Letter: Don’t think for a second capitalism is fair and just
Mr. Westlund’s letter in the Sept. 6 issue of this newspaper closed with a scenario he posed to show what’s wrong with socialism.
He asks to consider two workers having an annual review.
One has worked hard and the other is a sluggard. Mr. Westlund writes that in the socialist society both workers receive the same treatment while in a capitalist society the hard worker would be appropriately rewarded and the sluggard disciplined.
I don’t think it plays out this way.
Worker cooperative businesses don’t reward good workers and poor workers the same. Socialist organizations like the unique Israeli kibbutzim have had to make adjustments to address the differences in workers’ performances.
I suspect that communist regimes probably handle their sluggards differently from their good workers. If history is an indicator, they are likely sent to the so-called re-education or labor camps.
Even the Chinese communists have made changes to their form of communism so entrepreneurs are appropriately rewarded.
China has become the second largest economy in the world and, as reported last October in Forbes magazine, China has more self-made billionaires than any other nation in the world.
One of the ways their wealth is amassed is through the stock market.
This is not something that was envisioned when communism was thrust on the Chinese.
To make Mr. Westlund’s scenario more real, let’s tweak it a bit with the sluggard getting a decent raise because he is the son of the company’s owner.
What does this say about our capitalist system?
Let’s go on with a different tweak: two workers, a man and a woman, are being hired for two identical positions.
Both have the same level of education, both have the same experience; the woman is hired at a salary that is 12-20 percent less than the man.
And a further twist, top management mismanages the company.
Workers are let go without a severance package or a minimal one while the top managers are let go with “golden parachutes” (high compensation that may also include stock grants & options, continued enrollment in pension plans, and the vesting of all retirement benefits, and health and dental insurance).
What do these scenarios say about the world we have?
If it’s not what we want, how do we change it?