As a kid growing up in rural North Carolina, I often remember hearing the term ” The American Dream.” It brought ?a vision of a white house with a white picket fence, with Mommy and sister Suzy playing homemaker inside the house while father and son played pitch and catch in the backyard with the family pet barking for attention. What a utopia setting it brought to my mind. We were Americans fighting for what was right and fair and a sense of community filled the air. Democracy was the way and Communism was the evil society trying to destroy our way of life. I distinctly remember people would leave their front doors to their houses unlocked and the keys to the family car in the ignition. What happened? The American Dream has been hijacked by the capitalists and their thirst for profits. Two quotes come to mind with the end of this dream:
Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. – Edward Abbey
A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived. – Paul Samuelson
Capitalism is Killing Democracy
Our roles in a market economy and a democracy have slipped by the wayside. It is our responsibility as a congruent society to participate in keeping our democratic traditions vibrant while keeping our markets and political mechanisms from running wild.
Free markets were supposed to lead to free societies. Instead, today’s supercharged global economy is eroding the power of the people in democracies around the globe. Welcome to a world where … government takes a back seat to big business. …(Robert Riech)
There was always this misnomer that if capitalism flourished so would our democratic principles and way of life. Yet, today in this new age of vulture capitalism we see this is not the case. In fact, we see the very opposite. Capitalism… is thriving, while democracy is struggling to keep up. China for example over the years has transitioned into free-markets but not political freedom. There are other countries like Mexico and Russia who claim they are democracies but like the Untied States have allowed elitist and corporations to hijack the politicians which in turns limits governments capacity to adjust and address the concerns of its citizenry.
Though free markets have brought unprecedented prosperity to many, they have been accompanied by widening inequalities?, heightened job insecurity, and environmental hazards such as global warming.
The side-effect of this has been an alarming equality gap that has splintered the nations’ democracies around the world, including that of the United States. A representative democracy?is designed to allow for citizens to deal with these inequalities in a structured balanced way. However, this has not been the reality and most people feel a sense of powerlessness which is on the rise in all the world’s democracies. What we are seeing around the world and here in America is the failure of the trickle-down economic theory which reared its ugly head back during the Reagan years and an uncompromising collective pride to admit it was a mistake.
No democratic nation is effectively coping with capitalism’s negative side effects.
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The real function of capitalism is to expand the economic pie. Nothing more. Nothing less. The role of democracy [government] is to allow citizens through public discourse and their elected officials to collectively determine how that economic pie is to be divided and determine what rules should apply to both the private good and the public good. Nowadays, due to several mitigating factors these choices are being left to the markets. We The People,?need to take immediate action and task ourselves to delineate the role of global capitalism verses democracy. The free-marketeers have clearly shown a cavalier attitude towards democracy and have created a survival of the fittest mentality and let the losers fend for themselves. Corporations have treated this like a game but unlike most games they have created one which plays by no rules. We The People, must ensure that there are rules and guidelines for these corporations who now have the advantage of being treated as a person to go by and adhere to with the knowledge that there will be repercussions for not doing so.
It has become all so clear that if the main function of capitalism is to allow corporations to play the markets with earnest zeal we must as citizens challenge ourselves to stop these modern-day economic entities parading as a person from being the writers of their own rules. If not, the question of the growing inequality in America will only get worst. We The People, living in a democratic form of government have the ability to counter act this vulture capitalistic conquer all approach. The cost to our society and the forever shrinking opportunity to actualize?the American dream is at stake. However, due to our lack of interest and our feelings of helplessness we continue to allow corporations and companies trough their battalions of ?lobbyist, public relations, and now special interest Super-Pacs like Citizens Untied and others to walk the dog all over us while pretending to be acting for the public good. The bottom line over and over again has proved that these business entities only desire is to maximize profits with little to no consideration for the common public good.
Why is this? We The People?have become disabled from the democratic process largely due to the ever-increasing influence of money in our political sphere. Greater sums of money are flowing into the process with a bribe here and a kickback there. This has resulted in laws being passed that have created an atmosphere of imbalance. This reality has created, for lack of term, an ” arms race” for political influence which has suffocated the voice of the everyday citizen.
The purpose of democracy is to accomplish ends we cannot achieve as individuals.
This truism has been circumvented and cannot be utilized cause of the ever-increasing influx of money into the political process. This has allowed these business entities to advance their agendas while leaving most of us to stand in line waiting for some imaginary trickle down effect to meretriciously manifest itself. While, in the mean time, we are seeing growing job insecurity,widening of inequality, and the destroying of our environment.
In closing, this writer feels compelled to implore all of the citizens of democracies all over the world to rise up and let your disdain for this cancer on our democracy be heard. Silence is not golden here it is a detriment. We The People?have within us collectively the power to reduce these social cost to the fabric of our societies.?We must take our roles as citizens seriously. The very first step, which is the most difficult, is to get our own thinking straight by realizing, The American Dream Has Been Hijacked By The Capitalist.
Edited/Published by: SB