Capitalism: Is it working for you?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Capitalism
Artist and activist Steve Lambert designed the interactive Capitalism installation to let people express their confidence as well as their complaints. Click this image to visit Lambert's website, where he also has posted videos about the project.

Artist and activist Steve Lambert designed the interactive Capitalism installation. Click this image to visit Lambert’s website, where he also has posted videos about the project.

QUICK! Does capitalism work you? Yes or no?

If you’re in Times Square this week, you can register your vote at an interactive art project. If you are not in New York City—please register your vote here by leaving a comment!

Artist and activist Steve Lambert’s installation “Capitalism: It works for me!” began yesterday in New York City’s Times Square, and runs through October 9. The lighted display invites passersby to press a green or red button, registering their vote “true” or “false.” Updated totals are shown on the display. Voters can also video record their comments and thoughts.

If you were in Times Square, how would you vote? Would you say that capitalism is working for you? Or not working for you?

Most Americans say that our system of capitalism is working, according to a 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey. But only 9% say it is working very well. About 45% say American capitalism is working somewhat. Twenty-six percent say our economic system is not working too well, with an additional 16% saying that it is not working at all well.

Not surprisingly, Americans who make a lot of money are much more likely to say the system is working, compared to those who make little money. Even so, almost half (47%) of Americans with annual household incomes of $30,000 or less says that our economic system is working well.

Why is capitalism working? Among those who believe it is, the main reason they give is that it encourages personal responsibility (33%). Others say it is working because it provides equal opportunities for all (29%), or that it promotes individual freedom (24%).

Why is capitalism NOT working? Among those who say it isn’t working, the main reason is that it encourages greed (34%). Others say that it does not provide opportunities for all (28%), or that it creates poverty (14%). Only 4% say it is not working well because of too much government regulation.

Does capitalism work for you?

If yes, why?

If no, why not?

Please, take a moment to add a Comment, below. And invite friends to read along. Use the blue-”f” Facebook icon or the small envelope-shaped email icon.
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  1. Duncan Newcomer says

    If Capitalism is the same as Wall Street then I would say a big “No,” it is not working for me or for the country I see. The Capitalism that Lincoln advocated is not what we have, nor are the results something I believe he could accept but may have laid the ground work for. Still, everyone has “their” Lincoln.

  2. Davefossil says

    No. It hasn’t been working for awhile. When we have a system where the government & business say that any company is “Too Big To Fail!” then you don’t have a capitalist system, The basic concept of capitalism is if you do it wrong, you fail. You don’t meet the demand or can’t compete then selection says you fail. Today the wealthy avoid all failure to their benefit and at the expense of us all. That’s an Oligarchy and that’s what our system is.

  3. Gorby says

    Capitalism and the Free Enterprise system works. However,our government has moved towards Socialism over a long period and that has accelerated in the recent years. Capitalism has been degraded by our government as it tends toward Socialism. The rules and regulations, special interest groups influence on our politicians has skewed our capitalistic system in a way not intended and has degraded the workings of true Capitalism.

  4. Sandra Xenakis says

    I want to say that capitalism isn’t working for America, but we really don’t have capitalism in this country. What we have is an oligarchy that works well for only the few at the top. Those who talk about the virtues of “free enterprise” ignore the fact that we don’t have free enterprise here. We have a system of laws, regulations, policies and biases that benefit the wealthy (including corporations) at the expense of the vast majority of individuals. It’s hard to say if capitalism works or doesn’t work, since we haven’t actually experienced it.

  5. Jan Chaffee says

    Yes, capitalism works for me and has since 1979 when
    I acquired my first “capital instrument” — something
    that pays for itself and goes on to pay you (with
    proper maintenance and management) in perpetuity.

    I believed Louis Kelso when he told me I needed one.
    He believed everyone had a right to own one (or more).
    As a corporate finance attorney, he devised the ESOP
    to “turn 80 million workers into capitalists on borrowed
    money,” and other financing models for broader capital
    ownership in America.

    Capitalism works if you’re a capitalist — enjoying more
    than half your income from your ownership of productive
    capital. Kelso wanted everyone to be one and devoted his
    life to that end.