Millennials

Millennials Hate Capitalism Almost as Much as They Hate Socialism

Seize the means of production? Meh. Millennials love private enterprise-as long as you don't call it "capitalism."

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Mr Munnings on Tour/Flickr

It was all over my Facebook news feed yesterday: "A majority of millennials now reject capitalism, poll shows." Libertarian friends shook their heads in scorn or lament while the socialists gloated or posed some variation on, "well can you blame them?" But just like the last half-dozen surveys on millennial economic philosophy, this new poll finds young people torn between "capitalism" and "socialism," with perhaps little—or, to be more charitable, an ahistorical—understanding of what either means. 

The Washington Post piece people were sharing starts off with a dramatic statement: millennials are rejecting "the basic principles of the U.S. economy." The base for that claim? A new poll of 18- to 29-year-olds, conducted by Harvard University. Researchers found just 42 percent say they support capitalism, while 51 percent do not. 

But twenty-somethings aren't exactly clamoring for the government to seize the means of production, either. Just 33 percent said they support socialism, while 59 percent said they do not. 

"The results of the survey are difficult to interpret," writes the Post's Max Ehrenfreund. Not really. In a recent survey question about feminism, 53 percent of young women said they would not label themselves a feminist, but only a third of this group said it was because they're at odds with feminist goals; nearly half just took issue with the term feminism. A 2014 poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found 65 percent of millennials say the term pro-life describes them "at least somewhat well," while 74 percent say the same for "pro-choice." These seeming contradictions lie in the fact that words—especially big, emotionally-laden words describing controversial or complicated concepts—connote different things to different people. 

When pollsters probe young people further about socialism and capitalism, they tend to find that respondents don't have clear concepts of these economic philosophies. To many millennials, "socialism" doesn't mean a government-managed economy but something like what we have now, only with more subsidized health care, student-loan forgiveness, and mandatory paid parental leave. Millennials were small children, if they were even born yet, when the Soviet Union dissolved. "Socialism" isn't Romania and Yugoslavia but Scandinavia, not Karl Marx and union halls but Bernie Sanders and Twitter. 

"Capitalism," meanwhile, doesn't simply mean private, for-profit enterprise. It isn't a category that has anything to do with the family-owned bodega on their corner or their friend's new artisanal cupcake business or the proliferation of legal weed shops, with Tom's shoes or their local grocery or that Uber they took last night. Capitalism is Big Banks, Wall Street, "income inequality," greed. It's wealthy sociopaths screwing over the little guy, Bernie Madoff, and horrifying sweatshops in China. It's Walmart putting mom-and-pop stores out of business, McDonald's making people fat, BP oil spills, banks pushing sub-prime mortgages, and Pfizer driving up drug prices while cancer patients die. However incomplete or caricatured, these are the narratives of capitalism that millennials have grown up with. 

Takeaways for fans for free enterprise?

Reason-Rupe poll

We need to do a better job marketing capitalism, probably. We certainly need to consider whether and how the word can be reclaimed, or if we're better served talking about the "market economy," "private enterprise," "free trade," or "entrepreneurship." Millennials love the word entrepreneur, with some surveys finding that more than half of young folks aspire toward entrepreneurship.

Millennials also love the idea of "social entrepreneurship"—doing well in business while doing good for others. Unlike anti-capitalists of yore, young people today don't seem to see a tension between turning a profit and living righteously. It's just a matter of making that money in an ethical manner, and "giving back" in some way, be it by donating a portion of proceeds or creating a product or service that provides a social good. (For more on all this, see my 2014 Reason feature, "Rise of the Hipster Capitalist.")

As John Della Volpe, polling director at Harvard, puts it, millennials aren't "rejecting the concept" of capitalism. "The way in which capitalism is practiced, in the minds of young people—that's what they're rejecting."

The Reason-Rupe Millennial Poll, a national survey of 18- to 29-year-olds undertaken in 2014, found 56 percent of respondents had a favorable view of capitalism, making it slightly less popular than socialism, which was viewed favorably by 58 percent. Asked about "free markets" and a "government managed economy," however, markets won big time. Only 28 percent of those surveyed saw socialized business positively, compared to 74 percent who view free markets positively. What's more, 64 percent said they prefer free markets to a gov-managed economy, while only 32 percent said the opposite.

"Young people like free markets and the technology, products, and wealth [capitalism] creates," wrote pollster Emily Ekins, "but they also want to feel confident the poor have access to what they need. In their minds socialism might simply connote a social safety net rather than government ownership." 

In the new Harvard poll, economic-policy preferences were pretty evenly split between those who want more government intervention and those who want less, with large numbers of respondents unsure what course of action they preferred. Nearly half had no opinion on whether "our country's goal in trade policy should be to eliminate all barriers to trade and employment so that we have a truly global economy." Some 27 percent said it should, while 24 percent said it should not.

More respondents agreed that "cutting taxes is an effective way to increase economic growth" (35 percent) than disagreed with this statement (22 percent). Thirty-eight percent neither agreed nor disagreed. 

Ultimately, only 27 percent of millennials in the Harvard poll said they think the federal government should play a "large" role in regulating the economy, while 42 percent prefer it play a "moderate" role, 18 percent a "minimal" role, and 9 percent "no role" at all. The breakdown was similar for regulating Wall Street, with 30 percent wanting Uncle Sam to play a large role, 37 percent a moderate role, and 28 percent a minimal or no role. 

NEXT: Justice Stevens Is Wrong About the Constitution, Again

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  1. It’s just a matter of making that money in an ethical manner, and “giving back” in some way…

    This whole concept of “giving back” really pisses me off. It implies that something was taken. What the hell was taken? If someone makes money in an ethical manner, presumably that means they have provided goods and/or services to people who wanted them in exchange for money. So they’ve already given. A lot. That’s how they got rich. Now they need to give something back? What the fuck?

    1. I think it perplexes some people that one could get rich off of providing goods and services to their community. They see a well-off businessman driving a fancy car around and they think, “Man, it’s not fair that he got rich taking advantage of people around here. He ought to be giving back some of his money.”

      If you’re rich, they think you haven’t paid your fair share. Otherwise, how could you be rich?

      1. They don’t understand that (free) trade always benefits all parties.

        1. It doesn’t, or at least it can’t be taken as a given. Trade makes people better off in the aggregate, and it often does improve nearly everyone’s net well being. But there certainly can be individual losers.

          1. Sure, individuals may come to regret a trade they made in the past. But at the moment of the trade all parties involved are necessarily of the opinion that they are benefiting. Who are we to argue?

            1. Sorry, I thought we were talking about macroeconomic Free Trade (capitalized).

              1. No, I see what you are saying now too. Though I would argue that even those individual losers are better off in the long run.

        2. All parties? Well, no.

          It benefits the parties involved in the trade.

          It *shouldn’t* benefit parties who are *not* involved in the trade, and when it does, it’s usually called ‘taxation’ or ‘giving back’, and since the original parties to the trade don’t benefit from this intervention, there’s usually some kind of coercion involved.

          1. The “involved in the trade” was assumed.

            1. Two people had sex and they both enjoyed it. I was NOT a party to the party!!!!

              How about “giving back”? Where’s MINE?!?!? (All sex should be taxed and re-distributed fairly, MeThinks).

              1. Suggest that to Bernie… 🙂

          2. It gets a little more complicated when you start looking at the interface between micro and macroeconomics.

            Is the guy buying widgets from Walmart a party to the trade between the widget maker and Walmart? Strictly speaking, no. Does he benefit from the lower price of that widget? Yes. Is there a net benefit if he used to be the one that was making widgets before widget manufacturing moved to a country with lower labor costs? Maybe in a material sense, if he found a suitable replacement job, but it’s not a given that he’d be able to do so. There may still be a psychological cost to losing a job and perhaps not being able to find a replacement that is as satisfying, even if it can replace the lost income. Are these costs large enough to offset the benefits that everyone else gets from buying cheaper widgets and allocating their labor to more productive areas? Probably not. So trade tends to be a net benefit in the aggregate, and can be a net benefit at the individual level, but can also have a net cost at the individual level.

        3. Yeah just like child trafficking benefits the child. Lol.

    2. That phrase has always bothered me, too. I’ll give money to charity, but I’m not giving it back…I never took it!

    3. “Millennials love private enterprise?as long as you don’t call it “capitalism.”

      Millennials hate words . . .

      “It’s just a matter of making that money in an ethical manner, and “giving back” in some way . . .

      . . . and love feelings.

      1. Well Ken, some of those words are emotionally laden or something.

        1. And they don’t like words that give them bad FEELZ, and capitalism is one of those words, while socialism doesn’t. I mean, it’s such a friendly sounding word: it’s even got “social” as its root word. Who doesn’t like being “social”? Capitalism, OTOH, is an aggressive sounding word. It’s got that “K” sound.. Those are aggressive sounds, they jump out at you…

          1. “Capitalist” is the word for people who care more about themselves than they do about me.

            And what could be more selfish than caring about yourself more than you care about me?

            1. And what could be more selfish than caring about yourself more than you care about me?

              Wanting me to care more about you, even though I don’t know anything about you or what you really need or want, than I care about myself?

      2. So tired of whiny soft headed millennials. Frighteningly, the generation that follows them, the precious snowflake generation, is even worse. Kids are worthless whiny pussies anymore.

    4. The concept of ‘giving back’ also leads to pathological altruism where no one bothers to check if the way they’re trying to ‘help’ is actually helping or is in fact counterproductive.

      That’s how NGOs have completely destroyed the market in a number of African societies. I’m currently reading a book called Road to Hell by Michael Maren. He worked with NGOs in Africa for like 20 years and basically concluded they do far more harm than good. He tells one story about Africans starving to death because NGOs built wells out in the middle of nowhere allegedly to help the migratory herds of local Africans. What ended up happening is that Africans would park their herds by the wells, their animals would eat all the food and have lots of babies, then the herds were too big to be supported because all the food in the area had been eaten. At that point, their herds starved to death and hundreds of Africans died of hunger in the desert.

      At no point did anyone stop to ask about unintended consequences because they were too busy being smug about how enlightened and giving they were.

      1. OT: just saw your question from AM links (about the MMT guy) and am copying my reply here.

        The person who asked me to look at this stuff printed off a bunch of primer posts from this blog:

        http://neweconomicperspectives.org/

        The ones I’m reading are a few years old but I think they’re archived under the “MMT Primer” link at the top of that web page. They’ve also been collected in this:

        http://www.amazon.com/Modern-M…..230368891/

    5. It’s the whole “you didn’t build that road/teach yourself to read” argument all over again. It’s like they’re deliberately ignoring the fact that voluntary trades are taking place.

      1. I hate the “you didn’t build that” argument.

        First off, no, I didn’t build the road; I just pay for it, whether I use it or not, with the money the government steals from me, and a private contractor builds it.

        Secondly, it proposes this bizarre false equivalence between, say, building a highway and inventing the iPhone. As if inventions or even just successful businesses just happen by accident, like they just pop up like mushrooms after a rain, and there’s no difference between the guy who stands in the street with a “Slow” sign and the guy who works his ass off and risks his own money to invent a new technology or establish a profitable company. I don’t mean this as a dig at road workers or as an ode to Steve Jobs, but if you think paving a street and inventing the modern smartphone are equivalent feats you’re either profoundly retarded, insane, or mendacious in the extreme.

        1. Secondly, it proposes this bizarre false equivalence between, say, building a highway and inventing the iPhone.

          I think the premise there is that because government funds education and research, that the iPhone would never have been invented without the government. Didn’t Joe Biden say something along those lines, that all inventions in the last hundred years were a result of government funded research? Because, as we all know, if government doesn’t [build roads, fund research, provide schools, etc], no one will.

          1. Well shit, if BIDEN said it, it must be true. HE is the greatest and wisest genius in the last hundred years.

            1. Can you prove him wrong? Ad hominem attacks do little to better your argument.

          2. Generally in a capitalist society, nobody would build them as finding cures for cancer isn’t a profitable endeavor. And if we were to privatize roads and schools, they would be even more expensive and lacking of quality as investors would seek to maximize profits often by sacrificing quality.

        2. the people who built it have already been paid for their effort

    6. Preaching to the choir. I will never use that terminology when talking about me or my company donating to a worthy cause. And I won’t let any of my employees use it, either.

  2. These seeming contradictions lie in the fact that words?especially big, emotionally-laden words describing controversial or complicated concepts?connote different things to different people.

    Benford’s law of controversy: Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available. And this goes for WAY more than just abortion. This can be aptly applied to everything mentioned in the article.

    1. So is it good or bad that I’m passionate about nothing except my wife?

    2. We need to do a better job marketing capitalism, probably. We certainly need to consider whether and how the word can be reclaimed, or if we’re better served talking about the “market economy,” “private enterprise,” “free trade,” or “entrepreneurship.”

      It’s not about mere marketing of a word and its not about passion or emotion. Too many libertarians seem to ignore the redistributive effects of competition and spontaneous order. That is the whole function of the ‘free’ in free markets – and it is absolutely true that the word ‘capitalism’ does not cover this function at all. When Randians and anarchos obsess about property/contracts (and worse when their ethics exhibit no understanding at all of how change actually occurs), they are, correctly, viewed as nothing more than lapdogs for whatever the current status quo is re property – and that is anti-distributive.

      It’s almost as if modern libertarians don’t even freaking understand what made classical liberalism so completely successful – at the bottom and middle of the ladder and for the upwardly-mobile rather than to aristocrats and the already-there.

      1. Please explain how we can make property rights less “anti-distributive” within a free market. Either someone owns something or they don’t. If they own it, then in a free market they get to dispense with it as they choose. If they don’t own it, they don’t.

        1. Well – one way is to recognize that not all property is absolute. Land ownership eg is entirely a grant of monopoly from govt. Reinforced for private benefit every time there is a land transfer, zoning/infrastructure change, conflict, etc. Asserting absolute (alloidial in the case of land) property rights on that particular form of property is nothing more than saying that govt should be the puppet of those to whom it previously granted the property monopoly. Every classical liberal economist (and 1800’s libertarian/anarchist) from Adam Smith to Henry George recognized that ‘land is different’. It is no accident that those countries which have implemented policies which recognize both the privatizing and the continuing public interest (eg Taiwan, Singpr, HK, Estonia, parts of Oz – all do some element of ‘Georgist’ solution) have freer markets, less corruption, more productive capital, and more (market-based) economic mobility than we do.

          It goes back to a basic tenet of classical liberalism (NOT modern libertarianism). Sometimes it is important, for the free market itself, for government to do the right things and not just avoid doing the wrong things. The advocates for free markets have to be the ones advocating them most forcefully.

          1. JFree is obviously unacquainted with Benjamin Tucker or Proudhon. Or nuance.

            1. Maybe you should read Tucker on land ‘ownership’.

      2. The strain of classical liberalism that didn’t include private property as an essential element quickly degenerated into an orgy of violence, whereupon none of the elements of liberalism were respected.

        Capitalism is about the right of any person to own and exploit capital. The biggest failing of the strain of classical liberalism that survived was chattel slavery. But such failing has been abolished and is recognized by practically all classical liberals as morally repugnant. Other alleged failings, like debtors’ prison, have been abjured as counterproductive.

        Unless and until you can explain how to achieve this distributive effect without the forcible extraction of property from private hands, you are just shilling for a cleverly disguised form of socialism.

        1. Chattel slavery was not a consequence of classical liberalism. We failed to deal with the issue for pragmatic fear-based reasons – not because of some ideological imperative. A fact which was very obvious to the first wave of immigrants (Germans who were refugees from the failed ‘classical liberal’ revolutions of 1848). And is why they played an outsized role in the Civil War. Indeed, the loudest proponents of this fetishized view of ‘property rights’ before the Civil War was the Southern planterocracy. Read a few of the ‘fire-eater’ speeches/articles (eg King Cotton speech).

          And yes – it becomes extremely difficult to sell the idea of liberty to a slave when you immediately turn around and excuse the property rights of their owner. Freedom is redistributive – and if you aren’t totally comfortable with that, then you aren’t really an advocate for freedom but for property.

          1. Freedom is redistributive

            ????? ????

            If you think “freedom is redistributive”, then you’re welcome to meet the end of a shotgun barrel.

            1. Freedom needs regulation, as people need freedom from oppression…

          2. Any version of “freedom” that does not allow me to keep what is mine is not freedom at all.

          3. Asshole, private ownership of property IS freedom.

            1. Yeah including private ownership of people… It’s freedom for those with money, slavery and serfdom for those without.

  3. My peers have royally fucked over their children . . . and all of us in the end.

  4. The culture and their schools have taught them the inherent evilness of Capitalism!
    Forgot to teach them what it was.

  5. Well said sarcasmic. I only hope you are not being sarcastic.

    This is simply the result of nearly 100 years of federal school brainwashing coming to fruition. Of couse there is nothing to give back.

    Also, be carefull advocating for changing the name of things author. Changing the names of words already described in the dictionary is a tactic of the left. Cowtowing to stupid people will certainly not help educate people on the virtues of capitalism.

    1. I’ve towed a cow before. It was fucking tough.

      1. Did you forget to put it on a trailer?

        1. I’m assumed he started with the cow on the trailer, but once he stepped on the gas, the cow came right off.

          1. It kept up for the first mile or so, but then it got tired and… well who likes hamburgers?

            1. “…who likes hamburgers?”

              Who doesn’t?

              1. ALL OF THE ABOVE APPLY!!!!

  6. ENB – I’d request that you write something on the French ban of paying for sex. I’m particularly interested in the claims that that 85% of prostitutes in France are victims of human trafficking. The figure seems obviously ridiculous to me. I’d be like to see that debunked.

    1. Also one about how wall urinals are transphobic.

      1. You idiot! It’s not that urinals are transphobic, but that urinal makers and consumers could be more efficient and transfriendly by producing and consuming the proper high-efficiency WCs.

    2. 85% of prostitutes in France are victims of human trafficking.

      Haven’t you ever seen Taken? You don’t think a Liam Neeson movie would be bullshit do you?

    3. I keep meaning to write about this and then never getting to it. Thanks for reminding me!

  7. “Ultimately, only 27 percent of millennials in the Harvard poll said they think the federal government should play a “large” role in regulating the economy, while 42 percent prefer it play a “moderate” role, 18 percent a “minimal” role, and 9 percent “no role” at all.”

    These questions seem largely meaningless. Most people want to be “moderate” and most people think their economic ideas are moderate. Even those without a clue what economic policies are good or bad believe in general that we should have “moderate” policies.

    Couldn’t we just go back to the techniques of the ancient pollsters and read the entrails of a chicken? At least we’d be able to have fried chicken afterwards.

    1. Couldn’t we just go back to the techniques of the ancient pollsters and read the entrails of a chicken? At least we’d be able to have fried chicken afterwards.

      What if we’re not hungry, or don’t like chicken?

      I suggest chresmomancy as a viable alternative. It seems to be effective for the majority of the Democratic and Republican Primary voters.

      1. So you want the status quo?

    2. At least we’d be able to have fried chicken afterwards.

      Fried chicken is… problematic. RACIST!

      1. Fried chicken is … awesome (at least if it’s cooked properly)

        You must just hate America if you don’t like fried chicken.

        COMMIE!!

        🙂

        1. Exactly. Black people love fried chicken for the same reason white people love fried chicken – it’s delicious.

          1. Also – it’s a southern thing, not a black thing.

            1. I’m from the NW and we like fried chicken here too. Pretty sure everyone does. Except maybe filthy progtards.

  8. Remember too that class warfare and nationalism are the vestiges of failed politics.

    Deriding what made us all wealthy is the first and easy step for the dopes.

    1. The problem for them is that what makes us all wealthy only makes an individual wealthy if that individual does productive work and lives responsibly. It’s like, practically slavery!

      1. They seem to believe that being a ‘wave slave’ is worse than all the other forms of actual ‘slavery’ that would be the alternative.

        1. ‘wave slave’

          Speaking for myself, being chained to a surf board and forced to surf for the amusement of my master doesn’t sound like much fun. I assume that’s what you meant. /bustin’ chops

        2. “Wage slave”. Yet another concept that is, at best, an anachronism. Having less desirable alternatives is not the same as having no alternatives at all.

          1. The only alternatives to wage slavery that seem to exist are chattel slavery and communal slavery. And the distinction between the latter two is awfully fuzzy in practice.

            1. It is worth noting that true wage slaves, like Grecian tutors indentured to Roman patrician families, don’t really exist in the modern United States. I’m going by the popular association of wage slave with “free man collecting voluntary pay for voluntary work”.

          2. Bellhop: We want our wages!
            Groucho: Wages? You wanna be wage slaves? Answer me that.
            Bellhops *in unison*: No….
            Groucho: No, of course not. And what makes wage slaves? Wages! I want you to be free! Remember, there’s nothing like Liberty, except Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post. Be free my friends, one for all and all for me, and me for you, and three for five, and six for a quarter!

          3. Whoops, yeah, apparently I really want to go the ocean. And stay there. By force. 0.o

  9. What this all seems to come down to is that Millennials aren’t capitalists or communists – they’re fascists. They believe in nominally private ownership of the means of production with the strict provision that the owners use those means only at the service of the collective. Rather than pandering to them, perhaps it’s time libertarians started calling Millennials The Fascist Generation.

    1. We already had a Fascist Generation. They’re the ones who kept voting for FDR.

      1. Okay – How about Fascist Generation II – Electric Boogaloo?

        1. Fascist Generation II: The Triggering

          1. FG3: The Fascist and the Furious?

    2. Rather than pandering to them, perhaps it’s time libertarians started calling Millennials The Fascist Generation.

      But… but… look at them, they *can’t* be fascists! Tattoos, riding bicycles… they support recreational drug use and gay sex for chrissakes. If history has taught us anything, it’s that fascists come in one form; monolithic blocks of OWGs in uniforms. Otherwise, they’re revolutionaries or misunderstood innocents caught up in a larger political strife. Sure, they’re constantly spying on each other, ostracizing people who don’t tow the arbitrary lion of the day… but neighbors snitching on neighbors for petty non-crimes is just how social justice is done. They’re *cultural* libertarians.

      /Reason

      1. Exaggerated, but only a trifle, for effect.

        1. I didn’t manage to defend anyone who murdered their own school-age children or call for banning any books so, you say tomato, I say toned down.

      2. Better to just beat the shit out of them. They’re all weak pussies anyway.

    3. we can send a man to the moon and can’t feed our citizens. are you okay with that?
      (Im being facetious. Going to the moon was just physics)

    4. Or how about a rational middle ground between fascism and anarchy A? I don’t believe in a government ran economy. But I also don’t believe in an unregulated profit motive. It’s how child trafficking, sweatshops, and slavery became prevalent. Investors sought out maximized profits on private property, including private ownership of people and the well being of the less fortunate.

  10. As i said in the comments to the article yesterday – if the millennials are rejecting the current US system, they’re right. It’s just not capitalism they are rejecting. Who can support a system where a generation holds 80% of the wealth, but who has borrowed $18,000,000,000,000 on the laborers of the future, and apparently expect another $30,000,000,000,000-$40,000,000,000,000 to be extracted from said laborers – over the next 25-30 years – to pay for their entitlements? You can only get that with socialism – a system with no property rights that mean anything. Fabianism has already given way to corpora-fascism (with soft rubber bottoms on the jackboots) that will necessarily give way to full fascism (with the harder, nastier bottoms). I reject it too.

    But if their “new” system is “take a bunch of that wealth and let the old fuckers die”, or in other words, a new socialism where I get a whole bunch of free shit, then they can fuck themselves.

    What needs to happen is the Boomers need to pay for the Boomers. We can all share a LITTLE for the net loss the Boomers would have had to pay for their previous generation who never paid anything in, but for the largest part any “free” hip replacements for Boomers are paid for by Boomers. And then the Ponzi schemes go away.

    1. Interesting considering that the government promised the Boomers their social security. They raised the taxes on it, then promptly turned around and filled the account with IOU’s.

      I’m no boomer, but frankly they were fucked.

      1. Also, subquestion. Does it not strike you as logical that an older generation with decades of savings and investments would have a greater concentration of wealth than people who are just now entering the workforce?

      2. I’m no boomer, but frankly they were fucked.

        Everyone’s been/ is being fucked. The boomers were sold a bill of goods, and now… Surprise! Time to pay for that bill of goods! Bend over, millennials and gen X-ers!

      3. Whether the boomers were fucked or not remains to be seen, IMO.

        If they can extract enough wealth via taxation from succeeding generations for transfer to their own pockets, I would say fucked, they are not.

        1. Well, what do you think of the efforts to devalue the dollar which would hurt…whom again? Savers. Boomers. I mean, I’m not saying they were smart in trusting the B.S. promise of the government but Social Security is an example of a true entitlement. You are entitled to that money, it is yours. U.S. monetary policy seems to be saying “yeah yeah, we’ll pay you, sucker.”

          Obviously this was never going to end well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sympathize. If anything, those who come after are saddled with that debt but considering the debt trajectory we’re on right now…well lets just say the only rose tint that could make this situation look good is entirely opaque. Effectively, they’re trying out negative interest rates through alternative economic warfare.

      4. I have no sympathy for the Boomers. All that money was spent on stuff for the Boomers. The Boomers elected the officials that did the spending. The Boomers have already “benefited” from that money being spent. Now they want a second helping paid for by the next generation. Screw ’em. Cut off their SS and Medicare and if they weren’t smart enough to have their own savings they can live with their kids. I don’t care.

    2. Boomers paid for the GI generation and the Artist/Silent generation (and some of the Lost Generation), too. This is not something that the boomers created. They/we paid into a system that promised us a minimum stipend when we are no longer able to work. Blaming a single generation for this fuckup is really simpleminded. Boomers have been trying to fix the problem for decades. No previous generation did.

    3. Isn’t this just a rehash of the old “class warfare” argument, only adapted to suit the “fuck you, granny” attitudes of this generation? I mean, it’s quite a stretch to say that the Boomer’s are the wealthy class in America, given that many of them barely have any retirement savings or pension plans. It’s more likely that the WEALTHIEST Boomers hold the majority of the generational wealth, while poorer Boomers (who are arguably the majority) hold next to nothing.

      If you’re going to argue against Social Security and state charity, at least be consistent in doing so. Attacking the left for the “failed politics” of class warfare and identity politics (both of which are as old as politics itself) while using the same political style of divided-and-conquer is the epitome of hypocrisy.

      1. Isn’t this just a rehash of the old “class warfare” argument, only adapted to suit the “fuck you, granny” attitudes of this generation?

        Yes.

        But in a sense we’re just responding to posts and comments such I’ve seen here on Reason that homogenize/collectivize ‘millennials’ and proceed to throw a broad and varied demographic under the bus.

        Fuck generationist politics and thinking.

        1. Fuck it indeed.

  11. Seems relevant:

    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

    Who said it?

    1. Were his initials R.R.?

      1. *coquettish look… bats eyelids*

        Maaaayyyyybeeee…..

        1. Maaaayyyyybeeee….

          Is that a Mr. Torgue impersonation?

      2. A deep hatred of communism can really take you a long way.

        1. The dad on The Brady Brunch hated communism?

          1. I heard he killed three red bastards with his bare hands and bit another one’s arm off.

          2. Hey everybody, is this a comment about Nikki again?

            ’cause once again, I don’t get it.

    2. Some old slave owning white guy?

    1. Truly sublime.

      Zack Baxter1 year ago
      put the kids away, turn the lights down, lights some candles, and pour some Capt. Crunch its time to get our Ducktales ON!?

      Oh yeaaaaaaah.

  12. Of course they hate capitalism, capitalism is bad. Assuming by “capitalism” you mean the bad parts of business, of course. They also hate pollution. If you point out to them that the pollution that comes out of a cow’s ass is also called fertilizer and the pollution that comes out of rotting fruits and grains is called alcohol, they’ll just snort and derisively tell you they’re only talking about the bad kinds of pollution. Well, no shit the bad kinds of pollution are bad. The bad kinds of anything are bad, so what’s your point?

  13. Millennials Hate Capitalism Almost as Much as They Hate Socialism

    Millennials are ignorant fools.

    Film at 11, after Dynasty.

    1. “Film at 11, after Dynasty.”

      I think your references need to be more dated. There are some people under 45 who know what you’re talking about here.

      1. Dynasty? Is that some new Netflix original about political shenanigans in ancient China?

        1. I thought it was an attitude-enhancer

      2. He meant the Qing

  14. I’ve personally never liked the words “capitalism” or “markets” to describe something as lofty and beautiful as free human beings cooperating to make their own lives better and, in doing so, making life better for others, as well. Add in the profound and deep elegance of emergent order and these terms seem even more inappropriate.

    Having said that, I’m reminded of a story I heard on TED Radio Hour — The term “president” was chosen for the head of the executive branch because, at the time, it was a lowly and modest title. The founders hoped that the office would remain modest if they gave it a modest name. Instead, “president” came to be associated with power and prestige.

    Rebranding has, at best, a temporary effect. Words gain meaning from how people commonly understand the ideas they represent, not the other way around.

    1. Re: LynchPin1477,

      I’ve personally never liked the words “capitalism” or “markets” to describe something as lofty and beautiful as free human beings cooperating to make their own lives better

      I don’t have qualms about those words at all, because I know exactly what they mean.

      Capitalism is a PROCESS, where Capital (savings, or postponed consumption), Capital Goods (land, tools, etc.) and Labor are used in conjunction to turn goods of a lesser value into goods of a higher value, for trade and wealth accumulation.

      ‘Markets’ are SYSTEMS created by the billions of daily trades done by all people on the planet. BOTH things are beautiful.

      1. Oh, I know what they mean, too. I just wish the words to describe those things more directly captured the lofty ideals they embody than the mechanics of the process or the system.

        1. Capitalism is a SYSTEM; the accumulation of savings is a PROCESS. The market is a SYSTEM; market forces engage in a PROCESS.

          I wouldn’t go far as to say that “markets” and “capitalism” are “beautiful”; that’s putting a moralistic perspective on amoral institutions. The market mechanism that’s compatible (but not necessarily endorsed) within capitalist societies may be tremendously efficient and effective at allocating resources, but there’s a lot of ugly history behind the development of markets and capitalism that tend to be hidden from view.

          1. there’s a lot of ugly history behind the development of markets and capitalism that tend to be hidden from view.

            What human endeavor lacks for ugly history?

            1. What human endeavor lacks for ugly history?

              Not many, although very few isolated examples could suffice: development of the printing press, the polio vaccine, and maybe the discovery of quantum physics.

    2. agreed on both counts. Ive been thinking recently somebody really needs to make a better (or more public at least) consequentialist case for freedom. I find the a priori arguments pretty convincing but they’re maybe a little esoteric for the voter who still manages to find a distinction between Ds and Rs, and they’re the kind of thing that make people tell you that you live in the real world.

  15. Well yeah, this is the necessary result of redefining words (and concepts) while not teaching anyone about what they’ve meant historically.

  16. Millennials also love the idea of “social entrepreneurship”

    Translation: They’re stupid.

    doing well in business while doing good for others.

    How can you not do well in business without doing good for oth…. Oh, I see. “Doing business is icky.”

    Translation: Millennials are stupid.

    Unlike anti-capitalists of yore, young people today don’t seem to see a tension between turning a profit and living righteously.

    What does that even mean? Oh, I see – “business is icky.”

    Translation: Millennials are stupid.

    It’s just a matter of making that money in an ethical manner,

    The other only way of making money that is not ethical is called ‘stealing’. Do Millennials really think that making money by trading is like steal… but what am I saying?

    Millennials ARE stupid.

    and “giving back” in some way,

    The quotes are appropriate, because the idea is… stupid. Just like Millennials.

    1. Millenials may be stupid, but I don’t think the quotes you pulled provide the best evidence of that.

      There is capitalism as you and I understand it and as we would like to see it practiced.

      And then there is “capitalism” as it is practiced. And as it is practiced, it is possible to do well in business without doing well for others. It is possible to turn a profit while not living righteously. It is possible to steal under the guise of “trade”.

      And even in an ideal market system, bad actors can still exist. On average, they’ll be punished and weeded out of the system, but individual bad actors can still find success and cash out before fully suffering the consequences of their actions.

      1. “:There is capitalism Socialism as you and I understand it and as we would like to see it practiced.

        And then there is capitalism Socialism as it is practiced. And as it is practiced, it is possible to do well in business government without doing well for others. It is possible to turn a profit be in power while not living righteously. It is possible to steal under the guise of trade government.”

        Hmm…Scandinavia?

        1. If your point is that people who talk about capitalism not being practiced properly sound a lot like people talking about how true socialism hasn’t been tried, then I agree, and that was the subtext of my comment.

          1. The point is, I believe, that there is no true Scotsman. Right?

    2. The problem I’m seeing is that millennials have grown up believing in the false premise of a fixed pie economy.

      If the economy is a fixed pie, then anything you take from it via profit must come at the expense of society. That feels immoral. Thus, in order to feel moral, they need to “give back” in some way. They don’t understand that voluntary trade GROWS the pie.

      We will never sell free markets until we thoroughly dispel the fixed pie myth instilled by a lifetime in public education.

  17. To many millennials, “socialism” doesn’t mean a government-managed economy but something like what we have now, only with more subsidized health care, student-loan forgiveness, and mandatory paid parental leave. Millennials were small children, if they were even born yet, when the Soviet Union dissolved. “Socialism” isn’t Romania and Yugoslavia but Scandinavia, not Karl Marx and union halls but Bernie Sanders and Twitter.

    In other words, socialism light.

    1. Once there’s a boot on your neck, it’s hard (and futile) to measure precisely how heavy it is.

    2. Fabian regulatory socialism.

  18. So stupid people believe stupid things? What a surprise…

    These people believe these stupid things because the ideas have been drummed into them since day one? And the people are stupid because they’ve been taught not to think? You don’t say…

    The availability of comfort giving technology has made people so complacent that they just can’t be bothered to really give a serious shit about anything? Well how about that…

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  20. Just want to deliver a shout-out to my main man Scrooge McDuck, the world’s greatest comic book and the world’s greatest capitalist!

  21. Why won’t these dumb shit millennial fuckers support libertarianism? Is it because they are tranny-loving little fags or because they are thieving children? It has to be one or the other.

    Why won’t you idiot cunts support us?

    1. They want you to respect their ideas too, SF.

      1. I just think we need to get to the root cause of why this moronic scum refuse to support us.

        1. Because they’re a bunch of moronic fucks who can’t be bothered to learn things. They’re a pile of stupid, selfish assholes and the world is a better place every time one of them commits suicide.

          1. “Bow to the Righteous Leaders of the New Libertarian Revolution!”

            We’re here to deliver personal freedom to everyone, whether they want it or not!

          2. Because they’re a bunch of moronic fucks who can’t be bothered to learn things. They’re a pile of stupid, selfish assholes

            IOW, pretty typical people, as a group.

          3. Maybe you should stop calling Millennials a bunch of moronic fucks and start ACTUALLY TALKING TO THEM instead of talking ABOUT them. You’ll learn that not all of us are as stupid as we seem. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourselves along the way…

        2. I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head with the “tranny-loving little fags” theory…

    2. Re: SugarFree,

      Why won’t you idiot cunts support us?

      I, for one, couldn’t care less about their support. They can all lock themselves in the basements of their respective parents to wither and die.

      You can’t save everybody, S. I will try and save my children but everybody else is on their own.

      1. Exactly. I mean who cares if you can make a point about onerous business regulation by explaining that their favorite food truck was shut down by crony politics? Instead it’s obviously better for libertarianism in the long run to call them fags for liking food trucks in the first place.

        1. Ah, see I was wondering if that was sarcasm. Thanks for clearing it up!

        2. Instead it’s obviously better for libertarianism in the long run to call them fags for liking food trucks in the first place.

          Because if libertarianism means one thing and one thing only; it’s good deep dish pizza sandwiches at a good price.

          I’ve never seen selling and selling hard ever backfire either.

        3. But a bank isn’t a food truck.

          *blink* *blink*

    3. Why won’t you idiot cunts support us?

      I see the theory you’re positing but it has no explanatory power with respect to political choices. Every single political group has some element of derision for the other groups. Yet somehow certain groups are more popular than other groups.

      You condescend to people quite often. So do I. So do liberals, so do conservatives.

      At some point you have to accept that they don’t disagree with us because we’re mean to them, any more than we disagree with them because they’re mean to us. They disagree with us because they want different things.

  22. As John Della Volpe, polling director at Harvard, puts it, millennials aren’t “rejecting the concept” of capitalism. “The way in which capitalism is practiced, in the minds of young people?that’s what they’re rejecting.”

    You’re all deluding yourselves by thinking that these young fools are merely rejecting Wall Street or Big Business. They’re in reality rejecting the notion of the sovereignty of the individual person. If you don’t believe me, try asking them about the role of the individual in ‘society’ and you will be frightened out of your wits. They will sound to you more like nationalists and cult followers than anything else. This rejection stems not from a lack of awareness of their selves but a rejection of the rights of others. This explains why socialists are so easily swayed by appeals to envy and why they easily justify the control the state imposes on others. But they would never tolerate this control on themselves, which is why socialists immediately turn to tribalism as a way to shield themselves from these actions, as they can then demand special protections and victim status. All of it is a rejection of the notion of individual sovereignty.

      1. Shorter version of this is Frederick Douglass: ”there is no one who will not understand that slavery is wrong for them”

    1. This rejection stems not from a lack of awareness of their selves but a rejection of the rights of others.

      When you are protecting your fragile self-esteem, and believe self-actualization is the highest goal, its no surprise that you don’t have much regard for others.

  23. Millennials were small children, if they were even born yet, when the Soviet Union dissolved. “Socialism” isn’t Romania and Yugoslavia but Scandinavia, not Karl Marx and union halls but Bernie Sanders and Twitter.

    Capitalism is Big Banks, Wall Street, “income inequality,” greed. It’s wealthy sociopaths screwing over the little guy, Bernie Madoff, and horrifying sweatshops in China. It’s Walmart putting mom-and-pop stores out of business, McDonald’s making people fat, BP oil spills, banks pushing sub-prime mortgages, and Pfizer driving up drug prices while cancer patients die. However incomplete or caricatured, these are the narratives of capitalism that millennials have grown up with.

    I wonder if being fed this load of bunch of bullshit for 13 years (K-12) and another 4 years or so in college has anything to do with it? Nah, that’s crazy talk.

  24. Polling millennials is a pointless endeavor. Who knew?

  25. I presume millennials like capitalism when it’s small. They like small businesses, they don’t like big businesses.

    Unfortunately, government does a whole lot of protecting big businesses from smaller competitors.

    1. This is the thing to focus on. People will respond to it.

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  27. When pollsters probe young people

    I’mma stop you right there.

  28. Millennials seem to be the result of a toxic stew of historic circumstance. One component was decently well-off eighties era yuppies procreating and raising their coddled spawn to become the most special of delicate snowflakes. The other component was the rise of the Internet which basically gave every middling intellect a pulpit and a grossly inflated sense of self importance. Combine the two and behold the current generation of fuckwits. I’ve never wanted to be the curmudgeonly crank that bad mouths the youth, but this generation really does suck.

    1. some seek their curmudgeonly status, others have it thrust upon them.
      Personally, I’ve been in training for it since at least adolescence.

  29. I agree with the Millennials.

    Small business is a good thing and government should protect small business.

    Instead, big business practically owns government today. And what do we have?

    Well,
    we have the Hardware Store (Home Depo or Lowes). All of the little guys have been run out of town.
    we have the pharmacy (CVS, Duane Reade, etc.). Once again, all of the little guys are out.
    we have the Store (Walmart). Basically, a supermarket with a clothing store and a five/dime wrapped into one.
    Pretty soon, we’ll have the Bank.

    Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to lobby congress nor should they be allowed to contribute politically. It’s nothing short of bribery. If anything needs to fundamentally change in America is this.

    1. Should this corporation be allowed to involve itself in politics? Why or why not?

      1. Should the New York Times report Politics and do interviews and give commentaries…YES
        Should they lobby congress for actions that would close down other news agencies…NO

        1. Who is going to stop them? The only ones with the power to are voters. And I don’t mean by getting politicians to pass a law. The same corrupt people are going to enforce laws against their own corruption? Ha!

          Some day, you are going to have to admit that getting your pony is more important to you than having clean governance. You’d rather have politicians steal from “the rich” and give to you than have honest politicians.

        2. California had several initiatives on the ballot last election that would have allowed a state commission to set prices for healthcare, and another that was a way to make suing doctors easier.

          Should healthcare corporations not be allowed to talk about their business being on the menu?

          Its so simplistic to say they should be outside of politics, when politics is gladly meddling in their affairs.

    2. If you don’t like your politicians, stop voting for them.

      There is nothing a corporation can do which is more powerful than the majority of votes on election night.

    3. “Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to lobby congress”

      Many times it is self-defense. If you read U.S. history, it appears the politicians first extorted from the businessman in exchange for granting monopolies of, say, ferry lines between NY and NJ. Vanderbilt would have been out of business unless he lobbied back. In one instance, was solicited by a federal employee to represent him in a Supreme Court case. No payment, no defense.

    4. Pretty soon, we’ll have the Bank.

      Bernie Sanders approves.

    5. Complete bullshit, as usual.

      Within blocks of me I have a variety of each of these stores and with the exception of a Rite Aid, all are independent shops. Including the independent pharmacy that competes with the Rite Aid.

      If you choose to live a town that isn’t robust enough to support so much diversity, that’s your problem.

      1. Exactly. These national brands bring A-Team efficiency to small markets while forcing major competition in large markets.

        I have several Walmarts nearby, but also high end stores like HEB’s Central Market as well as Whole Foods. Many of the compounding pharmacies are locally owned and run. But then I live in the self-proclaimed retail capital of the USA–North Dallas/North Texas. This is interesting because there are many small, mostly rural, towns within a few hours drive to compare with. In these smaller towns, Walmart may be their best supplier. And that Walmart gives them the same quality that Walmart customers demand in more dynamic markets. Walmart has not damaged the market, but they did put lazy, unimaginative stores out of business. They also brought about an upscale market for those who want more than Walmart offers. God save Walmart!

    6. It’s cute that you think that will fix anything other that further helping to cripple freedom of speech for all of us. Government isn’t naturally neutral on the question of big institutions versus small ones. Government naturally prefers big ones, because it’s a lot easier to turn a small number of big institutions into tools for its own power, rather than a constantly shifting landscape of tiny ones. Fascism is the natural tendency of all government insiders.

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  32. Pretty much. Communism did too good of a job showing how crazy the social ownership of the means of production is.

    Nowadays, socialism is capitalism plus free shit gimme gimme gimme.

    They had to destroy socialism to save it.

  33. When all the media millennials consume – from children’s books to movies to rock bands – deplores the evils of “capitalism,” it is no surprise millennials despise the term without really understanding what it means.

  34. One of the many reasons I identify as a self-hating millennial.

  35. I’m not for “capitalism” either. I’m for free enterprise. Capitalism, a term Marxists invented, would mean a system which either favored capital generally or in which the ownership of capital determined everything of importance?rule by capital.

  36. The Washington Post piece people were sharing starts off with a dramatic statement: millennials are rejecting “the basic principles of the U.S. economy.”

    By and large, millenials don’t *know* the principles of the US economy. Jobs they may have had are entry-level and often part-time, and many/most are still in school for large chunks of their lives. Their opinion on the subject is fairly irrelevant, since they don’t even have the intelligence to be good socialists: they want the freedom of the market without having to pay for it, implicitly provided for by those already in the workforce.

    1. they want the freedom of the market without having to pay for it, implicitly provided for by those already in the workforce.

      “Don’t we owe this to ‘The Children’ ?”

  37. You don’t get to claim everything new that is good as capitalism. Artisan cupcakes and weed shops isn’t capitalism. Specifically, weed shops don’t have any access to capital because the federal government still considers it a crime and capital will have nothing to do with it.

    1. Capital isn’t just money.

      Weed shops have grow lights, for example: that’s capital.

  38. Words matter. We have to stop using the word “capitalism” because it has been trashed by the left as symbolic of greed and corruption.

    What we need to promote is ‘free enterprise’ as a philosophy of economic progress and attainment.

    1. The GOP already tried that and it failed, mainly because the same party that was preaching this also pushed forward the bank bailouts (not that the Democrats aren’t equally guilty, but they didn’t have something as vague and meaningless as “free enterprise” on their party platforms). Invent a new term for “capitalism” or “free enterprise” or whatever system you’re advocating, just be consistent and maybe people will tack onto it (too late for me, but not too late for some of my peers).

      1. “too late for me”

        If you have no interest in engaging in a good faith debate, then why are you posting messages?

        1. “If you have no interest in engaging in a good faith debate, then why are you posting messages?”

          Never said I wasn’t interested in a debate; I’m more than welcome to having my views questioned (that’s why I come here in the first place). Just saying that having lived the post-9/11 experience, the second-greatest crisis in the history of capitalism, and the failure of two presidencies to restore the level of growth and income gains that modern Western societies are accustomed to, my left-wing beliefs are baked into my personality and will be pretty hard to dislodge. Same probably goes for your average libertarian. I’m just here to discuss general libertarian philosophies with intellectual feedback from actual libertarians; seems to me that this is more effective than reading Rothbard or Mises on my own, and more honest than reading about libertarianism from the left-wing sites that I’m accustomed to reading.

      2. not that the Democrats aren’t equally guilty, but they didn’t have something as vague and meaningless as “free enterprise” on their party platforms

        So what? Which is the greater crime, hypocrisy or consistent malfeasance?

        1. “So what? Which is the greater crime, hypocrisy or consistent malfeasance?”

          Just to make it clear, I’m not a Democrat. I hate them almost as much (if not more) than you guys, but for different reasons. But to be fair, Democrats don’t campaign on “shrinking government” and then do the opposite, so from a libertarian perspective they’re more of a nuisance than a general threat. The existential threat to liberty (from a libertarian perspective) is a group that claims to be for liberty but does the opposite, leading people to have misgivings towards anyone who argues for liberty and eventually question “liberty” itself.

          1. The progressives/Democrats/Liberals are evil. They have infiltrated our education system from kindergarten to grad school and for k-12 and undergrad are not giving kids a good education. The kids coming out of school are dumb as shit. The kids in college learn what they should have learned in high school.

            They supported a socialist system of social security, medicare and ObamaCare when they were getting ready to use it even though they fought against it when they were young. They have zero problem sucking every dime out of young Americans getting started in life to fund their retirements and unhealthy lifestyles when they were young.

            These people are a threat because they destroy the good fabric of American and then die leaving us to hold the shit sandwich. Rarely in American has older generations left younger generations holding so much debt and horseshit.

  39. These polls seem actually kind of optimistic. All I see around me are people ignoring facts and trends that have been time and time again brought to the surface because of one tragedy, famine, violent regime, or power-grab-gone-horribly-wrong after another throughout history. I’ve told some people things my opa had to deal with in Germany during the war, and that usually slows ’em down, but then they reemerge with a more flowery kind of insanity and blatant disregard for others’ liberties. But the priority there seems to be “winning the argument” and “educating” the other person on how what they want makes them bad. And that really bothers me ’cause when I was little, all I had to do to see an old man break down is ask about his childhood, and it was pretty clear capitalism was not the contributor to those stories. There were people who even cried when the wall fell because they “still didn’t know how they felt about it” and that’s just messed up. But scary stories and fears of those times aren’t good ways to market capitalism either. I have just noticed that a lot of people’s trust in the positive aspects of human nature (fuck, their *willingness* to even admit it still exists) is eroding. The “solutions” result in this terrible cycle: law-through-regulatory-bodies, and I’m convinced that the more regulation we have in more areas of life, the less we are given a reason, or rather incentive, to care about our fellow man. Meh, history tends to auto-correct itself…eventually.

  40. Not terribly surprising, since “capitalism” and “socialism” are both trigger words, and therefore aren’t taught in universities. I think millennials will turn out alright, but I wish the education system would at least provide a common vocabulary for discussing these things.

    1. The millennials as a generation are stupid about most things except social media and some electronic gadgets. The schools have so failed kids that they believe the BS that they need to go to college to get the education they should have gotten in High School. The liberals and progressives have really fucked them on that while collecting huge professors paychecks.

      The millennials in general do not even know what the definition of socialism is. They barely understand why we have definitions- so we can all communicate with each other and understand each other. They barely understand economics and the free market.

      Now that millennials are mostly adults they need to learn all these things they should have learned in school (if schools were good) and be productive.

      If I were Millennials, I would cut social security funding to pay for all student loans. Take back the costs from a worthless education from the thieves that are now entering retirement age. Of course, using government to steal is wrong and would just put you at the progressives level.

    2. Visit the Ayn Rand Lexicon. The vocabulary there is useful and germane.

  41. “Capital” is what an investor (entrepreneur) has left after paying wages, taxes, rents, and production costs” ‘. That’s what a “capitalist” does . . . creates jobs and consumer products – all at the free discretion of workers, sellers, renters, and consumers. That’ why it’s called “free market” . . .

    What seems to trouble people about capitalism is “profit” . . . it is seen as greed and selfishness – because the political mass is inherently envious, jealous, and economically ignorant. of the fact that an investors (entrepreneurs) profit (capital) is reinvested in the creation of more jobs and consumer products.

    Most “progressives” know all of this . . . but it’s politically inconvenient for them, because their constituents have no clue – and the political class has no incentive to educate them.

    1. Actually, “capital” is one of the three factors of production, usually involving anything from cash or credit to industrial equipment and/or infrastructure. What you’re thinking of is “profit”, which is the amount of value-added product left over from wages, taxes, rents, and production costs. Capitalists don’t technically “create” jobs because employment is the byproduct of interactions between buyers and sellers; i.e. “markets” create jobs, not capitalists. And historically speaking, “capitalists” don’t really operate at the “free discretion” of workers, sellers, etc. Often times capitalists had to engage in coercive behavior to get the “consent” of workers.
      Also, I would argue that what troubles people about capitalism are the contradictions within it. “Profit” by itself isn’t perceived as evil, unless one ascribes to a Marxian theory of surplus value; it is the culture that surrounds profit that leaves people with a sour taste in their mouth. When people read stories of companies laying off workers because profits didn’t meet quarterly expectations, it’s hard to feel sympathy for the capitalists. And when they read stories of executives using company profits to buy back shares or issue dividends to rich investors and portfolio managers, they don’t really see the “reinvestment” aspect, especially when many of the visible aspects of “reinvestment” happen overseas or in wealthy areas. In other words, when capitalists act like assholes, people start hating them.

      1. 1). This thing you are defining as capitalism =/= the free market, which is where both parties are free to make mutually profitable trades and so forth without threat or coercion. Subject to the NAP logically. The fact that some people (“Capitalists” per your definition; “Opportunistic Statist” would be more accurate IMO ) have no moral compunctions against exploiting the state to their own advantage even when it is to the detriment of all other parties is not an indictment of the free market. It’s not even a particularly astute or brilliant observation, Captain Fucking Obvious. What you are describing is merely human nature; which is a thing that has clearly not changed in all the time we have written or oral human records and logically must extend as far back as could be defined as “human”. Try defining your terms a little better in the future if you can and avoid conflating opportunistic statism and the free market. Because they are as different as fire and water and there is the danger some readers might interpret your arguments as gibberish and pretentious word salad. 2). More importantly. If we hate and resent people who are wealthier by virtue of providing us with goods and services we want at price we want to pay, then what should we “feel” or better yet – think about those who claim to do these things but rather than use persuasion can only use the threat of force?

  42. Please save us from our government.

    1. You mean, cast your vote for the LP, rather than let you waste it on more looter crap?

  43. Part of the problem seems to be a misunderstanding of Capitalism. First a lot of people use that term to mean free-market which is understandable, but not correct. Then politicians and media call what we have to day Capitalism, which is at best a parody of Capitalism and has almost nothing to do with free-markets. They’re pointing to the massively over regulated system ruled by corporate oligarchy and supported by the revolving door, pay for access government. The system that strangles small business and wants to regulate their access to pretty much everything.

    I suppose if someone told me that’s what Capitalism is, I wouldn’t much care for it either.

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  45. Millenials have been bombarded by propaganda since elementary school. They, unfortunately, do not truly understand “capitalism”. They are just simply responded to that A, the are being screwed by the system, and B, every authority figure blames Wall Street, Big Business, Corporate America, and the 1%, essentially the epitome of what is considered “capitalism”.

  46. Brainwashed morons. I keep telling the Reason folks the Millennials are whining, brainwashed, crybaby, little nitwits but nobody even listens. Sure the small minority (the good ones who actually think for themselves) are probably on this board, their the exception, not the rule. Millennials are selfish in the worst way, wanting to use the state to rob others so they can get something free. I really have no hope for them, the system is going to crash and burn, maybe then, these kids will snap out of it and realize it was their precious socialism that got us to this point. But again thats just HOPE.

  47. Free markets are not unstable. Free markets are the most stable and successful markets in human history. Monopolies are the exception and rare compared to all the voluntary business ever created which is unknowable. Nearly all the monopolies are known and tied to some government scheme or give away.

    Most people do not address that monopolies can reach a point where they cannot be competitive and simply too big to provide consumers what they want efficiently. New competitors can enter the market at any time but certain periods in time are the perfect time to enter the market and take big market shares away from the monopoly.

    A great example of this is the personal transportation industry (taxis). It is a crony supported and inefficient monopolistic industry rather than a single monopolistic company. Uber and lyft are more efficient and liked by consumers than the tradition taxi services. In spite of heavy government regulation and cronyism, these new companies broke into the personal transportation market and are getting more successful every day.

    Economies ebb and flow with recessions and expansions as do companies growth by buying competitors and divesting some of their subsidiaries. It is all part of the process of private business relationships and it is far superior to central planning.

  48. That’s how the powers that be like our society…confused.

    These kids today couldn’t locate their butts with GPS.

  49. We should scrap the term “capitolism” The only difference between capitolism and communism is who controlls the real capitol – the means of production. For free markets to function there must be some authority to (1) recognise and protect property rights (2) enforce contracts (3)settle disputes. Real free markets don’t create monopolies, they create churn – some rich getting poor and some poor getting rich. Monopolies have almost always been the result of government “protectionism”. A well known peoblem with free markets is the agency problem – paying someone to spend or manage your money. As it is government promotes that with IRA’s and other financial incentives.

    Kneal Knott

  50. You people are insufferable. All I am reading here is “I’m old and so I think young people are stupid”, and “I am definitely smarter than this entire group of people”.

    What you are seeing here is not a misunderstanding of capitalism. And I think the generalization here about current education being bad is wrong. I have likely learned more in my schooling as an older ‘millenial’ (a term I hate btw) than most of those decrying modern US education. The survey shows people aren’t happy with the US economic system – often labeled as capitalism over socialism.

    The lofty ideas about the free market and the flow of free trade espoused around here are not real world. Has there ever been a large society that followed the free market ideal that so many of you desire? Isn’t liberty about doing whatever you want as long as you don’t harm others? To reject that current business practices never harm others is outright wrong. To suggest that it is solely because of regulation that harm comes about is also wrong. The problem with these ideas is that they assume an informed consumer who takes more into account than just price. “A company that treats its workers poorly will fall out of the market due to competition from companies that treat theirs well” No, this never happens. It is because the majority of people can neither afford the time nor money to figure out who these ethical businesses are, and then pay the higher prices for the goods that have necessarily higher production costs.

    1. “I think the generalization here about current education being bad is wrong. I have likely learned more in my schooling as an older ‘millenial’ (a term I hate btw) than most of those decrying modern US education. ”

      You have yet to demonstrate this.

      ” Has there ever been a large society that followed the free market ideal that so many of you desire?”

      Yes, and even if their hadn’t been that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea.

      “To reject that current business practices never harm others is outright wrong. To suggest that it is solely because of regulation that harm comes about is also wrong.”

      He said, with no demonstration to support that.

      “the majority of people can neither afford the time nor money to figure out who these ethical businesses are, and then pay the higher prices for the goods that have necessarily higher production costs.”

      DERP. Those companies fail because workers leave. That’s why Ford raised pay for his workers.

      You’re an idiot, and all too typical of the ‘bright lights’ of my generation that know how to talk but not to think.

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  52. The poll says, in effect, “plot a non-linear curve using only the x axis.” Millennials correctly interpret this as the ravings of a fool inviting them to choose between Christian National Socialism (right wing) and Soviet International Socialism (left wing). Is anything but hoots and sarcasm an appropriate answer to people who do not check their premises?
    The premise is: freedom is divisible, so the question is, which part would you stomp?

  53. Millennials are confused. Rather than change the word “capitalism” to something like entrepreneurship, how about educating millennials to help them understand that we do not have a capitalistic economy in the U.S., we have a crony-capitalist system and crony capitalism is not free capitalism.

    Perhaps if millennials had a better understanding of this distinction, they would understand that people like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are going to move us away from freedom into the dark realm of government-corporate cronyism.

  54. “Millennials also love the idea of “social entrepreneurship”?doing well in business while doing good for others. Unlike anti-capitalists of yore, young people today don’t seem to see a tension between turning a profit and living righteously. It’s just a matter of making that money in an ethical manner, and “giving back” in some way, be it by donating a portion of proceeds or creating a product or service that provides a social good.”

    For heaven’s sake man, if you have a successful business in a “real” capitalist system then by definition you _are_ doing good, you are providing goods and services people want or need. That is the very definition of doing good. If you do good and people want your products you will become successful. What you do with your excess funds is your business in a free country.

    C’mon millienials, don’t be so lazy with the thought processes, or are you saying you want successful people to be forced to give away their money?

  55. Pretty simple to understand. America’s “best and brightest” have leveraged themselves up with unpayable levels of student loans to compete for crappy low paying jobs that used to go to people with high school diplomas. People with high school diplomas or less are pretty much confined to working 3 part time jobs with no benefits at minimum wage, or fake a disability claim.

    Kids don’t like capitalism because they are consigned to economic failure before they get started. Kids don’t like government managed economy, because a sizable portion of their loans come from the federales.

    Note to Communist Revolutionaries: if you want a violent revolution in your home country, make sure you reduce the most ambitious young people to a condition of debt peonage or some other form of serfdom. Make sure they are hopeless about their chances within the confines of the existing political/economic system. This will create conditions ripe for a revolutionary leader like Lenin or Castro–and the capitalists are too stupid and greedy to realize they are signing their own execution warrants.

  56. RE: Seize the means of production? Meh. Millennials love private enterprise?as long as you don’t call it “capitalism.”

    Yeah.
    That make sense.
    Ask me again why we should eliminate public education.

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  63. See what happens when everybody gets a trophy in soccer! Millennials haven’t had time to experience capitalism. Previous generations had nothing to start on and worked to create a decent income. Millennials put away the lattes and eurropean trips your parents pay for. Work hard at your start ups and change the way higher education is viewed. Universities themselves need to change from the current model they follow to more flexible and essential course schedules for todays economic market needs. Tuition absolutely needs to be more affordable-but it will not be free and can not be free. It never has been.

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