I’ve been thinking about the exploitation involved in capitalism. It seems a little like a pyramid scheme, where the ones that get in first have the most to gain, where the ones on the way up are fed big dreams and exploited to work for the benefit of those higher on the ladder. Think of the American companies that have so quickly resorted to outsourcing to cheaper markets.
Everyone wants the American dream: that anyone with a good work ethic will live a comfortable life of their choosing.
Companies can claim that the low salaries paid to these workers are relatively competitive for their countries and that the dismal & unsafe work environments are acceptable by that country’s standards–that sometimes the worst lifestyle an American can imagine is still better than the best lifestyle of a person in a bad environment. Is it truly exploitation if both parties feel they are getting a good deal? Is it for the good of the world if these people end up marginally increasing their standard of living by providing cheaper products for the rich?
On the other hand, think of the animals that have been exploited from our domestication & mass-production facilities. Clearly the animals have not gotten additional benefit. It makes you wonder who was the first person to line a bunch of cows up on concrete, hook them up to machines, pump them full of steroids & antibiotics, watch them get sores and become crippled, and think, “Oh well, we’re making lots more money this way.”
I suppose it comes down to the fact that we are competing with people for resources…the more cheap, available resources, the better. I think everyone at heart (at least those without power) feel that democracy is the best way we’ve figured so far to run a society, but economically, is capitalism the best way? Or is capitalism just broken, or unrefined?
The age old disparity between haves & have-nots continues to play out…are we Americans setting the best example for the world? For history? How can we do better?