I Believe in Capitalism

Michael - Killington, Vermont
Entered on April 28, 2008

Capitalism is the only economic structure capable of coping with human tendencies of greed and want. Adam Smith, recognized as the father of capitalism, was a Scottish philosopher who formulated this economic strategy. Based on self-interest and competition, the culture encourages citizens to fulfill their potentials and reap the benefits along the way.

Capitalism is all about incentives. A man will throw hay bails faster and produce financial reports more quickly and accurately if his good work is rewarded. In many cases this reward comes in the opportunity to further one’s career through promotion or pay raise. In my case, I worked hard to do well in high school so that I could get into a good college. The idea of personal reward for a job well done drives people to labor harder and the cyclical pattern of better workers being more efficient arises.

However, the struggle to outdo other workers or businesses in hopes of earning that bonus or pay-raise, or in the case of corporations earning the right to avoid bankruptcy, there are winners and there are losers. Smith realized this. He said that some companies must fail in order for others to survive. That is the nature of competition. This same philosophy can be related to football: At Holderness the best players on the football team play. We play to win, and so there is no room to play the kid who does not perform. However, the competition to be included in the starting lineup urges the younger players to try their hardest during practice in the hopes of beating out a starter. The incumbents better keep improving their game or they might lose their job. The beauty of this system is that while one player, or corporation, may find huge success, there will always be other companies, or people, challenging their position; only the strongest and best workers for each job rise to the top positions in a capitalistic society. The weak and the idle move to the lower tiers of the labor force. In this way the nation as a whole is kept strong and maintains a culture of innovation and growth.

It seems harsh that some people must fail for this system to win, but think about how boring life would be without competition and without a winner and loser. What is the point of competing if you can’t win, or if you can’t lose for that matter? Or if you can’t lose, is there no point in trying to win? The ideology that everything must be completely equal creates a culture of laziness in which nothing productive is accomplished. But with the opportunity to work hard and earn a living, work hard and earn a promotion, or work hard in school for a better education, life becomes exciting in the pursuit to better it. The opportunity is always there to find a greater success for those outgoing enough, brave enough, and hard working enough to seize it.

A capitalistic society breeds a culture of competition. It is not a perfect society. My parents each work 50-70 hours a week managing and running our small retail business for a middle-income salary. Some people earn millions though they don’t work more than 30 hours a week sitting behind a desk. The fact of the matter is that capitalism deals with humans’ innate inclination to desire more, to want a better life with more luxuries. The system prompts people to discover success; it urges them to push themselves to their limits and see where their best can take them in that big, scary world out there. The capitalistic ideology is my rationale for working hard in school, on the athletic field, and in the summer jobs I take. I want to be one who moves up.