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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
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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
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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
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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.
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        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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