By Kiara Torres
In America, we pay for basic human necessities like shelter, water, hygienic products, and so on. Basic human resources like food and water are sold for profit, but if you live below the poverty line, paying for countless items makes living difficult.
According to a study by the Fifth Third Bank, 47 percent of respondents live paycheck to paycheck and would be in a financial crisis in the circumstance of an unexpected bill or payment.
This is a result of America’s use of a mixed economy model with an emphasis on capitalism. Capitalism allows for private or corporate ownership of capital goods to thrive. Naturally, capitalism favors wealthy business owners. Therefore, it needs to be recognized by Americans that it is not the sole solution as an economic system.
For example, communism is a term coined by Karl Marx who states property should be publicly owned and that each person should work and be paid according to their abilities and needs. On the other hand, under capitalism, a country’s trade and industry are owned privately for the purpose of gaining profit.
As America follows a capitalist economy, we have been conditioned to favor capitalism, ultimately leading to our skewed opinions about communism. Communism has been a forbidden word in America since the Cold War, prompting American efforts over the years to keep the world from establishing communist governments. From the Congo to Guatemala, America has installed military dictators in order to counter communist efforts.
An idea similar to that is socialism, a term that can be defined as being left-leaning with both communist and capitalist ideals. These far-left ideals among millennials have been increasingly popular. 29 percent people under 30 voted for Bernie Sanders, a socialist, in the primary presidential election according to the Washington Post. There has been an increased national advocacy for worker’s rights, racial and gender equality, environmental issues, and countless other reasons according to The Federalist.
Idealistically, communism allows its citizens access to healthcare and free education. Healthcare in America has been a problem for years with Obamacare being the closest model to a solution. Citizens pay with employer-sponsored family health care insurance premiums that cost $17,545 annually. Similarly, to get a college education, students must take out loans to do so. In fact, the total outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. is $1.2 trillion.
In order to achieve economic wealth under capitalism, exploitation of workers is often the result. Many believe that with communism there is no innovation, motivation, or technological advancements because there would be no economic interest to do so. Under communism, there is still freedom to create and produce inventions because of government funding of technology, science, and engineering. For example, many of the first space expeditions and the pioneering of space flight were accomplished by the Soviet Russians.
In contrast to communism, capitalism allows citizens to have more control in the marketplace with fair competition. Citizens are allowed to own private businesses and have freedom to do business with whom they please without government interference. More importantly, the supply and demand of resources are produced more efficiently since buyers and sellers are able to directly communicate with what is needed.
While there are downside to both systems, we must realize that capitalism is not the ultimate economic structure. The well being of the environment, protection of human rights, racial and gender equality, and right to education hold more value than monetary gain, which, capitalism ultimately favors.