Free-market capitalism creates an immense amount of material wealth. But, sometimes a financial market that lacks proper regulations will open the door to some capitalists that use its deficiencies to play a game of getting rich really fast by liquidating weak businesses. Mitt Romney might have been one of them, and some of his current Republican contenders are pointing it out.
While the capitalist becomes richer, the practices of these unscrupulous businessmen cost common people their jobs and the wealth created by the liquidated businesses is lost. These cunning businessmen transfer their wealth to countries with cheaper labor like China or India, where they make profit out of slave-like labor. Back home, that wealth ceases to exist, and those jobs are killed by the avarice-driven businessmen that prefer a wealthy pocket than a wealthy republic.
Not all businessmen act this way. But when open criticism is waged against these corporate raiders, with epithets like “vulture-capitalism” (to use Rick Perry's charming wording), what strikes me most is that the radical right-wing media (e.g. Fox News) use catchy phrases like "capitalism on trial,” as if it were capitalism itself which is being denied. The attacks on Romney’s business record are not challenging capitalism, nor are they promoting class warfare or suggesting that socialism is the inevitable solution to the financial market deficiencies.
The right-wing establishment seems to back Romney with fierce anger because of the recent campaign waged against him for his dubious business record. However, I find it amusing that Republicans are raising concerns about the model of capitalism that the U.S. deserves. On the one hand, there's a version of capitalism that instigates businessmen to make unprincipled moves to become rich at the expense of society. On the other hand, we have a more conscious and “patriotic capitalism” that aims at creating wealth for the benefit of most Americans and the republic at large. If the latter requires certain regulations from government to avoid unprincipled behaviors in the financial market, why are we to prefer the former?
Attacks on Romney's business record are more than warranted; they are necessary. And that such attack is coming from fellow Republicans is terrific news. Capitalism is standing a relative trial and must prove to be the best system that we have so far. But in order to do so, we must avoid at all cost the brand of capitalism that is praying on the weak by favoring only the wealthiest.
Obama's depressing lack of leadership led to Occupy Wall Street protests, and now even Republicans are taking that banner. No, it is not capitalism itself that is being questioned and contested, and it is not socialism which is being proposed. Here we are debating two interpretations of what a free market economy ought to be: one in which voracious financial magnates are able to successfully exploit the weaknesses of the market to become ridiculously wealthy at the expense of society due to a lack of responsible regulations, like 2008 proved so crudely. Or the other in which the government fulfills its role of defending the interests of the majority by regulating the financial market so as to encourage businesses profitable for the republic and punish rapacious businesses that deprive the common people of jobs, benefits, and a comfortable life.
If Mitt Romney does not belong to that class of rapacious businessmen, he must prove his case better.
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