Profile image
By Reason Magazine (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Here’s a Great Question for Tonight’s Debate: What Are Clinton and Trump Going To Do about “Mutant Capitalism”?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:17
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Ah, the kids these days!

Those millennials hate capitalism, don’t they, the very bedrock of the country? Holy hell, 42 percent say they prefer socialism as the best way to organize society! As pollster Frank Luntz has pronounced, “the hostility of young Americans to the underpinnings of the American economy and the American government ought to frighten every business and political leader.”

An excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal by Christopher Koopman of the Mercatus Center pushes back on this, noting, among other things, that millennials don’t actually know what socialism means (in making this point, he relies on the Reason-Rupe poll of millennials, a benchmark of that cohort’s attitudes towards politics, business, and culture). Koopman points out that most millennials have come of age in an era of bank bailouts and rampant cronyism, in which certain players (say, taxicab owners) get government protection from new and competing ways of delivering services and goods (think Uber).

Strip away the titles of “capitalism” and “socialism,” and the responses become drastically different. A…Reason-Rupe poll found that college-aged respondents are far more supportive of a “free-market system” (72%) than they are of a “government-managed economy” (49%). In reality, millennials—regardless of party or ideology—have arrived at a surprising consensus: We support free markets, are very much unhappy with the current state of affairs, and are still looking for change.

This is good news, but it should also serve as a warning. Perhaps at no time in history has it been more important to differentiate genuine capitalism from the mutant system that has dominated economic policy over the last decade. Yet Mr. Luntz’s analysis is still absolutely right: Millennials are hostile to the underpinnings of the American economy. We simply shouldn’t confuse that economy with capitalism.

That’s exactly right, and it suggests a great question for tonight’s debate between the two most-disliked presidential candidates in the era of polling: “Donald Trump, you’ve made your fortune in large part by leveraging political connections to get preferential zoning, land-use, and tax treatments. Hillary Clinton, you’ve bragged about being the senator from Wall Street and Wikileaks shows that you have a very tight, profitable relationship with the financial industry. You’re both running on openly protectionist economic platforms. What will each of you do to make free enterprise great again? Or at least free from intervention in which the government picks winners and losers based on political considerations?”

Check out Reason’s special page about “Why Millennials Aren’t Listening To You. And That’s a Good Thing.”

Back in 2008, Emory English prof and The Dumbest Generation author Mark Bauerlein argued that, no, really, millennials really are that stupid. Take a look:


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global


Top Alternative




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.