The following are from three separate posts which I entered on local journalists’ blogs from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on December 23, 2011, and December 8, 2011. I decided to share my thoughts regarding some failings of capitalism and the need for government to modulate capitalism wth readers of “Mary Elizabeth Sings.” I have hope that the future will bring a raised consciousness of egalitarianism, and as a result, capitalism, itself, will become more humanitarian in its reach and destiny.
My post on a local journalist’s blog, December 23, 2011 (slightly edited):
“Man,” he (Jefferson) said, “was destined for society.” His morality, therefore, was to be formed to this object. . .All human beings had “implanted in our breasts” this “love of others,” this “moral instinct”; these “social dispositions” were what made democracy possible. . .The importance of this domesticated modern virtue to Jefferson’s and other Americans’ thinking can scarely be exaggerated. Unlike Classical virtue, it was not nostalgic or backward-looking but progressive and indeed radical. It laid the basis for all reform movements of the nineteenth century as well as for all subsequent modern liberal thinking. We still yearn for a world in which we all will love one another.”
My post on another local journalist’s blog, December 8, 2011:
“I do not see the financial ‘framework’ in America as being proportionately balanced. Earlier, I had used the term financial ‘game,’ but I think that ‘framework’ is a better word for what I am trying to describe. I am questioning the entire financial layout and philosophy in our nation, and not simply questioning the fairness of who pays more in taxes or who has more in wages.
Everyone cannot be ‘chiefs'; some must be ‘Indians’ according to their various talents (and to make any company flourish). I do not think ordinary workers, throughout the world, are given the value and respect that they deserve, and that is reflected in their relatively low wages, compared with what CEOs earn. Management should earn more than workers, but is the present system proportionately equitable? I have an egalitarian view of humanity. From this perspective, the lack of respect and honor given to common workers is a failing in capitalism, and that failing is reflected in the relatively low wages of workers. Although I support capitalism as an economic engine, I believe we must work against a self-serving and ‘survival of the fittest’ element in capitalism for all to flourish, as well as for the economy to flourish. I want to see businesses and corporations not only valued as vehicles to make profits, but also as a means to serve others, i.e. customers and employees. Wanamaker Stores of Philadelphia had this philosophy regarding its business practices.
American wages cannot be compared equally with the wages in other nations because the cost of living in different countries is also a variable that must be part of the analysis. I know of people trying to make a living as ordinary workers at WalMart, and other large corporations, who simply do not earn enough to be able to both support their families and, also, save for their financial futures in old age. I do not think WalMart has a union of any substantive strength. This is not a condemnation of WalMart per se but of a worldview in many corporations in which average workers are seen mainly as commodities to secure profit margins, and are not seen as equal human beings to those in management – simply because all are human beings.
“Some say that entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, paid by the government, have no place in a capitalistic nation. There are different forms of capitalism. From 1945 until 1980, America’s capitalistic system contained a social responsibility, but for the past thirty years, America has rejected that form of capitalism for one that is more Libertarian in nature. Social Security and Medicare are positive programs in the lives of many. I do not see having these programs as a matter of ‘needing the government’ as much as a ‘smart use of the government’ whereby, together, citizens decide to pool their common resources for the betterment of each, individually. Moreover, I believe that by realizing that we are ‘sharing’ and ‘pooling’ for our common good, we develop a more humble and humane attitude toward one another. The other way, of perceived ‘rugged individualism,’ tends to create an environment which is less humane because we tend to judge one another, i.e., ‘Did you take or get more than I did?’ If we as a nation become more humane, we will also react to the world in a more humane manner. So, how we perceive our use of our government is so much greater than simply ‘receiving entitlements.’ Insuring a social safety net is a means of creating a kinder nation, as well as a more secure people, because the entitlements into old age do alleviate fears, and they are shared. I want my grandchildren, one day, to be eligible to receive these entitlements, also, after having contributed to them, as I have. I, also, want my grandchildren to have drive and independence. These are not mutually exclusive.
I have an egalitarian worldview of humankind, and that is the perspective from which I write. I believe as Thomas Jefferson wrote: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . that all men are created equal. . .’ ”