If capitalism is so great, why must it be bailed out by socialism every ten years?

If capitalism is so great, why must it be bailed out by socialism every ten years?

He is a happy man* because recession is coming! He has been praying for one since 2015. Yes, without recession, the door of owning a house would be locked for him. But with one coming and prices dropping, the chance is finally here!

He has mocked capitalism because he believes that it is rigged for the big boys. Yes, while governments will always bail out big corporations, only recession will bail him out by making things cheaper and affordable. His thinking is thus: if capitalism is so great, why must it be bailed out by socialism every ten years? Year 2000, 2009 and now 2020. They have another scheduled bailout by 2029.

It is a hard call – privatizing success (profit sharing, bonuses, etc) but socializing economic pains (markets have crashed, we need cheap government money). I still believe capitalism is the best model but there was one they taught me in FUTO in GST 108 ( Polity and Economy of Nigeria). They called it the Mixed Economy System. I am not sure even that one works! But this morning, a commenter left a really nice one on a piece on Igbo Apprenticeship System in Tekedia; he called it Communalism (note, that is not communism)! 

Lastly, we need to factor in the metaphysical worldview of the Igbos that favors individualism and a type of capitalism mixed with communalism (not communism) as opposed to the American capitalism that favors individual wealth accumulation, which could explain the centralized, conglomerate model. The Igbos believe that a single tree no matter the size cannot make a forest. But, for the purpose of building scale, it is more of mindset rather than the system.

Yet, I will still vote for capitalism. In the midst of its imperfection, it is well ahead of other options on accelerating innovations and productivity.

*a classmate who lives in London


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2 thoughts on “If capitalism is so great, why must it be bailed out by socialism every ten years?

  1. Capitalism is the best model, by far, just that most people don’t understand its huge benefits, so even when they indirectly benefit from it, they still rile about it; and I find such posturing to be hypocritical.

    Humans are naturally greedy, and nothing motivates or incentivises the brilliant and hardworking ones as when promised to ‘own almost everything’ they laboured for. Once you try to level up everybody, motivation will go, and productivity will scale down massively.

    Take drug/vaccine production in the US for instance, some take more than ten years before getting them to the markets, and some will never get approval from FDA. With the potential profit being very attractive, investors are willing to risk billions of dollars, with no guaranteed outcomes. But once the drugs are mass produced, they find their way to other markets, and got sold even at cheaper prices. Who would risk such investment if there’s no prospect of taking in potential big returns? It’s the sort of thing that spur innovation.

    Yes, there will always be fine narratives such as ‘carrying everyone along’, or ‘shared prosperity’, but ask yourself, how could that play out in reality, knowing that ambitions are not equal, so also capacity to take risk.


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