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Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Abandoning capitalism a bad choice’

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Published: Monday, June 10 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

Not unless you're the Communist-in-Chief. Then it's a good idea.

Let's see, the Dear Leader has surrounded himself with obvious "progressives" who's entire agenda agrees completely with what the Communist Part, USA touts, the most influential mentor of his life, Frank Marshal Davis, was a hard core Soviet style communist and he is doing exactly what was recommended by the socialists, Cloward and Piven to create a financial crisis. He believes in a single payer health care system and the redistribution of money taken from those who succeed and given to those who either won't or aren't interested in helping themselves. Doesn't all this sound like a communist?

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duct, acts like a duck and looks like a duck, what do you think it is? A horse?

SEY
Sandy, UT

This is going to be like a debate with the "7 Blind Men and the Elephant." Until you can agree on a single definition of capitalism, comments will be all over the board. What usually passes for capitalism in so many discussions these days is better known as "crony capitalism" where government picks winners and losers. A prime example is that a few big banks get bailed out while the rest are left twisting in the wind. Genuine capitalism works only without government intervention but with government enforcing laws equally, regardless of business size. "Too big to fail" undermines capitalism.

An essential feature of capitalism is that money production is not a monopoly. Under capitalism, money is created by the free market, not by government. Capitalism will not exist as long as government grants a monopoly to one money-creating body and proscribes anyone else from competing.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

I agree with the Senator's general premise that capitalism has the capacity to raise people out of poverty. But let's not overlook the issues in early 21st century American capitalism, either.

In the name of economic prosperity we have created a consumer culture that has racked up $38T in private debt, 250% of our GDP.

We have largely outsourced the manufacturing of goods in favor of a nebulous "services" economy. Now many of those jobs are also being outsourced.

Middle class wages have been stagnant for over 30 years while an increasing percentage of total economic growth has been concentrated at the top 1%.

The economy is increasingly dependent for growth on the financial sector, with its rapacious need for capital and increasingly exotic debt instruments, ultimately resulting in the 2007-2008 bubble-bursting.

The dollar is tied to global petroleum, encouraging higher budget deficits and giving other countries the ability to chip away at the dollar by encouraging oil denomination in other currencies. This is a recipe for catastrophe.

Interest groups dominate politics with money in exchange for economic favoritism.

This is not Adam Smith's vision of capitalism and we cannot ignore it.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

President Eisenhower once gave a speech in which he said that the genius of American capitalism was that an average working man could buy a nice house, a nice car, and put his children through college on his income alone. He also stated that the countries that were ripe for communist takeover were the capitalist countries in which a few people controlled most of the wealth, while working people did not share in the prosperity.

In this same speech he said reason for this was that America's business elite understood that it was in their own long term interest to see that prosperity was shared among all workers. Our current business elite has forgotten that lesson.They now wants it all for themselves, and they see cutting worker pay and benefits as the way to their prosperity.

We can't have a stable society in which half the population is unable to prosper, even though communist takeover is no longer on the horizon.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Who has abandoned capitalism? Have you checked the stock market lately? How about the billionaire's bottom line? The wealthy just keep getting wealthier and the poor keep getting poorer.
It's literally a capitalist's dream come true!

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Beyond the smoke and mirrors of the business people are some truths that we should consider.

Capitalism:

is and has been the mode of business ever since business was invented.

is a process that allows and promotes the notion that one can profit from the labor of another.

is the manner in which nations interfaces and compete with each other.

Is the root cause of all wars. War is the ultimate of economic competition.

Is good, when operated by fair rules that provide it’s benefits to all the people it touches.

It is not necessary to do away with private capitalism to bring back the balance of benefits of earlier times. We only have to change the rules to accommodate the technology of today.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Who's abandoning Capitalism?

What is Capitalism anyway?

Is it the form which was practiced in the 17th century with nearly half of the entire workforce in bondage?

Is it the form which was practiced in the mid 19th century which heavily subsidized the railroads?

Is it the form which was practiced at the beginning of the 20th century which allowed Wall Street and Big Banks rule everything? Which, in the 20s, led to them running our country and economy, into the ground?

Is it the form, in the 30s and early 40s, which relied on heavy regulation of Wall Street and Big Banks and used government spending to save capitalism from eating itself?

Is it the form practiced in the 50s-70s where the CEOs didn't make much more than the common worker?

Is it the form practiced from the 80s to today which relies on deregulation, massive stock market crashes (and bailouts), and heavy subsidies from the government to big AG, Oil, and military defense?

Shouldn't there be more regulation these days? Or have we learned nothing from history? What is keeping the banks and Wall Street from running our economy into the ground again?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The type of economic system does not make the character of the men running it. It is the character of the men running the system that makes it good or bad. An economic system is good or bad depending on how well it satisfies the needs of the society who owns it.

Capitalism, communism, socialism or any other system could be called good if only good men were chosen to run the system. The only thing is, there are few if any good men in this world. Bad men running a capitalistic system is every bit as bad as bad men running a communistic system.

We cannot change the nature and character of men but we can change the rules by which they live. In order to have a good capitalistic system, we have to have proper and good rules.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

Capitalism ceases to be capitalism when you add "crony" to it. More unintentional irony from the honorable Robert Bennett.

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I think socialism is a great idea when everyone is poor. Capitalism is fine when people get out of poverty. Having said that the only socialistic societies that I know of are the Mormon United Order, the Quakers and a lot of native American and Pacific islander cultures. (And for all the political dogmatists reading this: they all had a strong religious element). Cuba, Venezuela, China, the Soviet Union, France, etc are not socialism. Maybe they are crony capitalism, maybe they are feudal, but not socialistic.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

Once again Sen Bennett has set up a strawman argument (nobody has raised or suggested) to knock down. Who exactly has suggested that the USA abandon capitalism?

I'll be looking forward to his next article which I assume will cover why we should not abandon sitting on chairs or celebrating birthdays.

QuickRick
Brigham City, UT

re: Tekakaromatagi
What definition of socialism are you referring to when you equate the "Mormon United Order" with socialism and say that "Cuba, Venezuela, China, the Soviet Union, France, etc are not socialism." according to Merriam Webster, Socialism is defined as:
1
: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2
a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

This is an extremely simplistic editorial from someone who should have a far better understanding of economics. Bennett is engaging in the typical two-dimensional thinking that dominates politics. The underlying assumptions are that communism and capitalism are the only two possibilities and that they are opposites. Both assumptions are false. In fact, communism in its many manifestations and global corporate capitalism, which we practice in most countries today, are more similar than they are different. Both are authoritarian systems in which the wealth accumulates in the hands of a few.

Bennett is also wrong about capitalism improving the lives of the majority. Only up to a certain point. Our system of capitalism has passed a threshold and for 30-odd years has been allowing more and more to slip through the cracks as American capital shifts to Third World countries, leaving American workers out of the profit equation, except as consumers.

If we really wanted to reform capitalism to make it more consistent with Adam Smith's original vision, we would encourage worker ownership of businesses. Fat chance.

QuickRick
Brigham City, UT

Re: Tekakaromatagi, Cont.

In the United Order, neither the government nor the church owned the means of production and distribution of goods. Members who chose to live it donated their property to the church. The church (represented by the Bishop) then met with the person and between the two of them came to an agreement as to what the person needed to support his family. That was deeded to the person to use as he chose. If he worked hard and produced more than he and his family needed, he was encouraged (but not required) to donate the excess back to the church. The church did not own that property or control what he did with it.

Can any one really deny that China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, etc., fit the definition of socialism? In fact, the leaders of those nations proudly proclaim their socialism.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

The short term threats to capitalism come within the system itself.

Periodically, capitalism has had to be "tempered" to avoid the revolutions once predicted and feared. Teddy Roosevelt pushed through the "square deal", the notion that the wealthy are smartest to cultivate a middle class, child labor was outlawed, the 40 hour workweek implemented, etc.

The threats of today are widening economic inequality, more & more of a "winner take all" competition in technology, the corrosive effect on middle class jobs that technology and globalism represent, etc.

Capitalism has been a great engine for achievement, and works best when the rising tide lifts all (or at least most) boats. To the extent our current challenges lead younger generations to question the entire system, we need to roll up our shirt sleeves and address the present problems.

Odds are that some bright minds will concoct modifications that will take the edges off the Darwinism that capitalism can quickly and easily devolve into, and we'll move forward.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Compare N. Korea (communist) with S. Korea (capitalist) or the former E. Germany versus W. Germany. Yep, lets give communism a chance! After all 100 million dead people ordered by Stalin, Mao ste Tung, Pol Pot and other fine communists isn't so bad is it?

eagle
Provo, UT

Well said 10CC...

chilly
Salt Lake City, UT

Poverty has been declining for decades and capitalism is the reason. When people gnash their teeth about "the gap between the rich and poor" , "the 1%" and "fairness", it's simply lib-speak for "I want what that rich guy has, but I don't want to work for it". It's a great thing that there are more rich people than ever. The gap between the incomes of the top and the bottom is meaningless. We are not sharing a pie. We are creating wealth and growing the pie. That's how poverty is defeated!

The problem with "Progressives" is that they hate "the rich" more than they hate poverty.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Good reasonable comments and questions and then comes.."Compare N. Korea (communist) with S. Korea (capitalist) or the former E. Germany versus W. Germany. Yep, lets give communism a chance! After all 100 million dead people ordered by Stalin, Mao ste Tung, Pol Pot and other fine communists isn't so bad is it?"

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To Mountanman: Yes, let us compare East Germany (communist) to West Germany (social democracy). Many posters on this board refer to social democracies as socialist, some uninformed posters even call them communist.

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