Last week I got into a conversation about the Shaker religious sect that participated in shared living quarters, shared work, and celibacy. It made me consider why they prospered for a while and why they stopped existing. I now reflect on the Amish that live around south-central Kentucky and how they live in peace with the rest of society.
So, what am I getting at with exploring these thoughts?
In America, a lot is hinged on the idea of “Freedom”. The constitution, the Bill of Rights, all of the Amendments and laws that guide us through the jungle of justice to guarantee our “Freedom”. So the thought occurred to me that while everyone is arguing the over different forms of economic systems between capitalism, socialism, and communism, that why shouldn’t it be possible for people to be able to choose the economic system they like for themselves.
What I am getting at is that the Shakers were for intents and purposes practicing”communism”.
What is communism? Basically it is an economic system where everyone has financial security and services provided by the system. Everyone works at what they are best at, everyone gets paid the same, and here is the main principle of communism, nobody privately owns their property. It all belongs to the cooperative.
Back in the early and middle 19th Century, America was a vast land, and although land ownership was possible, it was a difficult thing to make a living doing on your own. To join the Shaker sect in these communities you had to add your property to the Shaker community as well as forfeit sexual interaction, even if you were married. People joined out of a devotion to the Shaker religious principles, but also I believe because of the idea of shared work, shared responsibility, and shared advantages of living inside the community. There you had your work, you were fed, clothed, given a purpose and a way to live which was clean and principled.
Although Shakers were communism practicing within their own community, they were capitalists to the outside world, selling goods of high quality and desired value into the general population. The Shakers were not against money, capitalism, or any of their duties to the country in which they lived, they just chose to select a lifestyle based on humble attention to quality work and devotion to their God and to each other.
Why can’t people choose their own model for living today? Why is it that all people must live by one set of rules? Why isn’t it possible to choose which Financial Model that you desire to live by?
Why isn’t it possible for some people to live like the Shakers, separate from the rest of the world, yet a part of the society anyway, a communism based philosophy operating within a capitalistic society. Why shouldn’t it be possible for people to go to a community like the Shakers and work within that community by providing food and functionality to their own community? This could be a way to end the homeless issues we face today. A peaceful community based on non-violence and common values. A credo and a society to live in to secure a good life for yourself.
Others may want to hold property and also have shared functionalities such as education, health care, elderly care, but also be able to hold jobs or build businesses for themselves.
Then others may want to just go it alone, and not pay into any system, but pay for everything out of pocket like education, health care, etc.
There is no law saying that everyone has to participate in the systems that are in place. You can go it alone if you want. Just don’t ask for help from a system you haven’t supported in times of need.
Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, and thank God for that. Entrepreneurs need employees to do the work of the business for them.
Most people want to be able to work as an employee, with a guaranteed salary so that they can plan their financial lives based on something they can count on, or think they can count on. When you are an employee it usually means you have a special area of expertise that you have trained for in the educational system, and so you look to work for companies that need the work you can do and can pay you a living wage for it. Security is what people are looking for as employees. Outside of their work they have time to have a family and live a good life with the feeling of being secure.
The entrepreneur is someone who wants to be in control of everything. Their income, their free time, their destinies. It is not for everyone. Entrepreneurs build businesses that solves problems in society. They employ people. They create new things and move the entire economy forward. Without entrepreneurs, there would be no innovation. But alas, not everyone is cut out to do that, nor should everyone.
Investors are people who buy an interest in for-profit enterprises and are necessary because this also helps fund progress.
So, while all of the above would mean that there should be allowed different ways for people to secure their livelihood, why do we continue to want to force an all or nothing economy?
To me, it doesn’t make sense to force that.
Capitalism and Socialism must coexist. Communism can also work inside a free society as long as people are freely participating.
There really is no such thing as an absolutely single way of financially organizing the world. The reality is that we need all of them to serve different purposes in our society. Trying to force everyone to do the same thing is not only impossible but cruel and ultimately unsuccessful.
Just a thought.