The Problems with Capitalism.
Michael Moore in his new film “Capitalism: A Love Story” is quick to point out that Capitalism in the United States has created a greedy upper class that feeds on the lower classes. I agree, that modern capitalism is based on acquiring wealth for the ones that head their respective corporations with little regard for their workers or the people they serve. It seems that if one is lucky enough to attain power, then he or she will stop at nothing to keep acquiring more wealth or power. Michael Moore suggests that perhaps we should try a more “socialistic” approach to solve our problems. His film cites several examples of “co-ops,” companies owned by the workers. He says that these “co-ops” are more successful at giving back to their workers because they are more “democratic” than regular corporations.
The Myth of True Democracy and True Socialism.
There is really no such thing as true democracy. Lot of us believe that democracy exists in countries where people get to choose the individuals who run their governments. Taking a closer look, you see that the people only choose from individuals suggested by their political parties. These parties are influenced by powerful corporate interests, so they only select candidates they feel would serve these interests.
Most voters do not work in the specific areas for which they are picking candidates. They are really guessing as to who would be the best candidate. In the end, factors like advertising money, personality (not necessarily ability), and telling the voters what they want to hear wins the election.
True socialism is also a myth. There has never been a government that has ever conformed to true “socialism.” Many socialist governments are merely dictatorships where one or several individuals set convenient policies that insure their continued rule. The people have no say. In the Former Soviet Union individuals like Lenin, Stalin and a host of others dictated the policies of the country, until a leader (Gorbachev) gave the people too much power and the system of government was changed. In Cuba the Castros still rule; in China, the successors of Mao still rule. Here’s the point. There can never be true socialism because individual leaders are needed to “interpret” the wishes of the collective. True socialism, by definition, cannot have leaders. Actual Socialist Societies (Communist as they are sometimes called) always have some leader or leaders that tell the people what to do.Individuals are the Real Leaders.
In modern times as well as throughout history, no matter what the form of government, it’s the individuals who rule. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all individuals. Hitler even came to power “democratically.” I’m sure that most of the German people never really wanted the horrors brought about by his Nazi regime.
Just as with government, all businesses, whether a proprietorship, a corporation, or a “co-op” are run by individuals. Maybe the “co-ops” Mr. Moore mentions in his film are truly very efficient. Democracy is not the main reason these companies excel. The employee democracy will keep their leaders from getting too greedy, but can’t be used to efficiently make daily business decisions. It’s sharp individual leadership that makes these companies so successful.
Capitalism vs Socialism.
Since most systems in society are run by individuals, we would like a social order that encourages the development of good, socially conscious individuals.
Socialism is an economic system advocating state ownership of goods, labor, and services. But the “state” is really a few select individuals masquerading as the “collective.” Everyone is mandated to respect the wishes of the “collective.” The policies for the “collective” are developed and enforced by the individual rulers. To maintain control of the masses socialism creates more laws than necessary. This makes for a larger, less efficient bureaucracy and loss of individual freedom.Capitalism is defined as an economic system where goods, labor, and services are privately owned and distributed. This is a system based on the individual. In order to be successful in their enterprise, capitalists must earn a profit. This causes capitalists to constantly struggle to beat the competition. To stay on top, capitalists tend to develop a strong desire for greed an power.
What the world really needs is “Socially Conscious Capitalism.” Since no individual is alone in this world, she or he must interact in a way that respects other individuals. There is no need for government ownership of anything. Leaders of the private sector must learn to respect the poorest of people. Since individuals have always been and always will be leaders, the only way society will improve is if we shift their ideals from the desire for greed and power to that of respect for others.
Abusive Environments Spawn Abusive Individuals.
If an individual arises from a society that glorifies power and worships greed, then, if he becomes a leader, he will be a leader who will seek greed and power.
Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all came from abusive environments. The governments that spawned these angry men favored the upper classes and abused the lower classes. This created a climate that spawned angry individuals that would stop at nothing to obtain power and maintain it.
Countries all over the world have governments that are currently content to favor the rich and impose abuses on the lower and middle classes. These days society provides for “credit” in such a way that middle and lower class people have the illusion of prosperity. Alcohol and drugs both legal and illegal, and other “escape mechanisms” help keep the people occupied so they have no thoughts of revolting as they did in the past. But sooner or later, if society keep pushing the people enough, there will arise a leader who will talk the people into another revolution. Many bankers and politicians will perish as a result. This leader will eventually become a dictator thirsting for greed and power and oppress the people. When the time is right, such leaders will band together in a “one world” government – “The New World Order.” If this happens, freedom will become a memory. Control of modern technology, and world media will make the “New World Order” virtually unbeatable. The individual ruler – Big Brother – and his gang of despots will reign unopposed for centuries to come. The truth is that in order to get good leaders, we must change our current values. Our culture is now totally based on the quest for greed and power. Our media emphasizes the value of superficial things and wants to use drugs and entertainment to keep us asleep and under control.Socially Conscious Individuals as Leaders.
We are all individuals; but, most of us exhibit very few leadership tendencies. We just follow the crowd, do what we’re told and mind our own business. That’s why most of us can never become leaders. Only highly creative, ambitious individuals can be leaders. Of these leaders, most current politicians and corporate heads, work for themselves seeking personal wealth and power, while outwardly always claiming that they’re working for the people. Very few leaders are socially conscious. A socially conscious leader would only earn what is necessary to reasonably support himself and his family. He would consider the plight of human beings around him and do what he can in their behalf. More individuals of this type are needed throughout the world.
In Western society, we are constantly being told to vote. Our votes keep getting politicians who support the powerful interests that help keep them in office. This trend builds a greedy upper class, which will eventually lead to a “New World Order” lead by a ruthless “Big Brother” and his gang of self serving thugs.
Societies run by individuals desiring greed and power have lasted for centuries. When Jesus Christ spoke up for social consciousness, instead of making him leader, they crucified Him. In His Name, they created Churches whose leadership consisted of individuals who lusted for greed and power. To this, day many individuals still use His Name to acquire enormous wealth and powerful social standing. Very few practice His philosophy.
The current “information age” may be our only hope to stem this orgy of greed and power. We can study history and philosophy in ways we never could before. This, hopefully, can help us understand why we need social consciousness. With our understanding, many of our actions will shift toward social consciousness. Remember the political system doesn’t matter as much as the individuals chosen to administer it. With socially conscious leadership, we can expect a world peace and justice for all.