Social Capitalism

Dealership Demise © Jim Korpi

Traveling around post-industrial America for my current project has given me a unique perspective of the current financial debacle. First hand accounts by people like Brad Duling, who just lost his Chrysler dealership status after over 60 years in business, are proof to the headlines.
There’s one word floating around conversations and minds peaking my curiosity every time I hear it, socialism. “Our country is turning socialist,” people are claiming as if the word were painted with the Cold War tint of dark red and followed by something like, “Those commies in the White House…”
According to the Merriam/Webster definition socialism is “1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”
By definition it seems true, in part, that this is happening, that, as Marx would claim, we are somewhere in between capitalism and communism.
My curiosity is peaked when I start to think about what our current economy has produced. You see, in a market economy like ours the market (you, me, and the rest of the world) determines the products (Chryslers, Fords…) being produced. If I want a big car, I create a demand and the car manufacturers answer the demand by building such a car. Like someone once said about governments, people get what they deserve.
Now the car manufacturers are troubled. People are no longer demanding, or manufacturers are failing to meet modern demands. Some would say they have failed the market. True capitalists would say, “Let them fail.”
Because our society, economy is intensely car-based this poses a dilemma; let the car companies fail and the economy could flop.
If the car companies have “failed,” can’t it also be said for a market based economy, such as ours, that we too have failed as consumers. We have for the past several decades demanded very little in the way of efficiency and innovation aside for 0-60 MPH in record time.
It seems as though the pioneer spirt of America is being confronted by the civilized world’s never-ending discussion on how best to live side-by-side one another in a free and fair fashion.
I hear they’re giving away land in the North Pole.

Posted July 8th, 2009 in Uncategorized.

One comment:

  1. lau:

    Jimmy, so many definitions, and even more ways of putting socialism in practice. Longman: any of various beliefs or systems (sometimes considered to included communism) aiming at public ownership of the means of production and the establishment of a society in which every person is equal.

    A socialist: …favoring any of various esp W European parties who support more equality of wealth…

    There is two sides to socialism: one humanitarian, one more economical. Kind of interesting my dictionary is referring to the western european countries and not to the former soviet influenced world or former Yugoslavia that was a true socialist country according to the above mentioned definition (shared ownership, not state ownership), Western EU is most often said to be as capitalist as the USA, but just use a different model. Sometimes called the Rhineland-model. Main differences with the USA are not in the business-field, but in our belief that certain goods should not be privately owned like 'public transportation', schools and universities, hospitals, water and energy supply cause it is of vital importance that everybody should have cheap and equal access to those goods. On top of this the consuming of some so-called merit goods should be advocated by subsidizing them, like museums, theatre. The consommation of other should preferably diminished so high taxes on gaz and cigarettes.

    But nobody can say that companies like Shell and Philips and ING and Benetton and Ikea are not capitalist.

    Too often we blame the bankers and the big companies of the current problems. Unfortunately many people lack self reflection when it comes to this crisis. It had to go wrong if we keep on buying stuff that we cant afford, have too high mortgages, pay our newest jeans with credit card number 8. McDonald's became this big, cause WE all go there, nobody forces us to do so. So yes, we get what we deserve. We consumers have the ability to choose, lets not waste this talent that humans have.

    Am a true supporter of capitalism in the economic sense, and just for goods for which we have a chance to choose so not water, not education. We all need them, so lets produce them together, maybe even food like many small local rural societies in the 'less' developed world still do . For clothes, cars, TV's that we dont really need, capitalism works. Just some kind of control is needed to make sure monopolists companies are not preventing us to choose. And some companies have just become too big, so they are rusted and not flexible enough anymore to come up with new innovations, and get a too big influence on society and politics.

    Ooh, wish it would stop with giving away land in the north pole. Countries like Denmark. Norway, Canada, Russia, USA all started claiming parts of this enormous piece of ice and water.

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