What Is Wrong With Capitalism? A Response To Mr. Chris Perry's "Class Struggle, Ever Present"

Mr. Chris Perry’s article, “Class Struggle Ever-Present” in your opinion section, has all the elements of a socialist agenda. He doesn’t even know how great it is to live in a capitalist country where people are free to make money. Where people are free to succeed, and equally free to fail.

I don’t think Mr. Perry is using the word "capitalist" however, to define a person who uses capital (money) to make money. I think he means rich people. People who have so much money they just don’t know what to do with it but spend it. They are the people who own things, like banks, and steel mills, and sugar plantations, and factory farms, and publishing companies. They also own thousands of acers of land in various parts of the world and enjoy a lifestyle I want. But, in a socialist agenda utopia, nobody owns anything. Nobody can own anything because in a socialist utopia the government owns it all and decides who should be allowed to use it. I hope Mr. Perry understands that he too owns things. He owns the furniture, the knick knacks, the nice stereo, the laptop computer he typed his article on, and maybe he owns a car. A car, Mr. Perry? Don’t you care about the environment?

Unlike Mr. Perry, I like capitalism and I like capitalists. I like living in a country, under a free market system where capitalists spend money to make money. They spend money and by spending money they create jobs. Jobs I had, and have, and the jobs I want in the future. They make things I like to own and they do things that create even more jobs. They are the people who pay for the most ridiculous things to allow those people who provide those things a chance to live off the profit they make when that capitalist spent his/her money on that thing.

Ask the people who build private jets if they like the money the capitalist will spend on that private jet. Ask the pilot if he likes the money he gets for flying that private jet, ask the servers and the bag handlers too. Then ask a capitalist, say, Oprah Winfrey if she likes her private jet. As she said, “Those people who say they do not like their private jet are lying."  So thanks Oprah for being a capitalist and buying a private jet.

I also like capitalists because they do things for the community that no other person will do. They help build pools, and parks, and museums, libraries, and theaters. They fund scholarships for young people who want to grow up to be  capitalists too. They also fund the buildings and the universities. Thanks Mr. Gates. Thank Mr. Wade for the beautiful Cleveland Museum of Art and Wade Park. I thank Mr. Wade for being the capitalist he was and giving to me a museum I can walk into for free and see one of Edgar Degas' great paintings.

It’s true that capitalist own things. A capitalist owns that chain of coffee shops across the country. How evil he must seem to the anti-capitalist. Those who want everybody to own everything and therefore only the government elite to own everything.

But wait, the lady who owns and operates the little coffee shop across the street from the franchise of the chain of coffee shops, she too, is a capitalist. Regardless of what her intentions were when she opened the shop, her real motive is to make money, why? Because she is a capitalist. She wants to make as much money as she can so that maybe, she can open another coffee shop, or maybe to buy nice furniture, a nice home, a nice vacation, and maybe, someday, that private jet. Does Mr. Perry think she is giving away 90% of her profit to end the class war? She is definitely giving a good percent of her income to taxes to support the endless bureaucracy that hinders her ability to make a profit.

Yes, she too is a capitalist even if she doesn’t want to be. And as capitalist she will do far more fore the neighborhood than any government bureaucrat will ever do. She will employ eight to ten people who pay taxes and spend money in the neighborhood; she provides space for her customers to talk amongst themselves, write letters to friends, or write their novels. She will serve nice meals, and offer a cup of coffee to people who love drinking coffee, never mind it costs far less money to make that cup of coffee at home. And the guy who owns the chain of coffee shops across the street is doing the same thing.

Class struggle is just another word for competition. There is nothing wrong with struggle, the working class, or competition. We all need to work and Capitalists (rich people) seem to work harder than any of the classes that struggle. After they leave their offices at 7pm they go home and do more work, while I, the crass working class slob, go home to watch TV or lounge around my apartment watching the sun set. It is too easy to just give things to people without making them work for it; cash for clunkers, homes without rent, a job for life without any standard and without any fear of losing that job. Hence, the bloated city, county, state, and federal payrolls with cushy working class tax payer funded pensions. I’ve worked in a government agency, there were six people making six figures doing exactly the same job. And yet, it takes six weeks to get a passport, go figure.

Mr. Perry is right in one respect. The rich do have the politician’s ear far better than I do. I could never get a mayor to blight some poor man's home so he could buy it on the cheap so his rich friends could buy his expensive condominiums with a metro-park view. It seems that every politician who has enough money to pay higher taxes will listen to the billionaire demanding higher taxes on earned income knowing all along his investment income is taxed at a different rate. He wants the working class doctor, lawyer, construction worker, and plumber to pay more taxes to buy more bloated bureaucracy. At the same time everybody is paying higher prices for food and gasoline.

Those who hate capitalism should go to the grocery store more often. The cookie aisle is the best place to start. In the cookie aisle I see twenty feet rows of packaged cookies six tiers high. I see the chocolate cookies, the vanilla cookies, I see t he crunchy cookies, and the chewy cookies. I see a cookie made by five different companies that looks exactly the same. And if I don’t want any of those cookies, I may go to the bakery to buy fresh cookies. Yet I may want a hot cookie, so I go to the refrigerated section of the grocery store to find the cookie dough already prepared, ready to go into the oven.

But wait and wait again, I may race over to the baking aisle to buy a box or pouch of cookies to be made with my own hands and if I am in a particularly adventurous mood, I may just buy flour, vanilla, chocolate chips, sugar, and all the fixings to make my own cookie. And let's face it, how many doctors and fitness gurus will tell me I don’t need any cookies?

I can’t afford the good chocolate sandwich cookie, I can’t afford the Mrs. Somebody’s cookie or the Famous guy's cookie but the capitalist said to himself, ‘I have a cheap cookie to sell to somebody; who will buy them?' I raise my hand and say, ‘I’ll buy them because you were smart enough to know I‘m too poor to buy the other fancy cookies.' And this is why I like Capitalism and that is why I like the Capitalist.

A. John Green

I'm an ordinary citizen who enjoys reading the Observer, especially the opinion page. I enjoy getting to know my new home of almost a year. I have lived and worked here for about that time. You may see me riding my bike or walking to the coffee shops to use the internet and enjoy coffee.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 8:19 AM, 06.15.2011