Social Stratification and Capitalism

Social stratification describes the social position of persons in society.    In our society we categorize people into rankings based on factors like wealth, income, social status, occupation and power. In the U.S.stratification, in its simplest form, refers to upper class, middle class, and lower class.

Although stratification is found in all developed countries, it has run amok in the United States.    We, as a society, have become so separated that we have forgotten that each of us has individual worth and contributes to the whole.   E pluribus unum, the motto of our country, seems to have been forgotten of late.   To me this is a serious issue and one that I address in the tenets to come.

Capitalism is Good???

Capitalism is a tested economic strategy with many advantages.   Our country has developed under the auspices of this economic model. We have become the world power, in part because of this system.  However we do need to recognize the tensions that exist with capitalism in a democratic society.   By definition, a democracy is designed to give everyone a voice, while capitalism only gives voice to the rich and powerful.   Because of this tension, strong government with democratic values is required to keep rein on the abuses capable in unchecked capitalism.

One of the biggest problems with capitalism is that it causes us to completely lose our values in favor of money.   This abuse has disrupted more traditional and meaningful human interaction and crushes diverse cultures under its weight.   Our worth is determined by our bank accounts, at a time when society would be better off if worth was determined by an individual’s contribution to society.

Capitalism encourages greed, over-consumption and rampant consumerism.  In my younger days I was a willing cog in the capitalism machine.   I moved my entire family, multiple times, in pursuit of a better job with more money, more prestige and a nicer car.  It is only in retrospect that I regret my actions and wish to at least warn others that this is a false pursuit and does not result in real happiness.

What problems does capitalism create?

(The following paragraph is from an unknown author, but I include it because it is on target and succinct.) Under capitalism, the profit motive is supreme. Mathematics replace morality in the sense that profitable activity thrives and all other activity is suppressed. Problems arise from activities which are financially productive but socially destructive. Love is fundamental to human welfare and yet, because it leads to activity such as sharing, caring and giving away, it runs counter to economic ‘progress’, so those activities which promote love are discouraged, while those which discourage it are promoted. The capitalist system rewards selfishness but punishes altruism.

In light of the problems discussed I have developed tenets for the Pro American Party that create a new value system, one that promotes unity in our country.   I would ask that you look at tenets #7 and 11 when they are published to see how I address these issues.

Pro American Party

I know, I have just written about the negatives of political parties with the George Washington quote.   However, given our current political structure, I don’t see another way to proceed.   Perhaps we should be called Independents of the Pro American persuasion.  If you think of a better name, or a better structure, please help.

In the meantime the platform of the Pro American Party is designed to foster political ideas that support the best interests of the overwhelming majority of Americans. The focus of this party is on economic issues and national security, but it will address all issues that affect our quality of life. Recognizing that both the Republican and Democratic Parties have made it clear by their actions and rhetoric that the good of our Country and its citizenry is far less important than their ideologies and special interests, the Pro American Party is formed to protect our country and citizens now and into the future.
Purpose of Government:

The highest purpose of government is to protect its citizens. Within the Pro American Party we believe in a government that not only protects us from foreign powers, but also from corporations and any other entities that have resources and means beyond those of the average citizen that, if unchecked, may act in ways that are not in the best interests of our citizens.

The Pro American Party wants the government to be as small as possible, but large enough to do the work necessary to safeguard our sovereignty.   We believe we have a responsibility to future generations to safeguard our human and natural resources. Our government will be designed to ensure these resources are protected now and into the future.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties are welfare parties.   The Democrats give to the poor and the Republicans give to the wealthy via corporate welfare.   This party will require that everyone earns what they get…but unlike other parties, we will create the structure that allows all to be successful when they act responsibly.

The tenets of the Pro American Party will follow, but if after reading them you think we need to add one or more, please submit your idea.


George Washington

George Washington, father of our country, made the following statement:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

Have you ever considered how the two major political parties in our country have put a strangle hold on power?   Do you think Republicans and Democrats have the answers to every problem?   I don’t.

One of the things that really upsets me is the coercive manner the parties use to ensure their members stay the party line.   Our elected representatives are not free to speak their minds…at least not without retribution.    Party leaders decide who gets into key committees.   They also decide whether certain members will get money from the party for reelection and how much, based on their adherence to the party platform.  God help the man or woman who sides with the other party on an issue of importance.   If you do, they will run a candidate against you in the next primary to highlight their displeasure.

Imagine if we did not have political parties and instead required each representative to create their own unique platform.  In such a case strategic alliances would hold sway only when there was a meeting of the minds.  Our country would be stronger for it.

Some of the nonsense within political parties is currently being highlighted mostly by the Republicans in the race for the presidency.   After spending an entire debate excoriating Donald Trump, complaining how incompetent he was, at the end of the debate each of the candidates then swore they would support him if be became the nominee.   Were they kidding?   No, unfortunately they were not.   In our current environment, their loyalty to their party is more important than their values.

How did we get to this point?   Wow.

Victor Hugo

Below are two of my favorite Victor Hugo quotes.  I have published them early because they give insight into my thinking process.

“Where there is darkness crimes will be committed. The guilty one is not merely he who commits the crime, but he who caused the darkness.”

This quote points out that if we set up a system that ensures that some of us will fail, those who set up the system are just as guilty as those who are trapped within it.

For example, there are several social theories that attempt to explain at least some aspects of crime.  Social Structure theories posit that crime is an acquired behavior because conditions within the environment are pathological.   Give the Hugo quote, we can say those who were responsible for creating the pathological environment are just as guilty as those who are forced to live in it.

We will discuss this more in the future.

The second quote I like is found below:

“Change your opinions, keep your principles.”

Too many of us (myself included) make a decision about something and then quit thinking about it.   This becomes a problem when new information emerges, but we refuse to look at it…we have made up our minds.

This quote reminds me to keep an open mind when new information presents itself and then reevaluate my stance on an issue with the new information at hand, but based on those enduring principles within us that guide our thinking and behavior.