About Capitalism, and the statistic should worry us more than any other.

It’s kind of funny, as lately I’ve been trying to figure out a path for growth for my various business dabblings, when I caught this on twitter this morning, and re-tweeted it. It should serve as a clarion call for anyone who believes in the basic concept of America as a country where you can achieve nearly any goal if you work hard enough and set your mind to it.

(Please don’t include the goal of a grown man wanting to be a 6 year old girl. That’s Canada.)

Wow. If that statistic does not scare you, it should.  And we should start to seriously question what young adults are being taught. Because if they’re not embracing the culture which drove our country to become the most powerful nation our world has ever seen, then we’re in a lot of trouble.  It introduces the specter of  – hopefully not within my lifetime – there will be a point down the line where the US is reduced to basically becoming yet another European-like welfare state.

When did we stop teaching that capitalism is a force for national prosperity and the common good?  It’s as if there’s a movement towards abandoning common sense and moving towards arbitrary and unsustainable economics, such as “everyone should be paid $15 an hour.”

When you see a majority of young adults literally abandoning capitalism, you have to wonder how they came to such a horrendous world view; that somehow the general welfare promised in the preamble of the Constitution is not general welfare, but a common welfare, where we as a society are responsible for everyone, regardless of the personal cost, and the individual’s input.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know many of us were taught at an early age that if we wanted something, that we should work for it. Whether that meant extra chores, or going to get a part time job, depended on our age.  In early years for me, that meant slogging through my downtown paper route for the Capital Journal, come rain, shine, or slush. And not that long thereafter it meant working for the local auction company on Thursday nights moving furniture, or holding up items.  I got paid based on how long and how hard I worked.

But beyond my own youthful ambitions of earning spending money, I learned at the knee of my mother’s own entrepreneurial drive to participate in capitalism.  She started several businesses; including an antique shop & furniture restoration business for which I was often drafted for manual labor, and later an auction company which also pressed me into service.

For her, it was a way to provide extra income into our family of eight; to supplement her income as a school nurse and my father’s as a special agent for the FBI.  She worked hard, and exceptionally long hours once she was home from school for the day. It wasn’t unusual for her to finally finish working around 10 PM or later, after which she’d finally take some “me” time for herself, and watch tv for an hour or so before going to bed.

The point is she openly embraced, and taught her children that nobody is going to hand you anything. If you want to earn a higher income, you’re going to have to put effort into it. You can make a good income off of an idea if you want, but if you start a business, you must take “ownership” of it’s success or failure. You’re going to have to work at it, and put long hours into it. In other words, If you want to make more, you start by putting in more to get more out.

Two weeks before she died from cancer, she was giving her all at her auction business with back to back Saturday/Sunday sales, because she believed in our system of capitalism. She was doing it because she loved her business, and she wanted it to produce a profit.

To read that a majority of young people reject capitalism just flies in the face of that. I know it’s not personal, but it is just offensive as a concept.  It means that these young people rejecting capitalism have some odd pollyanish view of the world in that they should have an income, but it’s up to someone else to figure all the details out.

If it means they should have a job, it’s someone else’s responsibility to create it, and in some cities, they have to create it, and pay them at least $15 an hour, whether that’s shuffling papers, pouring coffee, or shoveling manure, regardless of the true value of the work to the employer.  Or worse, if they can’t find one, or are unwilling to find one, then it’s up to society to furnish them with food & shelter on an indefinite basis.

It’s been used so often it’s seems to be patronizing, but Margaret Thatcher was quite accurate when she noted that “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Our system of capitalism might not be perfect, but it is far more of a sustainable model for growth than relying on taking from others because there comes a point where you can’t confiscate enough from the public to sustain a workable system.

The fact that an avowed socialist such as Bernie Sanders has proceeded as far as he has in this years’ presidential elections should give us all pause, and make us reassess what we teach our children in terms of life, our system of economics, and who is ultimately responsible for their status in this world.

We need them to understand that it’s up to each of us as individuals to take responsibility for ourselves, and for our success. Not someone else. And definitely not government.

And maybe we can start to change course on what seems to be a sure path to the decline of our nation.

“Capitalism has worked very well. Anyone who wants to move to North Korea is welcome.”
– Bill Gates

37 Replies to “About Capitalism, and the statistic should worry us more than any other.”

  1. PorterLansing

    This isn’t your mother’s capitalism, Powers.
    Employees are “disposable” and evaluated like baseball stars — meaning how easily their contributions could be replaced by another player. Treating workers as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded is a central part of the revised relationship between employers and employees that proclaims an innovation as important as chips and software.
    This methodology harkens back to the days of “Neutron Jack Welch,” who is credited with routinely firing the “bottom 10 percent” of the GE’s workforce. Welch reasoned that fear was the best way of keeping GE’s minions on their toes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennial workers are expected to have 15 jobs in their lifetime and the average length of time they spend in a job is just three years. That compares to an average tenure of 10.4 years for workers aged 55 to 64.
    The point is, Powers that you and your conservative ilk have such an aversion to change that you’ve been left behind economically crying in your beer, wondering what motivates millenials and wishing things would just stay the same. Liberals own the future because we love to change. It’s in our DNA and it facilitates our growth and your demise.

    1. Anonymous

      Comrade Lansing, Consumers make the decision every day what they want to pay for items. They would like to buy items made in the USA but because of price matters more than country of origin they overwhelmingly choose price.

      More small cars are either being manufactured in Mexico or Asia. Why? Because the margins are so thin. The margins are much higher on SUVs and pickups and the majority of those are still made in the US & Canada where labor costs are higher.

      Thailand, Vietnam and China are increasingly manufacturing parts to supply final assembly of vehicles in North America.

      General Motors will introduce a mid sized Buick crossover vehicle manufactured in China but will be sold in China where the Buick brand was saved and highly popular and it will be sold here in the US. (They sell more Buicks by far in China than they do in the US)

      It is a global market whether you like it or not Comrade Lansing.

    2. Anonymous

      Wow, how profound, Portair! Your ilk wants your hand held all through your lives as you are afraid that someone might violate your “safe space” and actually expect you to earn your keep. Do you provide any benefit to mankind except the production of CO2?

      Like any moronic liberal, you think any change is good; a little secret: some change stinks (look at the idiot in the White House). People like you are anathema to freedom and self-government.

  2. Anonymous

    People who try to dehumanize other people by calling them “ilk” are generally unpersuasive.

  3. PorterLansing

    If I was writing for old people like you I might consider your critique valid but your aversion to change leaves you mostly “lost in life”. I write here for the young Republicans who still have time to jump from your conservative “sinking ship” and make a successful life with socialistic moderation.

      1. PorterLansing

        I don’t smoke a pipe or pot, friend. How’re you doing with your pain pill addiction, Princess?

    1. Anonymous

      It sounds like you’d be content if the government took everything you earn and then dole it out as they see fit-you hate freedom and you don’t believe people should have any responsibility for themselves, and that is not what this country is about. If you can’t run your life, Portair, don’t ask the government to run yours and MINE!

  4. William Beal

    In addition to an emphasis on “social justice” in education, I can think of 3 other barriers to youth employement, where many of us “old folks” learned the value of work and the habits to become employable.

    Higher barriers to create small businesses
    Higher costs to employ workers
    Wage competition for entry level jobs by high levels of immigration

    1. Anonymous

      What about American companies that lay off American workers because they can move the jobs to countries like India. There, American companies can pay lower wages with no benefits which increases income. At the expense of the American workers. Young people know this is going on. And feel helpless.

        1. Anonymous

          Moving jobs to countries like India or the Philippines has nothing to do with unions. It’s the big banks that are off shoring jobs and no one seems to care. From your comment, I would conclude you’re okay with it.

      1. Anonymous

        Tell your stupid socialist government to stop taxing the crap out of employers and quit regulating them into oblivion. Oh, you didn’t know the gubmint did that? Try getting info beyond MSLSD.

    2. Anonymous

      Value of work? That term is lost on Portair. These moronic children want employers to conform to their desires; these children don’t expect to have to earn their way to success-they are just entitled.

      If this country had turned to Portair’s way of thinking 20 years ago, we’d already be under a fascist leader.

  5. Anonymous

    Right in this state Porter we dont want to pay wages .We want it all for ourselves why give these people 8.50 an hour lets repeal that minimum wage and get it back to 7bucks.No one should have the money except the owners.

    1. PorterLansing

      That’s right and a prime example of why USA needs a strong federal government. When rogue states pass laws that discriminate and get away with it only because those states have a white fundamentalist extremist majority, “we the people” can make those states stop discriminating … and for example, women’s rights are restored to women.

      1. JimV

        My mother always told me to be nice to and thankful for those people like Mr. Lansing. For if it were not for the likes of Mr. Lansing the rest of us would not look so normal.

      2. Anonymous

        This is the United States of America; the States are supposed to have the power to make laws for the residents of that State, comrade. Why don’t you move to Russia or France? They know how to squash dissent, right?

        What women’s “rights” are you referring to, Portair? The right to kill unborn babies?

  6. Anonymous

    That is well-written Pat. Milton Friedman wrote extensively about “the socialists in both parties” in his “Capitalism and Freedom”. Today, the people with the same respective ideologies call themselves progressives, but they still dominate both parties and look to government to solve problems. One only has to look at the frontrunners in the two parties’ primaries to see that. They are proof that a vast majority of Americans are completely ignorant about the original capitalist and republican basis of this country. They are exactly what the progressives who dominate education want: sheep who will follow governmental leaders who promise them happiness granted by the government rather than the opportunity to pursue and earn happiness through hard work and the economic success that results from it.

  7. Millenial

    You conservatives have done such a good job showing me that government should make my personal decisions for me (abortion, marijuana, etc), that I now believe it should make my financial ones too, thank you for showing me the light Jesus!

    1. Anonymous

      Why don’t you take your MacBook, skinny jeans, overpriced coffee, and attempt at a beard back to the welfare line?

    2. Anonymous

      Businesses in Colorado trying to stay competitive locally or in the global market are having a heck of a time finding employees who do not come into work stoned or can pass a drug test. Yet they feel entitled boasting personal rights. Here in South Dakota they can all go over and complain about not having the right to get stoned or high over at the “Stoner Blog” run by “The Extremist At Your Front Door.”

      Burn one for Bernie in La-la Land!

      1. Twins Fan

        I always get a kick out of these socialists like this Porter character and Bernie fans since they have no clue how things work in the world.

        I’ll second that about Colorado. A South Dakota native and old high school classmate of mine is looking to move his business from Colorado to SD around the Sioux Falls metro area. Trying to stay competitive his business costs will be less and what finally pushed him to move was when they legalized pot in Colorado. It’s been hard for him to find employees that are not under the influence and that can pass a drug test. Those increased tests are another expense.

        Should be good paying jobs with excellent benefits for Sioux Falls.

        1. duggersd

          But, according to Porter, only 14% of the people in CO actually use pot. Of course that could be 14% of the total population. I wonder what the percentage of pot users are of people over 18.

  8. Cliff Hadley

    We live in odd times, with oodles of risk-averse, high-esteem millennials who’ve never learned how to write a five-paragraph argument, whose reading stops at 140 characters, who can’t count change, and ultimately, who don’t make the connection that hard work and productivity leads to economic success.

    Fortunately, in South Dakota we have a large cohort of kids raised on farms and ranches, who see the value of profit, and how to compete in the marketplace, and that anything worthwhile must be earned. They’ll do fine.

    The others? They’ll blame others.

    1. Anonymous

      Cliff not only has the work ethic declined but many of these kids feel entitled and quit jobs because they have to work weekends or hours that they do not feel that have to work.

      1. Anonymous

        Because of the minimum wage increases, those teens are no longer preferred by entry-level employers. Why take a chance on an unskilled teen when the business can find adults and elderly (who have the skills of punctuality and general trustworthiness) willing to work for the same amount and part-time.

        Soon, if Commie Sanders and Stand by your Man Hillary have their way with a $15 wage, even those elderly will lose their jobs as automation becomes feasible.

        So, while average wages may increase with a $15 an hour minimum wage, it will be because of the higher wage AND because of fewer workers working at that wage. We’ve seen it before when union wages in the Great Depression tended to rise–because FEWER folks were working, union or otherwise!

  9. Springer

    The progressives have long been targeting education in our schools from pre-K thru college, emphasizing their views. The have made no secret that the way to fundamentally change America is a slow process of re-educating the young away from the principles and history that have made this country great and toward a socialistic, collective mindset where everyone is entitled to equality regardless of his/her accomplishments or hard work. Kids are awarded medals for participation, not for winning starting at an early age. College professors are overwhelmingly liberal; that is a self-admitted fact. And now we are wondering just why our kids feel entitled and that capitalism is bad??

    1. Anonymous

      “capitalism is bad??”

      We should try capitalism to find out if it’s good or bad!

  10. Troy Jones

    The Free-Market is about two people entering into a commercial transaction of their own free will. I don’t buy ANYTHING where I don’t value the good or service more than the labor it took to earn the money necessary to earn it. And, nobody has ever sold me anything where they didn’t value the money more than they value the good, service or labor they put into it.

    The Labor Market is about an employer and employee entering into an employment relationship of their own free will. Nobody is forced to work anywhere and nobody is forced to hire anyone. The job I have today is the best job I have available to me today based on my skills. If I want a different job, I have to search out my alternatives and if I need greater skills I have to gain those skills.

    The Capital market is where an investor/Lender is free to deploy capital according to free will and a investee/Borrower is free to accept capital according to free will.

    Together they encompass economic system called capitalism which at its heart is about freedom and free will. Every intervention (regulation, prohibition, tax) into the commercial, labor and capital market reduces freedom and free will.

    The government provides two types of goods and services:

    1) Collective or general goods and services. These are those where the beneficiary is primarily to all. Roads, defense, fire protection, courts, and police.

    2) Individual goods and services. These are those where the primary beneficiary is an individual based on particular condition or situation. It could be K-12 education which only directly benefits children from the ages of 5-18 or welfare programs which go to the poor.

    What these people described above appear to miss is their demands REQUIRE enslavement (either full or partial) of another. There is no such thing as “free health care” (an individual good/service) because either doctors and nurses have to be enslaved, laborers who build hospitals or equipment have to be enslaved or someone else needs their labor to be partially expropriated through taxation.

    So, for all their highfaluting claims of “justice,” socialism is grounded in enslavement, the limitation of free will and loss of freedom.

    1. Anonymous

      If you understand that capitalism is good and socialism is bad? Then why on earth do you support government involvement in the free-market?

    2. Anonymous

      The one reservation I would point out in your analysis is that you ignore the inequity of power – the strong can force the weak to take “unfair” deals. That is the rigged system – the strong taking advantage of the weak – that I think has turned off so many from capitalism.

  11. MC

    Mr. Powers, Take heart, capitalism is alive and well. It may not take the same form that you or I are accustomed to.

    The government needs to get out of places it doesn’t belong. If history has shown us one thing, it is when government starts to get into things beyond it’s assigned constitutional duties, disaster will ensue. The Subprime Mortgage Crisis is a good example, Obamacare is another.

    When they learn that government can’t fix what’s broke, it will be up to them, you will then see capitalism come roaring back, with a force that will be almost impossible to stop.

    Until then we should pray for them, for they will need all the help they can get

  12. Anonymous

    “I can’t speak for everyone, but I know many of us were taught at an early age that if we wanted something, that we should work for it.”

    I have seen so many of the “younger generation” take your words to heart, work hard to achieve something, but fail because of economic factors stacked against them. Minimum wage jobs no longer provide the opportunity to pay for college (as when we were that age). Even working to get that college degree (and the accompanying debt) does not mean the clear path to a better life that it once did. Many come from households that have stagnated or recessed instead of moving forward at a pace our parent’s seemed to. They have seen the richest 1% take control of their country’s assets. Parents have lost homes while banks are bailed out.

    I don’t know that they have given up on capitalism as much as they have given up on the perversion of capitalism that seems to have dominated the US lately.

  13. Troy Jones

    Ahhh. The “its just too hard” critique couched in some “woe is me, the cards are stacked against me. It not fair.” What do you expect when they developed a false sense of accomplishment and self-esteem when they got ribbons just for participating, grade inflation, and coddling by their parents.

    Now they “feel the Bern.”