasn't failed us, our greed has.