In 2016, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign brought the once taboo topic of socialism to the spotlight. Since then, more and more individuals from all parts of the political spectrum have began challenging the monolith of Western culture that is capitalism. Conversations about capitalism versus socialism are especially prevalent among young Americans.
This past summer, Gallup found that “Americans aged 18 to 29 are as positive about socialism (51%) as they are about capitalism (45%).” This marks a 12-point decline in the demographic’s positive views of capitalism over the last two years alone.
But it’s not just young people that are losing faith in capitalism. A growing body of academic papers and books is grappling with the likelihood that adopt socialist policies or even completely socialist systems may be a better way to govern society. Flattening wages, evidence of slowing productivity gains, and the dominance of corporate behemoths are all common criticisms of the free market over recent decades. Even topics not directly related to the shortcomings of supply and demand, such as climate change and discrimination, are evidence that our present system may be deeply flawed.
Conversations about these topics are not going anywhere. If anything, the 2020 election will force politicians and the public alike to take criticisms of capitalism more seriously than ever before.
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