Capitalism is Broken

We’ve all heard the number 1 billion, but have you ever really considered how much $1 billion actually is. Consider this:

I imagine most of us have spent $1,000 in one go before. Maybe a smart phone, laptop, new tires for your car, TV, whatever! It was probably a pretty painful day; $1,000 is a good chunk of money. A million is 1,000 x 1,000 (obviously), so imagine buying that item every day for a thousand days (or about 2.74 years) and you’ll have spent $1 million.

1 billion is 1,000 x 1,000,000 so to spent $1 billion you would have to buy that item every day for 2740 years! I’m all for being paid what you’re worth, and I’m all for being able to live comfortably, but why ANYONE would need billions of dollars is beyond me.

Which is why capitalism is broken.

The Wealthiest People in the World – 2019

I heard an interesting thing a while back, that people always compare “up” when judging their wealth. Whether it is due to human nature, or advertising, it doesn’t matter; we tend to base our level of wealth by what we don’t have, instead of what we do. That doesn’t let the system off the hook though; capitalism is biased against those that don’t already have money.

You’ve probably heard of “Pharma Bro”, Martin Shkreli; he’s the guy that bought the production rights for the drug Daraprim and raised the price from $13.50 a pill, to $750; that’s about 5600%. He also went to jail for 7 years. Did you know that he went to jail for fraud? He cheated investors out of money, and went to jail for that. It had nothing to do with the price gouging; that is perfectly legal.

In Canada many grocery store chains gave raises to employees earlier this year when the COVID crisis started to really take strides. Recently many stores are looking to end the extra pay, despite massive profits over the time period.

How about all the companies going bankrupt during the COVID pandemic that are rewarding their managers with huge bonuses? Or banks funneling stimulus funds to large companies, denying smaller business the funds.

The truth is that the system is set up that those making the rules about who gets the money, are the ones with the money. As an apprentice cabinetmaker I was literally told I was one of the best apprentices the company had ever had, but when I asked for a raise, I was turned down. After becoming a journeyman I was consistently paid $5 or more an hour less than my peers, and I was never able to correct it. That discrepancy was one of the reasons I left cabinetry and joined the military.

I don’t have enough knowledge, and certainly no answers on how to fix things. As an “Average Joe” all I can do is relay my frustration whenever I hear of tax breaks for the rich, pension plans being looted, or companies lobbying government officials in order to make more money. At a certain point, wealth becomes less about living comfortably and more about keeping score. Money becomes an egocentric thing, it becomes about the individual, and not about the community.

I don’t understand how companies can retain and reward the managers that have run that company into the ground. I don’t understand how government officials can give tax breaks to the wealthy under the pretense of “the trickle down theory” when its been proven that “trickle down” doesn’t work. I don’t understand accumulating wealth at another’s expense.

I just don’t understand……

…..maybe that’s a good thing?