Letter: Blind faith

Ryan Dawson’s blind faith in capitalism is not matched by an understanding of its fundamental economic principles.

Dawson claims that without exorbitantly compensated CEOs, we would have no jobs or schools. Say what? There is simply no requirement in capitalism for companies to have exorbitantly-compensated CEOs. If you’re going to argue that workers who don’t like their pay should find another job, and you’re trying to be fair, you have to be prepared to make the same argument about CEOs. If we cut CEO pay by 50 percent, so they were only making 150 times more than workers, and some CEOs didn’t like it, well, they can just find other jobs. By selectively applying cost-cutting rhetoric to workers, but not to CEOs and other profiteers, the pro-capitalist mentality demonstrates that it has zero interest in having any kind of serious discussion about fairness.

Back in the real world, CEOs in some sectors are voluntarily cutting their pay to cut costs, which should indicate that it’s not just evil, America-hating, gun-toting socialists like me who consider this a problem.

Dawson’s characterization of coffee farmers as “[seeking] no ambition, [creating] no wealth and [having] no real ability” cannot be squared with our willingness to shell out $3 a cup at Starbucks. Farmers create wealth – if they didn’t, there would be no way for anyone to profit from selling their products, since they wouldn’t be worth more than it costs to produce them. That is a fundamental economic principle of capitalism.

If capitalism is “the only rational economic structure,” and it somehow requires that some people live in palatial wealth while others languish in abject poverty, it’s time to start considering irrational economic structures. We should start with love – an irrational motivation which encourages people to (gasp) share and (don’t say it!) help people in need, instead of just trying to make as much profit for ourselves.

Joe Futrelle

University employee