Having grown up in a Communist country, I was always curious about capitalism. The Communist propaganda was very critical of capitalism, which made those of us who had never experienced it think that capitalism had to be a very good thing. After all, we hated communism, and certainly rightly so.
What we did not realize at the time was that we really hated communism because of its dictatorial nature, not because of economy. Our freedoms were severely restricted, and that was bad. It really was. But because of that, we hated everything about communism, including the good things that we did not even realize we had, at least not until the brief period of socialism with a human face.
At any rate, I have to say that after spending close to two decades in the capitalism as lived in the US, I have found capitalism not a good thing. I love the freedom of the US. But I have to say, if I were young and knew what I know now, I would choose a different country. I would be looking for a country with freedom, that is an absolute must. But I would also look for a country that gives a hoot about its citizens. For a country that emphasizes the individual, I am shocked how little an individual means in the US economic and political system: All you hear about is what is good for "business".
The theory behind capitalism is that it presumably gives everyone equal opportunity. This is not true in my experience. For one, not everyone has the same talents and gifts. Besides, the educational system seems deliberately designed not to teach you how to make it in the capitalist society. Good education is no guarantee of economic success. When I lost my job as a programmer in Pittsburgh almost a decade ago, I could not find employment because I was "overqualified". What kind of nonsense is that? How can I be overqualified? I either can do my job or I cannot.
I finally got a job as a food packer in a warehouse of a company that owned many vending machines in the Pittsburgh area. It did not bother them that I could do other things. I truly liked the company, though, of course, I was paid a lot less than back when I was a programmer.
Then I moved to Wisconsin. Ever since then I have been working the most menial jobs you can imagine: For a while I was even sorting through other people's garbage in a recycling plant. No one needs a programmer in the town I live in.
Of course, I continued programming. I wrote many a program, I have taught many people how to program through my web sites. I receive messages from people all over the world thanking me for my contribution. Yet, I often cannot afford to eat. My current employer has just decided to cut my hours to two days a week, after I have worked there for five years. So much for opportunity.
Where does this leave me? I guess I have to learn to live in a society motivated by greed, something that is totally foreign to me. I have to market my software instead of giving it away.
Ironically, when I started marketing a piece of sotware I wrote, someone quickly released a password generator for it. I contacted him, and he was surprised who I was: He learned assembly language from me! He removed the password generator from his site, but damage was already done.
I have seen people arguing for capitalism saying that it motivates creativity. I say it does not. I say it kills creativity. Just consider my own field: Software engineering. Who gets rich here? Not the creative programmers who write quality software, but companies that create mediocre software.
In a less capitalist society where you are guaranteed that your basic needs are met you are free to be creative, you are free to create your best.
But under capitalism you have to spend so much personal energy to just survive that you have little left to create.
I am not interested in money markets. I am not interested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and similar things. Yet, I spent considerable amount of time learning about them. Out of necessity. I really wish I could spend more time writing quality software than worrying about survival. That is why, if I could do it all over again, I would go to a less capitalist country.
We live in the era of specialists. I find it silly that in the US we do not have specialists whose job it is to make sure everyone in the country is economically independent. I feel I am not truly free if I am stuck living in a small town driving an old car. Please understand, I have nothing against small towns. I just would like to have the freedom of moving elsewhere now. But because I cannot afford it, I do not have that freedom. And because I am getting older, and my health is failing (I have diabetes and cannot even afford proper diet), quite frankly, I fear I will die in this town, and I will die years before I would if I still lived under socialism.
And that is why I find capitalism quite disappointing.