CAPITALISM: an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
SOCIAL FAIRNESS: Equity and justice in society
Capitalism can only exist and thrive in a state where workers are available, free and able to participate in the enterprise. Any concessions made to the workers – e.g. healthcare plans, profit sharing, stock options, annual leave, sick leave, corporate social amenities and benefits etc. – are examples of recognising the need for Social Fairness. History has shown that without capitalism and the company profits and personal gain (that reflects human nature, and that is the driving force of capitalism), society is in danger of stagnancy and decay. However it also gives us examples of the consequences of lack of regulation and the subsequent imbalance and unrest in society.
It requires a combination of the two principles to produce the best results for all divisions (pun intended) of society to benefit from their own efforts. Unfettered capitalism will lead to social upheaval but over-regulation will lead to apathy and despair.
Social fairness is in effect in many areas of American life; for the individual – Medicare, unemployment benefits, food stamps etc – and also in the corporate sector as evidenced by the many subsidies to industry (thereby maintaining employment in otherwise unprofitable enterprises.) A free enterprise system, fairly regulated, is the best way forward for a successful and thriving society.
The current impasse in the US is a good indication of the chasm between these two points of view. Conflict over the most simple choices, e.g. mask wearing, has reached comic proportions. Can women use their spectacular range of skills to bring the temperature down?
Should the wellbeing of ALL the members of a society be the most important element of that society?
Is the American Dream alive and well? How can we expand the opportunities for John and Jane Doe to give their kids a better future?