The US is both capitalist and socialist

United States: Capitalism? No thanks


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Anyone attending an election campaign event by Bernie Sanders will notice one thing above all: a large number of the 74-year-old Senator's supporters are, of all things, the youngest among America's voters. Often the events seem less like a political forum and more like a music festival lasting several hours. No candidate in the current election campaign mobilizes 18- to 34-year-olds better than the white-haired owl from Vermont. Sanders did not move the party to the left, but rather a whole generation, writes John Della Volpe from Havard University in a study.

Sander's message of democratic socialism goes down well with them. America's millennials are tired of capitalism. Growing inequality between those at the top and the rest of the country, the aftermath of the financial crisis, and an education system that pays for supposed advancement with high debt: the Senator's election campaign issues have left an entire generation hungover.

In a survey by Harvard University, 51 percent of the young voters surveyed said they reject capitalism, only 42 percent approve of it. Almost half, on the other hand, say that they support a socialist system, at least in part. They see basic health care, sufficient food and a home as a basic right that the government should pay for in an emergency. In short, the 80 million millennials - the most populous generation in the country's history - reject the economic status quo.

Skepticism about capitalism is growing

This is not surprising to the study's authors. While for the generation of the Cold War American capitalism was above all the counter-model to the Soviet Union and totalitarian regimes, for today's generation it is synonymous with the greed of the financial world, from the consequences of which the world is recovering to this day. "For millennials, capitalism no longer stands for competitiveness, but for a VW company that manipulates its emissions values ​​or pharmaceutical speculators who drive up the prices for essential drugs," says Steffen Schmidt, political scientist at Iowa State University .

What this capitalism can do, you have seen in your own résumé. While the cost of college education has been high in the past, the prospect of a quick career after graduation put the debts that many had to incur for it into perspective. It's different today. Those who graduated in 2014 had an average of $ 28,950 in debt - the highest figure ever recorded. Americans are sitting on $ 1.2 trillion in credit debt. Many of them are still paying them decades after their apprenticeship, because the well-paid dream job is a long time coming and the old promise no longer applies.