Young adults growing up in America repeatedly hear from politicians, educators and social media that capitalism is wrong. Capitalism receives blame for everything, including climate change, the destruction of ecosystems, putting down women, wealth inequality, and even natural disasters.
According to MSN.com, “Capitalism is making the world a less hospitable place to live” and has “a negative impact on your health.”
In the Spring of 2013, Stanford University cut its class, “Moral Foundations of Capitalism.” A survey of 31 public and private universities across the U.S., conducted by The College Fix — an online publication — “found that the subject of capitalism is often either maligned, ignored, or taught from a perspective other than objective economics.”
Many politicians also don’t understand capitalism. Consequentially they put it down every chance they get. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., believes that capitalism is an “ideology of capital. The most important thing is the concentration of capital and it means that we seek and prioritize profit, accumulation of money above all else and we seek it at any human and environmental cost.”
In my column last week, I quoted Yeonmi Park, who escaped North Korea when she was 13. Her flight to freedom is harrowing. But just as important is the tale of Korea. That story is an excellent comparison of capitalism vs. socialism.
Obviously, I cannot cover the complete history of Korea in my short column. I will start with the end of World War II. Like Germany, the Allies divided Korea in two at the 38th Parallel, with the northern area controlled by the Soviets and the southern area guarded by the United States.
The Republic of Korea was formed in the south, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north. Ironic that North Korea has the word “Democratic” in its name.
Since its creation, South Korea has been through six forms of government from democratic to an autocratic military regime. Their current form of government is based on the free market and is modeled after the U.S. — a three-branch system.
South Korea is considered one of the “Four Asian Tigers” for its economic strength. The others are Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
According to Wikipedia, “between the early 1960s and 1990s, they underwent rapid industrialization and maintained exceptionally high growth rates of more than seven percent a year… large institutions have pushed to have them serve as role models for many developing countries.”
In 1993, a World Bank report, The East Asian Miracle, credited free-market capitalism with the economic boom of these four countries.
In 2020 the gross national income per capita for South Korea was a little over $32,300. For their neighbors in the north, it was $1,187.
North Korea’s economy, according to Heritage.org, is rated the 177th freest. South Korea’s rank by Heritage in their “2022 Index of Economic Freedom” is number 19, the United States is 25.
The Kim II-sung’s family has ruled the DPRK with an iron fist since 1948 with almost all property belonging to the state.
The Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights published a report on the DPRK in 2014. As noted on Forbes.com, “The report presented findings of violations of the rights to freedom of thought, expression and religion; discrimination on the basis of State-assigned social class, gender and disability; violations of the freedom of movement and residence, including the freedom to leave one’s own country; violations of the right to food and related aspects of the right to life; arbitrary detention, torture, executions, enforced disappearance and political prison camps; and enforced disappearance of persons from other countries, including through abduction.”
The violations have not improved since 2014.
In Park’s opinion, “The entire country of North Korea is a concentration camp.”
Before WW II the people in North and South Korea shared the same culture and the same potential. Now one is an economic powerhouse the other one of the poorest nations on earth. One is capitalist, the other socialist/communist.
Andy Puzder, former CEO of Hardee’s said, “Capitalism leads to economic Democracy. Socialism leads to economic dictatorship of the elite — always and everywhere.”
Currently, the Democrat party is pulling America toward socialism and communism.
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