Economics is not free from the effect of the curse. Capitalism and Socialism both have, at their core, both positive and negative aspects that drive them, and in debate, the proponent seeks to bolster the positive while ignoring, or downplaying, the negative.
The positive of Capitalism is that it rewards hard work and presents opportunity for everyone. If it makes money, do it. If you are willing to put in the hours, anything’s possible. People without college degrees can become millionaires by hard work.
The negative is when it is fueled by Greed. When what you have is never enough. When you’re consumed with wanting more. When you have to have more than the next guy.
Although Greed can benefit others (in the striving for more, inventions can be made that benefit all), Greed causes hoarding and excessive spending. And Greed is at the root of our financial crisis. The fact that we can spend tomorrow’s dollar today is what we’re now paying the price of.
The positive of Socialism is that all are protected. Poverty is erased as the classes are evened out. There is none that goes without food, and all are cared for. Everything has a sense of fairness about it.
The negatives is that it is fueled by Envy. I see that someone has more than I have, and that’s not fair. Therefore, I must take what they have, or take their means to have more in order for fairness to be restored. This leads to the decline of incentive to be rich—because why should I be rich if all I earn will be taken away.
Applied to Today
In the recent Vice Presidential debate, each of the candidates specified their perceived endorsement to one of the two systems. Gov. Palin spoke about how the markets should be allowed to correct themselves while protecting the people. Sen. Biden talked about how it’s not fair that the rich got richer.
Neither of these systems is perfect; however, one has positive byproducts from its negative. Both of these systems need regulation, or they could spin out of control.
Let’s just not deceive ourselves about what they are, what’s at their root, and what they can lead to.