COMMENTARY: Pure capitalism is as dangerous as pure socialism


In response to “Socialism’s failures demonstrate capitalism’s superiority”:

While one might begin with the assumption that a Rutgers student is well-educated and of decent character, Matthew Boyer has forced me to reconsider that very premise. His blatantly false remarks show either irreconcilable ignorance on his part or a willingness to lie for the sake of furthering his cause.

As any respectable person is aware, a purely capitalistic system is as dangerous as a purely socialist one. Even Ronald Reagan, the eternal figurehead of the Republican Party, understood the need to retain social programs, in a primarily capitalistic system, to benefit those who were disadvantaged.

Has capitalism advanced certain industries? Sure.

Should we disavow all forms of capitalism? Of course not.

Has capitalism destroyed at least as much as it has created? Certainly.

In this highly technological world, advanced by the growth of mobile devices, apps and other nonessential goods, we as a society have lost all sense of our humanity. We can no longer be bothered to detach from our phones to say "hello," or even to see where we are walking. We have become robotic, as though it's what we were programmed to do. As Eric Hoffer, a philosopher of ethics and social interaction, once said, “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”

We have lost our curiosity — the attribute that drove us in a progressive direction — the same direction that gave us the iPhone and Uber. With the answers to nearly every question at the tips of our fingers, we have effectively resigned ourselves to a fate of insipidity.

In our society, the current state of our capitalism has created a void, which sucks in the working and middle classes, aimed at repressing those who are unable to fend for themselves. It is for this reason that we, not as individuals but as a whole society, must insist on the maintenance of the crucial programs which provide assistance to establish a base level for the standard of living. It is true that capitalism, in theory, would provide equal opportunity and a level playing field. The reality, however, is very different.

The only situation under which capitalism would create a perfect equilibrium would be if every individual began with the same amount of money, same environment and same personality. Unfortunately, capitalists are often too proud to admit or recognize the flaws in their rationale. An example can be seen within the article by Boyer, in which he claims that taxation under a Bernie Sanders presidency would equate to thievery because “when millennials have to foot the bill for free college, free healthcare or free transportation that 2016 ballot cast for Sanders will become a regret.”

Consider his argument, not as a whole to begin, but in parts. It is true that Bernie Sanders intends to seek passage and allocation of funds for additional social programs. These programs will require additional funding, indicating higher taxes. However, it is also true that these programs would aid Americans in their later lives and those just starting out before they find employment. The tax rates Sanders has proposed are not without precedent either. The United States has seen income taxes in excess of 90 percent. The reality, a reasonable person must recognize, is the avoidance of these programs is indicative of a lack of compassion.

We must not allow ourselves to become blind to the suffering which has gone unchecked in this society. In almost every election, the Republican party has run on a platform which includes the phasing or privatization of social programs, namely Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on false grounds. Millions of Americans receive benefits under these programs, whether as supplements to their incomes or as additional aid allowing for the disadvantaged to attain a decent life. How good are we as a people if we refuse to address this issue and allow for the unfortunate to be treated as lower than trash?

So I beg Boyer to tell us who socialism has "killed." If he is opposed to socialism, then let him be denied use of the roads and highways, deny him Social Security and unemployment insurance, revoke his privileges to use any and all libraries, parks and post offices, deny him entrance to beaches and refuse to send police to aid him. If such a world is the one in which he cares to live, may he live in North Korea and realize the privilege he has currently living in a nation with a safety net to catch him.

Alex Chang is a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

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