Socialism is a viable alternative to capitalism
. It is more fair, and fits better with democracy than capitalism.
For my purposes, socialism is an economic system in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the community. A means of production is something that produces a salable good or service. So, farms and factories are means of production, an oven is, if used in a commercial sense. A toothbrush is not.
In a capitalistic society, people are what they produce. We are told that anyone is capable of bettering their financial situation if they work hard. The implication is that people who are poor, are lazy. In fact, the highest paid are usually the ones who are either in demand (engineers, for example), or those who can decide their own pay (CEOs), not those who work hard (janitors), and those who are selfless (teachers). In fact, according to the US census bureau, in 1998, the top 20% of income earners made as much as the rest of the population. So, are we to believe that the top fifth of the population does as much work as the other 80%? No, by and large, the selfless and hardworking people are not those who benefit the most. In a socialistic system, the community as a whole benefits from everyone's work, as the fruits of the labor are shared among everyone.
Inherent in competition is waste. When companies compete to find the best product, quite a bit of redundancy happens: multiple factories, multiple R&D labs, multiple market surveys, etc. If the companies cooperate in the first place, the end result of a good product would be discovered sooner, and made more efficiently.
In a democratic system, in order to change one's situation, one must change the whole society. That is to say, if someone doesn't agree with a law, the proper way to go about it is to convince enough people to change it, not to simply ignore it. This idea meshes very well with the socialistic idea of individual change through group change, that is, in order to change ones wealth, one increase the wealth of the whole community. Capitalism, on the other hand fits well with anarchy, in which one can do whatever he or she wants, without regard for the community.