Capitalist freedom is the freedom to buy—if you have the money. Most of the human species is not able to experience capitalist freedom because they are not born with money and won’t ever acquire enough money to experience freedom beyond a subsistence level. A small percentage of entrepreneurs from the ranks of the poor may rise above their social class and achieve capitalist freedom, but this still leaves 99% of the poor without freedom. Should 99% of the poor be denied freedom for their entire lives? Do you consider that an acceptable outcome for a society that claims to value everyone’s freedom? Most entrepreneurs don’t come from the poor, anyway. Most come from the middle class—the petty bourgeoisie. Capitalism doesn’t offer any freedom or any notable chance of freedom for 50% of the US population that is born below the poverty level.
Even those lottery winners born with capitalist freedom have impoverished real freedom. Their freedom is the freedom to buy. The capitalist consumer can only buy things that are for sale. This is an impoverished form of freedom because there are so many good things in life that money cannot buy.
There are collective forms of freedom that can only be experienced when everyone works together. When a human explorer docked with the pale white lamp that hangs in the sky, we all tasted a new flavour of freedom. A flavour not sold at shopping malls. We felt vicarious freedom hearing what it feels like to step on moondust, and we also felt the rush of new human possibilities. This monumental act shamed the petty obsessions most of us waste our lives on. Does watching TV make a life worth living when you could be visiting new worlds? Is having cash on hand a good reason to grow old doing tedious labour?
Engineers and scientists, working for the US government, gave all of us something money can’t buy and capitalism couldn’t create. The United States government brought humankind to the moon through government investment. NASA was a government project, and the science NASA applied was created in public universities that were government funded. The global scientific project—thousands of scientists across the world collaborating to know more—has been almost entirely government funded. Capitalist businesses almost never produce new science. When they aren’t creating monopolies or scamming you, they sometimes apply the science created by governments to create marketable products—but they almost never do basic research themselves. The few examples of corporate R&D departments that did something worthwhile are the exceptions that prove the rule. Bell Labs, where Bardeen and Brattain discovered the transistor (and then Shockley, their boss, took credit for it) has been scaled down because it was deemed unprofitable by management. It only persisted while Bell was a quasi-governmental entity, being granted a monopoly (essentially) on an essential utility by the government.
To make worthwhile government investments like basic science research, we need to end the financial oligarchy, and this means passing the Millionaire’s Estate Tax. When a millionaire dies, give a million dollars to his heirs and put the rest into government services that guarantee Equal Opportunity for Every Child. When 100% of children are well fed and well educated, collective freedoms will be discovered that expose the trophies of the super-rich as ugly trash. Idle rich can consume and control, but they can’t explore, they can’t create, they can’t discover. They can’t even hire people to explore or create for them if such people have not been educated and fed by a freedom-granting government. Real freedom requires collective freedom, and collective freedom requires collective investment. What kind of collective government project do you want your generation to be known for? Can the millennial generation do better than the moon landing, better than the Internet, better than car culture, better than global warming? Our generation should end global poverty by creating meritocracies.
Another form of freedom is the freedom to live a meaningful life. If you want capitalist freedom, first you need to get money, and this usually means spending most of your effort—most of your waking hours and certainly lots of energy—doing stuff that isn’t meaningful to you. Some people who do this boring kind of work imagine they will eventually retire and then start a meaningful life. If capitalism requires 65+ years of busywork before you can do something meaningful, I suggest you overthrow capitalism. If you have to buy your freedom using 65+ years of work, that is not real freedom; that is slavery. You might as well be a Roman slave who had to pay 10,000 sesterces to buy the removal of his or her chains. If you are born into a condition where you have to buy your freedom, you aren’t born free.
Let’s create a world where everyone is born free. Once the financial oligarchy is dismantled using the Millionaire’s Estate Tax, the government will guarantee every child a top-notch education. This will include hours of individual psychological counseling to help people discover their passions and find meaning in their life. The schools will stop ordering kids around at the toll of a bell, and will start being incubators of creativity and achievement. Science majors will congregate in one part of the school and collaborate on their interests, while artists will hone their talents with advice from great artists who will be well paid by the government to pass on their knowledge.
Most people are passionate about something, but they never had the education or opportunity to develop their passion to mastery. The entire purpose of a next-generation school system should be to help kids discover a niche they are passionate about, develop that passion into something socially recognized, and then, once they become masters of their craft, spend some of their time passing what they have learned to those who will come after. What would you do if the government gave you 10,000 hours of free time and access to the best people in your area of interest to learn from? Do you think you could have created something socially desirable if you had 10,000 hours of individualized, self-directed education when you were a child? Capitalist freedom to shop is pathetic and pedestrian in comparison to the freedom to develop yourself in the direction of your greatest desire. Every child should be born with that freedom. Even rich kids do not have it—they are forced into boarding schools where they are trained in the image of their parents.
Stop settling for corporate trash. Don’t waste a minute longer consuming junk when you could instead be winning freedom for yourself and the entire species. A free world will come about when meritocracies come about. Humans will be born free when they are born into meritocracies that guarantee each person’s freedom. Capitalist freedom is impoverished freedom—it doesn’t even extend to the majority of humans. History has exposed it as a fraud. Help The Meritocracy International end the financial oligarchy: Fight for the Millionaire’s Estate Tax. Let’s make the millennial generation famous for creating the first government that guarantees freedom to every citizen. Let’s create Equal Opportunity for Every Child. Let’s discover new heights of collective freedom, starting with what could be our generation’s first collective achievement—establishing global meritocratic freedom.