The government has gotten too big, the Tea Party says. Greed has run amuck in America contends the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But could today’s world financial troubles really be more about the timeless struggle of good guys versus bad guys? And greed and government are simply convenient whipping boys?
After all, for every Bernie Madoff, whose $50 billion Ponzi scheme bilked thousands of investors and gave Wall Street a huge black eye, there is a Steve Jobs, who has connected society to computers in ways no one could have ever imagined.
And for every Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell a Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he resigned to become president, there is a Ronald Reagan, who unified America, simplified government and brought down an oppressive regime in the former Soviet Union.
Fortunately, bad guys like Blagojevich and Madoff ultimately get the boot in America. At the same time, our free market rewards creative, out of the box thinkers like Jobs. And the favor is usually returned. At the time of his death this year, the company he led, Apple, employed over 35,000 people and was worth $380 billion.
On the other hand, a growing number of people in America only see the dim side of capitalism and government, and the world’s financial problems have only energized the respective platforms from which they speak.
For example, at a recent Occupy Wall Street rally, columnist and social activist Naomi Klein blamed capitalism for all the world’s woes, from global warming to financial crises. “Today, everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy.”
Don’t worry, Naomi, there is a country where capitalism has been put in its place by government. It is a people’s government, which according to its founding principles, promises to “champion and realize the interests of people from all walks of life, including workers, peasants and intellectuals.” It boasts that it is a country “with strong national power, in which everything prospers, and its people live happily with nothing to envy in the world.”
What a concept. With no envy, there would be no greed.
The country, of course, is North Korea, and unfortunately, its leader, Kim Jong Il makes bad guys Bernie Madoff and Rod Blagojevich look like choirboys. Despite his position of power and influence, Kim Jong Il will never enrich anyone’s life other than his own and will never pay for persecuting people who don’t conform to his narrow view of humanity.
Worst of all, the citizens of North Korea will never have the opportunity to vote him out of office. In some societies, the bad guys always win.