Hello my name is Hank Green and I am a capitalist. I didn’t start out this way. I come from pretty radical stock (if you call my college-self my stock, which you really shouldn’t.) I used to believe that money was the root of evil. I was wrong about that.
I still hold many socialist values close to my heart. For example, I believe in sharing and cooperation and schools. I believe that advertising is dangerous and bad for the free market. And I also believe that the amorality of corporations could potentially destroy all of the good things in the world.
But nonetheless, I am a capitalist. Money lets value define itself. It creates a market where good products rise to the top and crappy ones disappear. It has allowed for much more rapid mutation of our culture and technology, sometimes too rapid, but other times only just fast enough.
The desire for money (and the freedom that comes with it) pushes people to work hard to create products and services that other people will enjoy. And it’s all self-controlling, with very little need for external inputs.
But there are also things I hate about money. I hate how you need money to make money. I hate how rich people become socially isolated from poor people, and thus become convinced that it’s not extraordinarily immoral to buy a yacht when there are people dying of diarrhea.
I hate how rich people help rich people who help rich people, and no one gets to have any say beyond that. I hate that the average college student’s parent’s income is three times higher than the average drop-out’s parent’s income.
I hate how corporations excitedly make themselves slaves to unfeeling stock holders who have no interest in thinking beyond the bottom line. I hate how corporations have many rights but no conscience. I love the people that work at these companies, but I hate that they are encouraged to drive for efficiency and profit at the expense of everything else including innovation, creativity, and community.
And I hate how wealth and power concentrates itself. So that the average person has no opportunity to be involved in this remarkable system beyond abstract mutual funds, CDs, and stock portfolios. Not only does the average person have no path to collect real wealth, they also do not have any say in how these corporations, arguably the most important force in our world, treat their world.
That’s the thing that I want to change. Continued tomorrow.