cap·i·tal·ism

noun \ˈka-pə-tə-ˌliz-əm, ˈkap-tə-, British also kə-ˈpi-tə-\

Definition of CAPITALISM

: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Origin of CAPITALISM

(see 3capital)

First Known Use: 1877

The above is the entry for capitalism straight from Merriam-Webster. Some say America was founded on the premise of capitalism—despite the fact that it wasn’t a common term until 1877. Though this apparent American recession that plagued our capitalistic system is merely an afterthought now, unemployment in this renowned nation hovers some ticks above 9%. Is that just the newly found accepted norm now that we’ve come out of the other side of this whole casino game?

A momentous realization occurred to me while reading Nicholas Kristof’s Crony Capitalism Comes Home Op-Ed this week, and it is centered around these words that every American need hear about our prowess of economic method choice: “Capitalism is so successful an economic system partly because of an internal discipline that allows for loss and even bankruptcy. It’s the possibility of failure that creates the opportunity for triumph.”

That is essentially what people refer to when citing “the American Dream”—this concept that, in despite of the odds, we can overcome them and succeed. But what American Dream do we have now? Just getting a meaningless job that helps you barely pay your bills? Having your mortgage refinanced so you can pay for that overly priced medical procedure a family member so desperately needs? Or just getting a warm cup of soup at the food bank that day?

Capitalism fails to exist now in America because there are no repercussions for major financial institutions when their business practices have backfired. They have failed, and when a family goes bankrupt do they get bailed out by their fellow Americans like the banks so graciously did? If we’re going to allow institutions and corporations to be treated as humans, as our fine Supreme Court so justly ruled, then we ‘united citizens’ damn well better start treating them like humans.

This is what Occupy Wall Street-ers are asking for: accountability in a system that requires accountability for it to merely exist. They are not screaming for socialism, or communism, or any other -ism that looks to re-distribute the wealth—which, in fact, is truly what we now have because banks and credit ratings agencies and car makers took taxpayers wealth to save their own gambling, lying, struggling asses. Once you wipe out accountability what you have left is surely not capitalism (see the definition above). So lets just start being honest and admit that what we’ve got is quite similar to a medieval Nottinghamshire with the Sheriff taking from you and me and giving to himself and his king and all their crony, lobbying humanrobot pals. Surely, the times of Robin Hood predated anything that even came close to resembling capitalism…

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