Strengths – supports private property rights, focuses more on the individual, less government control, etc. Also, values earning stuff rather than just getting it. Values labor and says that it should be rewarded. The consumers can fight back against the vices of this system with boycotts. Capitalism’s virtues are INDIVIDUALISM and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Weaknesses – It’s very nature of competitiveness is its greatest shortcoming. For instance, if the goal is to compete so that you are BETTER than everyone else, it can go down a dark road and fast. For instance, I think of a pop culture example, which, sadly, has a lot of truth to it:
In a Spongebob episode, the rival of the Krusty Krab, the Chum Bucket put up a sign saying that it was now open for 23 hours. Eugene Krabbs, the owner of the Krusty Krab, sees this and panics that the Chum Bucket with its new hours will be getting more business than him. Thus, Krabs makes them work 24 hours non-stop to try and beat the Chum Bucket.
While, at least yet, companies don’t go to that extreme, it sadly is true that when Company X decides to open on a day normally “off limits”, rivals Companies Y and Z decide to open then too. For instance, my father noticed that the rival company one year was now open on Easter and said “Next year, they’re going to be open on Easter at our place too.”, and, sure enough, the following year, the company that my dad works at WAS open on Easter too. The same thing has been happening with Thanksgiving. Company A decides to open now on Thanksgiving for its “Black Friday” sale and then Companies B, C, D, and E decide they need to do it too to “remain competitive”, thus people get to spend less time with their families and more dealing with the crazy shoppers on Thursday night who want that “deal”, instead.
Another, again another Spongebob reference, there was this scene where Mr. Krabbs was talking to himself and saying “If I fire him and make his successor do twice the work….” is also, sadly true. When Company A decides that it will make one person do the job of two, then Companies B, C, D, and E copy it so that they can “remain competitive”. Thus, loss jobs are available.
You can see where this is headed. The lie that law-breaking immigrants do the jobs Americans won’t so we should hire them and keep them is really just a move to pay them less as they are used to working for less, hence they cheat both the law-breaking alien are being jipped. The same goes for the lie that H1B visas and the phony shortage of STEM workers. Temp agencies and contract agencies replace the full time job and the wages go down, except for the big businessmen.
Also, of course, to keep the people in line, the business elites will bribe the government with company donations, lobbying, etc, to help them pass laws to beat out the competition, look the other way while they try their best to get rich at everyone else’s expense, etc. A government system that operates long enough this way becomes, what I’m going to call, as I think it fits enough, fascism. This is a tyrannical system where only those at the top in the business market and in the government do well, all others do poorly. It is more right-wing. Generally, I have heard that under fascism, they won’t bother you unless you speak out against them. At any rate, the vice of capitalism is GREED.
Strengths – Supports the helping of others, at least in theory, over the acquisition of wealth. It’s goal, at least in theory, is equality. The virtues of Socialism are COMPASSION and COMMUNITY.
Weaknesses – Unfortunately, the very means of achieving socialism are its greatest weaknesses. It seeks to grow the power of government to do it. This means that people, likely cut from the same cloth as those who have the vices of the capitalists above, will be making sure that they get richer while under the guise of making everyone more “equal”. This system will claim that you didn’t earn your wealth, that you either inherited it or got it by jipping someone else and thus the government should take some of it and give it to more deserving people. If you don’t have as much as someone else, they must be “greedy” and “not-paying their fair share” to get more than you. Thus, to make things equal, though they worked harder, they have to cough up at tax time so you can get “your fair share”. Phrases like “white privilege”, “sexism”, “1%”, etc are common under socialism as everyone seeks to get what they feel is owed them. The virtue of capitalism, diligence, is seen as a vice under socialism. Instead, the phrase “entitlement” is the key under socialism. Votes are bought by pandering to various groups, and, to silence dissent, accusing the dissenters who are having their wealth taken of “hate crimes” or “greed”. In time, more and more people end up on the dole, others get angry and fights break out more as they feel they are working just to pay off loafers. Eventually, the society will devolve into something called communism where the government and its few connected companies that pay homage to it. Eventually, though, the people that are working will get tired of paying for all those that are not. To keep the society from collapsing, the government, of course, steps in and tells everyone what they get paid, what job they do, etc. Under communism, unlike fascism, you get in trouble if you don’t EMBRACE the agenda of the system. Simple neutrality is viewed as “unacceptable”. The vices of socialism are ENVY and ENABLING (in the context of enabling a drug addict, not in the context of enabling someone to do a job or be better).