Is it working? The long-running debate in America is whether socialism or capitalism better, with plenty of finger-pointing in either direction often making free market capitalism something to fear.
Politicians often resort to name calling rather than educating people on the benefits of capitalism. The key, really, is to inform the public, not scare them to death.
Let us persuade you by examining a little bit of history.
For the last few years, it has been a popular notion that millennials support socialism and reject free market capitalism.
Why is this? How can a presumably well-educated sector of the American population have such an incredibly uninformed position when it comes to economics and politics?
We submit that free market capitalism has not been clearly explained to them.
Millennials were raised differently. Their education focused more on group activities than individual work. It also focused on an “everyone gets a trophy” mentality, which is simply neither sustainable nor realistic in the real world. We are not all made the same, and it is absurd and more than a little naive to believe we are.
The community-based idea has made them think more about how can I do good?
The fact is, no homeless person ever built a wing for a hospital. No commune ever advanced cancer research, and when there are only all workers and no leadership or direction, chaos is sure to ensue. Just look at any socialist or fallen economy.
Because of platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter, millennial buyers think beyond the price of a product or service to arrive at “but can this purchase do good?” This is noble, AND it is central to free market capitalism as well.
Because social media thought leaders are more accessible to everyone. What is often getting missed, is that even those thought leaders that declare they are socialist, when examining what they actually do and say, their action scream of capitalism, but they sell themselves as socialists. In this case, is it a lack of education, or intentional deception?
Workplaces are designed to be more collaborative, and less manager-worker bee oriented, yet there MUST be leadership and management to identify goals and steer the group toward them.
College graduates are just as likely to join or start a nonprofit community benefit organization, as they are a private-sector business. That is, at least, until it becomes obvious that the costs for their lifestyle will not be met by an overly bohemian employment posture.
With this information, one can see how millennials might think, and how that might be transferred to their political views about free market capitalism and socialism.
So what about socialism?
All socialism really is, is a government-mandated “niceness”.
Now let us be fair; it’s not just the millennial generation who believe everyone’s tax dollars should be used for broad-based government programs and services.
Think for a second – many people have a little piece of socialism they like, not because it’s good but because it benefits them. Is this dancing a little too close with hypocrisy?
So, in lieu of employing scare tactics, how do we effectively educate Americans about the clear and obvious benefits of free-market capitalism?
Perhaps we explain basic economics and demonstrate what happens when individuals lose personal choice and freedom.
It would also help to show examples from around the world. What happens when there is more government control over the economy, which leads eventually to the decline in gross domestics products?
One need only look to Venezuela. Believing in free-market capitalism means you believe in not just making the rich richer but making the poor richer as well.
It also means that you believe, when we have more choices and freedoms for each one of us, it allows us to live our lives according to our own beliefs the pursuit of happiness, as it were.
If more socialism was really the way to go, then think of how limiting that would be, yes we would likely have fewer choices, but competition would also be reduced.
That means socialism brings escalating prices, limited availability, fewer choices, and so on.
Sure it would seem to be more efficient if there was only one Taxi again and not Uber or Lyft. How about one cell phone model and provider for everyone, or one grocery store, one national media outlet?
In capitalism, it is competition for your dollar that drives both product innovation and downward pressure on prices.
As consumers, we vote for products and services with where we place our dollar. It is good for everyone when there is a maximum level of choices and a voluntary system for buying and selling. There is even the room in there to provide common good and basic human respect for all.
Let free market capitalism be won by politicians…
Competing for our votes with facts that persuade us to see what benefits America the most.
Sonia Rina Landry is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, author, and personal development coach. She is an outspoken advocate of the free market economy and has helped countless clients identify their core values, envision and realize goals that resonate with those values. She oversees several businesses online and offline.