In the quest for never-ending profit, capitalism has conquered nearly every aspect of life in the United States. However, it has its flaws. 580K people in the country are homeless, 37 million are living below the poverty line, and 46 million cannot afford necessary healthcare services.
So in an attempt to spark a debate about the system, TikToker Nikki Apostolou made a video, asking other users to “name a capitalist scam that we’ve all been conditioned to believe is ok.” And that’s exactly what it did. Nikki’s clip has accumulated 147K views as well as 1.5K comments and plenty of ‘stitches’, many of which contributed to the discussion she has started.
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@recycldstardust Why does every channel need its own streaming service. #netflix #hulu #peacock #capitalism #nativetiktok #nativetiktoks #nativefamily ♬ Lofi – Domknowz
#1 Expiry Dates On Food
As long as the food isn’t moldy or doesn’t smell bad, it’s fine to eat. It does not matter what the date is.
A Greek yogurt lasts like a full month after the expire date. I’ve never had any problems. It’s never given me stomach problems. It’s never made me sick, nothing like that. Actually, I Googled it and it says there’s no blanket process for setting expiry dates. Instead, food manufacturers and retailers determined these dates as they see fit. So companies can literally put whatever date they want on there. So of course, they’re going to put the quickest date possible to get you to buy more stuff. They literally have scammed you into throwing away perfectly good food. So you could then go buy more.
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#2 Dream Job
The idea of a dream job or the notion that we need to turn our hobbies into our careers, because it perpetuates this idea that something that you do for self fulfillment and something that you do for enjoyment is a waste of your time. Unless you’re making money off of it.
This isn’t me saying that you shouldn’t do. But there is a big expectation for us to turn the things that make us happy into things that give us profit. And it’s not uncommon for people to lose their love of their hobbies, because they’re no longer doing it for themselves. They’re doing it to pay their bills. They’re doing it to get a grade and they’re doing it to contribute to a capitalist society that cares more about their ability to produce than it does about their wellbeing. Just because you can monetize your hobby doesn’t mean that has to be your end goal.
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We have five times as many homes as people who need homes. But why would that be? Banks and landlords. They keep the prices high by making the supply low artificially. Housing is not a commodity, it’s a human need.
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#4 40 Hour Work Week
You want to know why we have the 40 hour work week? Because Henry Ford freaking said so.
It’s not based on science. There are plenty of professions where you do not need to be there for 40 freaking hours. There’s a lot of data that says, if we shorten the work week, workers would be more productive, but we’re still doing the same thing this freakin jerk, who lived almost a hundred years ago, said.
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Minimalism is upheld as the gold standard, it’s pushed almost as a spiritual form of lifestyle. Netflix even made a documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. Our complex ornamental design was a deep and significant part of human culture since the dawn of humans, simply, since people started clothing themselves, until about 1931, when Adolf Flos an Austrian architect wrote Ornament and Crime. He compares excessive ornamentation to being something that’s criminal and inhuman. The problem is this essay became a seminal text in many architecture circles.
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Explain to me how a retirement party for 200 people, fully catered with a room rental, chairs, the whole night cost $6,000, but a wedding cost $25,000 in the exact same location with the exact same caterers.
It’s because you put the word wedding in front of it. I had a huge wedding, huge waste of money. Thank God it wasn’t my money. I’d say 99% of the people I don’t even speak to anymore. 200 people showed up. I only speak to four of those people currently in my adult life. Save your money. If you have to have a big wedding, just tell everyone it’s a required retirement party and save yourself 80 fricking percent. It’s stupid.
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#7 We’ve Totally Normalized Living In Vehicles
Who can afford to buy a house, let alone a piece of property and building one. Minimum wage is so low, no one can even afford an apartment.
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#8 Spending 4 Years In College It Is Totally Acceptable To Take A Low Paying Entry Level Salary
That after spending four years in college and doing countless internships, it is totally acceptable to take a low paying entry level salary. And when you take that entry level salary, it is totally wrong in your first couple of years to take vacation days. Or to call out sick because doing all those things is not very loyal to the company that you’re working for. And the company is supposed to be above all else, even before your family, before anything. But it’s not because of the company. It’s so the people on top, the upper management who are making four times your salary can afford to buy a vacation home and live a life of luxury and give their families a life of luxury so that they can buy vacation homes and they can take vacations. But if you do that, you’re not a hard worker. How messed up is the capitalist system.
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#9 Saving For Retirement
The traditional pensions used to be considered deferred compensation. That means with the switch to 401k, we all took a pretty big pay cut. Because no matter how much you save, since we’re living longer, it’s probably not going to be enough.
As with everything else, only the top income earners are going to be okay, the rest of us are going to be screwed.
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#10 Dental Care
Our teeth are just kind of extra and they’re not part of our bodies or health. So they’re not covered by health insurance, unless you pay extra for those luxury bones.
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We are constantly sold weight loss programs and supplements, even though there is substantial and robust research showing that dieting does not work in the long term. Most people who start a weight loss diet end up regaining the weight that they lost. Over two thirds of people end up gaining more weight than their initial starting weight before the diet.
Then the dieting industry blames you and says you just need more willpower and self-control and programs and powders and teas, which leads us to blame ourselves and invest more time and money into dieting. So even though dieting doesn’t work, the diet industry is profiting. It’s worth $72 billion.
If dieting didn’t work for you, stop blaming yourself. It is not your fault diets just simply don’t work over time.
Image credits: listennutrition
#12 Buying Things To Make Up For A Lack Of Self Worth
We buy cars we can’t afford to appear successful. We buy beauty products to appear attractive enough to try and get approval from others.
Tell me right now, what’s the destination or achievement that you think that you need to accomplish before you can feel good enough about yourself? Is it that you have to buy the house? You have to have the big wedding. You have to make a certain amount. We’ve been conditioned to believe that there’s a certain level of achievement or destination that we’ll arrive at where we will finally feel good enough.
And it’s all a lie. A sense of self worth can never be purchased. Your self worth comes from within. You’re good enough and successful enough when you decide so. Not when society does. In an insane society that wants you to buy products, to make up for your lack of self worth and secretly hopes you’ll never discover it, is an act of rebellion to know that you are worthy now.
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#13 Higher Education
There’s a statement I hear a lot in higher education and I say it myself too, when we talk to students, we tell them, you might not be able to take a full-time course load. You may have other responsibilities in your life that you need to focus on and that’s okay. Complete this degree at your own pace. And while that’s very true it’s not necessarily okay, but we’ve been conditioned to think it is. We’ve created a college system that only allows some students that privilege to complete a four year time period, because they can afford to do it without working full time, or they can afford to do it without having a student stipend to help them pay for living expenses while they’re in school or they can afford to do it because they don’t have to pay for child’s care while they’re in school.
So like with everything else in our society, privilege gives people choice and people who don’t have that privilege do not have that.
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#14 Mindfulness And Toxic Workplaces
Mindfulness and toxic workplaces, where they want you to just learn to be mindful and breathe through the pain. So you can just suffer some more in your toxic workplace and focus and be more productive because it’s not about changing the system.
It’s just about accepting where you are so you can be a good worker and keep producing for the person at the top. That’s oppression.
True mindfulness practice from a Buddhist perspective is about undoing unjust things and finding justice and compassion and empathy for all. It’s not about enduring toxic oppressive systems.
But capitalism has it all tripped up so we’ll just breathe through it so we can endure the toxicity.
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#15 The Idea Of Attractiveness
It’s so often aligned with race, with hair texture, with skin color, and it’s not real. Do you understand that the things you consider to be attractive are based off of the things you’ve experienced or what you’ve already been exposed to? So if someone puts a picture of you, of a white woman with long hair and tells you this is pretty for 20 years, you don’t think you’re going to, at some point associate that image with attractiveness? It’s all a scam. Outside the person you’re with right now, if you’re in a relationship, you only thought they were attractive based on your preconceived middle notions of what attractiveness is. So yeah. Have fun with that. The idea of what is attractive or what is desirable, especially in partnership, is a tool of capitalism.
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#16 Punitive Damages
In theory, it sounds great. It’s supposed to be some sort of monetary compensation that ordinary folks can pursue. If they’ve been the victim of some sort of wrongdoing at the hands of, say, the government or a corporation only. It actually worked that way in ’94. The Supreme Court decided that punitive damages cannot exceed the total amount of compensatory damages. Translation, the amount of money awarded by a jury for say, emotional harm suffered or estimated cumulative wages lost cannot exceed the amount of actual wages lost for money spent to rectify the problem. This decision was in the result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which decimated the entire economy of Alaska and had untold ramifications on the people and the environment for decades to come.
The claimants in that case were originally awarded $5 billion in punitive damages, Exxon appealed to the Supreme court, and they only got 500 million. Now it’s set a whole legal precedent.
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#17 That Mental Health Is Individually Determined And Only The Domain Of Psychology
Your individual psychology matters, but so does your community relationships, environment, safety, economic status, all the factors that make up your positionality?
This is why therapy is political and why it’s essential that therapists understand all the other elements that comprise mental health extending beyond the individual. We can’t think our ways out of oppression or capitalism or poverty, we just can’t. What we can do is learn to cope with the system, find agency to change what we can, protect ourselves, tap into pockets of joy and pleasure because you deserve it and advocate for a greater change.
Mental health is physical. Health is community health is environmental health. It’s all connected.
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They convince you you’ve saved money before you’ve even spent it. When in all reality, unless you really need it, you’d be saving money by not even spending the money in the first place.
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#19 The Way We Sleep
The way you sleep. Currently in America, we actually have a really bad issue with chronic sleep problems. 70 million Americans suffer from them, we just really don’t talk about it. You may ask why we have this problem and some scholars would say before the pre-industrial revolution, humans would sleep in two sleep cycles. So what they would do is they would go to bed, sleep for about 4 hours, wake up, read, write, do their morning activities, and then go back to bed for about three to four hours.
I’m a psych major. And in one of my classes, we were talking about sleep. I asked my professor about biphasic sleep patterns because it seemed to line up really well with the REM cycles and our sleep pattern. My professor actually told me she had never heard of that before and told me it went against human nature. Even though we have documented evidence. But then again, the sleeping industry in America brings in almost $432 billion a year.
Maybe we wouldn’t have so many sleeping problems if we could organize our work schedule around our sleep schedule and not vice versa, that shouldn’t be radical.
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#20 The Western-Medicine Approach To Mental Health
Capitalism and greed should NOT be factors in providing proper mental health care. Not to mention lack of access.
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I let my money sit with you and then you get to determine whether or not I spend it. I can go get a credit card and I can spend as much money as I want in a day, all the way up to my limit.
But with a debit card, I can only spend $2,500 per day. And if I want to make a big purchase, I have to walk into the bank and beg them to let me spend my own money. Meanwhile, my own money that the bank has, they don’t let me spend, they loan out to other people, charge those people like 7% interest and they give me like 0.0%
They don’t even have all the money. If we all got together collectively and went to the banks to withdraw our own money, they don’t have it. They used to have to keep 10% on hand. Now they have to keep 0%. It’s time to buy Bitcoin and cancel banks.
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#22 Charter Schools
A lot of people are waking up these days to the scam that is charter schools. They’ve been around for about 20 years now, maybe a little bit. But with charter schools, their primary motive is profit.
They are for-profit companies and they act like it. They pick and choose their students. Their teachers have less training. They union bust, their school boards are unelected, and that is not a good thing with educating our youth.
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#23 Hustle Culture
A lot of the weddings that happen in the United States, a lot of any kind of relationship in the United States.
The concept of a five, eight hour work week.
The fact that sick time oftentimes has to be earned.
The conversation of basing how much you actually are attracting somebody based on how much they earn.
The concept of getting upset at someone who’s on government assistance.
When in actuality, most of the billion dollar companies are on several government subsidiaries.
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#24 Private Property
Private property. Essentially by creating a system of ownership, colonizers created a system of possession, which allowed them to justify the removal and genocide of Native/Indigenous people.
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