December 10, 2010
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The word “Capitalism” is a term with a meaning that has been transformed and transfigured in the eyes of much of the world’s population, and especially in that of the United States. If it was a word with a definition void of great weight or real purpose, its confusion would not be worth looking at. However, the dictionary definition of the word Capitalism refers to something that, if taken away, has the power to transform our manner of living and even to hasten the coming of the end times.

The term Capitalism originated in the mid-seventeenth century. “Capital” evolved from “Capitale” a Latin word, based on proto- Indo- European Kaput, which means “head”. It was also the origin of the word chattel and cattle in the sense of movable property, not necessarily livestock. During the 12th and 13th century the term Capitale began to come up in the sense of sums of money, funds, money carrying interests or stocks of merchandise. The word “Capitalist” speaks of an owner of capital rather then an economic system but was used well before the term “Capitalism” which appeared for the first time in the encyclopedia in 1753. The first time “Capitalism” was used in its modern sense was in 1850 by Louis Blanc and Pierre-Joseph Proudhom in 1861.

The actual, dictionary definition of the word “capitalism” goes as follows, “an economic system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.” Capitalism describes an economy free of government control. In this kind of economical system, privately owned businesses and corporations are in a constant, heated battle over the faithful allegiance of the American consumer. This automatically entails the lowering of prices for which goods are sold, which benefits both the consumer and the economy. In a government run economy or, in an extreme situation, a “Socialist” economy, the government orchestrates the distribution of all the critical needs of the public, such as, health care, life insurance, banking/the taking care of finances, major transportation and education.
The problem with a government run economy is that the government does a very poor job with their programs, as evidenced by the attempt of the American government, under George W. Bush, to boost the quality of education of children in America “No child left behind.” Most people agree that it was a complete bust. Or, the government program “Cash for clunkers” which made a laughing stock of the Obama administration. Half way through this “promising” excursion of ambition, the government ran out of the money they had said would be needed through the duration of this “car sailing stimulant.” When in a capitalist economy, the public chooses what is best for them. When the major necessities of the people of a certain country are taken care of by the government, the public has only one option: whether they like it or not. A capitalist economy is run by the people for the people. They choose what they want and from where they want it; it is not rationed to them like water to a slave or food to a dog.

Capitalism does not mean an economy run by thousands of greedy, private business owners who all they want is to cheat their customers out of their money. If this were the case, they would have no business. No customer is required to shop at any one super store or to commit themselves to a particular insurance agency. If it is over-priced or the service does not match one’s standards, then one can very easily go somewhere else or become part of something new that fits him better. It is all up to the individual, that is, unless the government gets involved.

Because of the growing, leftward pull in the country and because of an increasing number of politicians pushing for a surplus in the size of the government, citizens of the U.S. are now, more then ever, thinking of capitalism in connection to greed and insecurity. They believe that business owners are greedy for their money, and are worried about the security of their wellbeing because they feel a sense of helplessness against any financial misfortunes falling upon them without having the government there to save them. It is true that in a state of capitalism one can be the victim of circumstances outside of one’s control and it is true that if America were a socialist country there would probably be fewer hoboes roaming the streets of L.A. To achieve this, however, we would have to forfeit our God-given freedom to achieve greatness in the field of one’s choice. Not only that, but it would keep one from reaping the rewards for his/her success.

A socialist economy protects you from falling down, but it also keeps you from rising up. The government would hold you locked in a cage like a bird, giving you what you need to stay alive, but not to thrive. You are at no risk to predators, but how could you be content fluttering about in your little cage when above you there is a sky which has been made for you to soar through?

Capitalism is an economic system. One could ask any young teenager and he/she would gladly tell you that the subject of capitalism is nothing less then a boring and tedious drag of one’s time. However, what does the average teenager, or even the average person, no matter what age, know about an economic system? For most people, very little is known, which is why it is so easy for one to be misguided when it comes to the meaning of such a word as capitalism. However, as a country we cannot afford for the meaning of capitalism to be misunderstood. It is a word that is in direct correlation to the way the U.S. will be run by our children and by our children’s children. And even, if there will be a United States for our children to run.

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