Why Capitalism Doesn't Work

This essay was written by an 11th Grader for an American History Class:  Grade received was B+.  Comments included indicated that there was a poor conclusion but some strong parts esp. where the writer was able to quote sources.

A brief look into the failings of capitalism, socialism,
and democracy in the North "American" dream 

Crime, poverty, Medicare, education, racism and
intolerance, drug and alcohol abuse are just a few of the
problems that plague American, Canadian, and other such
societies today. There are all these problems, yet no
answers besides expensive social programs which don't
necessarily work anyway. Does capitalism truly work to
serve the people? What is capitalism in the first place?
Capitalism is a system of economy based on a set of natural
laws. It supports free enterprise and warns against
excessive government intervention. Just like nearly every
other governmental and economic systems ever invented, it
works well in theory, but not in the real world.
Wouldn't it be great if we shared all work equally,
according to ability, and all benefits according to need.
Thus dictates Marx's principles of communism. It would be
wonderful. No one would be poor. Everyone would contribute
to their maximum capability, and take only what was
necessary. Social barriers such as class distinction would
fall, as well as all having available needed services such
as health care. Is a communist society the ideal? In
theory, perhaps yes; in reality-no. The communist
experiment of the 20th century failed miserably. The
nations which were involved are now struggling to adopt a
democratic capitalistic society. Unbeknownst to them, they
are making another horrible mistake. Democracy will not
truly take them any further than they went under communism.
At first things will be difficult, as people struggle to
change. Things will start to look up a few years down the
road. Yes, and then the inevitable, they will realize the
serious flaws in our government and economy for themselves.
Just as we face serious troubles today, so will other
nations sooner than we would like to think.
In a true capitalistic society, according to the great
Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, who is
considered the father of capitalism that "Wealth is
generated only through the efficient operations of private
industrial and commercial entrepreneurs acting with a
minimum of regulation and control by governments." As one
can clearly see, today's economy is far from Smith's dream.
Government intervention is common in business today, as our
somewhat socialist capitalistic society cannot truly cater
to all people on just one philosophy. Our problem is that
it's considered immoral to let capitalism run it's course,
which tends to lead to "survival of the fittest" the rich
and powerful survive, and the poor die. We have a
capitalistic economy running under a socialist government.
Our government is expected by the economy not to interfere,
yet the countries' citizens insist otherwise. We demand
social programs, yet business must be allowed to run

One can now plainly see the basic difficulty of the
situation. If the government is to have funds for social
support programs such as welfare, health care, etc., then
it will have to interfere with business in order to
generate revenue through taxation, tariffs etc. To a
certain extent, this is what is being done. However if we
are to truly function to our full capability of either of
these systems, we have to pick one or the other. Again
however, this is all great in theory, yet in practical
everyday use this will not function. Not even the
all-powerful government can make money out of air. The
problem is the government loses money. No institution
except for a government can continue to function in a
capitalistic society while it is losing money. Sooner or
later, this loss is going to catch up to our government and
it will fall.
I would love to say that I am appalled with Premier Mike
Harris' cuts to the Ontario budget. I could say "He is an
evil man who is out to get the poor and downtrodden." Yet
we the middle class, who are so disgusted by his efforts,
refused increased taxation, etc., in order to generate the
funds necessary to provide for the services rendered to
others. Harris is doing what a capitalist would deem
necessary to attempt to reverse the process of losing
money. He is attempting to secure some future for
government services and the capitalistic economy. However,
the amount of services that would have to be cut, and the
increase in taxes not only to prevent further losses, but
also to equalize the debt would be unacceptable. A business
that looses money is doomed to die. A government that has
lost money and continues to do so is digging its own grave.
Harris is attempting to resuscitate the government.
Capitalism is dead.
What about democracy? What gives the government the right
to stomp on people in its way, whether rich or poor, male
or female? Democracy: When you elect a politician, you are
responsible for his or her actions. He or she is a
representative. If you think you can do a better job, run
in the next election. If you are unhappy, attempt to fix it
Again all this is possible in theory, yet not everybody has
the means to run for office. The government represents such
a huge body of people that they simply cannot listen to one
person's complaints. Just because Joshua Golden thinks that
the seat of the government of Canada should be moved to
Winnipeg doesn't mean it will happen. Even with a
reasonable request, a person in Canada is simply a fraction
of a percentage of the population, and your vote is
meaningless. This leads to my conclusion on democracy.
Democracy works effectively for small groups of people, yet
the true goal of representation of the people is often
swallowed by the large bureaucratic entity known as the
I have now totally trashed democracy, capitalism,
communism, and socialism. Do I have a suggestion? No, I am
just observing, pointing out the problems so others more
influential might be able to deal with them. Do I have a
prediction? Yes, our society, as we know it, is near its
end. Is there anything we can do to stop it? At this point,
it doesn't seem likely anymore.

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