On Monday it was reported that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s political campaign invested $1.4 million in merchandise such as t-shirts containing slogans such as “Tax the Rich.” The campaign paid the money to Financial Innovations, a political merchandise firm to create the products, and it’s currently unknown how much money Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign will make from the deal. Following the revelation, AOC squirmed and attempted to explain how her use of capitalist consumerism to raise money has not dirtied her hands with capitalism, or something.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer called out AOC for “using capitalism to push socialism.”
AOC fired back, claiming that her mass production and sale of merchandise isn’t capitalism because it’s not evil when she does it, only when others do. Capitalism = evil, and she’s not evil, ergo, not capitalist. 10 points for her mental gymnastics.
Not sure if you know this Sean, but transactions aren’t capitalism.
Capitalism is a system that prioritizes profit at any & all human/enviro cost.
But fwiw our shop is unionized, doesn’t operate for profit,& funds projects like free tutoring, food programs,& local organizing.🌱 https://t.co/RPnMlg0mpS
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 19, 2021
Capitalism is of course, not inherently evil. Free market systems allow producers and entrepreneurs to choose how to best use their businesses, rather than have those choices dictated to them by the government.
While the profit motive is a pillar of capitalism, free-market systems allow businesses to also pursue other directives.
AOC completely misses the point anyway. Even if her merchandise store doesn’t turn a profit, that ignores the fact that her merchandise can’t exist without a free-market system. Her merchandising store is completely reliant on consumerism, even if all the profits go toward charitable causes.
The capitalist system AOC sells t-shirts in allows her to use the money in any way she pleases. Capitalism allows her to spend her gains on unions, sustainability, charity, or whatever. A socialist system would garner those profits and direct them to inefficient programs not of her own choosing.
Free market systems aren’t machines of labor-abusive profiteering, the free market enriches everyone, rewards competition and innovation, and fosters trade. At every point in history, a country’s wealth increases under a free-market system, and suffers when there’s excessive government intervention.
Socialism and communism by contrast have reliably produced poverty and oppression in those countries which have tried it, while typically enriching the ruling class of the party and their cronies.
Hugo Chavez’s socialist revolution transformed a wealthy Venezuela into a dirt-poor country, but Chavez himself died with almost a billion dollars worth to his name. So with Fidel Castro, whose communist regime broke Cuba but enriched the dictator. Supporters of these government controlled economies such as Senator Bernie Sanders, ironically, have been made into millionaires by selling books on the free market that demonize capitalism.
The financial success of political celebrities such as Bernie Sanders and AOC completely undermines their central argument. The free market is not inherently exploitative or oppressive. Unlike communism, those who oppose free market capitalism don’t find themselves silenced as dissidents, critics of capitalism don’t face firing squads of gulags. Opponents of capitalism use capitalism to get rich.
Author: Julia Banks