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I believe in capitalism, but i don't think our current state of capitalism is what Adam Smith wrote about. We have lost our moral center. I am mainly speaking about credit card companies and car dealerships, handing out credit like it's free candy. If we don't want a communist revolution, and trust me, we don't... shouldn't we stop making the idea so attractive to so many decent, honest, all-be it naive american familes who are being ruined by predatory lending?
You have to go for fundamentals here. The government is overlegislating when it comes to economics because it is trying to fix innumerable potholes when it should be repaving the road. The root cause of all economic problems currently facing the US lies in the overreliance on productivity based economic indicators such as GDP. An analogous tool in stocks would be earnings per share (EPS). Such barometers do not factor in quality whatsoever. For example, you want to cut down on bad loans from your banking system. The largest banks are publicly traded. They may not care to give out good loans, or ethical loans. They are only interested in increasing revenue. In fact, the market will reward those companies for increasing revenue if measures such as EPS rise. Investors don't care if average people are ruined because they got burned using credit they didn't deserve. Investors only care what happens to the share price. Now, if new sector or industry specific indicators were created that factored in things (for this example, the banking sector) such as the value of loan defaults per quarter, including credit card debt, and made that information readily available to investors, then the story changes. A new fictional barometer DPQ (percentage value of defaults per quarter) comes into being that estimates the total dollar value of all defaulted loans and divides this number by the bank revenues for the same quarter. This data could easily be compared to other banks. If a bank started to fall below a certain threshold, the market response would be savage. Banks would make sure to limit the number of bad loans they give out in the future. We can have our cake and eat it too. But economists and politicians have to be willing to stop the microanalysis of economic issues, step back, and look at the big picture. Businesses will never act ethically on their own, and they will never produce the highest quality goods possible unless they are forced to. If the measuring sticks are changed to a different scale, then companies will chase quality the way they currently chase productivity. The current system does have a feedback loop for quality, but it is on a major delay that sometimes runs into years (see subprime mess). We need virtually instant feedback. By changing our economic model from a quantity based system to a quality based system, the government can stop things like predatory lending and also avoid the impending recession. If they do not do so, things will get ugly. The problem is I don't know if the current batch of economists and politicians are intelligent enough to grasp this concept or strong enough to support the needed break with tradition.
I like Capitalism too, and don't think it is necessarily immoral. But the problem of predatory lending is just the tip of the iceberg. People in the US have developed a sense of entitlement. I hate this in our culture, and would love to change it. Good financial lending practices say that the borrower should be able to pay back the loan. The responsibility for determining this lies with not just the lender, but the borrower as well. So both parties are mindlessly digging their own graves, and then expect to be bailed out, and they probably will be. The sense of immorality amongst corporations is horrible. Making a profit, at the expense of the consumer is so rampant. It's encouraged in businesses, it becomes part of the mind set. Enron is another example. I wish I had some ideas of how to change it, other than voting for officials who do not favor big business at the cost of the common good. Good question.
There are no morals in Capitalism! Having said that, there are precious few, if any, morals in any other system, including Socialism! It all boils down to people! People have, or lack, morals, not the system they use. If economic progress is required, it cannot happen without greed and selfishness. That's what drives Capitalism, and fuels the progress and growth. And we all pick up the benifits. Nice guys are great, but unfortunatelt it's not the nice guys who make the economy grow. Capitalism works, nothing else does. Like it or not, it's the ONLY system that does. That much has been conclusively proved.
First, let me say that I am a socialist, so I am bias. As far as I know all my information is both correct and confirmed by scholarly sources. Capitalism: A system based on profit and driven by competition. Economists agree that outside some sort of Keynesian or similar plan it is doomed to fail (The New Deal is a perfect example of Keynesianism). Capitalism will always have recessions. Due to being driven by competition capitalism generally makes quicker scientific and social advances. One major flaw is that since money is power, and power buys influence, and influence wins elections, that democracy is never truly possible with capitalism. Another major flaw is the ease in which corruption manifests itself. Also, due to inheritance there are many inept people with riches who also didn't earn said riches. My analogy: Everyone in their own rocket-powered wooden go-cart. Socialism: A system of reliance driven by the human will to survive together. Once fully stabilized a true socialist state (a democracy with and entirely state controlled economy) is very hard to topple. Various countries are called socialist but the best and closest example of socialism is the US during WWII when the state took control of a lot of the economy. My personal preference for a socialist state is a democratic, civil rights, scientific and social advancement, and education based state that provides all goods and services and employs all that wish to be employed. Those who choose to work get special benefits. The biggest flaw is that a lack of competition slows productivity and advancement which would require an intense incentives program to counter. Another pro for socialism is that funds never becomes and issue, only resources. My analogy: Everyone in an inter-stellar ship with low-acceleration ion engines.
Regulate immorality. Tax unethical behavior. Yes it involves a big government solution. The bancrupcy "reform" act only made matters much worse. The dems won't solve any of these problems, but they might keep the fox out of the hen house for a few years. in 50 years we will either endorse a new corporate surfdom or rampant unregulated capitalism will destroy everything. In the mean time recommend "Gotcha Capitalism: How Hidden Fees Rip You off Every Day-and What You Can Do about It" by Bob Sullivan to everyone you can.
>>shouldn't we stop making the idea so attractive to so many decent, honest, all-be it naive american familes who are being ruined by predatory lending?<< So you are saying the govt should THINK for people who are too stupid to think for themselves? While that IS an attractive concept, who determines "stupid"? Because we can't let the govt do it. And YOU have said you don't want the corporations to do it. So that leaves each person minnesota a "collective" and ain't no "collective" thinking for me
Vote! And get the government out of everything. Let the free markets reign. Healthcare, public education, and quit printing money like crazy. Must be nice to print money whenever you need it. No wonder our dollar is so weak! As far as the lending industry goes, fannie mae, freddie mac, and the lenders are mainly to blame. The government wants to blame the brokers, but the brokers were only selling programs that the lenders were providing and people knew what they were getting themself into. These people wanted more home than they probably should have gotten, and ultimately in the end that was their decision. They signed on the dotted line. Also, lenders shouldn't have offered these arm programs to people with questionable credit.
No one is forced to take the cards or sign agreements. I have destroyed and thrown out numerous card offers over the years. I destroy the paper work that comes with them. Part of morality is being responsible for your own actions and not blaming everyone else for your weaknesses.
The power is in the hands of the consumers get together with like minded people and decide not to buy or endorse people who participate in bad business practices "BBB" Better Business Bureau can help cause capitalism for all it's positives is inherently immoral and strives for the ideal me before anyone else instead of all for one you know but it's still the best system out there
I'm sorry, you lost me by putting "morality" and "capitalism" in the same sentence. In all sincerity, I unfortunately doubt that you'll ever see a day when morality will be found anywhere near capitalism.