You Can’t Sell Capitalism to Young People Anymore.

We just aren’t buying it.

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Photo via Max Bohme on Unsplash

In a stunning new poll, 1 in 4 Americans say they do not plan on retiring, with money cited as one of the critical aspects of this determination. I would count myself among those who don’t see retirement in my future, and I can personally say this prospect is so thoroughly depressing that I just try to save what I can and simply not think about it. While this poll alone is devastating, it naturally speaks to a broader phenomenon.

This is why our economic system is so unappealing to younger generations. Is it any surprise, really, that we have been slowly becoming more and more enchanted with the idea of social democracy or even democratic socialism? Bernie Sanders is case in point to the appeal of this new movement, and the growing anti-capitalist sentiment among millennials and the new rising voice of the generation Z. We see our future under capitalism, and it looks bleak.

Of course, leave it to FOX news to put such a twisted spin on this new poll, that I would argue it’s nothing less than disturbing.

On their business network, FOX brought on Donald Luskin to provide a take on this new information, and he certainly delivered, stating that:

“…I guess I’m one of those people who plans never to retire. I mean, is bowling that interesting? Is fishing that interesting? I happen to love my work. Why do I want to stop it? It’s not like it hurts. Why would I stop it? This is great. What a great country where we have the opportunity to keep working. What a miracle where our lives are long enough and we’re healthy enough and mentally alert enough so we don’t have to retire like generations before us. This is a great blessing. You should embrace it.”

Donald Luskin, if I’m being honest, deserves some credit. It’s actually incredible how someone could encompass every single thing people hate about capitalism, and fit it in to such a small number of sentences.

“It’s not like it hurts.”

The thing is, it does.

I am not even in my mid twenties, and I’m already developing lower back problems because of the nature of my job. It should go without saying that my case is not unique. Capitalism might not steal from the people like Mr. Luskin who work in the upper tiers of the finance industry, sitting behind a desk assessing the markets and hitting buttons to bring in their millions. But for those of us in the working and even middle class, capitalism will steal not only our time, but our mental and physical health as well. I have coworkers also in their twenties who are forced to work such long hours so often, putting themselves under such detrimental amounts of physical and psychological stress just to put food on the table for their kids, that their doctors are worried they’ll have a stroke.

Capitalism doesn’t just hurt. It can kill, too.

This is exactly why you cannot sell capitalism to young people anymore. We have seen how time and time again no matter how often it is reigned in and fixed, capitalism creeps back in like a virus to attempt to destroy whatever protections are in place that prevent it from exploiting us as much as it possibly can. The virus spreads until it has infected everything from the corporate tax rates to the democratic process itself.

It’s also worth noting that Mr. Luskin — in his position of privilege — has a luxury that he’s fortunate enough to take entirely for granted: choice. He is financially comfortable enough to be able to decide if he wants to retire or not. And yet, he will sit there and tell the American people to embrace their fate of being bound to labor under capitalism’s rule, and see it as a blessing that they’ll be spending their entire lives lining someone else’s pockets.

At what point do we say enough is enough?

At what point do we finally accept that such a system has proven itself time and time again to be unsustainable, and immoral to the highest degree? Younger generations overall have seen and lived the negative effects of capitalism, arguably in an entirely unique way to other generations before us, given that we have tools available to us that bring answers, data, and statistics to our fingertips. Perhaps we’ll be the generations to decide that it’s time to move on.

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