No Wonder Millennials Hate Capitalism

A generation maligned as entitled whiners will be particularly hard hit by the Republicans’ wretched tax bill.

Comments: 242

  1. I am 20 years old and I would gladly move to a country like Germany, Sweden, or the United Kingdom where they actually care for the average citizen. I don't mind paying upwards of 90% of my income to pay for government services, including healthcare and public assistance. I have been to Germany and I have noticed German citizens are happier and healthier than American citizens. Yesterday, I helped my 62 year old uncle apply for Social Security disability, a program I will most likely not receive when I am his age if I continue to live here in the U.S. Capitalism and economic short-sightedness has failed my generation. This country is increasingly a country I do not recognize and I will have to move another country where they actually care for its citizenry in the future.

  2. I had a business partner back in the 90s who developed ALS. We were a very small business but we helped him financially as long as we could, even out of our personal pockets. He was in a wheel chair, could no longer speak and was still denied disability. He was totally disabled for three or four years before he finally died and never got a dime of help from the government despite the fact that he was in his fifties and had paid into the system all of his working life.

  3. I agree. However, be aware that these countries are able to offer these benefits because they do not spend as much on their own military. They depend on and expect our own military, paid by our taxes, to protect them as needed.

  4. Do it. You have 40 years to pay into a system which will pay you back in buckets when you retire. Throughout my travels in Europe, I see retired people sitting with their friends drinking $10 cups of coffee and laughing. I can assure you they are not talking about their poor retirement plans nor who's going to pay their medical bills.

  5. A nicely written op-ed and, personally, I find it tremendously rewarding to see the word socialism in print again, let alone that it is, once again, a popular movement. But there's no need to divide us along age lines. There are an awful lot of us old folks who would much, much prefer to live under socialism, and see capitalism as the greatest impediment to social justice - if not survival. In fact, some of us tried to teach our millennial kids those very lessons from the day they were born. So let's work together to promote economic justice (i.e., socialism) and not fall for the capitalist trick of dividing ourselves according to age, gender, race, etc. etc.

  6. The economy, stock market, and employment numbers are all doing great, and all it's taken is hideously exacerbating wealth and income inequality and trashing our environment. And wrecking the lives of 99% of the population and destroying our future. You have to wonder why no one ever thought of doing that before? Maybe ... for the greater good? Working together "to promote economic justice" has apparently become outdated. It's like the caption to that famous New Yorker cartoon: "No, Thursday's out. How about never -- is never good for you?"

  7. Thank you, I'm 77 and agree 100%. I'm very concerned about the turn this country has taken. Our very democracy is at risk.

  8. What does living under socialism mean? In broadly social democratic countries the money for all the benefits comes from a strong capitalist economy. Or do they mean something like the old Soviet Union or Maoism? It would be really helpful if people had some insight into the meaning of the words they used.

  9. The essay is fine, but the conclusion is too sweeping and needs to be tempered to be less speculative and more accurate.

  10. Millennials have good reason to hate capitalism given the history of the past few decades in American history, but I think what Trump and his cronies are really creating is a kind of Latin American-style oligarchy that will keep its fists tightly around the reins of power for a long time to come. It's basic ideology is not Adam Smith, but "some people are smarter than others," a quotation of Imelda Marcos about the situation in the Philippines in the 1970s. By "smarter," she meant the people who were without conscience and unscrupulous enough to hoard everything good for themselves, while the majority were stuck in poverty. This "system" has no credible ideology or sense of legitimacy. It is based on the law of the jungle.

  11. A lot of species cooperate with their peers in the jungle. I know of no species, save homo sapiens, that ruthlessly exploits its own for material gain.

  12. Funny though -- only last year -- and for 8 years before that -- lefty libs and "millennials" -- some of whom are as old as 37! -- did not think capitalism was so awful....since OBAMA was in the White House. Nobody talked about moving to a socialist nation, or destroying capitalism THEN. It was all OK and hunky dory until Trump was elected.

  13. Remember what Donald Trump said in the presidential debate when Hillary Clinton accused him of not paying taxes: “That makes me smart.”

  14. Right idea, wrong villain. The threat to the millennials isn't capitalism. It's fascism. With a fair and level playing field, capitalism works pretty well. The problem is there is no fair and level playing field. Fascism is the unification of the corporation and the state. The rights of the individual are cast aside in order to increase corporate power. Guess who is in charge of the corporations? The super rich. The entire fascist GOP push is motivated by installing an economic master race, the monied race. That's why I call it fascism. Instead of ethnic heritage getting you a seat at the table, you buy your way in. The rest of us are supposed to keep quiet and sweep the floors for them. So much for the conservative populist movement. Just pass out a bunch of red MAGA hats, and the downtrodden will fall for the entire scam. Give them a leader who tells them exactly what they want to hear and they will blindly follow. Unify them with an internal enemy, in this case immigrants, and they turn a blind eye to white supremacists. That's what Trump did and why the Republicans are only too happy to work with him.

  15. @Bruce: Fascism (in your excellent description) is the natural outcome of capitalism. Just look at the trend in consolidation of business and it is obvious. Small businesses have little political power compared to megacorporations and their megawealthy owners.

  16. Trump did not invent a thing for the Republicans. He is only saying publicly what they have wanted and said in "quite rooms " for decades.

  17. I agree capitalism itself isn't America's villain. To suggest capitalism doesn't work assumes America is the only nation on the planet that is capitalist, or that America's racial tensions and inequity realities are universal except in China and Cuba. Britain, European nations, Canada, Australia and many others operate well under capitalism and provide their people with very high standards of living and basic rights like education and health care. The mythology held by many Americans that universal health care is a huge jump into socialism or communism is always viewed by the rest of us as quite odd. America needs to eliminate public education and public roads before the weekend if it wants to maintain some consistency in that leap.

  18. There is a stark contradiction or tension between capitalism, which by nature creates winners and losers and therefore unequal power and democracy, which means that each person has equal power. The only way to mitigate this tension is through a tax system, which redistributes earnings and wealth more fairly. This can't be done under the current phase of capitalism, which is neo-liberal or laissez-faire. It was accomplished from 1945 through 1975 by a regulated capitalism. It would be hard to revitalize that now, because of globalization, in which countries compete with other to be the lowest-cost producers. Donald Trump proposed to deal with this problem by cutting trade ties with other countries, making America more autarkic or self-sufficient. But this would lead to loss of innovation, overall decline in income and wealth, as well as political decline. Globalization could be tamed, however, by international agreements on fair trade, which assure that workers in other countries are paid wages commensurate with our own and that tax systems are roughly comparable. At all costs, we should avoid beggar-thy-neighbor policies.

  19. @Diogenes, I think you underestimate the degree to which our current state of oligoplutocracy is due to laws and regulations enacted to favor profit over American (and other) workers.

  20. This is a good piece, but it discounts or ignores much of twentieth-century American liberal thought (and action) on constraining and reforming capitalism. Some of that thinking was substantially influenced by socialism. From the 1900s to the 1950s, liberal public policy helped create a substantially fairer United States--one that treated young people much better than they are treated today. In short, the history of this country offers more alternatives than Goldberg allows.

  21. @Henry Raymond: I think your criticism is misplaced. This isn't an intellectual history of the economy. It's a snapshot. Sure, there is a long essay to be written about liberal public policy and its origin and downfall, but this isn't it.

  22. Millennials have seen enough that they are not fooled by talk of America as a meritocracy - today's social media enables more than just an 'Arab spring', as pretense and chimera have been stripped from the working/incentives of America's democracy. Much of what has been 'business as usual' by the elites can no more stand the scalding light of day than the fabled Dracula, but it oddly only encourages elites to double-down. It's not quite apparent that they actually realize we can now clearly see them going about their machinations.

  23. It is heartening to think that a generation as large as the boomers could effect the obviously necessary changes through the ballot box. I'm skeptical. Change on the scale we need usually requires a traumatizing catastrophe that reminds us of what we have in common. I expect that Mother Nature has just such an event in mind right now. But imagine a new day where we decide that all of our energy and treasure will be directed to getting back on the good side of Mother Nature. What a great economic development strategy.

  24. Senator Orrin Hatch said, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves — won’t lift a finger — and expect the federal government to do everything.” Alright, let's agree for a moment. I don't like the idea of giving handouts to able-bodied people who won't help themselves either. So why is the answer to cut *everything* and funnel it all to the military-industrial complex and the already-wealthy. Why is the answer to further punish those who are breaking their backs on minimum-wage jobs? If this is such a big concern, there are humane solutions. Grant assistance to the poor, but earmark it for basic needs. Food, water, clothing, shelter, medical care. Buying cigarettes and alcohol on the Government's dime *should* be off-limits. But no. The Republicans in congress only understand "slash and burn".

  25. And why does he want to cut the estate tax and the tax on passive income pass through corporations, paying money not to hard working entrepreneurs but able bodied people who just cash checks?

  26. purchase for alcohol and cigarettes already prohibited under most federal programs.

  27. The idle poor and the idle rich behave in much the same way except the idle rich get a pass on their "bad" behavior. The senator from Iowa and the senator from Utah decry the smoking, drinking and womanizing of the idle poor but not the same behavior ? ( see Finian's Rainbow)

  28. Thank you. The clarity of your understanding and argument is thrilling. The burden about to be foisted upon those who carry our hopes for Making America Live Up to its Best Promises is devastating.

  29. capitalism rewards capital and nothing else - what is the big surprise - its a rich man's economic system.

  30. Firstly, Michelle Goldberg is a fresh and bold new addition to the Times. I agree with everything she says here, but want to add that it seems clear to me that this new tax structure is centrally a means for republicans to justify cutting social support mechanisms (social security, medicaid, medicare, etc.) in the future to reduce the deficit they are creating, or to force democrats to raise taxes (responsible, but unpopular). Welcome to Kansas-condtions everyone!

  31. As a person over the age of 60, I have never thought that most people would support something other than capitalism though I have always seen its inherent danger to those who are not well off. This artivle gives me real hope that the future does not have to continue the long march to the grave that is the lot of so many in our society. We have taken a giant step backwards with the last election, but if millenials are able to impose their will on the society, it is just possible our capitalist system of robbing from the poor to enrich the rich could be changed. It won’t be easy, but the payoff will be huge.

  32. More millenials than Baby boomers -- we are no longer the biggest generation -- and you are all voting age so you can't keep blaming the boomers for your political fate. The next time you bewail Trump's winning, you need to recognize that even if every Baby Boomer had voted for Trump, and believe me, we did NOT, Millennials could have stopped him if they had all voted for Hillary. Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation's largest living generation, according to population estimates released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69).Apr 25, 2016 Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America's largest generation ... www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/

  33. The millennials did not even bother to turn out in the last Presidential election -- a mere 12 months ago. I think your and Ms. Goldberg's enthusiasm for the power of millennials is grossly overstated.

  34. It's not capitalism that is at fault, it's THIS capitalism. Nordic countries are all capitalist, but they are blessed with a form of socialism that lifts them up and works to ensure their well-being. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater; with real social welfare programs, we could make sure the baby doesn't drown.

  35. This is RAW capitalism which Adam Smith, the Father of capitalism, warned us about when he created the concept of Capitalism back in the 1700s. RAW Capitalism is nothing but a cheap pyramid scheme that is doomed to collapse as it is totally unsustainable. As far as those crass vulgarians Mr & Mrs Manuchin are concerned exactly what "sacrifices & contributions" have they made to this country? They are embarrassments to the USA and yet they are living on our dime....they seem far more parasitic then patrician. Bottom feeders who should be shunned in Public by all authentic Americans.

  36. Nordic countries have blended governments. We just don't seem to have come up with the recipe.

  37. "It’s the raw exercise of power by a tiny unaccountable minority that believes in its own superiority." This distillation really resonates with me. Have you noticed that the stock market is up about 25% over the last year. Amazing, isn't it? Almost too amazing? Trump has said that the government could use a good shutdown. Maybe the country could use another good crash. Then the deep-thinking superior types would have a little more on their plates to think about.

  38. The tax cut was bought and paid for. No need to look further for justification.

  39. I find it highly suspect that nearly half of all millennials hate capitalism. The millennials I am around desperately want to strike it rich and be the next Mark Zuckerberg. I find they rarely do volunteer work, though they talk about causes incessentlyy. They all seem to want to get to the top - it's just they don't want to put in the years and dedication that those before them did. While they may want free university and free health care - they most definitely want to be the winners in a capitalist system - which is fine. But let's be honest - people are people are people regardless of their generational label

  40. You don't hang around with the millennials that I do. I'm 77 and adore the attitudes of my great nieces and nephews. They are hard working and actually volunteer, and they are involved in the political system. So maybe you should get out more.

  41. As the parent of three millennials, I agree with wolf201 that you must be hanging around with different millennials than I know. Each one of my children, (and many of their friends), in their way, works hard every day to correct the damage that has been done by rampant unchecked capitalism. They are deeply informed and engaged and committed to making our economy work for EVERY citizen in the US, which is in contrast with many of there parents.

  42. Case in point: The EPA just announced that mining corporations don't have to demonstrate their ability to clean up their messes. What this means is that in practice, they will extract the profits, pay themselves, and declare bankruptcy. The locals are left to suffer the effects of the pollutants and the taxpayers are left to pay to clean up the mess. This is how modern conservatives believe capitalism is supposed to work. Private profits and socialized costs.

  43. This brought back a long-suppressed memory. Back in the 70's when strip mining was in vogue, there was a beautiful area across the river from my childhood home. We called it The Ridge. It had a winding road in the hills over the river bottoms with lovely scenery, but many of the people who lived there were pitifully poor except for a few (including some of Mom's family) who farmed the river bottoms and were what we called "land rich." Well, the scenario played out exactly as you say. They promised lots of money to these poor people, and of course they took it. When the looters were done, they "reclaimed" the land. They reclaimed it, all right. They dozed down the hills and trees, extracted the coal and then dozed it over. Nothing would grow on it, and to this day there is nothing but dirt and a few scrub trees. They didn't put tarps on their coal trucks, so there was nasty black dust on everything. Then, as you say, the owners eventually went bankrupt and most left the area. It took years to (partially) clean up the mess they made. I remember a couple of them came to our house (we owned some land) and told my mother that they had tested and found "lots of coal" on it and wanted the mineral rights. She gave them a round cursing and ran them off like dogs. And boy, could Mom curse when she got started.

  44. And mining companies not having to clean up their messes is not capitalism, it's socialism: socialize the costs and privatize the profits. That is the GOP-fascist enterprise in a nutshell.

  45. No, it ain't capitalism Mr. Goldberg describes, it is old fashioned kleptocracy at work. A kleptocracy that is unchecked thanks to Harry Reid, who changed the Senate Rules to avoid the filibuster. The horror passed in the Senate would never have seen the light of day. Nor would the House dare come up with its bill since it could never pass muster in a Senate with filibusters.

  46. People use simplistic definitions of capitalism and socialism -- and then use the mis-defined words as weapons. Capitalism as such is not a problem - it's innovative. The problem is extreme capitalism, one without regulations, or social safety nets -- call it "robber-baron Darwinian capitalism." This every-man-for-himself version historically led to cruelty and inequality, which actually weakened capitalist systems. Many capitalist societies realized that, and made adjustments (such as Social Security and Medicare). With this enlightened capitalism, the USA became a world power. However - those who prefer robber-baron capitalism -- and that includes trickle-down theorists of Reaganism -- would like you to believe that enlightened capitalism is "socialism." This is incorrect - it's propaganda. But they were able to do that because, unfortunately, many Europeans used the word socialism to describe post-war enlightened capitalist systems. The word made it easy for opponents of enlightened capitalism to smear all enlightened capitalism as a derivative of "left wing soviet socialism." But they were not. Western systems remained capitalist, albeit with safety nets. Even the US never got rid of Social Security and Medicare. Republicans have a mistaken belief that American strength comes from robber-baron capitalism. In fact, America became a world power under the enlightened capitalism of FDR and Truman and Eisenhower.

  47. I think that many of us are saying the same thing …

  48. That is absolutely right. Throughout history, income inequality played a large part in giving rise to social unrest that led to either communism or fascism in government. Gerrymandering is an issue that needs an urgent solution, otherwise there is no way to channel the anger into meaningful changes.

  49. The Congress plans to underfund the 2020 Census -- helping to guarantee that the GOP's long-term master plan will be in place until at least 2030, or the country falls into a deep, intractable depression, whichever comes first.

  50. Among the reasons many Americans fear socialism with phobic intensity is the framing of capitalism as an either/or alternative. European countries are perfectly content with mixed economies, and our recent plunge into hyper-capitalism is a result of decades of assault on the New Deal. While the majority of voters favors such things as Social Security and unemployment compensation, they have never associated these programs with socialism. Instead, socialism is routinely demonized and capitalism defended as the foundation of liberty. Until U.S. citizens can comprehend the value of mixed economies, they will continue to be victimized by a false dilemma in which socialism is characterized as the product of totalitarian regimes.

  51. Correct, and likewise most people do not associate the Affordable Care Act with Obamacare.

  52. Eric, I have tried , without success, to explain this a someone I know for over 40 years. He has a Ph.D. and taught at Wharton. He says he is a Libertarian on social matters and a Conservative on economics. Sadly, he understands none of the ramifications of a “pure” capitalistic free market. Capitalism is and always has been an intense economic competition that is at its heart completely a-moral. Without rules that put a guardrail on it and rein in its lethal tendencies it destroys the environment and humanity in equal measure. Sadly, this is a major lesson that is unspoken and untaught in today’s schools. Socialism BTW is no bargain either since it fosters sloth in the same way that capitalism fosters ruthless greed.

  53. Fascism is also totalitarian and we are all but there now.

  54. In the movie Trumbo, the famous author and screenwriter is asked by his daughter, who is being teased at school for her fathers beliefs, if she is a Communist. He responds with the question "What would you do if you went to school with two sandwiches and you saw a classmate that didn't have anything to eat?" The daughter responds that she would share her lunch. Dalton looks at his daughter lovingly and says "I'm afraid, my dear, that you might be a Communist.". All "isms" need a restraining counterbalance or we would not have a civilization. We would be caught in an endless Darwinian battle for not only comforts but supremacy. Capitalism worked beautifully when CEO's made 24 times what the average worker made and the tax policy encouraged the rich to help their fellow citizens through philanthropy and progressive taxation. One felt a part of a whole when Democracy helped curb the natural avarice of the common sociopath. The reason Millennials feel differently today then you or I did in earlier times is because Citizens United has changed the calculation so that the average citizen is no longer equal to those with great wealth. Our vote, our voice and our representation have been diminished to the point of irrelevancy. Capitalism didn't fail us, Democracy has.

  55. It's worth going back to Marx's ideas of surplus value, reserve army, and dead capital. So long as the skilled labor pool is smaller than the demand for it, wages rise. Once there's a reserve army, a pool of unemployed workers who will do your job for less, wages stagnate or fall. Capital is productive only so far as it's put back into a business to make it more competitive...ie a more efficient producer. Capital that is saved, or sat on, is dead. The interesting thing about today, as we know, is that the capital used to make businesses more productive tends to make human work increasingly redundant. If Marx is right about capitalism, capitalism can't not do this. Who wants a hundred people to sweep a street when a machine can do quicker and at a fraction of the cost. Who will need a person to flip a burger once a robot can it quicker and less expensively? Capitalism isn't a system people volunteer for. It's a system that imprisons everyone, in Marx's view, inside its immutable laws. Businesses must become more efficient or die. People can complain all they want about jobs being exported to other countries. They have to be, because other countries can now do the same work, pushing a button, at a fraction of what America can do it for. It's not perversity that causes jobs to get exported. It's the inevitable result of economic competition inside the capitalist system. Carrying on about its injustices is beside the point.

  56. The anger at unfettered capitalism is not relegated to Millennials. Most Boomers are not billionaires or millionaires, most Boomers are going to get hit hard by this tax obscenity, as I will. All will get slammed as ALL individual deductions will go away soon. The deduction for the pass through passive income corporations, made specifically to benefit Trump and Johnson, stays. People keep thinking Citizens United is when everything changed, but big money controlled politics long before that, no matter how much worse after Citizens United and its sister suit. The average citizen was never equal to those with great wealth. Now the average citizen in a populous state has his/her vote drastically diluted while the average citizen in a non-populous state has their vote multiplied many times, and this is before gerrymandering and the other election problems including our inability to check the accuracy of elections kicks in. Capitalism did not work beautifully when CEOs made only 24X the average worker instead of well over 300X, and when we had the Eisenhower tax rates of over 90% on the top margin, but it did work better than it works now, in many respects. However millennials have great advantages over the 50s too -- women and people of color, while still facing prejudice, face much less and have opportunities undreamed of in the 50s. This law seems perfectly targeted at making sure seniors and young adults would get really hurt, especially anyone trying to get ahead.

  57. Democracy didn't fail us, capitalism has because it bought democracy, in particular the Republican Party. This process can be seen in the deliberate use of big data to buy local elections which then bought state elections who then gerrymandered their states to elect Republicans who then gave us this Congress and Trump. The capitalists official organ of this political coup is ALEC. Follow the money.

  58. I think it's more complicated than that. Millenials have no experience of communism and haven't really seen a successful Republican president, either. They are a product of their (narrow) experiences.

  59. They also have no experience of widespread prosperity and the United States as the "land of opportunity." They have no experience of publicly funded higher education, job security, or living wages. They don't realize that they have the legal right (at least for now) to stand up for themselves in the workplace by forming or joining a union. They have little to no experience with a government not corrupted by a toxic mix of money and religion. It's no wonder they reject capitalism; that rejection is a rational response to their life experiences. If something is not working - and capitalism is clearly not working for the vast majority of Americans - they see no reason to not reject it and try something else. I hope they are successful in changing things. I'm old enough to remember my parents sharing in that widespread prosperity and opportunity and I'd like to see that happen again before I die.

  60. I'm almost 60 and I haven't seen a successful Republican president either.

  61. The "successful" Republican presidents are the ones that paved the way to the crisis we are now beginning to experience.

  62. Michelle, I agree. Mostly. But I am in my 60s. So does that make me a counterexample? And Bernie is in his 70s. So let's just all agree that socialism is the preferable mean between heartless Capitalism and heartless Communism. And let's admit that there have been progressives since the 60s...or even since FDR and Woody Guthrie. Once you do that, then you will see that all those millennials are part of a great historical movement. The current Republican party, every one of them from Trump and Moore to Hatch and McConnell and Ryan and Murkowski, represent a political philosophy of greed that will lead to its own destruction. Hopefully this time it can end peacefully, and not 'off with their heads' like it did in France. (See the gold leaf furniture in the photo that accompanies your editorial.) But it is the same forces at work, and either democracy will make things fair again, or a mob will.

  63. May I point out that the "gold gilded furniture" pictured is to promote a Italian company's goods being sold here in the USA....an import...so much for the 1% supporting Made in the USA, American designers and American manufacturers.

  64. The trouble is that often times it's a right-wing populist revolution that will occur first.

  65. Michelle, you say "You don’t have to want to abolish capitalism to understand why the prospect is tempting to a generation that’s being robbed." But you do have to want to abolish capitalism. Because the robbery you refer to is central to how capitalism operates, and not only for millenials. How about the working class, the middle class, the vanishing plant and animal species, the indigenous people around the planet being destroyed by a corrosive mindset that sees only the opportunity for greed beyond measure in every direction it looks? And another thing, Michelle: the alternative to capitalism is NOT socialism. Socialism (and its big brother, Communism) are materialist and paternalistic, in other words they're born of patriarchy, just like capitalism. It's patriarchy that needs to be replaced. Replacing one "ism" with another will not work and is not the answer. The answer is to somehow find a way to return to a regenerative view, a true world community where all look out for all. In fact, that's the only answer.

  66. Rather than talking about the practical ideas needed to get us out of the current impasse, we're having lots of needless didactic discussion about the definition of the word "socialism". In any country that takes such ideas seriously, "socialism" in 2017 is defined as European democratic socialism such as the governmental systems in place since WWII in Sweden, France, Germany etc. (which doesn't prevent any of these countries from time to time having center right governments…). Today's "socialism" is not an 'ism' and is by nature (i.e. its current practical implementation) a mixed economy with each country finding its own democratic balance. There are even some elements of "socialism" (as any Ayn Rand-ist will readily tell us)in the American economy but very few in comparison to the predominantly democratic socialist European countries. Before the Reagan revolution started the dismantling of the majority of Roosevelt's New Deal policies in the 1980s, the US was much closer to the European model. (In fact, the success of the New Deal policies of the 1930s in the US served as a model for the post-war European nations…) And far from being revolutionary, most of what Bernie Sanders proposes is nothing more than returning to the Roosevelt model that dominated American politics from the 1930s through the 1970s.

  67. The concentration of available wealth into fewer and fewer hands , a dynamic that can be maintained just so long as new markets open up . (Marx re Californian gold rush ‘48– in dismay that the Americans seem to be able to invent markets out of thin air and thus avoid financial crisis every time they seem to approach the brink ) Yes —.but can a resource eating, blind stomping exploitative machine keep going without reaching an outer limit at which point it is compelled to upon itself ? The uroboric moment , long predicted by Marx , and though often delayed, may at last be at hand

  68. The only reason that millennials hate capitalism is that you don't get a participation ribbon for merely showing up. Or as the Atlantic famously said: "Millennials' Political Views Don't Make Any Sense - That's not a harsh assessment. It's just a fair description."

  69. Yes, do wallow in generalizations. I'm a boomer but the millennials I know work smartly and hard, but understand there id more to life than "working for the man". "Participation ribbons", my rump. You must be one of those that was born on third base and think you hit a triple... you know, like our current president.

  70. Well no John - both of my parents never finished school - I got an engineering degree and then a post-grad degree - I ran several companies - but we can agree on one thing - If I am indeed the "man" then yes - several millennials no longer work for me.

  71. Blaming millennials for "participation ribbons" only makes sense if they gave themselves the ribbons. No, it's just like blaming them for not getting by in the economy their parents have left behind. It's the parents' generation fault, but the ones responsible would rather pass the blame so they don't have to clean up the mess they've made.

  72. First, let's do away with the myth that socialism = communism. Socialism was an idea appropriated by the Communist (and, by the way, Nazi) parties to pretend to their people that they were different from what they were. After the crash and the Great Depression came along, capitalism put its best face forward (thanks to FDR saving it from itself) until it started getting itchy in the early '70s, with the publication of the Powell Memo. Once the Soviet Union fell, triumphalist American capitalists felt they no longer had to compete for hearts and minds around the world, and threw off all their restraints. Ironically, their best students were former Communist bureaucrats who amassed fortunes by selling to themselves the assets of the former Soviet state at fire sale prices. Meanwhile, in most western democracies, elements of socialism and capitalism coexist with each other. Whatever discontents affect the politics of these nations, there is no groundswell of public demand for more capitalism and less socialism. The United States has its own elements of socialism which earlier generations had the wisdom to adopt. They just didn't use the name, though with Social Security they came close. The difference between today's America and most other democracies is that the mega-capitalists and their Republican servants are doing their darnedest to extend socialism for themselves while taking it away from the rest of us.

  73. Putting aside the ideological labels for a moment, this new century of economic globalism and instantaneous global communication will be very different than the last. Countries doing whatever it takes to ensure that the everyone in the next generation is healthier, better educated and socially mobile will enjoy a definitive competitive advantage. As the earth's population grows, clean air and water, modern mass transit and conscientious urban planning will become even more critical. If the private sector can efficiently deliver some of these important services and make a profit without adding significant cost, fine. If they cannot, then we need to fund a common national or even international infrastructure that does. We've reached a point where these are absolute requirements for a prosperous, healthy, peaceful future for the human race, and they won't solve themselves. Whatever ideological labels you feel the need to apply, the challenges will not change.

  74. the US will not be one of the success stories of the coming era. we are mired in nothing but greed, propped up by the superstitious voters who will support the gop no matter what. We are as trump wants it- no better than russia or turkey.

  75. "How to explain this smash-and-grab legislative looting, which violates all principles of economic prudence? Part of it is simple greed, but there’s also an ideology at work, one that sees the rich as more productive and deserving than others." Time for Grassley and Hatch to be put out to pasture. Not only do they sound senile, they are more out of touch than George HW Bush and his discovering of supermarket checkout scanners. As for Linton, she married Mr. Foreclosure Steve Mnuchin, who worked for that great jobs creator, Goldman Sachs. So as for your original question, Michelle Goldberg, I'd say the The Great Money Grab of 2017 is pretty much 70% greed, and 30% finding ways to justify their greed. Of course, they also have to pay their donors, but let's face it--these long-timers in safe seats have done pretty well in Congress, receiving Cadillac healthcare for the 40 years they've occupied space there. Makes you yearn for term limits. I wonder how many movies they've gone to? Or women they've taken to dinner? How much booze--Oh, forgot, Hatch doesn't drink. The only thing worse than the Great Tax Ripoff is hearing Grassley and Hatch tell us we're lazy and spend too much money on entertainment. Hey guys--you get to write all that off. Joe "paycheck to paycheck" doesn't.

  76. I personally felt insulted by their remarks. I've been poor in my life, although I never really "felt" poor. I've always worked hard as has everyone in my family. How dare they be so condescending about other people and how they live.

  77. A book I've been reading about creating new models for the public university put it this way, and it can be applied to everything. "We are now at a key juncture in history. The neoliberals have had their turn at remaking the world and the resulting path of destruction is clear. The have created a world more unequal and anti-democratic than it has been since the Industrial Revolution. This faces public universities with a choice. Public universities can either become an integral element in the recreation of social democracy or can continue to operate as an instrument of elite domination of the planet." Levin/Greenwood, Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy Replace "public universities" with "us" and "we." But can "we" organize when "our" public institutions--universities, schools, unions--have been so crushed and disorganized by privatization and defunding? Let's try.

  78. Moral indignation is the key. The question is how low do we go before the alternatives become attractive enough to examine seriously and finally embrace. Education is the key, but I doubt it will begin in the classroom.

  79. To MB ALL US universities have miserably failed the younger generations by endlessly hiking tuition fees far out of proportion to the inflation rates. I cannot understand why Americans don't scream with outrage to learn that US college administrators are fleecing American students by accepting seven figure annual salaries. Go to Wall Street if you want to make a killing, NOT academia ! Maybe then the perpetual scandal of co-adjutants doing the bulk of teaching in universities will eventually be solved when corruption is finally addressed in this crucial aspect of American society.

  80. The late health economist Uwe Reinhardt stated simply about inequality in health care, "what percentage of someone's income should we as a society allow to be spent on health care?" We can broadly apply this to all sorts of social services where the market fails but where we as a society and country have agreed to provide for each other. While socialism can devolve into lack of individual accountability, pure capitalism is brutal in its disregard for our moral obligations to each other. Can we as a society use democracy as a mechanism that holds capitalism accountable? Hard to do in this era of misinformation but we must try and try again.

  81. Where has the market failed? A person's value is determined by the value the market places on his or her labor. The cost of living is determined by supply and demand, driven by market forces. The supply of medical care as driven by demand and the ability to pay for it. When your labor value doesn't match the cost of living or healthcare, you've failed not the market.

  82. What "market forces"? Corporations and wealthy individuals are enthroned. There is no fair competition to ensure that supply and demand applies. Donald Trump has no value as a worker. He has never collected a pay check from an employer in his life. Even now he forgoes it so he can continue to play president without being held accountable. He is utterly useless, yet very rich.

  83. You know, LCA, it's always seemed odd to me that there is such a ginned-up conflict between science and religion, when the obvious fact is that there is no more Godless, unethical, inhuman cadre on Earth than American Capitalists. Capitalists who, by the way, defy their philosophical founders' stringent insistence that Capitalism by its nature requires strict and vigilant regulation. Capitalists who mistake profit for life itself.

  84. Both capitalism (and communism) and democracy are complex systems but they aren't static. Like enterprises, they are conceived in passion, born in communities of trust and practice, grow through the application of reason and mature in power. Here they tend to get stuck: value extraction replaces value-creation and the rent-seekers move in. This sets the system up for crisis and destruction but with the possibility of renewal. All the symptoms suggests that this is where the Anglo-American social and political systems are at the moment - caught in a systems trap, the dimensions of which are beyond their understanding. Capitalism doesn't have to be scrapped but it does have to be renewed by revisiting its founding values. For Anglo-Saxon capitalism these are to be found in the Nonconformists sects of the 17th Century, especially the English Quakers, who were entrepreneurs and social reformers out of all proportion to their numbers. Until we understand these systemic processes we will continue to ask the wrong questions.

  85. Yes, and "The Captured Economy" and "The Dream Hoarders" should be required reading to understand the roles of rent-seeking and regulations that have brought us to this situation where our Capitalism must be reinvented or it will be overturned and probably violently.

  86. Gee, I wonder at the tenor of that Manhattan debate moderated by Michelle and organized by the socialist magazine “Jacobin”, which tested the notion of whether or not capitalism should be “scrapped”. And, given her arguments in this column excoriating capitalism, I wonder how effective that “moderation” could have been. Finally, she doesn’t mention who it was who argued capitalism’s side in the “debate”. Forgive me for suspecting that the whole thing probably was like your typical Harvard colloquy on economic forms, consisting of a communist, two socialists and a European social democrat, who was included to provide ideological “balance” to the discussion. I rather suspect a few millennials participated in electing an undivided Republican federal government and two-thirds of our governorships and partisan state legislative chambers that are in Republican hands. However, if her basic argument is that we’re firmly in the hands of her ideological foes, as exemplified by that “execrable” tax bill, but that thirty years from now millennials may change that, well … I guess I can accept that possibility. Wake me up in thirty years (I’ll be 92). Until then, judging from political realities, I’d suggest that capitalism will do quite well.

  87. You didn't read carefully this morning. Capitalism was defended by the editors of the well-funded Libertarian magazine Reason, which has been among capitalism's most effective ideological defenders for the past five decades. I neither envy them their task, nor accept their values, but the deck wasn't stacked.

  88. Richard, I thought you were already 92.

  89. "Finally, she doesn’t mention who it was who argued capitalism’s side in the 'debate'." Re-read the piece: "...defending capitalism were editors from the libertarian publication Reason." Bile apparently affects your eyesight. And '...capitalism will do quite well'? Wages have either stagnated or diminished for decades. Go back to sleep.

  90. While it is revealing that interest remains in this classical debate, the terms are pretty stale. There are lots of alternatives and hybrids between the two, such as the NYT article on corporate social responsibility that came out yesterday. The CSR field is growing, with business practitioners picking up new concepts and elements of responsibility, such as the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, and taking positions (or being forced to) on Trump's policies, including coming out against them. But it remains largely unknown compared to the continuing presence of its opposite, corporate irresponsibility. No one is seeing that extending and broadening it could be the basis of a new type of economy. Why wouldn't you want to have more companies that as they do business, address social and environmental problems in new ways--instead of create them? Of course, they would also need to be well run, customers would have to favor them, and government policy re-thought to promote them (although not likely at the federal level these days). The way forward is a lot fuzzier than most would like to admit. We may need to creatively combine elements of systems formerly thought of as direct opposites. Nothing is gained by continuing to see one or the other in only their purist forms as stagnantly wonderful or awful.

  91. The only thing about CSR is that it is voluntary. It works when all corporations do it. But what happens when only some do and others don't? There must be a legal mechanism to demand compliance. It's like saying, we all know murder is bad for society. So we all agree not to engage in murder. But we're not actually outlawing it. What happens when someone commits murder anyway? There is no control mechanism. I'm all for CSR. I think it's good business. But I'm not for handing away political/social control to corporate executives and praying that they'll do the right thing. The financial incentive is simply too powerful too often. Look at the countless examples we see around us right now of extreme negligence on the part of corporate executives. Take this example, Duke Energy, from just 2 years ago. They really should have known better. But they thought they could get away with it and make a fast buck. http://beta.latimes.com/nation/la-na-duke-energy-coal-ash-20150514-story...

  92. Michelle, I love your columns — but in this one I wish you had distinguished Socialism from Democratic Socialism. After all, most European countries (plus Australia, New Zealand, and too many more to mention) are capitalistic, but not in the ever-more-extreme way of American capitalism. People who live in social democracies enjoy the same freedom (and entrepreneurial spirit) we do, but have a safety net to go with it. And virtually all rank higher than us when it comes to health outcomes, life expectancy, and quality of life.

  93. And by the way, the economies of Germany and Australia are doing very well. According to Republicans they should be in deep debt and experiencing inflation.

  94. "People who live in social democracies enjoy the same freedom (and entrepreneurial spirit) we do". Really? IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Compaq, HP, Apple, Oracle, Adobe, Cisco, Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Uber, Pinterest, Qualcomm, Snapchat, etc are all U.S. companies (thankfully). How many tech market leaders are from other countries?

  95. To equate what existed within the Communist Soviet Bloc with Socialism is a a stretch. Most who advance Socialism are referring to Social Democracy which is in wide practice throughout much of the developed world. All countries are to some extent socialist only differing in degree. A Libertarian ideal would yield Somalia during it's years without a functional government. Many communities have public utilities, each state operates a public school system and University system, our public roads and other infrastructure are often publicly owned. My home is protected from the floods of the Mississippi River by a Levee District that is public and tax supported by those of us who live behind it's protection including the historic floods of 2011 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/us/11river.html). It was and is well worth every penny of special tax paid to build and keep it. Bernie Sanders had to fight uphill in 2016 against the tendency of many in media to equate Soviet era Communist dictatorship to Socialism- even among people in the press who knew better. One should note that when refugees and migrants headed out of SW Asia and the Levant they came to the Social Democracies of Northern Europe where they knew there was a high standard of living, economic and social mobility and a more tolerant government- not the Theocracies of the Islamic world. If the average American could see the standard of living in Denmark versus the US, we would have a political revolution.

  96. I agree. I'm married to a naturalized citizen who immigrated here from Germany in the late 1950's. I've spent quite a bit of time in Germany and have been amazed at how well they live there compared to the average person in this country. I saw that for the first time in the 1970's. And its gotten better over the years there. And by the way, they have an incredibly strong economy.

  97. "If the average American could see the standard of living in Denmark versus the US, we would have a political revolution." Right on. Ditto Norway.

  98. One of the worst examples of demagoguery by Sanders’ supporters was to equate the Nordic welfare state with socialism. It got so bad that Danish politicians had to issue rebuttals. Socialism is the state’s ownership of the means of production. Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production, with some government’s control over the economy. The extent of this control does not change the fact that the Nordic states are capitalist, and the USSR was socialist. The legacy of socialism is violence, poverty, and lies. I lived in Europe but I was born in the USSR. I know the difference. Arguing that socialism is a good idea but badly executed is like arguing that Nazism was a good idea, it was just that the Third Reich made some mistakes putting it into practice.

  99. It has become abundantly clear to me that there is only one system that explains all the political moves made in the US: plutocracy. It is, of course, not need, nor effort, nor merit that is the guiding principle of distribution. It is one's existing wealth. The more you happen to have, the more deserving you are, and the more you get.

  100. Words matter Ms. Goldberg. And while I too am angered about many of the issues you raise, I did not read one word about why millennials, or anyone, should be questioning capitalism. The "wretched tax bill" is about politics and democracy, not about capitalism. We should be discussing term limits and public financing of campaigns to deal with the very real problems you mention. But freedom for individuals to enter markets with new ideas and market pricing (capitalism) have improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the globe over the past 30 years So please do not confuse the methods by which we govern ourselves vs the system under which our businesses operate.

  101. Karl, I agree on public financing of campaigns. On the other hand, I disagree, vehemently, to term limits: they limit my right to vote for whomever I want. A better method is something I call Positive Voter Recall. It would work something like this: 1) If after a year, the voters are dissatisfied with the incumbent, then a petition nominating a replacement candidate is circulated to the affected voters. 2) If voters, constituting 5 % of the voters who turned out in the last election for that office, sign the nominating petition within 90 days; then a recall election between the replacement nominee and the incumbent would be held 90 or less days thereafter. 3 ) The replacement candidate wins, if a majority of the eligible voters for that office turnout to vote during that recall election, provided that a majority (NOT plurality) so voting choose the replacement candidate. The fact that the rug can be pulled out from beneath an incumbent politician will always be an excellent motivating factor for said politician to perform better by his constituents.

  102. Term limits are an example of a simple solution to a complex problem that ignores unintended consequences. We have term limits in Michigan and all it leads to is a lack of institutional knowledge and accountability. It also leads to job hopping by term limited politicians that does nothing to improve representation.

  103. Did I just read that you said the tax bill is about politics and democracy, not capitalism? The bill whose justification is that it will give money to corporations and spur them to hire? Sounds like a capitalist justification to me. The problem is that the Republicans - who supposedly believe in a free market - are making it anything but free. And that lack of freedom is actually embedded in capitalism - it is the way capitalism operates - unless one has regulations to keep it in check. Regulations that, according to Republicans, are by definition not capitalism. So no, this tax bill (when combined with the cutting of social programs, which is coming) is nothing but an attempt to instill capitalism in its most pure form.

  104. Capitalism works under two conditions: 1) when there is an efficient regulatory regime that promotes a fair and level playing field for all and protects the vulnerable including the environment, and 2) when demand for products and services is elastic. But when regulations/regulations are weakened as they have been under this administration, the bad players have a cost advantage while the good players leave as they can’t compete. Health care is a prime example of a service having inelastic demand. People have no choice but to pay the going rate in order to live until bankruptcy. This is why a national health care system is essential, and should not be considered socialist or communist. Millennials aren’t the only ones likely to despise capitalism as it relates to health care. I’m 55, ten years away from Medicare if it still exists. I have a preexisting condition. So do many also seniors and soon-to-be seniors. No profit maximizing health insurance company will want to sell us comprehensive policies at an affordable price. This is why socialized Medicare works.

  105. The biggest problem with health care coverage is that the young think they will be young forever. Then age 50 hits. The second biggest problem with health care coverage is that healthy young adults think they don't need health care, then they have an accident, or they contract a bad infection at their gym. The odds are actually greatly in their favor, until they are not. Or current healthcare is broken in a million different ways, but for me, it really hurts business, both large and small. If we had universal coverage, employees would have more flexibility in working, and employers would have more flexibility in hiring. It would free up economic activity.

  106. Britain has a capitalist government currently but has long had a thoroughly socialist health service. Throughout my working life I paid National Health Insurance at a reasonable rate so that health care is free at point of use. At 89 I need it having to take six pills a day with regular visits to my doctor to adjust dosage, having monthly hospital visit for eye problems and quarterly visits to a heart specialist. My only expense is for travel to the appointments.

  107. Agreed. The central challenge that captalism faces is the vicious cycle of negative feedback loops involving inevitable accumlation of individual/family and corporate wealth and power resulting in growing political and market dominance. The fact that wealth=power means that this iterative process continuously erodes democracy and free market competition. Thomas Piketty in his ground breaking book, Capital in the 21st Century, made the case that it took two world wars and the Great Depression to disrupt the guided age of inequality in Europe and the United States. The imminent passage of a tax bill designed to accelerate inequality shows that even the Great Recessioin of 2008 was not a potent enough force to disrupt the darkside of capitalism. The burning question for the 21st century is: what short of global catrastrophe will halt capitalism's inevitable growth in inequality?

  108. I highly doubt that most of the "millennials" understand anything about socialism. Especially the fact that no one owns anything. Socialism is not what they really want - it is a "fairer" society. While it is not likely to happen with Trump at the helm, fortunately he will not be around forever. Millennials need to get out and vote for people who think the way they do. We have a capitalistic economy and a democratic society. People voted for Trump in reaction to the elitism practiced by Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Let's see what happens in 2018 and 2020 before we decide that socialism is better.

  109. That is not the democratic socialism practiced in western Europe.

  110. There are socialist countries in Europe where people own businesses and land and houses and all sorts of stuff. "Socialism" can be thought of as the bridge between unfettered capitalism and the strictest forms of communism. It's a very long bridge, and it's up to us to define, in an intelligent manner, how far along that bridge we'd like to stop. Right now, with this proposed tax legislation, we've moved a few parking spots closer to the unfettered capitalism end of the bridge. Please don't lump socialism together with communism.

  111. Your are confusing socialism with communism - see explanation from Bismarck just above that I copy in here: "Bismarck North Dakota 48 minutes ago" The fact that few understand the difference between socialism and communism is truly sad. Socialism is NOT communism and vice versa. Socialism is some central provision of government support - public education, healthcare, the safety net. There is a free press, right of assembly, freedom of religion, open and free elections. Socialism is NOT gulags, repression, state run economy. It would be truly wonderful if we took the time to understand the difference between the two types of government. After all, countries like Sweden, Denmark, Ireland etc all with strong safety nets do not have any of the other features of communism.

  112. The fact that few understand the difference between socialism and communism is truly sad. Socialism is NOT communism and vice versa. Socialism is some central provision of government support - public education, healthcare, the safety net. There is a free press, right of assembly, freedom of religion, open and free elections. Socialism is NOT gulags, repression, state run economy. It would be truly wonderful if we took the time to understand the difference between the two types of government. After all, countries like Sweden, Denmark, Ireland etc all with strong safety nets do not have any of the other features of communism.

  113. I appreciate your refining of definitions. Of course, you are correct. But hoping Americans would take the time to understand the difference between the two types of government is like waiting for pigs to fly. Americans don't know the difference between their and there, the difference between Affordable Care and Obamacare (none!), how many original colonies comprised this country, who our allies were in WWII, and a hundred other basics. We are becoming a country of no nothings; a confederacy of dunces.

  114. Unfortunately, the people who do not understand the differences among capitalism, communism, and socialism, will not be reading an article in the NYT about such a discussion. I find that even having a conversation questioning the benefits of capitalism is very difficult to do here in the capital of capitalism.

  115. There is a difference to be sure.... but once the worker is sending most of their earnings to the state for disbursement... the Gulags and repression are not far behind.

  116. The issue is NOT between which is better, capitalism or socialism, but rather who are the people running the show. Either system could deliver on its respective promises IF the leadership would perform their duties to better society as a whole and not just be working for themselves.

  117. We are responsible for choosing the leadership. Sadly, we’ve dropped the ball.

  118. That is partially true. Corrupt leaders would detpstroy either. However capitalism has no goal aside from profit, with destruction of humans and environments considered acceptable if it increases profit. That is an important consideration.

  119. How about a brand new "ism" that is neither capitalism nor socialism but a system that responds flexibly and intelligently to circumstances as they arise to produce more equitable, healthy, and effective results?

  120. One of the contributions millennials CAN make, and I think they are, is the rejection of consumerism. Don't buy the iPhone X, try to find artisans and small companies. Save up to buy good, high quality products you do need. Avoid Walmart. Save and invest in companies and organizations you respect. That is actually expressing capitalist choices, but with a twist.

  121. Actually, we all live in a mixed system of private enterprise and public services. We have had socialism for the longest time in the form of a large and powerful public sector including our Federal Reserve, state and local governments, social security, medicaid and medicare, the large swath of regulatory agencies, food stamps, public housing, aid to the disabled as well as our Department of Defense, national parks and forests, state parks and forests, and all of our municipal services including police, fire, education and hospitals. 40 percent of our GDP is public sector. Getting rid of capitalism would a loss of all the creativity and innovation associated with private companies motivated by not only profit but by individual visions of how to serve the public. Sure, this also includes dishonest and selfish people but as anyone who has lived under socialism or worked in dysfunctional public institutions, such people work there too. Without capitalism, we risk losing not only Apple phones and other consumer products, we would also risk losing basic freedoms to a state with no boundaries upon its powers. I would never want to take that risk.

  122. Capitalism doe not encourage creativity and innovation. It encourages bottom-line profiteering, monopolistic behavior, pyramid schemes, and the authoritarian notion that the "boss", the CEO or the "president" should be the final say in all fiancial, business, and political decisions. Apple doesn't have to make a new iPhone every year and waste untold resources from around the world. It could simply sell -- or better yet, give away -- a software update using the same device for perhaps five years or more. Any "innovation" would be provided by a cheaper -- or free -- software component. But that would affect the earnings of Tim Cook and Apple's shareholders. Shareholders get to benefit from companies even thought they offer absolutely no creativity or innovation, only money. Apple is only one company out of millions that suffer from the same system of planned obsolescence, plutocracy, climate and planetary destruction. It's beyond time for a change.

  123. Your argument between socialism and capitalism is phony. You are pretending it's one or the other, but what socialism has always been in America is regulated capitalism. There's a sweet spot between rewarding innovation and cutting healthcare for 9 million children. There's a sweet spot between developing an idle rich class and allowing tax deductions for student loans. Without finding the sweet spot, there will be no such thing as a middle class.

  124. Clearly you have not been to the Scandinavian countries, capitalism and socialism work very nicely together, same as in Germany.

  125. Two points: 1. We in the US have been misinformed through our education system and popular culture about the definition of and differences between socialism and communism. Many, if not most, Americans conflate the two, but they are quite distinct. Moreover, both systems of thought have variations and are far from monolithic. 2. We in the US are unaware of our own histories of socialism and communism. In the early 20th century, communists and socialists held all sorts of municipal seats in cities across the US. They were the driving force behind many of the hallmarks of modern life that we take for granted: 40 hour work weeks, weekends, child labor laws, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, etc. We STILL live under the shadow of McCarthyism, which is why so many Americans can unironically claim they love Medicare yet scream "socialism" when President Obama pushed through market-based universal medical coverage.

  126. Trump is a protege of Roy Cohn, who was Mcarthy's lawyer, and was the mastermind of that political philosophy we still see today.

  127. Capitalism works when its fruits are distributed in the form of Social Programs benefiting the many like Social Security and Medicare. I spent my career working for Banks, Insurance Companies and Mutual Fund companies most of whom are gone due to the competitive force of Capitalism. But in old age I benefit from Social Programs which can be maintained and funded by the robust Capitalist economy. It is only when Capitalism benefits fewer and fewer and concentrates wealth as currently happens that its benefits are called into question.

  128. I think the distinction has to be made between capitalism as an ideology and capitalim as an economic system. As an economic system, capitalism has no ideology and simply serves as a system of production of goods in which efficiency is at the center and prices are the benchmark of efficiency. As an ideology, capitalism is very dangerous because it tends to treat people as goods. In this sense, capitalism extended to be understood as an ideology is applied to a context broader than it shoud with the central aim of serving those it benefits, and then become the center pillar of a plutocracy. We the people must fight capitalism as an ideology simply because everything that is human cannot be judged as simple goods (art, health, knowledge are obviously not goods, but basic human needs or forms of expression that define what it meanders to be human), and we must embrace capitalism as the economic system that produces goods that we need efficiently. Capitalism is a tool, not at all an ideology. That is the mental confusion that affects the Marie Antoniette of the world.

  129. socialism is a form of government. capitalism is a financial system. Hence many successful and very happy European countries are consider Social Capitalist, they allow businesses and individuals to operate in capitalist system but under the watch of a socialist government. Denmark is one and usually makes the list of happiest people on earth. ( for transparency my in laws are Danish and when we visit they all seem to be enjoying life. they work go to school and pay a high tax rate for a higher standard of living than we have here. Yes the country has a 100% tax on cars, your 25000 dollar car is an additional 25000 to get off the lot which helps support an excellent transportation system, their airport is state of the art and modern as opposed to our aging ones. Do we have to tax that way? Not necessarily but we also do not have to give the ultra wealthy a large tax break at the expense of the rest of our country.

  130. As a Gen Xer and parent of two millennials, I have seen what happens when Baby Boomers are in charge. I have known all my life that I would never reach the financial success of my parents, and that my children would never reach my success level no matter how hard they worked. I know there will be no money left in SS for me when I am old, despite having paid into it since I was 13. I don't want my kids to have to pay for me when I get old. Knowing all this, I taught my kids to follow their dreams for a career, not to seek only financial reward. I taught them to be ready for a global economy by seeing as much of the world as they can, by valuing experience over property, and by repsecting other cultures. We live small, in a house much smaller than we can afford, with basic cars and phones and electronics. But we live well in that we enjoy museums, parks, concerts, etc. I don't know what wil emerge when this fiasco is over, but I can see why younger people are suspicious.

  131. I have seen this "blame it on the boomers" meme show up in a few places recently. While there is certainly some justification, I would not be surprised to find some organized effort exists to help deflect and divert attention from a smaller group with far more culpability. It has been done before, as much of the Financial Crisis blame went to greedy teachers and fire fighters from New Jersey with fat pensions and Barney Frank who forced people to take mortgages they could not afford rather than on the banksters. Further, some Gen Xers and Millennials need to take some responsibility here. If a few more "Bernie Bros" had taken a deep breathe and voted for Hillary instead of staying home or throwing their vote away on Jill Stein we might not be in such a mess.

  132. More Boomer bashing nonsense! Most Baby Boomers are not rolling in money. Quite the contrary, many of our generation haven't been able to save for an adequate retirement, what with sending our Gen X kids to college, as well as the ever increasing cost of everything. Meanwhile our wages have stalled since most of us where in out late 20's early 30's. One thing I noticed about younger workers is their anti union bias. Many times I would hear that unions ruin companies, or I'm going to strike it rich, blah, blah, yada, yada. Social Security is another issue. It is salvageable, and in fact would have been in much better shape had Congress not used it as a piggy bank they could raid whenever the need arose. Baby Boomers were not in charge when that happened. We need to eliminate the cap on social security wages, and apply that to investment income. The rich owe us; after all it is through our collective efforts that they became rich to begin with.

  133. They need to vote!!!!!

  134. Not all capitalism is created equal. The social democracies of northern Europe are capitalist economies, but their assumptions differ radically from those in the US, so their policies do as well. There, taxes pay for services. Here, they subsidize corporate profits and the financial sector. There, national wealth is channeled to raise living standards through education, health care, and living standards. Here, we call such channeling "handouts" and "entitlements." I hope more millennials travel to other countries so they can see what capitalism looks like in the hands of moral human beings.

  135. The sytem in Germany for example is reffered to as Volkswirtschaft where capitalists may take part in the economy (by leveraging their capital to generate goods and services) but are required to do so in responsible and ethical manner. We loosly refer to this as corporate responsibility in the USA, only in most European countries it is obligatory. That is why, for example, the average employee in Germany has complete healthcare coverage (which includes dental & vision), unemployment insurance (which payd 67% of the last paycheck for a significant period until re-employment is secured), disability insurance, 6 weeks vacation, and other priviledges and rights that we can only dream of as Americans. Meanwhile, Germans work far fewer hours than Americans and are just as productive, acheiving status as one of the world's top exporters.

  136. One essential reason many people might hate capitalism revolves around the cost of housing. While the 1% might be able to afford housing the rest of us can’t. Without affordable rent in this country we’ll have and do have a lot of angry people.

  137. I was shocked when my elder son, aged 34, called out his fellow Millennials as spoiled whiners. I guess I should be pleased that he didn't call me out for having spoiled him, a now young, accomplished academic radiologist affiliated with a world-renown university. However, even my Millennial son would prefer socialism (that's quite different than communism) with universal health care as practiced in Denmark and Sweden, From his perspective, our currect social programs like Medicaid is unsustainable since physicians can not earn a living from it and even Medicare is not much better. Instead, a truly national health care system that rewards quality-of-care as opposed to the current fee-for-service, defensive medicine model of quantity of care with physician negotiated salaries and no medical malpractice industry would be much better than the patch-work for-profit model that has all the wrong incentives for good medical care.

  138. Does your son the radiologist know much LESS doctors earn in Europe, Canada, Sweden? it's like HALF or less what he earns in the US. Those nations cannot afford $350K a year radiologists -- that's how they can afford to give all citizens health care, by not overpaying doctors and nurses. Will your son then agree to a 50-60% wage cut? Great! we can started on that right away!

  139. It's been noted that the alternative of communism was one of the things that kept the excesses of capitalism in check. With the collapse of communism, capitalism has been able to run amok, confident that it is the only system that works. However it too is unsustainable if the greater good is not considered. Social welfare is essential to smooth out the boom/bust cycles of capitalism and technological progress. And of course social welfare is going to have to become enormous once automation eliminates millions of jobs. And capitalist economics will insist that those jobs are eliminated to maximize return on investment.

  140. "The Trump era is radicalizing because it makes the rotten morality behind our inequalities so manifest." This column certainly brings illumination to issues of critical importance, but let's not blame the failure of American capitalistic "democracy" on Trump. Our nation has historically been plagued by the excessive influence of the plutocracy, which created a nation with dangerous factories, underpaid workers, booms and busts, and extreme economic insecurity for the majority of Americans, but also the rapid development of our incredible wealth of natural resources. It was the Great Depression that reduced the power of the plutocracy and allowed Roosevelt to begin to institute socialistic institutions that have created greater economic security for the vast majority of Americans and also proved a huge boon for the overall economy by helping to utilize our human capital. However, the plutocracy is back in control, and it appears power is more enticing than wealth alone. The Koch brothers doubled their fortunes during the Obama administration, but instead of being inspired to share their good fortune they are organizing the GOP to get more. At this point, it is obviously about power and with the unlimited money in our politics we are spinning out of control.

  141. We are living in a second Gilded Age in which our congress can be bought and sold and modern social science has given the wealthy powers of persuasion they never had before. We will be lucky if we can find another FDR with a Democratic Congress.

  142. Sure makes one ponder what Teddy Roosevelt would have done with the Kochs.

  143. As a millennial, I believe that the tax plan's main intention is to increase business's ability to thrive in the United States. Though Trump has become known for his lack of morals, he also understands how business works. The goal of the plan is to get companies to invest money in their business, create jobs and power the economy. Corporations are obviously finding ways to get out of paying a portion of their taxes already, so why not give them a chance to use that money to invest in the economy. Small business will also be benefited by the tax plan, and entrepreneurs will be rewarded for starting a business. No, the plan is not perfect, and their will never be a tax plan that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on. However, the plan does not mean that millennials should hope for socialism. Most millennials hate capitalism because they believe the economy that their parents and grandparents has left them with is unfair. The more money that millennials make, the less concerned they are to reduce the income gap (according to an article published by The Atlantic). It seems millennials who find economic success in the United States would start to agree with this tax plan, regardless of their political views that we should reduce income inequality.

  144. The problem is that the last time corporations were permitted to bring back their cash stash with a lower tax rate, they did not use the money to create jobs but instead rewarded their shareholders and bought back stock shares. I have lived long enough to see "trickle down" fail again and again. The tax code needed overhaul but adding more to the deficit is not what we need to do. And, I do not believe that the Republicans voted for this plan thinking it would improve life for the middle class; they were more concerned with putting money in the pockets of their wealthy donors who had threatened them with an end to donations if they didn't pass it.

  145. No, the tax plan's main intention is to drive up budget deficits so severely that the Paul Ryans of the world will find more support for eliminating Social Security, Medicare and other innovations of the New Deal that saved our society the last time we had a political climate like this one. It sounds great to think that tax cuts for enormous corporations and Wall Street fat cats will spark the economy, but both current evidence and history prove that that is a failed strategy. We live in a consumer-based economy. If you want a tax plan to boost employment and economic output, offer significant tax cuts for the middle class (and, yes, raise taxes on the wealthy). With more money available, the middle class will spend, thus fueling a strong economy that truly would raise all boats.

  146. You can believe what you want. The historical record shows that tax cuts like these have literally never worked in the history of the world. Literally Never. Not in the US, not in any country of the world. Not in any time in history. So, why do you believe it would work now? Right now, and for many years, big companies have record cash on hand, record stock prices, record executive pay and record low wage expenses. Why would more money now cause these companies to do the things you believe?

  147. I definitely agree with a previous poster that it's not just millennials. I think a lot of us of all generations and walks of life all across the country are very happy that the discourse has finally evolved past the false conflation of socialism with authoritarian communism. Ms. Goldberg's point that the current administration is ripping the remaining figleaf off of the oligarchic and plutocratic nature of our current system and culture is very well taken.

  148. Good column, Michelle. It is important to distinguish between socialism and democratic socialism. The difference is crucial. I prefer democratic socialism, but the debate here is not between democratic socialism and capitalism. We don't have a capitalist system. We have a corrupt oligarchy with quasi-capitalist mechanisms that have been perverted to the advantage of the wealthy. Capitalism, in a pure form, is a reasonably good system for producing and distributing good and services. In theory it has self-correcting attributes. We don't have any such attributes.

  149. Are you sure? I believe Marx predicted capitalism would result in the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

  150. An excellent article. As a millennial, I would've staked out that Manhattan meeting as if my chain-restaurant killing avocados depended on it. But seriously, capitalism is a tired system that requires growth regardless of the results, and the end result will always be a late-stage capitalist oligarchy when each industry monopolizes. The 1919 Supreme Court case Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. set in stone how courts felt about companies: investors trumped workers and investment. Pun intended. Maybe when the old guard dies off we can start treating America like a country again instead of a business.

  151. The lecture was in Manhattan. I wonder how much the tickets went for. One might assume that most of those attendees who appeared to be in their 20-30s were local, NYC, possibly Manhattan. I doubt many came in from, e.g. Newark. So one might perhaps fathom a guess that many of those on line work in professionals connected to and attached to capitalism, whether their jobs are meaningful or not. I would venture a guess that many, if not most, have no real experience of socialism (or communism). True, they will be hit by the new tax bill, but my guess also is that deep down these people strive to be in that 1% rather than to be socialists. These people just hate, if at all, capitalism of a particular kind, i.e. one that makes others than them rich. They would likely be more than happy with the kind that makes them rich and allows them meaningful comfortable lives.

  152. Valid criticism of capitalism does not depend on the purity of heart of its critics. Criticism is valid if it is true and if it predicts the future of the system adequately. As of now, the critics seem to be right, however much they are motivated by envy, anger, and just simply human nature. Both saints and sinners can be right or wrong about anything.

  153. It would be fascinating to have met the attendees and talked to them, and seen their exact financial situations -- how many are trust fund babies, living in a fantasy world, where you can just "soak the rich" and then live an easy life on government welfare?

  154. This shouldn't be an either or proposition. It's just as clear that command economies don't work as it is that the logic of unbridled capitalism results in a small minority monopolizing most of society's wealth. We used to talk about "mixed economies" which is what they have even now in Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand: the best places on earth to live. We're losing that mix in this no longer great to live in for about half its people country. And why? Because the red state middle class is more afraid of being overtaken by the poor than they are of being fleeced by the rich. And the blue state middle class closes its eyes and accepts the idea that it doesn't matter that we don't make anything here as long as their white collar jobs are still safe. The truth is we need more government (more regulation and more taxes) but we also need more capitalism (more competition between non-monopolistic players and more domestic production).

  155. I hope (and expect) that someone is collecting all of these unbelievably crass statements that people like Grassley and Hatch are making and will make good use of them in next years' campaigns. The spokespersons for those who used to be called the "idle rich" are becoming more and more brazen in their foolish propaganda, and if their pronouncements are given wide publicity, we might expect eve greater turnout from the millenials next year. Up to now, their voting records have not been remarkable; I hope this changes.

  156. The way to prevent capitalism from eating itself as Marx predicted is to restrain it at the extremes. This means preventing mega mergers and splitting up mature market leaders. It also means very high tax rates for the very top earners ( and wealth holders ), and a safety net for our poorest and sickest people. Does this mean that some countries will do better than us at times ? Yes it does. Will they collapse hard if they also don't restrain themselves ? Yes they will.

  157. What does it mean that some countries will do better than us?

  158. Great points all around. I suppose something I'd add is this: in addition to greed and ideology, this plutocratic power grab and generation-spanning financial heist is premised on the idea that (many) Americans have notoriously short (to conveniently nonexistent) memories. Hence why Republicans can successfully run again and again and again on the magical thinking of trickle-down and oligarchic economics, which then leads to financial disparities and crises, which then leads to Democrats briefly in office, during which Republicans successfully blame Democrats for the very economic straits Republicans created, and then find themselves elected again, so the cycle may begin anew.

  159. Was the US a capitalistic country in the 1950s, when the middle class had a bigger piece of the economic pie? The answer to this rhetorical question is yes. Capitalism works best when the middle class is secure. Millennials interested in socialism would be better served looking toward our capitalistic 1950s as a model of economic prosperity. Unfortunately, the reaction of the millennials to the current tax shenanigans might be a swing toward the hard left. Ironically, the greed of that segment of the super rich which pushes for their own tax relief will likely come to haunt them when the pitch forks of the millennials arise.

  160. Only whites had a piece of the 50's pie.

  161. Capitalism is a form of economy that must be kept in check, through regulation, to ensure that it does not spiral out of control. The unabated increasingly inequality in America is a sign of what is on the horizon. Neither the wealthy nor middle class will benefit from a complete collapse of the system. The current trend of deregulation is extremely dangerous given the amount of debt and the state of our financial affairs.

  162. As the French say, "Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose." (Sorry, my keyboard doesn't allow for the proper punctuation.) In other words, we've been here before. Over 80 years ago, FDR and the Democrats saved capitalism's sorry behind in the wake of a worldwide economic depression the likes of which the world had never seen. Out of the ashes of the stock market crash and resulting economic calamity came a welter of social programs and a new vision of government that has sustained us to this very day. Now, in its infinite wisdom, the GOP is looking to reverse all of that, as if the last 80 years had never happened. First the wage theft bill (aka "tax reform"), next cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Everybody, including the Republicans, know that their wretched legislation will run up a huge deficit. What's less well understood (or discussed) is the effects that diverting money away from middle class wage earners will have on the overall economy. Expect a lot of speculative bubbles, as the uberwealthy seek places to park their ill-gotten gains. Also, expect an economic slowdown as average Joes and Joannes find it more difficult to buy anything. It will all end badly, just as it did in 1929. The problem is not capitalism, per se, but rather that our political and economic systems are simply unsustainable and are in desperate need of renewal. Unfortunately, societies (like individuals) never learn things the easy way.

  163. The average college graduate of a 4-year college starts their career with $37,162 of debt; that's enough to turn anyone off an economic system. Young people understand that capitalism is not about free markets and equal opportunity; it's a system rigged by the powerful against everyone else, designed to extract every living penny from everyone except the 0.1%.

  164. A four year degree adds approximately a million dollars to a person’s expected lifetime earning compared to someone will only a HS educational. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to have a 37k debt for a million in futures earnings value.

  165. "A four year degree adds approximately a million dollars to a person’s expected lifetime earning compared to someone will only a HS educational. " That isn't really true, it is based on the misuse of statistics to prove a point.

  166. truer words have never been spoken. The greed of the rich will be their undoing. It is unfettered and corrosive. If for once we actually did what was in the best interest of us all rather then the moneyed few we would all be better off. But those in a position of power are too money hungry and paranoid of losing their fortune to let that happen. They think they are shoring up their wealth but in reality they are making it more vulnerable. It won't be long till we rise up and grab our pitchforks and make them regret being so greedy and short sited.

  167. Capitalism works when capitalists recognize they have a broader responsibility to society, and when government leaders recognize that there's such a thing as the common good. It's been over a century since these requirements were as utterly absent as they are today. Our Republican leaders and our libertarian billionaires have crossed the line from individualism to sociopathy. They are destroying our society, confident in the notion that people will never rebel. Perhaps they're right. Or, perhaps, if needed, they can all escape to hideouts in New Zealand, or on Mars. But if I were they, I wouldn't be quite so confident.

  168. In America anno 2017 it's not just the social contract Señor Camarda describes that is broken...

  169. While I can see how capitalism can be efficient (though it's often not), it seems that its supporters think it's the only possible solution for a "fair" world; and on this, I disagree profoundly. It's true, "anyone" can make it big, but the moral failure is that not everyone (or even most people) can make it big...there have got to be plenty of people on the "bottom" for it to work as a system, and that would be true even if all people in the community were equally educated, motivated, and hard-working.

  170. The thing is, capitalism is not fair. This is augmented by the tax code. The oil and gas industry still get tax breaks despite being profitable businesses that pay their executives some of the high pay in the economy. Trade policy also favors only certain business and all business works their best to avoid income tax no matter the rate. About have the Dow gets out of income tax.

  171. The root of this issue is that most people want wealth and economic growth today and don't care about what happens off in the future. As the planet is finite, and in environmental decline, consuming today takes away from tomorrow. That is what terrifies millennial, and rightfully so.

  172. I think we need to recognize our problem has nothing to do with capitalist ideology. That is simply an intellectual mask for the naked self-interest of the people in power. We don't need a competing ideology, we need to develop competing bases of power. "Lest you think that’s just the sputtering of a modern Marie-Antoinette" That is exactly what it is, a self-satisfied ruling class looking down on the rest of us. And its not limited to a small group of conservatives. It applies equally to their liberal counterparts in the ruling elite. Both see themselves as the natural rulers of the world. Until we restore self-government, we will suffer these indignities. As long as our institutions are controlled by this ruling elite, they won't really serve our interests. Instead they will divide us into small groups and use those divisions to maintain their control. Why are people so partisan? Because the media theater has a partisan narrative and, as here, we are bombarded by emotional messages that support that narrative. Why do people believe young black men are prone to violence. Because the media bombards us with emotional imagery that portrays them that way. If you doubt it, ask yourself how vast expanses of red on those political maps, including white suburb,s became so racist without almost any real world contact with African-Americans or "illegal immigrants". Its because they are served a daily dose of racist imagery in the media. Capitalism? Socialism? Who cares?

  173. What media are you talking about, that serves up "racist imagery" about African Americans? I've never seen any such thing on TV. And as for illegal aliens....they are hispanic/latino, and that is not a race. There is no unique brown-skinned "hispanic race". Most hispanics self-identify as WHITE.

  174. The sytem in Germany for example is reffered to as Volkswirtschaft where capitalists may take part in the economy (by leveraging their capital to generate goods and services) but are required to do so in responsible and ethical manner. We loosly refer to this as corporate responsibility in the USA, only in most European countries it is obligatory. That is why, for example, the average employee in Germany has complete healthcare coverage (which includes dental & vision), unemployment insurance (which payd 67% of the last paycheck for a significant period until re-employment is secured), disability insurance, 6 weeks vacation, and other priviledges and rights that we can only dream of as Americans. Meanwhile, Germans work far fewer hours than Americans and are just as productive, acheiving status as one of the world's top exporters.

  175. Yes, and Congress makes the laws. Right now Walmart, for example, employs thousands of Americans and very few of those working at Walmart have health care benefits in part because very few of them work "full-time." As a result, the taxpayer subsidizes Walmart's profits because the costs of healthcare that Walmart would have to bear under your description of the German system is born by the taxpayers - us! Meanwhile the Walmart family is going to get another big, wet kiss from the GOP: repeal of the estate tax. This is a great broadening of the meritocracy: you merit your money not only because you (fill in the blank: invented a great gadget, process, started a profitable company, etc) did great, now you can merit your money in the eyes of our Republic because your parents did great and are passing all of their money on to you! Welcome to the Aristocracy, and idea the Founders of our country were dead set against. This brings up the huge question: do the Republicans even care about the founding ideas and documents of the Republic?

  176. Michelle, I think that you're correct here, inasmuch as younger Americans simply do not remember the Cold War - and thus are mercifully free from its baggage. As regards the possibility of utopian socialist ideals making a comeback over the next 40 years, let me quote two brief excerpts from my Trump inaugural study, "The War Within": "As an extended aside, let me take the opportunity here to note that while capitalism and socialism are typically framed by political polemicists as arch enemies, the student of long-term astrological cycles notes that their fortunes rise and fall simultaneously. It may well be that these two seemingly incompatible models require each other as a honest foil or counterbalance – and that the ultimate ‘end of history’ in the coming age of automation will not see the triumph of one or the other, but rather the stormy marriage of both." … "To offer a favorite analogy from the spiritual literature, the Buddha taught the middle way to enlightenment. He taught that if you pull a string on a lute too tightly, it will break; but if you don’t pull it tightly enough, it will not play. I humbly submit that this analogy of the middle way can easily be applied to the art of economics; and that once we get beyond these insane polemics, the middle way will prove the surest, sanest course." http://www.hpleft.com/011417.pdf

  177. The belief that the rich will share their gains with society is a palatable story the GOP has been telling for awhile. It's a nice, neat story that they themselves want to believe. This myth goes along nicely with the John Wayne vision of individual success that America buys into, part and parcel of the American Dream. A few individuals will save us all. The story goes: if individual can get ahead, then we are all equal in opportunity and therefore have a level playing field, and the circular reasoning keeps spinning. We all know that some of us are privileged by luck, timing, genetics, upbringing, etc. But like little children we want to believe that life is actually fair. These "leaders" in Congress believe they just worked harder, and that's the only difference in their success. I am sure they worked very hard, but hard work is only one prerequisite for success.

  178. I wonder how that debate went. Was it ideological or practical? Our most successful modern societies exist on a continuum. There is no pure capitalist or socialist economic system. Pure capitalism looks a lot like Dicken's London. Not pretty. The younger people were probably introduced to their socialism from Bernie, who pushes the Scandinavian model. That model has resulted, for decades, a society where government provides full education, healthcare, retirement, a world class infrastructure, no debilitating poverty, four weeks paid vacation by law, and a balanced budget. This is also where Ikea comes from, so there are capitalist opportunities (I know Ikea moved). This would cost about 50% of their earnings in taxes. Sounds like a good deal to a lot of younger people with student debt and low paying jobs.

  179. Yes, it is important to know that most millennials are not longing for something like the old Soviet system but for something like the systems that exist in other Western democracies. A lot of today's youth have spent time overseas, so they have had the experience of coming back from a stay in Western Europe (other than Britain, whose Conservatives are gleefully--yes, gleefully--taking hatchets to that country's safety net and infrastructure investments), East Asia, Australia, or New Zealand and seeing America as backward in contrast.

  180. Speaking as an older Millennial myself, if my cohort and I saw that capitalism was working for us, we would support it. Instead, already during our lifetimes, we have seen spectacular trends in income and wealth inequality buttressed by the systematic use of federal government authority to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. The recent tax cut bill is only the most recent example, joining the TARP banker bailouts, removal of student loans from standard bankruptcy practice, and constant drumbeat to cut, cut, cut Social Security and Medicare (but only for future beneficiaries) so that my generation can pay full freight for those programs, but receive only a pale shadow of what our parents enjoy. We deserve the same reasonable chance of achieving the American Dream that our parents and their parents enjoyed. Our current form of economic/governmental/societal organization is not and has not delivered that. They need to change - and we will change them.

  181. The basic tenet of capitalism is greed. When the Congress gives rich people trillions in tax cuts with the idea that they will put into practice some kind of noblesse oblige then they are crazy. This money will go other places - off shore accounts are a good bet. You only have to look at US Steel when they were given billions in tax breaks under Ronald Reagan. The company, rather than making their industry competitive again, bought Marathon oil. They closed even more steel factories and changed their name from US Steel to USX. Did they care even a little for the out of work steel workers? No their concerns were with stockholders. Don't look for a kinder and gentler America with this economic system and if you have any doubts whatsoever just take a look at our new "tax reform" bill.

  182. Even if we did not have to suffer the extra indignity of gross acceleration of America's half a century long slide back toward 19th century levels of wealth inequality, that is, even if tax policy remained roughly as is, this disastrous process would continue. It has always been the case that capital accumulated more rapidly than the economy grew (that is, than the wealth and income of those with little to no capital grew), except in one totally exceptional historical period: 1917-1945. The (relatively) blank capital slate created by the two world wars, the unprecedented growth rates experienced afterward, and the extremely progressive tax policies enacted in a West fearing communism are the only things that have ever allowed the vast majority without capital to gain a real foothold in the wealth of their society. Alas, the golden age of the middle class produced by this was not to last forever. From the 1970s, capital has come roaring back, thanks not only to lower growth rates but to radical reversals in redistributive policy. We are now back to inequality levels rivalling or even surpassing those recorded on the eve of World War I. So the real question of the moment is: can we again achieve the widespread distribution of riches of the postwar years without having to wait for another major external trauma to capital (such as a world war or totally unchecked ecological catastrophe) to do it for us?

  183. Capitalism without any moral restraint on the part of the 1% who increasingly control the political/economic system is a disaster. There are no apparent limits on the greed being expressed and acted upon. Its just "take, take, take", using constructed fantasies of moral superiority as justification for going for it all. Nor is there any sense of real national loyalty. These folks and their agents will follow the money and stuff their pockets no matter the effect on the social environment here. All the flag waving they do is just a cover to distract from their theft of what should be our commonwealth.

  184. My friends in western European democracies live a much better life than we do in the U.S. They pay more in taxes but they receive child care, quality education through college, health care, modern infrastructure, art & plenty of green spaces. They do not have the daily stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck like we do in the U.S. or of getting randomly shot to death. But they do live "small" - small homes, small cars, lots of time spent in the outdoors, less consumer garbage filling their homes. U.S. capitalism is a system of oligarchs which the peasants keep paying to support. The U.S. has little to offer the vast majority of its citizens.

  185. When I was a kid the marginal tax rate under the republican president was fair. It was something like 90%. What's wrong with "capitalism plus fair taxes"? Not that I have any complaints about Socialism. I'm just saying.

  186. And with all due respect, as the mother of Millennials, some us us have never happily taken capitalism for granted. And as other responders have noted it’s never been, for many of us, an either-or proposition. We have indeed been here many times before, as any literature review would prove. Debates like yours are an essential part of mapping a way forward. The only thing I’d ask of millennials is to realize - as we all have had to do as well - that the best use of their energies and intellect is to tackle these problems thoughtfully and together with their elders, rather than emphasizing ageist divisions. There’s nothing ‘uniquely suspicious’ here: after all, one of our most vocal socialists right now is a septuagenarian. We’re all in this together.

  187. The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment offered kids a larger reward if they could refrain from eating a marshmallow while being left alone for 15 minutes. Those children who could delay gratification and not eat the marshmallow exhibited better life outcomes in follow up studies. Chuck Grassley's comment was certainly crude but right on point--as any couple that saves for 5 years in order to amass a down payment on a house knows very well. Delayed gratification is a good thing and should be encouraged enthusiastically. Why on earth create an estate tax that punishes the strategy we so otherwise admire? Here's the problem. After a person's investment portfolio reaches a certain critical mass, she can pretty much buy anything she wants and still watch her estate grow in value. So if were to eliminate the estate tax entirely, the government would reward delayed gratification for the less affluent but also allow the filthy rich to make their heirs even richer. We'd soon have an aristocratic class--if we don't have one already--that would be powerful enough to crush democracy. Promoting the very behavior that can lead to the destruction of a democratic society is one of the contradictions of capitalism. If we're going to solve this problem we should start by avoiding cheap shots and engage in serious dialogue.

  188. Republican's wish to slash Medicaid benefits, with some in Congress planning to require recipients to secure employment within a specific period of time. I suspect many of these represent the masses that Orrin Hatch include in the "won't help themselves." group. I beg Hatch to visit any state mental institution to observe commitment hearings for these individuals and to then identify which patients he intends to hire for his campaign staff. Why has the myth that the poor are poor because they refuse to work persisted for decades?

  189. I'm not sure the choice is between capitalism and socialism. Most (all?) modern examples of capitalism have socialistic elements, the most obvious example in the US being Medicare. The question really is how fettered do we want our capitalism to be. Given the accelerating agglomeration of wealth and power among the rich in the US, some additional fettering seems pretty welcome and/or Republicans could change their tune and start thinking just a little more magnanimously, as they did in the good old 1950s (regarding class, if not race and gender).

  190. Since the economy is currently doing well and businesses have record profits, there is no economic motivation for this dopey tax bill. And, if somehow the tax cuts resulted in some additional growth, you would expect the Fed to raise interest rates to slow it down. This is all about giving the rich more money and cutting programs needed by people.

  191. Capitalism? What capitalism? I don't experience capitalism when I try to figure out how much a medical procedure will cost from a variety of providers. I don't experience capitalism when I try to figure out the cost of prescription drugs and don't get the benefit of going across the border to buy the same drugs for less. I don't experience capitalism when I look for internet service from the few providers who add charges above & beyond what was agreed to in our contract - internet providers who are in a race to the bottom of quality and price. Capitalism is about competition and an effort by services and goods providers to gain my trust and my business by providing a better deal than their competition. Yet the capitalism I experience is distorted by the monopolistic reality of much of America ... and the fact that our government representatives are bought & paid for to serve the anti-capitalist oligarchs who are, in fact, undermining both capitalism and democracy in America.

  192. Right on, right on, right on. And when Amazon owns the entire stream of distribution, we can regulate it like a utility.

  193. Why is it so hard for people to see that? We do not have a democracy any longer. We haven't for a long time. This is an oligarchy that Trump is trying to push towards dictatorship, in his unlawful and kleptocratic ways, trashing the Constitution.

  194. As many here have pointed out, making moral judgements based on how much money you "earn" is not capitalism - it's plutocracy. The quotes in this article show the resentment of the rich for the bare-bones safety net set up to keep this country from collapsing after the Great Depression. To defund the government "welfare state" and have the less fortunate go back to depending on private charitable organizations is a way to codify their view that only the "good" poor people get benefits. My feeling is that Millennials (who are the hope for the future) will simply find it easier to vote with their feet and move to whatever place will hire them - even if it's over the border or across the sea.

  195. The net effect of eliminating access to education, eliminating immigration, and eliminating the safety net will be the creation of a low-wage worker class. This is traditional class warfare, being successfully waged by the "unaccountable minority that believes in its own superiority," which sounds an awful lot like "manifest destiny."

  196. Precision of language is important. Capitalism, strictly considered, reflects economic freedom (see the Economic Freedom Index or the World Freedom Index for the kinds of activity that it describes). The author's real criticism is about so-called "crony-capitalism", which is just influence-peddling in DC. This is made possible by having a permanent political class involved in government, from whom favors are bought and sold. One remedy would be to establish term limits, so that the focus of a person in Congress could be pulled away from financial contributions to the next election and toward the legitimate needs of the electorate (consistent with Constitutional limits). Another limit on crony-capitalism could be provided by a more principled judiciary, but that will take some generations to accomplish. [Note that the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Bill of Rights have been dead letters for nearly one century.] While I am not overwhelmed by the sagacity of most millennials, they do have a legitimate gripe with our current political economy. Just don't call the problem "capitalism". PS: economic freedom does not imply economic equality. I can't shoot like LeBron, nor do I expect to be compensated as he is.

  197. Here is an interesting thought: should someone who is able to shoot like LeBron, or throw like Brady, EVER make the kind of money that they do? Shouldn't we be rewarding something more important with large incomes, like saving lives, curing illnesses, teaching the next generation? I understand that basketball and football are entertaining, and the best players generate a lot of income for their teams. However, it seems that money could be put to better use. Hey, how about putting it towards a new stadium, instead of making your taxpayers pay part of it?? Wow! I'm a genius!

  198. Born in 1400, many would know the divine right of kings to be natural, and right, the proper way to organize society. Born in 1900, the ravages of mercantilism already morphing, many would recognize capitalism, again, as right, and true. But capitalism has wrought that most heinous of sins, namely the righteousness of valuing all with dollars, simultaneously declaring that the non-rich are somehow devalued. I’m inclined to think that we can learn from the past and the excesses of the present, and that history is leading us from kings, past robber barons, and finally to universal equality.

  199. Younger people aren't necessarily taking this on the chin. Some are leaving. Why contribute to a society where you aren't represented? The great thing is that younger people are mobile, more open to change, and more able to adapt to newer circumstances. Trump's generation is far from that. I just don't see why older folk assume younger people will fund their profligacy. I truly wonder if older people will still bemoan their lack of benefits when there is no one left to fund them. At this point, people should really leave the US for countries with better healthcare systems, while investing in the US stock market. In this way, they can reap the gains while America destroys itself, but not have to endure the social fallout and intergenerational animosity.

  200. I'm old (70), white, and my net worth is comfortably north of a million bucks. Nonetheless, I think the Republicans' tax bill is a travesty. The provisions will rot the underpinnings of the actual economy, especially by putting the health, education, and environment of future generations at risk. How is the U.S. economy supposed to grow when the vast majority of people are poorly educated, in fragile health, and living in polluted environments? Oh -- and no immigrants to pick up the slack. Who's going to perform the skilled jobs? Who's going to consume what the big corporations are selling? People like Trump and Hatch may well be gone by the time the true consequences of these policies cripple this country, but no doubt future generations will curse these people.

  201. I recall that when the Berlin Wall fell there were many exalting over the defeat of Communism by Capitalism. I thought and commented that it would not be long before Capitalism also defeated Democracy. It has happened. What we really have is "Corporatocracy" where wealthy individuals can exercise their will as they hide behind the dark veil of multiple corporations with rights of individuals but without the personal and legal responsibility and expected decency of individuals. We have become a kleptocracy.

  202. Socialism in the Soviet Union And China have miserably failed. We need to look at the social democratic models of Western Europe. Germany would be a good example. Any consideration for a new system has to prioritize saving our planet earth from environmental degradation and over-consumption. Of course, social justice and much better wealth distribution is also extremely important. Whatever the outcome, we need an open society, not run by despots or oligarchs.

  203. The millennial attraction to socialism begins with economics. We're undoubtedly the first generation to experience a diminished quality of life when compared to their parents since WWII. The pie is still growing but millennials weren't invited to the table. A growing investment market doesn't mean much when you're still paying off student loans rather than investing. We watch as older generations raise children in prosperity and security then retire in relative comfort. These simple dreams are out of reach for most millennials. If aspiring to participate in the American dream makes us seem entitled then consider us entitled. Capitalism is a failed promise to our generation. Republicans aren't alone here either. The Democratic nominee was giving speeches worth more than most millennials' total assets. Time to try something new. Here's the strange part though. Only 50 percent of millennials voted. That number is considered unusually high as well. Seeing as we're getting blatantly ripped off by an older wealthier generation, you'd think turnout would show up with a little more gusto. Yes, we're gerrymandered and geographically self-selecting but I feel like we can do better than 50 percent. There's has to be a few young socialists out there that can tip the scales in swing states. By the way, the Gen-Xers voting participation was down in the 30s throughout all of the booming 90s. They only began to engage politically after their first recession. Talk about entitled. Sheesh.

  204. It's not really about capitalism so much as how you decide to regulate markets, either to provide broad opportunity and economic security across your society, or to have the winners take all and keep it for themselves and their heirs. As the bygone glory of our middle class fades, America seems to be evolving toward a third world economic order in which exploiting your neighbors is the only way to get ahead. Sad!

  205. Libertarians oppose taxation. it has nothing to do with economics; it has everything to do ethics. Libertarians oppose theft, and taxation - as well as the redistribution of wealth - is theft by definition since it the taking of something from someone without their consent. Some indivduals who claim to be libertarians conflate the free market with capitalism as it is practiced but this is wrong; capitalism as it is practiced is really ''state capitalism' or 'corporate capitalism' and in not a free market system.

  206. Libertarians say that capitalism hasn’t failed; it just hasn’t been tried. Diehard Communists say the same thing about the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both are right. The problem is that rigid idealistic ideologies wither in the face of human nature, with its greed and lust for power. These ideologies never work in practice the way they look on paper. We’ve been around long enough to see what works best in an economic system—carefully regulated capitalism, or a mixed economy if you like that term better. Unfortunately our government increasingly represents the views of self-interested plutocrats who think they can protect themselves from the deluge that is sure to come if we keep on in this direction.

  207. The only definition of "theft" that matters is the legal one, and your definition is definitely not the legal one. Governments are essential to create a society in which freedom can be meaningfully exercised. And governments require a series of rules, constraints and, yes, funding requirements that not every citizen will like but all must accept to prevent their society's decline into anarchy, which inevitably becomes kleptocracy.

  208. Blame it on anti-intellectualism. When a majority of Americans howl at socialism as being a Soviet era thing, they know nada; they are ill informed, incurious, stuck in a hokey rut. Millennials look at a country as Sweden as a smart place where the upward mobility is far better than the US, where the commons are built and respected by a vast majority for the benefit of all, where prosperity is shared. As a result Swedes are amongst the happiest people on earth. But I should add that Sweden decades ago created Folkbildning; that is a lifelong adult educational program that is designed to prime curiosity, to help develop a healthy intellectual life for adults. In other words Americans are becoming increasingly rustic, morose and fearful of that which does not suit their dogmas. Moreover they have little or not a clue what capitalism is, never mind what socialism might be... Millennials could and will change America into a socialist and more just system, and I root for them wholeheartedly. After all I escaped a communist Romania, furthermore I lived in all systems. I would not trade Swedish or Germany socialism for that which America has regressed into. What's needed is a mental exercise; flexing the intellect for one's benefit and for the the benefit of the commons, as the two are interdependent. Need I say that it is called socialism?!

  209. The advantages of the wealthy, the well-connected, and the shrewd arrived on American shores with the first European colonists. And the framers of the Constitution themselves were among these people. Many, like Adams, mistrusted the common man. They created a highly flawed prototype of Democracy--including a laissez-faire central government and anachronisms such as the Electoral College. Our political foundation ---as Jefferson expected it someday would be--is now urgently in need of intelligent reform, including Constitutional amendments overturning Citizens United, guaranteeing fair elections, and ensuring that America's wealth and resources are more equitably distributed. Give this woman a Pulitzer for identifying the despairing cynicism of our Millennial generation regarding our broken politico-economic system.

  210. Many of us have been watching the system rot for decades. We saw much of christianity become obsessed with personal acquisitions first and personal salvation second, to the exclusion of all else. We watched Reagan popularize the lie of trickle-down economics, (which his budget director disavowed), and tar all poor for the mythical actions of a few. As they got away with it they and their lies became more audacious. It's easy to pick on the powerless, and hold them down, when their best efforts are focused on simple survival, and they were easy to keep wallowing in ignorance, (note this presidents millions of stupid minions). But now the internet in fostering a new connectivity, and communication, and millennials, not yet falling into the stupid slumber of their parents are seeing the myths that capitalism has been built on, and are realizing that in many ways that it is unsustainable and will not work for them. Injustices are harder to hide in a connected world. Lets hope that they continue to waken, and rouse their parents, and we can take back our society for the intelligent common folk.

  211. Capitalism works quite well when the wealthy and not wealthy still share the same roads, the same schools, the same grocery stores, the same churches, and so on, because when the rich share our reality they have a vested interest in maintaining it. It is when the rich leave the rest of us behind and isolate themselves in their closed communities that capitalism becomes poisonous, and that is where we are today. It took the Great Depression to reset capitalism at the end of the last Gilded Age. I fear it will take an equally dramatic event to reset it at the end of this one, too.

  212. In our post-Citizens United reality, this tax bill looks to me like a tactic to get more money/political power (since the two are fully correlated now) into the hands of Republican donors at the expense of traditional Democratic Party supporters. Kind of like a nation-wide form of gerrymandering. Also, it is breathtaking to see the degree of contempt that Republicans have for average working people. Maybe because the vast majority of people in Congress are millionaires (this includes Democrats, I know, but Dems seem to have some functioning conscience) they simply have no comprehension of what life is like for the rest of us. Perhaps we need to drop the word "United" from our country's name. We are increasingly separate and unequal, and broken.

  213. What a great article. Nice to see someone actually discussing socialism as if it might not be evil incarnate. I'm actually quite fine with free-market capitalism. I think it's generally the best way to let an economy run. But I do think that we need a strong regulatory system to protect workers, consumers, investors, and the environment. And we need a strong social safety net to ensure everyone has access to the basics necessary to thrive in our society—food, clothing, housing, healthcare, education, transportation, etc. Most important, I think it's critical as a society that we value labour equally with investment. And that gets to the point of the article and to the core problem with the current Republican agenda. The Trump/GOP agenda is animated by three primary goals: 1. Destroy the regulatory regime that keeps capitalism from becoming abusive and exploitive 2. Dismantle the social safety net 3. Advance the interests of the rentier class As I've reviewed the proposed tax bill and listened to the comments of the Republicans, I can't help but see the bill as an extreme attempt to advance the interests of the rentiers (those whose money derives from investment or capital) over wage earners (ordinary labourers). This is the classic Marxian dichotomy. It's almost as if the GOP wants to create a society where a Marxist revolution becomes not a pipe dream of the looney left, but an actual necessity for a growing underclass of underpaid, financially insecure working people.

  214. Increasing income inequality will cause a revolution that will take down the plutocracy. There will be more equality and a better system for a while until inequality grows again and the cycle of destruction and reconstruction begins again. Let us hope that we can do this through a free and fair electoral system and NOT by any means necessary. We get the government we deserve.

  215. The inequalities that currently exist in the US will worsen especially with the implementation of the most recent tax bill. Eventually, condition will reach a breaking point which will lead to major social unrest reminiscent of past revolutions. You can only suppress and deprive people for so long before they rise up and take by force what they feel is their share of opportunity for advancement. When all hope of upward mobility is gone, there's nothing left to lose. I speak from experience as my family was extremely wealthy land owners prior to the rise of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. My grandparents and parents lost everything during the revolution in North Vietnam that eventually drove out the French. We moved South to Saigon only to lose everything again when the Vietnam War ended. If Americans don't think Socialist Revolution can't happen in the US, you're ignoring historical lessons.

  216. The most revealing phrase of this column is Goldberg's condescending dismissal of the power of markets--"the occult magic of the market." A rational discussion of capitalism would recognize that capitalism has lifted billions of people out of the most wretched poverty. In fact, capitalism has done more to alleviate human suffering than probably any other social force in history. Capitalism has driven technological developments that make some of the poorest people in America healthier, more pain free, better educated, and able to enjoy more entertainment opportunities than most of the wealthiest people in history. The idea that some arcane provision of the American tax code somehow negates all of this is the height of folly. Never has there been a worse example of not being able to see the forest for the trees. To the extent that millennials (and Ms. Goldberg) do not know about or do not understand the real, empirically demonstrated record of capitalism is a clear demonstration that they are either poorly educated or profoundly irrational.

  217. Methinks you protest too loudly and you Sir, are the one missing the forest for the trees. Ms Goldberg's column is not a diatribe against capitalism - but rather an observation of how it is being viewed today by an entire generation. This is something that has important meaning for the Nations future as well as for Capitalism. I am in my 60's and very successful, beyond my expectations when I was in my teens. Born in a working class family, in a neighborhood of blue collar workers, hardly a college educated parent in this part of Queens. We hung out in a school yard and talked about being rich,never thinking any of us would be, but all of us thought we COULD be if we worked or wanted it. In other words , the world was not stacked against us. only ourselves. When you read this column you will understand that an entire generation feels otherwise, and with some reason. Just listen to guys like Grassley, Ryan, and Hatch. Just look at the policies! Even my kids have an advantage - not just because they are smart, but because I could afford the private tutors for the SAT's that the children of the less affluent could not. Because I could afford to send them to college and they finished without student debt ( by the way , when I grew up in Queens , City University of New York colleges were ALL free! - No student debt for any us!) The millennials you disparage are not the ones that are being irrational or poorly educated, it is your reasoning and conclusions that are.

  218. Charles- Thank you for these comments. Democracy has in fact made poor people in America pain free, healthy and better educated. Witness how this education has now allowed the many writers here to argue that they own what others provide, are entitled to more from government, while rejecting any move by government to stop seizing other's wealth and giving it to them. While their reasoning is faulty (exposing their failure to understand what they studied) their presentation skills have been well developed allowing them to sound intelligent while masking ignorance.

  219. Yes, when I read Dickens, I think, how wonderful that capitalism has lifted so many out of poverty! Balderdash. A few people can get rich off capitalism. A society can get rich off socialism. Market forces and competition is what leads to advances in society, not privileging capital over labor. Let capitalists do whatever they want and they will run rampant.

  220. Since the miserable Citizens United decision it has been very clear that capitalism and democracy are incompatible. Democracy works only when all citizens have roughly equal political power. Now that political power is so blatantly equated with wealth, political equality is out the window. I believe that, absent the highly unlikely reversal of the Citizens United decision, democracy in America is dead. Nothing supports that sad belief more than the monstrous tax bill our bought-and-sold Congress is about to thrust on us. There’s plenty of guilt to go around, but knowing who the bad guys are doesn’t empower change so long as wealth blocks all paths back to sanity. It seems now that nothing can ease the pain of seeing my country transformed into an oligarchy. History teaches that the despair of the powerless eventually leads to revolution, but a positive outcome of revolution is never guaranteed. America’s future looks very dark.

  221. Another misconception this article does not make clear is that the rich are not exactly the ones that are talented and intelligent. Many of the rich exploit, not only the hard work of the lower classes who made possible their profits, but also the stealing of ideas from those workers who "are not able to help themselves" because they do not have the money to hire lawyers to defend their intellectual property. Also, most Americans are not aware of another factor this article does not address: many of our corporations are now owned by foreign companies that could not care less what happens to our workers and our country. They are only interested in their profits.

  222. Republicans have circled their wagons ever tighter since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. At this point they are so constricted that they can see neither past nor future, nor much of what happens in the world at large in any meaningful way. One thing they are missing is the Millennial Generation, ever growing, ever thinking, not running to the democrats, but absolutely repelled by the modern republican party. Mitch McConnell just rushed a hack job bill that will have a dramatic impact on Millennials and the rest of us. Seventy five percent of the Senate was shut out of the process; Every independent accounting of the estimated effects of the bill depict disaster in no uncertain terms; The bill voted on looked like a first draft with handwritten sentences and scribblings aplenty; It was offered to the democrats 25 minutes before the vote commenced. Is there really any reason to wonder why the Millennial Generation wonders what will be left for them?

  223. It is not so much democracy millennials reject as the oligarchy Trumpism has managed to achieve in one year. Hiring departmental detractors to dismantle departments, retaining liars at the expense of honest people (of whom he had a few) and now stripping public education which is already nowhere near the top internationally is enough to wish for socialism. millennials will probably have to care for their parents as they home school their children unless the Dems regain power and repeal this tax bill. Who can blame them for wanting better?

  224. In my fifties and have known the dangers of capitalism for years. It's a great motivator; however, when left unchecked, it grows by its natural, human greed until its greed eats itself. Capitalism can work eternally with one provisor: government's regulatory agencies need to be more powerful than the largest corporations'. This also assumes the government has not been corrupted by capital and works to ensure a free and open market devoid of lobbyists, superpacs, etc, ... Obviously, we have moved and are moving further from that ideal.

  225. The Tax bill might seem like an expression of unfettered capitalism. It is not. It is a kind of perverse socialism which expropriates the wealth of the poor and the middle classes and redistributes it to the wealthy. It is an entirely hypocritical action by a party that has always claimed to be against expropriation and redistribution. Now it is clear that they are against them only when they feel they is not in their favor. When they benefit them they are fine with these practices.

  226. Please explain why you believe that this is reverse redistribution. Since Government does not produce anything, it's revenues come from its citizens. Do you believe that these revenues belong to the "poor and middle class" and constitute their wealth? How is giving revenues back to the sources that paid them redistribution? Seems to me this is simply returning dollars to those who provided them and the $ rightfully belong to those who provided them. And when voters elect those politicians who promise to take money from those who do not support them and give it to those who vote for them, it is simply bribery, not socialistic good. Call it what is is. Corruption, by both the elected and the electors.

  227. Socialism for the rich, laissez faire capitalism for everyone else. But, this is to be expected. After all, most senators and congresspersons are they themselves millionaires, who stand to benefit most of all.

  228. The reason millennials hate capitalism is partially because of the way we talk about it. The choice wealthy democracies should be making isn't between capitalism and socialism at all- but about the ideal balance of both. Unfortunately, our own government has been hijacked by the extreme right wing donors-tactitions of the GOP, who wish to destroy any vestiges of socialism in our government- against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans. The Koch brothers, in particular, believe in absolute and unfettered capitalism and to millennials, such men have become the face of capitalism. They have trashed capitalism's reputation.

  229. I don't think it's necessarily a rejection of capitalism but millenials (and some grey beards like me) are appalled by what our political system has devolved to and are looking for something else. Former Obama staffers (Favreau, Lovett, Vietor and Pfieffer) formed a company called Crooked Media to produce podcasts and printed material on the web. They went on tour and their shows all sold out within hours. Here in Philly, a second show was added in a 1500 seat venue and it too sold out in hours. That was November 2. A few days later on Election Day, Republican candidates were defeated up and down the ballot in the suburbs surrounding Philly (particularly Chester and Delaware counties) in an unprecedented way. There's no doubt the millennials would love them some socialism--the cost of higher education and healthcare has grown prohibitively over the past decade. Maybe that's why Bernie Sanders is one of the most popular politicians in America today. I don't think there's a great risk of falling to totalitarian government (well, okay, Trump might pose that risk) but failing to address issues of income inequality and ensuring an adequate social safety net and economic opportunities threatens to tear our nation apart. Politicians of both major parties should beware.

  230. Re: the Republican tax plan would increase America’s deficit, which Republicans used to pretend to care about. Part of "the plan" is to create huge deficits the right can then use as an excuse to cut and eliminate services and programs in a concerted effort to balance the budget and prove they're fiscally responsible. Many, if not most, of the puppet masters who bought the politicians responsible for the tax scam are major polluters, cheats, and thieves seeking revenge and committed to destroying a government that dared to threaten their bottom lines.

  231. "You don’t have to want to abolish capitalism to understand why the prospect is tempting to a generation that’s being robbed." If we accept that premise, we should be able to the conclusion that someday this "generation" would strongly lean toward providing the Democrats with a solid majority. Personally, I'd throw that idea in the dustbin along with the other unshakeable, whistling past the graveyard article of Democratic faith that posits "demographics is destiny". Yeah, right. How is that one working out so far? If this generation is truly "suspicious" of capitalism, they sure have a funny way of expressing it by spending all of their time on social media. I'd be more inclined to believe that if they all agreed to renounce their facebook and twitter accounts. Their "suspicions" about capitalism are about as believable as the GOP's supposed aversion to deficits. I'm sorry, but they'll still be tweeting incessant banalities while the USA burns to the ground.

  232. You are correct, sir. At 61, I have been repeatedly told the end is nigh for Republicans since 1973. Yet, to my amazement, Republicans have only gotten more conservative, more numerous, and win far more often. And, I never met a rich Democrat who wasn’t a capitalist. People are born capitalists. Who of us naturally wanted to share our mommy or toy with our younger brother. My wife is not allowed to drive my M3 or have the combinations to my gun safes, and she makes more money than I do.

  233. You're right, we're just the worst. Cute screen name, though, "JayK." I wonder if you could enlighten me as to how commenting in an open online forum like this is substantially different from "spending all their time on social media."

  234. I'll give up my "facebook" in a heartbeat to "reinstate justice". And "millennials DO" strongly "lean left".

  235. Capitalism as an economic system relies on organizing principles, or an ideology, to ensure people buy into the system. In the US, that has largely been the American Dream and the idea of meritocracy--work hard and reap the rewards. When those organizing principles are undermined, as they increasingly are today, it risks destabilizing the system and causing a move toward revolutionary change. Similar extremes in the 20th century contributed to the rise of Communism in Russia and fascism in Europe. If you go back far enough, similar challenges to the reigning ideology under feudalism in Europe contributed to the rise of capitalism. We have seen circumstances like this before. If we keep heading in the direction that we're going, at the rate that we're proceeding, the US and perhaps the world may face major political/economic upheaval in the next 10 years.

  236. Sustainable capitalism seeks to place the cost of products and services into consideration. For example, the nation's largest employer Walmart's low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. Rather than paying for public services out of tax payer's funds, we need to bill Walmart for the costs; their global shareholders should not be profiting at the expense of every working American. We live in an age where big data makes it very possible for capitalism's true costs to be measured. Rather than insisting on minimum wage increases, let businesses do what they will and send them a bill for what it cost the rest of us to support their "low-wages." They'll figure out rather quickly that management might better serve their shareholders by not underpaying employees and leaving the rest of us with the bill. Capitalism needs a tweak, namely the true costs of bad behaviors and harmful actions need to quantified better. Of course, we do some of this now, and the GOP calls this unnecessary regulation. Send them a bill.

  237. The bill we send them is their corporate taxes. If the corporate tax rate is too low or allows deductions that lower the effective corporate tax rate then the rest of the taxpayers are harmed unless the government cuts services. So if you want to effectively assess corporations for social costs then set the effective corporate rates high enough to provide the revenues.

  238. I'm not going to defend Walmart, but you should stop to realize that the cost of higher wages is not going to come from the shareholders - it's going to come from the customers. That's true whether we're talking about Walmart, fast food places, or the locally owned restaurant on the corner. Businesses large and small will pass along those higher costs to their customers. I'm not suggesting that's a bad thing, I'm in favor of raising the standard of living of low wage workers. Just don't kid yourself into believing that the shareholders will pay for it - shareholders will continue to get their current returns on investment, if not more. Customers - all of us, regardless of our income bracket - will foot the bill for those higher wages.

  239. Hmmm. The Walton family are all billionaires. But, I would imagine they would charge customers before they give themselves any type of pay cut, so you are correct.

  240. Spot on. What you call out here should be central to every Democratic candidate's message and platform in 2018 and 2020.

  241. This is a deceptively important topic - thank you for shining more light on it. The shift in millennial thinking did not start with Trump but is rather rooted much earlier in the 2008 economic melt-down. What the DNC (Bernie excluded) fails to recognize is that they too are implicated in capitalism's excesses as being part of the 'elite' and also aligned with Wall Street because, given SCOTUS Citizens United, what right minded political party could survive if not for the money these days. There is a growing segment in the US that is becoming more and more nihilistic and looking for answers outside of the capitalist mindset. Please open your history books to the chapters that cover 1920 to 1939 for a preview of what is to come if we are not careful.

  242. Its not just millenials. My brother and I both have elected to live outside of the USA because its just on a disaster path. It is amazing the power that universal health care and free university can have in a society. If people don´t mortgage their future to pay for medical school doctors can be cheap and affordable. In my 13 years in Mexico, preceded by 20 some years working in Latin America I have seen a great transformation of this society simply by a huge reduction in birth rates - free contraception no questions asked - a burgeoning middle class and optimism. Out of control capitalism does not work for societies.