A great article from the folks at Foreign Policy who seek to bring a little clarity to the doom-and-gloom headlines showing how “Millennials” are rejecting capitalism and embracing “socialism”. Labels, without context, are dangerous, and it is unethical to assume that all concepts are fully understood without explanation. The problem is clear: the sort of reckless, unchecked, special-interest-serving crony capitalism is what the young folk (myself included) are rejecting. The “dirty socialists” actually protected capitalism from the Marxist movements of the early 20th century by enacting laws that protected human capital (allowing labor unions and enforcing a minimum wage), encouraged competition (“Bust the Trusts!”), and restored consumer confidence in banking (establishment of the FDIC, etc), thus leading to the single greatest period of economic growth and prosperity in United States history!
“Too big to fail” (I’m looking at you, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Obama) is abhorrent to capitalism which says that the market will correct misdeeds in finance, given the opportunity to do so. If you want to fix capitalism, take a few lessons from the some of the champions of fair-market capitalism: Theodore Roosevelt (antitrust legislation), Franklin D. Roosevelt (human capital investment, work-relief programs, infrastructure investment, financial industry reform), Dwight Eisenhower (human capital investment, technological investment, infrastructure investment).
Imagine that you’re twenty years old. You were born in 1996. You were five years old on 9/11. For as long as you can remember, the United States has been at war.