Hong 1 Professor Ng ECON 160 18 April 2011 Capitalism vs. Communism: Term Paper Many people believe the notion that personal freedom comes from political agenda, rather than free economic spending. Milton Friedman, author of Capitalism and Freedom, argues against this idea, his book explaining how the government must work with the free market based economy in order to obtain the most personal freedom. Hedrick Smith, author of The Russians, describes his journey into Soviet society and their communist non-market economics system. People at different political and economic statuses will live accordingly within particular economics systems, with its advantages and disadvantages. This essay will look into the lives of one who is born to non-politically influential, but very economically successful parents; one who is who born to politically powerful parents; one who has little education, no skills, and is born into a poor family; and one who has an exceptional talent or skill, but is from an unremarkable, normal family. The lives of these individuals can be determined by their living in a capitalist free market system versus a communist non-market system. Michael Milken is a very successful and wealthy financer. Although he is very wealthy, he does not have any political influence. Michael Milken’s son would, at some point in his life, inherit a large fortune from his father. In a capitalist free market society, such as the United States, Michael Milken’s son would be have a major advantage and privileges that the common person would not have access to. Having a lot of money in this kind of society would a nice thing to have, as it also comes with other benefits and privileges. He will be able to live comfortably Hong 2 and enjoy personal freedom his entire life. He may also encounter some disadvantages living in this kind of society. He may find other things that may impede on his personal freedom that he cannot do anything about, even with money, although he will probably be able to afford to have things his way. Living in a communist non-market economy would be a different situation for Michael Milken’s son. He does have advantages in wealth compared to others, but he is still not politically powerful. Having a lot of money in communist society puts you in the elite, “nonexistent” upper-class. These people have privileges with the government and can get enough food to live luxuriously for their families and relatives. They can also afford expensive luxury automobiles. He will encounter disadvantages in this society as well when he cannot be economically free with the choice to buy whatever he wants. He must buy what the communist market offers, which is very limited. He will lose his political freedom as well unless his money can help him into the regards of politicians. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton and Hilary Clinton, a US Senator, has politically powerful parents. This means that she is born into an elite class in a capitalist free market society. She will live comfortably, as her family is also somewhat wealthy. She is more than likely inclined to become a politician one day, seeing as how her parents have some power. Unless she has some kind of major problems headed her way, it does not seem that she should encounter economic hardship, which would be her major disadvantage in this kind of society. She would still be able to have economic and more political freedom than common people, along with other privileges from being in that elite class. In a communist non-market economics system, Chelsea Clinton’s life will be different. If her parents were still politically powerful figures in their government, her life will be a lot better Hong 3 compared to the common working people. Because her parents were both holding political office, she would be given a lot of privileges to live comfortably and to own nicer things than anybody else. She would have a life better than everybody in a communist state, if she could one day follow in the footsteps of her father and lead the nation. Chelsea Clinton will still encounter hardship in that it is difficult to acquire goods that would increase her happiness but are from other non-communist places. Stepping away from the extremes of the politically powerful and the0 extremely wealthy, among the common people are also many situations of human beings in different economic and political standing within their government and economy. A person from a poor family who is not particularly intelligent, with a 5th grade education, who is barely literate and has no exceptional skills or talents living in a capitalist free-market based economics system, such as the United States, has a chance of surviving and living freely. In this type of society, he has the freedom to do what he pleases as long as he does not break any laws. He is at a major disadvantage due to his family’s standing, his lack of a quality education, his illiteracy, and lack of skills and talent. He may be lucky enough to land a no skill required job. He can also make his living other ways as well. He has freedom to do what he wants in this kind of society because nobody can put that much pressure on him. He has the right to work for whomever. He has advantages in that he has his freedom and can be satisfied with himself. If this same person were to be living in a communist non-market society, his life could turn out to be totally different. He would be put to work unskilled labor. Because he does not have any money, he will not be enjoying any of those benefits and privileges that Michael Milken’s son and Chelsea Clinton would be enjoying. He would also have no freedom to choose to spend his money. He would be at a disadvantage in nearly every way his life can make. He has Hong 4 the advantage of always having something to eat, even though minimal, and somewhere to sleep. He would be submitting his freedom and his rights to be able to be taken care of, although abused as one of the lowest standing members of society. A young person from a normal, unremarkable family who is born with an exceptional talent, like any of the current “American Idol” contestants, can live in particular ways depending on their situations and their market systems in conjunction with their government. If Thia Megia, “American Idol” contestant, lived in a capitalist free market society, such as the United States, she would be able to use her talent to make a living for herself. She has already been noticed by the media and one of the final contestants on the television show “American Idol”. She has advantage over the previous person because her family is not poor, and she has amazing talent. She may one day or another, become a famous singer and become wealthy and free to do as she wants. She has a disadvantage compared to others because they may have more money or may know more influential people than she does. Thia Megia living in a communist non-market state, such as the Soviet Union, would have life very differently. Her greatest disadvantage is that she is a singer and that has little value, occupationally, compared to other fields. This is not a way for her to reach upward mobility. Her talent does not matter much for a communist society. She will also have her freedom violated by the government. She will be forced to sing only communist songs or to stop singing completely. She will never be able to make it as a famous singer in a communist non- market society. She has the same advantage living in this kind of society as the previous. Their form of government will support the working people. She will receive at least minimal food and shelter. Hong 5 These two authors, Milton Friedman and Hedrick Smith have described and revealed a good deal about how the lives of the politically powerful, the extremely wealthy, the extremely poor, unintelligent, and unskilled, and the exceptionally talented would live their lives depending on the economics systems and form of government under which they live. It seems that within all of these situations, it is better for all these individuals to live under a free market capitalist society, where they would be able to preserve the most of their freedom and have to give it up less than they would living in a communist society.
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