Focusing on civilization, an alien individual can conclude that our current society is running mad. Such a conclusion cannot be disputed. Working for long hours has become the order of the day. This is even though carrying out jobs and businesses are not making individuals any happy. Everyone is working to catch up with individuals whom we don't know while emulating characters we have never met. Corporations are pushed to every corner while striving to maximize profits only to make the working conditions more unfavorable and ravage the natural world. A significant number of individuals wish to lead a more sustainable life if only they had the power to. The book points out that humanity is not the problem. The current problem among individuals of different strata, race and origin lies in capitalism. Capitalism is declared unsustainable due to its insatiable nature to grow and drive various aspects (Malleson, 2018). However, capitalism is proving to fail in externalizing the real value of life and exact costs presented by its destruction.
According to Milton Friedman, an influential economist, there are only two available possibilities to complexities present in the present society (Malleson, 2015). Free market like in US system or Central Planned System such as one in the Soviet Union. Margret Thatcher, a British Prime Minister, declared a debate over capitalism based on the Russian system which she identified as moral but economically bankrupt. According to her, there was to access to free-market capitalism at all. This was referred to as the myth of TINA (Hall, 2015).
A philosophy based on the myth is declared everywhere. Lack of alternatives to free-market capitalism has been the notation believed by many for a long time (Hall, 2015). The belief is even passed down generations. Politicians are in the front line declaring the same. On the screens, journalists pallot about the same daily, the rich people are gloating about it while the commoners have no option left than assume it. Although the book, "Fired up about capitalism" inability to access of free-market capitalism is portrayed as nothing but a myth. Therefore, Tom Malleson exposes reality concerning contemporary issues on capitalism (Malleson, 2015). The problems range from the widening of the various inequalities, especially between 1% with the rest of the society to the devastation of ecological systems. Therefore, the book demonstrates that indeed there are many other alternatives to free-market capitalism. Malleson in details explains various options available around the globe, both short and long term that are ambitious and practical (Malleson, 2015). However possible, He is keen to portray that it is not such easy. As much as enough individuals are willing to fight for justice and betterment of the world in various spheres, change is possible.
Individuals live cursing racism, seeing capitalism as greed while hoping to have some system of communalism. Environmental degradation and the growing wage of inequality are continually experienced (Malleson, 2015). All this can be traced back to capitalism, a system of the economy where many of the services and goods are produced and distributed through a market system. That is, services and products are bought and sold privately. Market systems can be structured in various ways. To benefit only the rich or redistribute wealth to the unprivileged, to offer guaranteed employment opportunities or no job security, to involve democratic worker cooperatives or private corporations. This indicates market systems have huge capacities at various levels. Most of the different existing systems obscure more than they reveal. This explains why most individuals are blinded by the myth that there is no alternative left to the capitalist system.
Market systems determine various essential features of a country. The book by, Malleson is focusing on a type of market system called free-market capitalism or neoliberal (Malleson, 2015). the system can be best defined using three characteristics: first, the market system operates unregulated. Meaning, the system is regulated in ways that best benefit the rich. Purpose, interactions between businesses, banks, and consumers through the system lead to overriding private profits. Secondly, class inequality is significant. In this system, other people get it easy in life while others have to strain to sell labour for survival. Thirdly, banks and businesses are under undemocratic hierarchies. Meaning, the businesses and banks are run by private managers on top as workers serve on the bottom. This kind of system is present in some countries such as the UK, Canada and US. According to Malleson, the system can be best described as rotten, unequal and unfree (Malleson, 2018). To the environment, it is destructive; it is globally unfair while culturally, it is pernicious.
However, the author argues that neoliberal capitalism cannot be the worst system that has ever existed (Malleson, 2018). In comparison to states that underwent feudalism in the past, capitalist countries are much more productive and freer. Individuals are not legally bound to the class position. Comparing to communalism, capitalism tends to keep authority and power decentralized. This reduces dictatorship. Therefore, there is excellent freedom of choice practiced both in occupation and consumption. Hence, a review of market systems calls for an open mind because no system is entirely good or bad. The best way suggested by the author is to think through how the positives of different systems can be combined while minimizing the negative aspects as much as possible.
The idea of radical democracy is suggested as one of the best ways of rearranging economy in replacing the old principles of free markets and central planning. The Us system is unregulated, where the winner gets to take it all leading to wealthy people and other homeless (Malleson, 2015). A system where all systems in institutions such as banks, businesses and the government work on a principle of equality are necessary. In the system, individuals' rights on democratic accountability are observed by being actively involved in political and economic decision making on matters affecting them. Therefore, not only political democracy but also economic democracy ought to be achieved.
Problem with inequality
Inequality is best described as something terrible. Through inequality, different individuals have different opportunities and freedom in life (Anderson, 2015).). It is an unfair and unjust treatment to the less disadvantaged, individuals living in the same society, neighbors in the same city, people born and brought up in the same place end you have different opportunities and lives. While some have the resources to attend schools of choice and achieve aspirations and dreams while others do not have access. Others dreams are deferred and hopes dashed by circumstance. The poor are unable to meet basic needs due to a lack of opportunities and reduced capability. The rich are so powerful, and in control, to an extent, the basic functioning of democracy is undermined.
Inequality is terrible for the community as a whole. Mental illness, homicides, incarceration, obesity are tat disposal for the developed and wealthy. This reduces life expectancy, educational performance, social trust, as well as social mobility. This makes inequality a societal disaster.
Consumerism is a culture that is cherished by many. How much is enough has become a hard question to be answered. Accumulation of wealth and goods has led to increased greed amongst people more than virtue is celebrated. Through Consumerism, the essence of human life has been tied to accumulate wealth and assets. It is evident Consumerism reduces the freedom of individuals. It matches individuals to never-ending chains of working cycles of working harder and harder to keep up with the high buying needs (Malleson, 2018). Individuals sacrifice their dreams and free time to get corporate jobs that afford the kind of life they admire. According to the author, individuals ought to realize the reality beyond Consumerism.
The current levels of Consumerism are too high and unsustainable. Practical and life goals, hopes and dreams such as building families, excellence in art, contribution to the community, fighting for social justice, as well as having rich social. In societies today, some individuals have the privilege to enjoy leisure time than spending the better time of their life looking for resources to sustain their consumerism level. It is these individuals who have the power to run corporates, politics and economic sectors privately controlling others.
Globalization through movements such as World Trade Organizations had a significant reason for making organizations move anywhere in the world, find new technology, capital creating job opportunities (Malleson, 2018). However, the idea was never welcomed by other individuals such as activists. They disagreed and denounced the vision. While globalization made it easier for companies and, only the company owners and other shareholders would benefit. Through globalization, large corporations would increase their ability to move like a weapon. Globalization led to falling of private unionization percentage in the United States. In the book, No Logo, by activist and journalist Naomi Klein shown more light on globalization. According to her, the management in most of the corporate organizations was a military-style where wages were below subsistence while work is tedious. Therefore, there was minimal prosperity in globalization for all, but a fabulous way of accumulation of wealth for a small minority and race at the top.
Inherent damage to the environment is caused by what economists refer to as externalities. These are costs incurred by other people other than the producers and buyers. Fumes and wastes produced ion course of production are released into the environment, damaging it (Malleson, 2018). It is because of these externalities that the cost of produced services and goods do not reflect the real value. More harm than good is caused. Global warming is an excellent example of such externalities. The science of global warming is a controversy today. The increasingly high cost of carbon pollution is being ignored by the individuals who produce it.
On the other side, the essence of living a life with freedom is to live a life that one wants. Security here means one is free from hunger, homelessness, poverty and destitution in the elderly. However, for many wealthy individuals, security is an issue to them. There are fewer opportunities in terms of social mobility in the US compared to other countries such as Europe. Therefore, the whole American concept of free-market free people is just but an allusion. Immense free marketing is provided to rich people who usually escape tax with their businesses facing little regulation (Wood, 2015).
Alternatives to democratic socialism
The author tries to paint a picture of what it is like moving beyond capitalism. In the case of class, inequality is much improved in society; unregulated market system has developed a society with democratic socialism is created (Malleson, 2018). Workplace democracy is one of the alternatives to democratic socialism. Usually, capitalist workplaces are significantly antagonist. Unions are vital in protecting workers against domination and exploitation. However, when the unions get powerful enough, more issues arise between employers and workers. The bosses start feeling the workplace is inflexible with every decision disagreed hence the source of conflict. There is absolutely some truth in this. This leads to the solution of getting rid of unions so as the bosses can regain thei...
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