Back in 2009, the movie Avatar came out and being a big fan of the genre, I quickly came to love the movie as well. As stunning as the visual graphics were, there was a part of the movie that irked me. When the “bad guys” are trying to explain their actions, they talked about pleasing their shareholders back on Earth and how they just needed to make money and the savages needed to move. The implication was clear: capitalism = greed = immorality. As the dialogue continued, capitalism was implicated in destroying the Mother (Earth). I was left wondering if Hollywood, its’ followers and our culture even knew what capitalism was supposed to be.
To be clear, the system that Hollywood has been implicating and making derisive passes at is not capitalism; it is cronyism. Hollywood struggles with the definition of things, wouldn’t you say? Nevertheless it is cronyism not capitalism that has eroded and destroyed the trust of all involved. Webster defines Cronyism as “the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regards to their qualifications.” These appointments and associations with others for the purpose of staying in and consolidating power is what has grown our wonderful system of capitalism into the twisted shadow it is today. Large corporations and CEO’s use their power and lobby money to further taxes, force minimum wages, licenses and “safety” regulations, not as a way to protect the consumer but rather to consolidate power. If large corporations can keep smaller businesses from even entering in and competing in the marketplace, then they can monopolize their products and price gouge the consumer.
On the flip side, some sectors of the economy (pharmaceuticals for instance) are so heavily regulated for the “safety” of the public, that the cost to produce even a simple drug is passed on to the consumer in an inordinately high price. But we blame the company, not the government or the regulators for their time consuming, ineffective, and costly regulations. We wonder why innovation has been squashed and blame greed while ignoring the common denominator of government involvement.
Cronyism is the corrupt, immoral and money-centric beast that has been touted and promulgated as an example of capitalism even while it stinks of communism.
Capitalism turns greed on its head and instead uses greed and self-interest to everyone’s benefit. In a true capitalist market, you are required to provide value to the consumer who wants to buy your product and service since they are not required to buy it. A true free market has options available to everyone since the barrier to enter the marketplace is not as cumbersome as it is today. Today, a future business owner has to buy a multitude of licenses (which take inordinate amounts of time and money), they have to pay taxes and fees just to open, hire expensive accountants to pay for not only their taxes but the income taxes of employees, hire expensive lawyers or specialists to ensure that they follow the avalanche of regulations (which may or may not be enforced at any time and the company or business owner has to prove their innocence in following the regulations) and at the peak of absurdity, they even have to pay for the unemployed. We wonder why companies and corporations are as large and powerful as they are. But it is important to note, none of these requirements come from the concept of capitalism-they come from force of government, regulators and control.
I will be one of the largest advocates of capitalism and will be until I die. But we no longer have capitalism and I cannot defend the system we have today. All political parties must come together to abolish this monstrosity, clean out the overly bloated bureaucratic mess in Washington and give we the people a chance to thrive. Let’s not allow Hollywood to make a bad guy out of capitalism. Let’s not cancel the most moral system in the world because it has become a false figurehead. We owe it to ourselves and our future generations to assure them the opportunities that only capitalism can provide: the ability to craft one’s own future by their own hands and ideas.