The Challange of Capitalism

Economies have evolved and for now we are settled on a Capitalists system.  Maybe that is the best system for us right now, I don’t know enough about economic systems to have an opinion on which may be better.  But I think we all should be more cognoscente of the challenges and disadvantages of this system, so that we avoid the pitfalls of the system as much as possible.

With Capitalism, individual benefit and prosperity is the focus.  I think the biggest problem with Capitalism is Fraud and Deceit.  Without significant regulation, and a source of fact checking, the consumers and average citizens have no way to get the right information through all the misinformation forced in front of us.  Even if we try to get a handle on the information needed, the information becomes so convoluted you have to hire a lawyer to explain each sentence.  How do we know who or what to trust?

  • We can no longer trust banking institutions to provide a reasonable loan given a person’s economic situation.  Nor can we trust the securities they are trying to sell.
  • Most commercials are obviously misleading and deceitful.
  • Can we trust our investment advisers?

The thing that worries me, we all know someone who is incompetent for their job, maybe we know many people who we would not trust in that profession.  Yet we inherently trust our doctors, airline pilots, funny guys on TV who give financial advice using funny sounds. Frontline on the public TV station has been highlighting cost saving short cuts taken by the Airline industry that are not regulated by the safety administrations.  Today’s episode of 60 Minutes highlights the hidden fees in 401k programs.  These fees are not hidden in the fine print, they are unpublicized fees that we have no way of identifying.

This could be the greatest opportunity for the government.  Modern society has a reasonable distrust of the government, as we should.  But why is out distrust stronger for the government than for commercials, business, safety regulations, etc.?  Do we really expect big companies, wall street, and real estate agents to be looking out for our best interests?  We have eliminated regulation in favor of cost savings on the various products and industries.  Hopefully with a democratic system, and with our bill of rights, we can have an effective government that is checked and regulated by the people.

We need to regain control of the government by voting, writing to the elected officials, and talking to each other about priorities and ways to solve the most important problems.  And we need to empower them to work against the negatives of capitalism.  Wrong doers should be fined an amount equal to the egregiousness of the crime, and publicized to allow consumers to choose other sources of business.

I think the public fight against fraud is key to this effort.  Individuals and companies should be publicly shamed for such wrongdoing, and others should fear repeating similar action.  We need more institutions to investigate and publicize the actions and promotions of companies.  This requires improved education to show people the difference between factual based news versus the  info-tainment of network news programs.

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