When we talk of systems of government, anything that has a social or communist handle gets frowned upon by people who for the most part have just been sold on this idea of capitalism being the ultimate form of organizing society. You don’t need phd level research to know the gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider. We have also been sold on the idea that with the right amount of hustle, any one of us could one day become a private jet owner but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In a capitalist system, once you get ahead, the odds become in your favor and to maintain your position, the sure way to do it is to stop other people from rising amongst the ranks. A capitalist systems provides incentives to reduce cost of production but zero incentives to reduce selling price. We can see what is happening in the USA. Many companies are moving manufacturing to Asia to take advantage of the economies of location and low labor costs. Such moves translate to lower costs of production but by the time the goods return to the USA, the lower costs of production are not necessarily reflected in the price tags, rather, companies seek to increase their margins as much as possible.
In the case of Cameroon, capitalism misled with corruption has created something equivalent to a plague. You have people who have secured exclusive rights to import certain products without any justifiable reason like would be the case where a drug manufacturer gets a patent for a period of time to help offset the costs of research and development.
Even though it might not have been called that, I believe the founding fathers of America operated a social capitalist economy. One where the government was in charge of making sure everybody can compete without necessarily offering exclusivity of success to a particular group.
Why is this important to you. Soon you will be in a position to decide in ballot who your leaders will be. It is important for you to understand the philosophy of government your leaders adhere to. A social capitalist society is what we should be fighting for. To sum up what social capitalism is in a few sentences it will be something like this:-
‘Everyone may not be able to have a pool in their home but everyone should have access to a swimming pool ‘
It is therefore the function of government to provide public services in an amount that can offer every citizen the opportunity to pursue their goals.
I see a Cameroon where every quartier has public a basketball court, football field, swimming pool, library, and much more – so those who are not privileged to have these things in their homes can still have a place where they can go.
Capitalism drives competition and competition they say is good for the consumer but in a case where capitalism goes unchecked – a case where there are no rules in the market is recipe for disaster as we now see here in Cameroon.
Let me leave you with this words from renowned writer and social critic Seth Godin.
There’s a school of thought that argues that markets are the solution to everything. That money is the best indication of value created. That generating maximum value for shareholders is the only job. That the invisible hand of the market is the best scorekeeper and allocator. “How much money can you make?” is the dominant question.
And frequently, this money-first mindset is being matched with one that says that any interference in the market is unnecessary and inefficient. That we shouldn’t have the FDA, that businesses should be free to discriminate on any axis , that a worker’s rights disappear at the door of the factory or the customer’s at the lunch counter–if you don’t like it, find a new job, a new business to patronize, the market will adjust.
Taken together, this financial ratchet creates a harsh daily reality. The race to the bottom kicks in, and even those that would ordinarily want to do more, contribute more and care more find themselves unable to compete, because the ratchet continues to turn.
The problem with a race to the bottom is that you might win. Worse, you could come in second.
There are no capitalist utopias. No country and no market where unfettered capitalism creates the best possible outcome. Not one. They suffer from smog, from a declining state of education and health, and most of all, from too little humanity. Every time that the powerful tool of capitalism makes things better it succeeds because it works within boundaries.
It’s worth noting that no unbridled horse has ever won an important race.
The best way for capitalism to do its job is for its proponents to insist on clear rules, fairly enforced. To insist that organizations not only enjoy the benefits of what they create, but bear the costs as well. To fight against cronyism and special interests, and on behalf of workers, of communities and education. That’s a ratchet that moves in the right direction.
Civilization doesn’t exist to maximize capitalism. Capitalism exists to maximize civilization.”