Economic Reform

Judah Stockdale, Staff Writer

In America today, many people argue about what economic ideology is best. There are four kinds of economies that can be instituted: mixed, traditional, command, and free market. Nearly all countries have a mixed economy but lean closer to either free market or command economies. The economy people think of when visualizing a free-market economy is capitalism, and when people think of command economies they think of socialism and communism. 

These are all different words however and as such have different definitions. Capitalism is the ideology that privately owned businesses control trade and industry. Socialism has a few definitions, first is the idea that the means of production are owned by the community as a whole, and the other relevant definition is a transition state between the overthrow of capitalism and the switch to communism, this definition is according to marxist theory. Most people when referring to socialism are referring to the first definition. Command economy means an economy that is controlled by a central government, this is different to socialism. Free market economy is an economic system in which the prices are determined by the unrestricted competition of private businesses. Communism is a political theory in which property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their ability and needs.

 The point of all these definitions is to realize that socialism is not the antithesis to capitalism nor a synonym to command economy. Although it can be similar to communism it is not the same.

In my opinion, the United States needs to shift to a socialist-based economy. Socialism would take away the oppressions that are propagated by capitalism. Socialism should be instituted so the workers have a direct influence in what and how products are produced. This ideology is aimed at removing wealth disparity and letting people have a common footing in life. It still opens the opportunity to build generational wealth but does not do it at the expense of others like what is promoted in capitalism. 

As we can see in America today, most things we buy are owned by very few companies. This eliminates most competition as major companies have the capital to stomp out and buy out their competition. This makes it so the market is not regulated and prices can be set at whatever these companies want. It also makes incentives for these countries to lower the cost of production, this is accomplished by lowering wages, using cheap labor, using cheap materials, and lobbying government policies. These are all harmful to both the economic and political ecosystem of any given country. 

We have seen pure capitalism before in Central America when a fruit company had an empire. This empire used the profits to levy against the government and built roads, telephone lines, and public buildings in exchange for tax breaks. This gave them full control over several countries in Central America in which they would pay workers dirt poor wages for their hard labor. This is what pure capitalism looks like. One company gets enough wealth to buy out all other competition, or work with other companies and create a monopoly on everything in a country. Without command economy ideas the people get manipulated because the few at the top control all other people. The government must regulate privatized business to insure the safety and rights of the citizens, however if the government is controlled by these companies that will not happen. 

If the companies are owned by the people who work under it, then the people will be treated fairly with proper wages. We can have a free market just without the privatized businesses controlling prices and industry. The people should control the prices and industry as they are the ones creating the products and providing the labor.