Due to the emergence of a truly global economy and a divergence away from independent lifestyles, those who control the flow of money have far greater influence over the lifestyles of individuals than ever before. Furthermore, a democracy of any form is supposed to empower the People, thus a capitalist system, where private capital feeds the economy, can reinforce the People’s power by ensuring government does not use money to override the will and freedoms of its people. Meanwhile, a pure socialist state rewards complacency with stagnation and empowers the heavy hand of corrupt government officials. On the other hand, the shortcomings of capitalism will lead to economic failure if they are not properly addressed as people have a tendency to embrace the comforts of socialism during times of crisis and uncertainty.
Pure socialism involves the very strict control of resources by a government to ensure all citizens equally benefit from the wealth of the nation. Theoretically, a democracy with a pure socialist economic system would further empower the people; however, government inefficiencies, stagnation, and corrupt elements of government would lead to the very opposite result. On principle, a pure socialist state would force out some of the best qualities of humanity, but the practice of pure socialism leads to corruption, the disenfranchisement of the people, and a loss of individuality. Although a cure for poverty can be an alluring theoretical possibility, forms of government, which espouse an economic system based entirely on socialist ideals such as Communism, discourage productivity and create stagnation while only corrupt government officials enjoy the privileges of wealth.
On the other hand, a pure capitalist system can easily create a narrow concentration of wealth that restricts the flow of money and leads to the inevitable collapse of an economy. Considering the US relies heavily on service industries and overconsumption, a broad base of consumers with adequate financial resources is needed to maintain sufficient spending for a healthy, stable economy. Furthermore, a nation without a healthy, stable economy has less opportunity to provide for national security and uphold the freedoms of its citizen. Meanwhile, a people will do little to combat homelessness and severe poverty when a majority is financially secure; however, their tolerance quickly evaporates when they are negatively affected by economic failure, especially when the wealthy have benefited so greatly from the success that created the failure. As exemplified by the 2008-2009 global recession, the shortcomings of capitalism can quickly lead to a push for far-reaching socialist reforms and can turn a society away from the benefits of capitalism.
A pure democracy does not exist, because people tend to vote their freedoms and the freedoms of others away in times of crisis. In the United States, democracy is fostered and protected by non-democratic institutes like the court system, the military, and guaranteed rights that cannot be stripped away by the will of the people. Similarly, capitalism requires a certain amount of socialist elements to maintain stability in the economy and to ward off purist socialist movements. In the United States, socialist elements help ensure stability through various government undertakings by generating spending programs, which spur new industries, extending government credit to guarantee essential economic institutes do not fail, and providing some sort of financial security to individuals even after retirement, as well as during times of financial ruin.
In truth, a capitalist system does not necessarily guarantee a democratic nation as exemplified by the free-market reforms of China; however, socialist policies provide government with enough power to limit the freedoms of individuals, as well as, eventually, to ignore the will of the people. Unfortunately, capitalism cannot survive when it leads a population to financial ruin or disenfranchises a people. Like a properly maintained garden, capitalism facilitated through healthy government involvement can provide a nation with the most bountiful harvest with the least amount of unhealthy growth. When governments over regulate elements within an economy, markets stagnate; however, a lack of government involvement leads to unhealthy growth that chokes out the marketplace. In the future, nations must constantly seek policies that maximize the benefits of capitalism while minimizing the negative effects of government interference and vice versa.