Recently, in her talk at South by Southwest, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, made the comment that capitalism is “irredeemable.”
AOC’s comments are a good example of the stark division within the Democratic Party between the far Left and normal people who—for some reason—still identify as Democrats. Democrats (the normal ones) don’t view capitalism as irredeemable; they just tend to be in favor of more government regulation and things like that.
Over the past several years, however, the far Left has been overtaking the Democratic Party to the point that it’s become politically unpopular to be normal and rational. At a CNN town hall last year, when Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats are capitalists, she was criticized by the far Left as being “in denial” about the shifting values of the Party. (You really know you’re a radical Leftist when Nancy Pelosi is too moderate for you.)
It’s hard to deny the growing dislike of capitalism on the Left, particularly among younger people. AOC’s comment that capitalism is irredeemable is reflective of the general mindset of the far Left, which seems to be infecting and taking over the Democratic Party.
But is capitalism really irredeemable? Should we abolish it and all become socialists like AOC and Bernie Sanders want? Will that bring about a better outcome for American citizens? No, not according to the evidence.
The far Left often cries, “But capitalism is all about selfishness and greed. Socialism is all about taking care of the needs of the people!” That is AOC’s complaint in a nutshell. She laments that capitalism is all about seeking to maximize profit at the cost of people and the environment.
This, of course, is completely false. The only way to become a successful entrepreneur in a capitalist system is not to be selfish but to be concerned with the needs of others. Entrepreneurs must work hard and often sacrifice their own self-interest in the short-term in order to become successful in the long-term. As George Gilder explains, “Profit is a measure of how well a company has served others.”
The beauty of a free market system is that success is built upon serving others by producing valuable products and services that people need—that’s literally the opposite of selfishness. In fact, the free market discourages selfishness. As Gilder puts it, “If the entrepreneur pursues his own interests first and his customers’ interests second, his business will fail. And sooner or later an altruistic entrepreneur will surpass him. Capitalism at its essence, then, is a competition of giving.”
What’s the fruit of this system? Well, it is solving global poverty. As Aaron Bandler points out, “The number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide declined by 80 percent from 1970 to 2006. People living on a dollar a day or less dramatically fell from 26.8 percent of the global population in 1970 to 5.4 percent in 2006—an 80 percent decline. It is truly a remarkable achievement that doesn’t receive a lot of media coverage because it highlights the success of capitalism.”
You can hardly call an economic system “irredeemable” that has lifted so many people around the world out of extreme poverty. But what about socialism? Well, in contrast to capitalism, socialism is by its very nature built on self-centeredness and greed.
Socialism is all about thinking the government owes you. Socialists believe they are entitled to free health care, free college education, etc.
If you have a sense of entitlement, you don’t care about working to earn what you have. You don’t care about meeting the needs of others by producing valuable goods and services to better your circumstances as well as the circumstances of your community. No, your mindset is that someone else must pay for what you think you’re entitled to.
What’s the fruit of this system? Failure, poverty, corruption, economic collapse. Every time. Look at Venezuela, which was once a prosperous country in South America. Now, because of socialism, 90 percent of its citizens are impoverished and literally starving in the streets.
Capitalism isn’t irredeemable. Socialism is.
Image: (Reuters: Carlos Garcia Rawlins)