Why Young People are Rejecting Capitalism

According to new research by the Institute for Economic Affairs, young people are turning their backs on capitalism. 

Credit: Gallup News

Research from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) confirms that younger people are hostile to capitalism and hold positive views of socialist alternatives. 67% say they would like to live in a socialist economic system; 75% agree with the assertion that climate change is a specifically capitalist problem and ‘socialism is a good idea, but it has failed in the past because it has been badly done.’

Young people associate ‘socialism’ predominantly with positive terms, such as ‘workers’, ‘public’, ‘equal’, and ‘fair’. Very few associate it with ‘failure’.

Dr Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the IEA said,

“These results show that “Millennial Socialism” is not just a social media hype, and it was not just a passing fad which ended with Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation. Nor is it simply a replay of the student radicalism of the 1960s. This is a long-term shift in attitudes, which is not going to go away on its own.”

Why is Capitalism falling out of favour?

Capitalism is an economic system in which private individuals or businesses own capital goods. This production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market.

Capitalism depends on the enforcement of private property rights, which provide incentives for investment in and productive use of productive capital. Any economy is capitalist as long as private individuals control the factors of production. It can still be regulated by government laws, and the profits of capitalist, endeavours, can still be taxed heavily.

The system is based on free markets and limited government intervention. In other words, this can cause inequality, market failure, damage to the environment, short-termism, and boom & bust economic cycles.

Credit: The Guardian

Not only this, but it also encourages greed and materialism, because the nature of capitalism is to reward profit. The capitalist system can create incentives for managers to pursue profits over decisions that would maximize social welfare.

As an economic system, it breeds competition between countries and perpetuates poverty among developing nations due to the individual interests of private corporations rather than the needs of their workers; ineffective and unstable as it doesn’t give equal opportunity to each individual, increases wealth inequality, and ignores people’s needs, encourages mass consumption which is quite unsustainable, as it provides an incentive for business owners to harm the environment for monetary gain.

What do young people want?

Today’s youth seems quite unhappy with capitalism. A Harvard study concluded that many of these young people feel that “capitalism was unfair and left people out despite their hard work”.  Youth now want ‘Socialism’ – an economic theory that public ownership or regulation of the means of making, moving, and trading wealth should be owned by the government. Under this system, everyone works for wealth that is in turn distributed to everyone.

Image: Instagram/sluttyforsocialism

Benefits of Socialism

The biggest benefit of Socialism is equality as humans rather than wealth separation. It helps to reduce the threat of price-fixing in the economy, encourages income equality, and provides efficiency. It also promotes the economy with more value judgment opportunities. When socialism is present in society, then the governing leadership can take over the entire sector of production for the vital areas of the economy.

This structure makes it easier for the benefits of publicly-funded research to directly apply in each segment of the economy, allowing more people to have their needs met effectively. The most strongly socialist systems in Europe are found in the five Nordic countries—Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland.

On behalf of the people, these states own a large percentage of the economy. the Nordic states’ model of socialism is employed as the world’s happiest nation, with Denmark heading the list.

Millennial socialism is real and it is happening. It is a reason for acknowledging the existence of the phenomenon, accepting the challenge, and acting accordingly.

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