Thursday, February 20, 2014

I am a capitalist

I am a capitalist.
I believe that if a man works long and hard to establish a business, if he invests his time, sweat, worry and money, and if he is lucky enough to be successful, then he should reap the rewards of his success.
If he takes his meager savings and works day and night to open a retail store, or any business, and he does well, then he should get to enjoy that success.  He should drive a nice car, live in a nice house, go on nice vacations, own whatever nice toys he wishes, send his kids to great schools.
He worked for it, he deserves it.
If he expands to two stores or three or thousands through his hard work and good fortune, he has a right to his profits.

I also believe that he has an ethical responsibility to the people who helped him succeed.  He has a responsibility to pay a living wage with benefits and healthcare. If he does not, them he steals not only from his employees, but from society who is left to pick up the added cost of supplementing the wages and providing healthcare.
He has a responsibility when economic times turn poor to practice true "shared sacrifice" and not freeze his employees wages and cut their benefits while maintaining or increasing his profits.
He has an ethical responsibility to run his business in a non polluting way because to do otherwise is, once again, stealing from society to line his own pockets.
He has an ethical responsibility to treat his customers, business associates, and employees with respect in all things.
He has an ethical responsibility to pay his fair share of taxes to maintain roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, the very things society provided for him and are a part of his success.
He has a right to expect that the people running public schools and colleges and community hospitals run those institutions in the same ethical way he runs his business and not profit at the expense of others.
He has a right to expect other business owners to practice with the same integrity that he does, because if they do not, then it is not a level playing field.
He has a right to expect that society and the lawmakers they elect will hold other business owners and administrators of non profits that benefit from his taxes, tax breaks and public donations, to the same such ethical standards.

When I see large retail businesses who could provide their employees with a living wage and health insurance, underpaying and not offering benefits, I know that they are undercutting such an ethical man and stealing from society.
When I see Universities increasing class size and Community Hospitals increasing staffing ratios, all while the administrators are reaping larger and larger salaries, I find it unethical, not only for what they are doing to their employees but for what they are doing to society and ethical business men.

When I am told that this is capitalism, the free market system, I want to scream, "IT IS NOT!"
It is stealing and it is unethical.

No comments: