Capitalism is in Deep Trouble

Source: RedState | May 13, 2016 | Leon H. Wolf


One of the things that has badly weakened the conservative movement is that capitalism as a philosophy has fallen drastically out of public favor, and the conservative movement seems not to have noticed (or done anything to stop it). The first indication of the seriousness of the problem was the laughing dismissiveness GOP operatives displayed towards the idea of a general election of Bernie Sanders in the early days of the election.

“The man calls himself a socialist!” I heard many a Republican exclaim on television. “I hope to God we get to run against a guy who won’t even defend capitalism!” Nowadays, with numerous public polling showing that Bernie Sanders would beat any Republican in the field by 15-20 points, most Republicans are quietly praying that the DNC superdelegates don’t wise up and veto the will of Democrat voters – because as much as Hillary is likely to beat Trump, Bernie Sanders would rout him in historic fashion.

Democrats, though, have never believed much in capitalism, and independent voters are notoriously inconsistent in their beliefs. The troubling thing is that Trump ran on a platform that was ambivalent to capitalism from day one, and a plurality of Republican voters simply did not care.


There’s a root cause to all this anti-capitalist angst that isn’t all that easy to solve. It used to be that even if you weren’t particularly bright or skilled, if you were a hard worker with a reasonably strong back, you could have a job that provided you basic human dignity and would allow you to provide for your family.

The need for those jobs has fallen off drastically and looks to fall off even more for the foreseeable future, as technology and improved process management simply remove the need for humans to do certain jobs. And it isn’t (mostly) that the jobs are going away to foreign countries, it’s that they don’t exist at all. Manufacturing output is up – way up – in the United States. American companies are making way, way more stuff than they used to. They are just using less human beings to do it. This graph from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics illustrates the problem:

This isn’t just a problem. There are real life benefits to the fact that stuff is getting made cheaper, and we all reap the benefits of lower costs. If not for the technological revolution that is frustrating the hopes and dreams of Trump voters, inflation would make the average American’s current cost of living intolerable. But it has created a class of people who are just not able to contribute meaningfully to the economy and who are not really able to understand why.


As a movement, we haven’t confronted the challenges that this tension has created well, and we haven’t even attempted it much. We’ve instead assumed – without reason, it turns out – that everyone was with us on the whole idea that capitalism is a Good Thing, and been flabbergasted when people rejected the premise entirely.



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