Thursday, June 17, 2010

Primerica and the Capitalist Parallel

I've ranted about Primerica before, and actually it's gotten quite a large number of hits from search engines. Usually people are looking for links between Primerica and Mormonism. I don't think there are any, other than the fact that Mormons love Multi-level marketing scams, like Primerica, and I've had a couple of people try to get me into the scam, citing that the CEO is a Mormon.... Served a couple of missions and all kinds of stuff, none of which appears to be verifiable online.

The thing that has always amused and pissed me off about Primerica flunkies, is that most of them start their sales pitch off with a discussion about how much debt they were or are in, and how they could give me a financial needs analysis and help me become financially independent.

Now, I'm definitely a long, long way from being anywhere even in the same neighborhood as financially independent, but I'm not entirely convinced I need the help of someone who is up to their eyeballs in debt in order to get there.

Which brings me too my capitalist parallel... People love to tout the benefits of capitalism, and I would agree that on paper and in principle, it does have it's merits. As an example of a realistic example, the merits of Capitalism are usually tied to the US economy, and how great it is, and how it's the proof that capitalism works.

The thing is, the US is one of the most indebted nations, if not the most indebted nation on the planet.

From where I sit... what Capitalism has done, is allowed corporations to rape not only the American people, but the country itself, and the worst part is that they still have an army of minions out there spouting forth the propaganda about how capitalism will save us... And yet, I suspect most of those spouting forth this crap will ultimately be hurt by the very ideals they're promoting.


  1. Please don't confuse capitalism with what the corrupt politicians and CEO's have done with evil corporatism.

  2. I'll admit that what we have today is not pure capitalism... Perhaps the closest definition I've found for the way I see things is Crony Capitalism.

    The problem is that I'm not seeing a very distinct line between pure capitalism and corporatism, or whatever funky blend of the two we have right now. The key motivating factor behind capitalism is the pursuit of profit, and unfortunately that seems to be the root cause of a lot of the problems I see.

  3. It's hard not to confuse capitalism with corrupt politicians and CEOs, given that the very system itself gave birth to them.

    The more and more I see of the "pure" capitalist system in the U.S., the less and less I like.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Trying to hold the U.S. up as an example of the "success" of capitalism is laughable at best.

    I think that capitalism or socialism or any other kind of socio-economic model, when taken literally and to it's extreme, without application of common-sense or regard for balance, is always going to result in something less than pretty. I think the results today, and through history, demonstrate this unequivocally.

    I miss the mind-set of many of the Northern European counties in this sense. Although they are far from perfect (and if you are seeking perfection, I say you'll be constantly disappointed any way) they seem to at least attempt to seek a balance and, for the most part, I feel that (at least in my experience) the cut-throat mentality is balanced out by a sense of social responsibility and neighborly compassion that is all-but missing from the U.S.

  4. 'pure' capitalism is merely the voluntary exchange of goods and services. And the only reason to exchange (rather than gift) is because of the profit motive. I exchange my time with my employer because I value his tokens more than my time (I profit). He exchanges his tokens for my time (he profits). I exchange these tokens with the grocer because we both profit from the exchange (otherwise we wouldn't exchange). There is nothing immoral or evil about profit unless it is done with force or fraud.

  5. Nothing immoral there at all...

    But 2 examples of where it could and likely would take an immoral turn:

    1. I can think of a variety of circumstances where an employee might feel trapped in a specific job - health issues, bad economy or any other number of issues. Capitalism would allow him to limit his employees pay significantly, this increasing profits and taking advantage of the employee.

    2. Company finds out it can save x number of millions of dollars by cutting corners with safety of it's equipment and employees, since the chances of something going wrong are highly unlikely.

    In both cases, the pursuit of profit turns into a lack of regard for employees, the community or the environment.

    I don't know if I favor pure capitalism or pure socialism, or any manner of ism. Like Travel Vixen said, we need to try and find a balance between all of those ideals, and hopefully come up with a philosophy which works.