What are the advantages & disadvantages of living in a capitalist society?
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There are at least two major advantages of living in a capitalist society.
- As a consumer, you can get the best quality goods and services at the best prices. The freedom and competition that exist in a capitalist economy forces producers to make their goods and services as good as possible and as cheap as possible so as to attract customers.
- As a consumer or a producer, you have the greatest possible freedom to do what you want. You have the right to buy what you want and to produce (within reason) what you want.
The major drawback to living in a capitalist society is the inequality. It is very possible for some people to become poor in a capitalist society while others become very rich. This can be very hard on the people who are left behind. It also makes for the possibility of political instability and conflict.
There are definitely many advantages, and I must admit I enjoy the freedom and opportunities that I receive from living in a capitalist society. However, at the same time, I think it is important to point towards the cracks that exist in the seemingly-smooth sidewalks of capitalist society. The inequality and injustice is something that is a major disadvantage, as a capitalist society does seem to cater more towards the "haves" than the "have nots," giving the "haves" more opportunity to have even more at the expense of the "have nots."
Capitalism rewards the hard-working, industrious, and innovative individual. If you have an idea, concept or product with hard work and perseverance you can succeed. Pure unfettered capitalism is not necessarily a good thing for a country – however, minimal regulation can sufficiently protect the consumer without damaging the marketplace. I still believe that if you work hard enough and want something enough you can find ways to be successful. I understand that some people get rich and some people get poor just as some people can be great and some will only be common. I find that it is all too common for people to look for a hand-out instead of figuring out how to make it happen.
An advantage to living in a capitalistic society is that there is a general higher standard of living (although there are many who do not share in the standard). A disadvantage is that needs, such as high quality health care and education, which many less rigidly capitalistic societies now consider universal rights, are withheld from people who are on the bottom of the capitalistic ladder and who therefore suffer from problems and disadvantages that might otherwise be easily alleviated.
It's hard to deny the opportunities that are available in a capitalist society. It is a system that rewards hard work, ingenuity and talent, and follows the laws of competition. The competition is not always on a level playing field in the United States, especially in the past three decades, but the realities of potential and success still hold true in many cases. The biggest disadvantage, to me, is that capitalism also rewards corruption and influence peddling, where the wealthy can dictate policy with donations.
The beauty of capitalism is that there are no limits. You get out as much as you want to put in, in terms of investments, work, effort, money, whatever. It also gives you the chance to go as far as you want. You can literally say that the sky is the limit- and who does not want to get there at some point? Therefore capitalism allows you to hit and miss, or hit and get as many times as you want.
The part that some people criticize is that the rich may end up getting richer and the poor may end up getting poorer. Well, I am going to make a very ugly statement and say "IT IS WHAT IT IS". Society is another process of natural selection, and only the strong make it to the surface.
When I lost nearly $150kin investments back in the early 2000s I remember thinking the many ways I was going to fix the problem. I knew that it was not going to be quick, but that there would be ways for me to get some of it back: That is the opportunity capitalism provides. There is always a way, even if it is by working at the local bar dancing exotically (no, I didn't do that).
Therefore, there are pros and cons to everything. Just weigh in your loses rather than your gains, and you will see that capitalism, like it or not, does work for our way of life in America.
Winston Churchill once famously noted that many "forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." (This accurate quotation doesn't have nearly the rhetorical force of the famously shortened version: "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest.")
It's tempting to say the same thing about capitalism. For all its undeniable flaws, no other system of economics has brought more freedom and prosperity to more people. Communism certainly hasn't. Countries that have adopted a more socialistic system have their own problems. It remains to be seen which system(s) will be most successful in the truly long run.
In exchange for a pair of £5 jeans in Primark.
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