Earlier this week, United Airlines made the type of mistake that could actually be the beginning of the end, not only for United, but also for capitalism in general. That is if (and only IF), the people recognize that THEY actually have the upper hand.
It pains me to say that United Airlines was in fact operating within their rights to remove a customer from a plane and compensate them for the trouble; the reality of them having this ability is really just another symptom of capitalism gone awry. Capitalism is a *game* and a quite slippery one at that. United set the rules for their portion of the game and they hold all of the winning cards; the only question is when they were going to use one.
A business sets the rules for the way they interact with the public (the customers) and if you don’t follow the rules, you lose! Why? It’s THEIR rules, that’s why. The rules are slanted in their favor because they wrote them in their favor. You want rules to be slanted in your favor? Then build your own corner of capitalism with your own rules and start pulling in your own customers. That’s how “the game” works – you pull in customers, they give you money, and if you play the game better than the next guy, you win! That’s why it’s called “getting ahead”.
This is how capitalism keeps morphing itself, from one group of players (businesses) to another; always adapting, always staying one step ahead of the next guy. It’s a “dog-eat-dog world” because everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else. And because of this, it encourages people to cut corners, fake information, bribe others, and generally do *ANYTHING* and everything possible to get ahead. This behavior is not a symptom of trouble, it’s an anticipated outcome of people interacting this way. And if you think I’m stretching the truth to fit this example, think again. This type of behavior happens all the time within “the game”. You can see it if you simply open your eyes and look around:
- The taxpayer who “cuts a few corners” on their taxes, maybe claims a few extra deductions, just so they can get a few extra bucks back on their tax return
- The politician who slides some extra “pork” into his pet-project bills, so that he and some of his favorite constituents can reap a tidy profit
- The mechanic who sells the consumer some unneeded parts or service, because it’s easy money
- The business or corporation that tells their employees about their banner sales figures as a way to boost employee morale, then refuses to give a reasonable raise to their employees because “the budget won’t allow it”
- That same business or corporation that also raises employees medical premiums a given percentage (of net pay) which just happens to be the exact amount of their last pitiful wage increase (gross pay)
- The doctor that prescribes a particular brand of medicine because the pharmaceutical company pays him for his loyalty
- The special interest group that pays the (politician/doctor/businessman) because they know having some “pull” on their side can be quite profitable in the long run
It’s fraud, it’s conspiracy, it’s corruption, and it’s all designed into “the game” from the very beginning.
SO how to we change “the game”? How do we beat the players at their own game? How do we build a world that is fair & equitable for all inhabitants?
Change the things we value, thus changing what we desire and strive towards.
And that’s one reason why I endorse a Resource Based Economy.