I Found the King: Success, not Wealth, should be the goal for Capitalism in the 21st century.
I am setting off on a journey, and I don’t know where I am going or how it will end. On this trip, we will travel on roads forged by society. Societies which are manifested through their respective economic and political systems. I have my pen as my walking stick, and my limited knowledge as my subsistence, as I attempt to discover what system is best for weary travelers that are also taking this journey. Because the better the system, the better the society, and therefore the better our journey will be on the road of life.
Of course, better is a loose term. What can be better for one can be disastrous for another. That being the case, what is actually better? It is better for shareholders if employees work at a lower wage and increase margins, and it’s better for workers if their wage is increased. Those two betters are opposite, which means, with any sentiment left aside (some shareholders might care about workers), someone’s better is another’s worse. This is true in many facets of life, like dating, bidding, and sports. There can only be one winner.
It is also a safe assumption that given the absence of consequence, people prefer better over worse, or winning. However, achieving a better state like having more money, means at the moment you get it, someone else doesn’t. At the point of acquisition, money is acquired for a reason. The inventor, author, or service provider will get the reward for their accomplishment, and others will not. Any system that eliminates the allure of rewards will handicap itself by robbing its participants of the motivation to acquire it. A voyage with no possibility of reward is a path most will not take.
Money that has already been acquired is not a reward. It could be rewarding to possess, and it was rewarded, but it is now a part of your wealth. Since this wealth is already your money, can there be a better or worse side to it? Well, acquired money is where all rewards come from, so yes, there will always be a worse.
The more money that has been acquired, the greater the magnitude of rewards it can produce, and vice versa for having less money. Also, who, what, and why to reward is a choice. Those within a society who do the rewarding will therefore play a significant role in how the journey goes. If evil is rewarded, the respective society will follow suit. If wisdom is rewarded, society will again follow what pays. Even if serving who has acquired the most is what’s rewarded, that society will reflect that. I will need money on my journey, and you will need it for yours. The system the society uses to reward it will dictate a lot about our travels.
While on our journey, there will be laws. All societies have them. There are many laws, including ones on how institutions and individuals go about rewarding. Laws exist within the society that creates them. Just like the individuals who have already acquired vast wealth. If lawmakers can be rewarded, those who can give satisfactory rewards will pursue to influence laws that affect them. This reinforces that society is a product of its reward structure, because laws are a product of it too.
I have explored so much and have not even taken a step yet. But I am not confused, and am actually more clear-minded than ever. Roads that travel through societies with the most wealth are the best options for our journey, because of the opportunity for rewards. There are multiple paths that fit the requirement of going through wealthy societies. From these choices before us that all have the same amount of wealth, we will find which reward structure presents the best option for our journey through life.
There is a red road that goes through a communist society. The rewards given while traveling on this road are defined. Our behavior is not defined. Therefore, the same reward is given whether you are driven or aloof, mechanical or theoretical, tall or short, or smart rather than stupid. If I was forced to take my voyage down this road, I would tell myself it is boring but not bad. For those who do not know bad, which is the lack of any rewards, this is not that. With this communist reward structure, no matter how inherently difficult it is for you to win a reward, you will get your share. Conversely, however talented or blessed you are, there is a hard limit on how much reward you get. There is always a winner and a loser, and in this case, the relative winners are losers. On my journey, I at least want to be able to try to win, so I would not take my travels through a communist society. It is just too bad when there are winners, there has to be a loser on the other side.
Now here is an option that I didn’t know existed until just now stumbling upon it. This is a secret path, a theoretical possibility that has come to reality. It is the road through hyper-capitalism. It gives the appearance that it is very rewarding, because of the omnipresence of its plutocrats. However, these plutocrats’ existence shows this society’s reward structure. A society is manifested by who does the rewarding and how they do it. Plutocrats exist because society rewards those who reward them. This includes the forming of laws that enable their continued ascension. Of course the rewards are far from equal given hyper-capitalism’s plutocratic result.
For some people, this society is fine for their journey. These plutocrat worshippers are winners, and will be rewarded for their idolization of the 0.1%. But those winners/worshippers are sacrificing something far greater than they are gaining; their open-mind. Even though several of these winners do not possess one, hence, as the saying goes, ignorance is bliss. But the open-minded thinkers and doers that contest or compete with this structure, given the extent that hyper-capitalism has developed, might not only get no reward, but lose what they have.
Just like communism, hyper-capitalism also has terrible flaws. It doesn’t reward good; it rewards a particular thing. Unlike communism, it can, by definition, treat good as a loser if the good conflicts with the plutocrat’s reward structure. That makes hyper-capitalism more similar to feudalism or totalitarianism than anything else. This is a scary path that I hope stays hidden and is never discovered because once power is measured by private wealth, the only reward is to serve it.
Thank goodness there is another road to set out on. It looks so nice and normal. This has to be the choice for my journey. It is a mixed economy or free-market society. Every man and woman is for themselves, but with conditions and rules like antitrust laws, taxes, and social security. It looks perfect. Going on my voyage through this society, I will reap what I sow, and I wouldn’t want it any different. I can not wait to get going, but let’s give it one good last look with my binoculars before heading out.
I guess the mixed economy was too good to be true. The farther I look down the road of this mixed economy, the more it becomes hyper-capitalist. This is true because wealth gains more rewards than people do. Wealth dictates behavior because it is where rewards come from. The wealth itself does not make this true, the people that hold it do.
Who to reward, for how much, and what reason is a decision of the person/institution. For a mixed economy, like the United States, the goal is wealth. With that goal, money works towards that end. Getting wealthy is not free, and that is where a lot of rewards go, rewarding others for helping increase your wealth, like in hyper-capitalism. A free-market mixed economy is always in the preemptive stages of the formation of a plutocracy, and only laws can stop it. The longer lawmakers take to halt a plutocracy forming, the harder it is to stop it. Because the future plutocrats are perpetually gaining economic power, and can further reward legislators and lobbyists to do their bidding. Hyper-capitalism in that regard is not much different from narco-states in the 80s. Figuring that is a good comparison shows the potential ramifications of wealth being the penultimate goal.
Money is not bad. Success is wonderful. Motivation to acquire rewards big and small is a lot of what makes the road of life worth traveling. Success as a goal differs from wealth being the goal. The latter is the main debilitating flaw to the capitalist system. It will never be illegal to get rich, that results from finding success. But amassing wealth to where it distorts the reward structure to reward itself should change.
To suggest the changes needed to make the reward structure beneficial for all and make everyone’s journey worthwhile, I must speak to the king. The king, or whoever is in charge is of this society, can alter the road as needed. This king can make sure the wealthy’s riches do not dictate society’s winners. And change the goal from wealth to success, because with wealth winners are only those who help it grow. There are more ways to win than that, and the king will understand.
It is too bad there have been bad kings. Even if that king is an actual government, and king is only a word that represents it. There are kings who don’t listen, and kings who aren’t listened to. There are even drunk and angry kings. To find a philosopher king, a type of leader that has almost never existed, is our only hope of a fair journey? No matter the king, weary travelers want a chance at a good and fair journey. There are a lot of journeymen too. It’s everyone who thinks that some people can find success and get more than others, but only the bad should lose. That last part is new, but reasonable in that it would be detrimental to society to trash the draconian excess of aspiring plutocrats. Might as well put it to work investing into society’s human capital.
I said before that not being able to win economically does not mean you deserve to lose. Being less intelligent, or not good with your hands, is not bad. Everyone deserves some type of reward if they are contributing, and no one getting a reward is a loser. What a great journey it would be if you had the chance of outstanding success, and losing is (relatively) impossible as long as you’re trying. The king is who can make that change possible. The king is the people. What kind of king will the people choose to be? Hopefully, my exploration serves the throne well.