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Capitalism: Let's All Be Part of the Solution

Updated on March 17, 2020
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

The Thinker, a late nineteenth century bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
The Thinker, a late nineteenth century bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) | Source

Money: The Root of All Evil

Everybody needs a certain amount of money to survive in the world today, but the quest for more and more money, more and more things -- to keep up with the Joneses is the fatal flaw in the capitalist system.
Everybody needs a certain amount of money to survive in the world today, but the quest for more and more money, more and more things -- to keep up with the Joneses is the fatal flaw in the capitalist system.

The capitalist system -- or at least what's left of it -- has something exceptionally good going for it. It relies on the initiative and ingenuity of people living under it to devise their own way of beating the odds.

Despite the system's many faults, anyone who really is dead set on it can succeed; if not by being more clever than the next guy, then by working hard and long at jobs most people don't want: hard labor, factory sweat shops and the like. If one job isn't enough, two or three will do the trick.

Success Remains Achievable

Even in today's technological revolution, it remains possible -- if measurably more difficult -- for individuals to achieve economic success.

Most people, it seems, do not mind breaking their backs or racking their brains if it means raising their personal standard of living; more money in the bank, a better car, a better home, a better education for themselves and their families.

That's all well and good, but the system often crashes when it comes to solving societal problems; the more removed the problem is from the individual and the family, the less effort -- physically and mentally -- we care to expend on finding a fair and just solution.

Elusive Solutions

Sure, we'd like to see society's problems solved -- problems such as the homeless and housing, crime and the justice system, mass transportation, corporate greed, union excesses, health insurance, whistleblowers -- but we really don't have the time to contribute to the solutions.

While there's a great deal of truth to the fact that few of us have the time to sit down and come up with solutions to the world's problems, it also is true that when it comes to hard thinking few of us care to indulge. It's a lot easier to leave that chore to the other guy. Unfortunately, the other guy is saying the same thing!

We Just Don't Like to Think

Let's face it, we just don't like to think -- or at least not unless it's going to pay us direct dividends.

So solutions to problems are left to the system; politicians on every level from towns and villages, cities and states to national and international come up with proposals and either put them to a vote or impose them with little or no feedback from us. Boards of directors and corporate officers create policies that affect all of us; occasionally we're consulted, but often decisions are made in an ivory tower.

Think -- And Think Again

If we're to find the best answers to the myriad questions we face -- and will face over the next decade -- it will take the best we have to offer -- all of us! Our ideas and our opinions must be put in the mill so that politicians and other decision makers can do their jobs better, so the solutions they find for our problems are the best solutions -- the ones we'd like them to make:

* * * Think of a better and cheaper way to transport people around our cities and towns across the country.

* * * Think of how we can find jobs for our workers and improve our economy!

* * * Think of a better way to operate our justice system!

* * * Think of ways to help the homeless!

* * * Think of ways to help the poor and those trapped in the welfare system.

* * * Think of ways to prevent crime!

* * * Think! And be part of the solution!,

This is a column I wrote for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk Conn., on April 9, 1994.

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