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Is Capitalism A Pyramid Scheme?


In last week’s post, I pointed out the sad fact that the vast majority of Americans have been brainwashed to accept the mantra of the wealthy and powerful that “America needs more jobs.”

As I expected, my post attracted some very passionate responses and comments. My positive, results-oriented, forward-thinking readers applauded my recognition of our nation’s acute need for more self-reliant, independent, value-creating entrepreneurs.

But sadly, there were several very defeatist and negative commenters as well. And even more sadly, they quite stubbornly insisted on clinging to their defeatist attitudes.

Here are a few examples…

One reader actually disagreed with my call for less serial job-seekers and more entrepreneurs by claiming that “there has to be a pyramid. The numbers don’t work otherwise.”

Really? Even if the modern American capitalistic system is, in effect, a classic “pyramid scheme” with a very, very few mega-wealthy and ultra-powerful leaders at the top and an overwhelming majority of relatively poor and virtually-powerless followers supporting them at the bottom, do people really believe that it has to be that way?

As an entrepreneur—but more just as an American – I find that very troubling.

Another extremely troubling comment was from a reader who matter-of-factly mis-stated: “You cannot be successful at a business by working at it part time.”

Huh? Thank goodness for all of us true entrepreneurs that is completely false!

Just a few days after reading that way-off-base comment, for example, I saw a TV commercial starring former NBA player Junior Bridgeman, where he tells about owning 165 Wendy’s franchises.

Let’s see: Since, according to this reader, Mr. Bridgeman has to put in a full 40 hours per week to make each of his businesses successful, that means that he has to work a total of 6,600 hours a week. Wow! When does he have time to sleep?

On a more serious note, more than one reader pointed out that, thanks to slavery, there was never actually a time when all Americans were self-employed.

I do stand corrected there. I’m painfully aware that not only did slavery exist in days gone by, but – other than the physical brutality – unfortunately, it is still basically alive and well today. Millions of Americans give up control of their financial lives to the rich and powerful, selling themselves to the highest bidder by willfully working jobs they hate, for companies and bosses they can’t stand, incessantly complaining about poor working conditions and pay. Sadly, they put up with all of this just to have barely enough money to get by, while living in a perpetual state of debt and teetering on the edge of complete financial ruin, so that they are fully dependent on employers for their very survival.

To these “wage slaves,” to use a commonly-accepted term, weekdays are something to “make it through” so they can have two whole days of freedom and enjoyment before heading “back to the rat race” to miserably slog through another week all over again.

However, my point is that just because this is the current norm doesn’t mean that things have to be this way. Again, I firmly believe that America doesn’t need more jobs – we need more entrepreneurs.

Which brings me to the saddest reality of all: this pervasive job mentality extends far beyond mere workers and employees and firmly into the realm of the typical American small business owner, who is not truly an entrepreneur (someone looking to expand a business) at all, but really just self-employed, having nothing more than a glorified job – albeit with him or herself as boss.

These self-employed workers concentrate almost all of their time, money and effort on only the deliverable of their business, all-but-completely neglecting the “business” aspects of their business.

Think of roofers pounding nails all day, dentists doing nothing but treating patients, accountants ceaselessly crunching numbers, etc. – all of them quick to make excuses for why they don’t have the time, energy or money to properly market, systematize or grow their businesses.

By contrast, how many burgers do you think Junior Bridgeman flips on any given day?

So there you have it. Not only are we beaten over the head non-stop by the message of the rich and powerful that what’s needed in America is more jobs, but even most of those who have chosen to start their own businesses have designed for themselves instead really nothing more than a job (and often a low-paying, high-stress job at that).

To me, this is really a shame. It’s a tragic waste of human capital, and a recipe for unhappiness, frustration and dissatisfaction with life in general. Bottom-line: Not at all “The American Dream.”

I’d like to know your opinion. Please join the discussion below.

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