Tim Peck is fast becoming my favorite conservative, outpacing the always-entertaining Carl Mumpower. In his March 7 missive, “People and Profits Are in Harmony,” Peck explains the basics of capitalism as a fair exchange between a buyer and seller. And it's true: capitalism as a theory is a wonderful, productive enterprise, and I don't doubt profit as an effective motivator. However, it's just a theory. I could probably make a similar case for communism: In theory, it works great.
Peck is so colorful in his depiction of capitalism, even slipping "property" into the time-honored phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." What a card.
Capitalism, however, isn't so wonderful in practice. When huge corporations use their financial power to sway markets (and now politics) in their favor . To put it simply (and to use one of Peck's examples), "when Steve Jobs invents and sells an iPhone, Apple Corporation profits." Actually, it profits more, because it pays some overseas workers less than a living wage so that you can pay a little less for your smart phone. Do we all profit from this?
In addition, we don't have a free market in the U.S., and it's not because of all those pesky government regulations protecting our land, air and water. No, it's because our government is either bailing out entire industries or sending subsidies (like the Farm Act) to corporations with no strings attached. Why is the government subsidizing oil companies? Why are banks giving their executives huge bonuses from the bailout funds? The list could go on and on.
One final comment: Corporations are not interested in the public's best interest, and they never will be. Heck, they aren't even interested in their employees' best interests. (If they were, layoffs would be a thing of the past.) They are interested in one thing only: short-term profits, and they will do anything, legal or otherwise, to get it. Now tell me, Mr. Peck, is that in line with "people and profits are in harmony?"
— Mark H. Bloom