Serious question, why are so many people against capitalism? Whenever I hear them complain, it sounds more like they're complaining against assholes or rich people or monopolies, not the actual system. I get that unrestricted capitalism can be bad, but with the right regulations and people, it's a pretty sweet system. I must be the weird one out here.
It’s for a lot of different reasons, but the main one, I think, is because most people that appreciate capitalism understand that it’s an imperfect system, but it’s the best one that we have. With those that are against capitalism, they simply refuse to accept difficult, grey areas.
It’s awful that there are homeless people, or that there are single parents desperately scraping to get by whilst the richest have none of those worries. It isn’t fair that there are people suffering.
But it’s also unfair if someone has a dream to start a business, works long and hard and then has their hard work stripped away from them.
It’s an easy system to hate if your entire idea of it is, “Ordinary person made homeless because of lack of opportunities whilst uncaring billionaires find tax loopholes to hoard as much cash as possible.” And that happens, it does.
But it’s a different story altogether when you see, “Drug addict thrown out of family home after years of violent abuse towards their partner and children given lots of free money from well-to-do woman that clawed her way up to the top after her own harrowing background.”
The first homeless person would be someone that you’d want to support. The second you would automatically recoil from helping. The first rich person isn’t someone you’d care about taking money from, but the second is a success story that you’d want to admire. And those two kinds of situations happen simultaneously, which is what makes it all so difficult.
The type of capitalism that we’re generally striving for is a difficult balancing act. People want to work to earn money so they can enjoy their own achievements and feel as though they’ve earned those achievements. We also tax earnings for things that are good for everyone. The last is for help for those in need. We need to balance not stealing someone’s hard work alongside general maintenance in the country alongside protecting those in real need. And we argue over how much should be left, taken and where whatever is taken should be spent on.
The reason that more of the young are against capitalism is because they haven’t had the time or experience to earn anything massively tangible for them. It’s not an attack, it just is how it is. First paychecks might go on games or other luxuries. Maybe a car that gives freedom and more fun. But a car isn’t forever, and even buying a house isn’t the same as building a home. And building a home – whether that’s a bought or rented home – takes time and money. It brings pride. It brings a sense of, “I earned this.” And with that time and experience, that’s why the same young people that were once so critical of capitalism then either forget about it or end up embracing it later on, because even when times are tough, or people are scraping from week to week or month to month, they were the ones that did that. And others coming along and telling them that they’re selfish, or that they’re bad for living their lives and building something good for themselves, friends and/or family just builds resentment.
Because the youngest just don’t understand. It was different a while ago, but “the young” has grown, thanks to college and/or university stretching out the idea of childhood for so many. In university, there are people that you can contact. There are buffers and protections. In the real world, outside of friends and family, there aren’t many support networks.
When there was a problem with my student loan going through in my second year, I met with university staff and they agreed to let me wait to pay my rent. I lived in my student flat for three months before my loan finally came through and the university was fine with it. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, that doesn’t happen in the real world, but in university, it’s often par for the course and they understand. They put your well-being first.
And so the young enter adulthood still coddled. They might have part-time jobs, but they still have that protection when they need it. And that separation of worlds is a huge deal, I think.
It comes from a good place. They want things to be fair, and they see the rich and the poor and the black-white solution is to take from one to give to the other, Robin Hood-style. But that’s not how the world works. The world isn’t fair. We’ll never have a perfect system. And the people against capitalism just do not understand the nuances. They refuse to accept the nuances. Because if they do, they’d have to accept that most things in the world are grey, and that’s just too much for them to bear.