Name of Student
Idealist United States
The upcoming United States presidential election is a hotbed of issues that each candidate is advocating for to appeal to the masses. I have watched as controversial issues crop up with candidates taking various strategies to put out the policies they believe Americans need and assuring the people that they are the best suited to run the country. My views of America are pointed towards a country where the gap between the haves and have-nots is reduced significantly by empowering the people at the bottom of the wealth pyramid to become wealthier. This is one aspect of leadership that I really find important. The United States is run by a corporate capitalist economy which essentially means a few large corporations control a vast amount of resources. The United States needs to change its form of economy since it builds inequality and puts the welfare of nation in the hands of a few individuals making it prone to manipulation for selfish reasons. This can be facilitated by creating equal opportunities for all people and developing an environment that is suitable for innovation by people from all classes.
I believe that leaders should seek to reduce the spending of both the government and its citizens. The US spends too much on healthcare, for example. Electing the right leaders would ensure that the government reduces its spending to levels spent by Canada, Sweden, and German among others. The youth are a source of worry for the United States. There is need for their skills to be improved and exploited. This can be done by providing free college education and access to employment. The minimum pay should also be reviewed and financial education provided so that they can manage their funds. Leaders who pursue policies such as these should be mandated o rule the US and the world.
America has been described as a class society. The classes in the United States are unlike the classes that Marx defines. Marx defines the capitalist world as split into two classes, the proletariat and the bourgeois (Marx & Engels, 1967). The bourgeois controls the means of production while the proletariat is employed alongside the modes of production to earn a living while the bourgeois rake in the profit. In as much as the United States is not simply divided into two as per Marx’s assertions, there exists a class system that separates the wealthy from the underprivileged. Between the wealthy and the underprivileged in the United States, there exists a middle class that is further subdivided. I find that I probably belong to the middle class, especially now that my family comprises of people who are majorly in the workforce and possess a decent livelihood. In my opinion, however, the nation should probably target the lower class in its attempts to resolve this problem.
I suppose that the economic basis of the division in the United States is, according to Marx, a potential cause of conflict due to class struggle (Marx & Engels, 1967). However, it should be noted that previous governments have been effective in ensuring that little or no conflict has been experienced between these two groups. However, this cannot always be expected to remain the same. Notably, people in the lower class have been seen forming groups that seek to seek justice for them. The Capitalist system depicts the poor as poor an uncreative. As information continues to be easier to access, it will be more likely that the poor will realize that something can be done to make the access to resources easier. As Marx observes, capitalism leads to alienation of the worker from themselves, their work, and other workers. Marx asserts that labor is a form of personnel creation and manifestation of identity through the products of one’s work. In the United States system, the workers are at risk of disillusionment because they are separated and do not enjoy the products of their efforts. Socialism would be a radical and difficult concept to introduce into the United States since the system is firmly entrenched in corporate capitalism and individuals and groups at the helm of these corporates wield a lot of political influence. However, changes such as the legislation by Bernie Sanders to increase the minimum wage over time are useful in bridging the gap between the wealthy and the poor. The change process should be gradual but should be focused on distributing the resources equally among all the citizens of the United States.
The development of property as initiated by the building of the hut and division of labor led to the introduction of inequality. Property paved the way for exploitation of the poor and domination by the wealthy. Relations between the wealthy and the poor, when politicized, are a possible cause for war (Rousseau, 1980). This makes it dangerous and unstable in discussion. The rich, therefore, create a political society that apparently seems to secure freedom and safety for the poor. According to Rousseau (1980), however, the political society merely reinforces the status quo and creates laws that maintain inequality. Inequality is now less related to the original nature of human beings but is a moral inequality that has been established in place of a physical inequality. Rousseau’s observation of modern society where money is the only measure of value is true in the present. As Rousseau observes, inequality continues to persist; it may end up to a point where despotism is the way of life (1980). I do not, however, find this position entirely true. I feel that the civil society has been very effective in providing justice for the poor. Employees have, for example, experienced better conditions at work and feel better represented at all levels of government.
In reality, it would be impossible to create a state where all people are equal in terms of wealth. This type of state would be considered utopian. In as much as human beings are perceived as equal under the law, inequality will always exist between people. Aristotle in defense of private property and condemnation of excessive capitalism argues that these economic relations are necessary for a city-state to hold (Everson, 1996). According to Aristotle, man is a political animal and can only attain the good life by living in a city-state. As such, the economic dynamics that keep the city-sate running breed inequality. Aristotle condemns extreme inequality due to excessive capitalism but supports the fact that the best state is relative. The best state depends on circumstances (Everson, 1996). Subsequently, because complete equality would be difficult to achieve, people have to strive to create a balance. At this point, everyone in the economy would be leading a stable livelihood and probably contributing positively to his household as applicable.
Capitalism may, however, be the best system for the United States. Mill argues that liberty is essential for a nation to progress and avoid social stagnation (Mill, 1869). Mill believes that when an individual does not conform to the norms set by the authority or majority, they may be coerced to conform. However, they may be right and the majority is wrong. To begin with, Mill argues that the unpopular opinion may be right (Mill, 1869). Secondly, in the case the unpopular opinion is wrong, refuting it will allow the holder of the opinion to review their idea. By reviewing their idea, the holder of the unpopular opinion is in a better position to understand not only themselves but others’ opinions. Mill’s further states that non-conformists are important for the progress of society. Their challenge to the norms acts as a motivation for society to progress and discourages social complacency. In this case, for example, I would suggest supporting the more stable capitalism with policies developed to protect the less fortunate and the oppressed.
In relation to the United States, Mill’s argument is also relevant to scores of issues that have attracted varied opinions. Issues such as gun control have been agendas for debate with varied opinions and all sides believing they are right. Mill (1869) observes that at times, the opinions of an individual may be geared towards what best serves their needs and not the greater good. This notion at times is not desirable and may be stopped from spreading. Mill observes that at times the need to stop the spread of damaging or negative for the good of all society. Democracy is at fault for at times curtailing unpopular opinions that are right. For instance, the participation of the United States in armed conflicts in other countries has been an issue of hot debate. Under the guise of combatting terrorism and spreading democracy, the United States has been involved in global conflicts that have led to loss of lives and billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money. Such actions of war, in reality, are for the protection of economic interests and do not serve the people as well as they are portrayed to. On the other hand, withdrawing American troops from these countries may not be to the best interest of the country. Withdrawal at this point may catalyze terrorist attacks that may not be possible in the course of war.
The United States like other countries in the world is built based on social engagement. People do no act on their own. Individuals cannot exist fruitfully in isolation and this leads to the need for interaction for production. Hobbes (1968) argues that man being a social creature will seek to interact for survival. The United States needs policies that encourage engagement on an equal opportunity platform as opposed to the current system or welfare system. The current system encourages inequality and subjects those at the bottom of the wealth pyramid to a vicious cycle of poverty. On the other hand, a welfare system would lead to an excessive burden on taxpayers. There is also the possibility of developing a dependency atmosphere and making the nation less productive than it currently is.
Expenditure of taxes is a vital issue in the political arena. People want their taxes to be spent only on the most beneficial activities. Taxpayers do not want to be taxed for activities that do not benefit them. The electorate has been divided into the taxpayers and the tax recipients. The taxpayers emphasize on responsibility; individual and collective. On the other hand, the tax recipients emphasize on rights. The taxpayers support an unregulated and free market while the recipients of tax are in favor of a market that is regulated and advances or suits the needs of specific interest groups. The demographic that is mostly in need of assistance by the State is the blacks and other population groups. The population that is taxed the most to fund programs that assist these groups is the white population, especially the working middle class. Subsequently, it is important to create a balance by creating equal opportunities for all people regardless of age, gender, race or religion to avoid polarization.
The United States needs to change the form of the economy since it builds inequality and puts the welfare of nation in the hands of a few individuals making it prone to manipulation for selfish reasons. The United States is run by a corporate capitalist economy that essentially means a few large corporations control a vast amount of resources. I would suggest addressing these inequalities by implementing policies that recognize the impossibility of perfection, but strive to create a balance between the different classes. From a Marxist perspective, the class struggle will eventually lead to an uprising of the proletariat against the bourgeois. On the other hand, Aristotle argues that creating the best state is a relative term, and the degree of suitability varies with circumstance. It is therefore up to the people to decide what is best for them. Mill observes that leaving the people to decide what is best may hinder unpopular opinion that is right or promotes opinion that serves the needs of the opinion holder. A balance needs to be struck in the governance of the nation to implement policies that build equal opportunity as opposed to division.
Everson, S. (1996). Aristotle: The politics and the constitution of Athens. Cambridge University Press.
Hobbes, T. (1968). Leviathan: Edited with an Introd. by CB Macpherson. Penguin Books.
Locke, J. (1980). 1690. Second treatise of government. Two Treatises of Government.
Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1967). The communist manifesto (1848). Trans. AJP Taylor. London: Penguin.
Mill, J. S. (1869). On liberty. Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer.
Rousseau, J. J. (1920). The Social Contract: & Discourses (No. 660). JM Dent & Sons.
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