Can we say we have competition in our market places today? Yes, in some areas of our commercialism, but not all. Especially not in oil, gasoline at the pump, many farm products like corn, even medical insurance. Why not? Likely because of speculation by huge brokers buying up product and holding it until there is somewhat of a shortage. Often our prices are not a result of "supply and demand," which free-enterprise capitalism requires and is really based upon.
Instead of working to repair the system, our senators and representatives spend more time collecting money for their re-elections than they actually spend in Congress. These politicians spend their time with lobbyists for campaign funds. There are 15 registered lobbyists for every senator and representative, for a grand total of 8025! Where do the lobbyists get these funds? You guessed it, from big corporations like oil, banking, insurance, communications, transportation, and pharmaceuticals.
In the past, these same corporations had three main priorities: stock holders, employees, and their communities. But around 1985, all this changed. Now, they have only one priority: profits to provide maximum dividends to the stock holders and high bonuses and salaries to the top echelon of the company. They make more money by shipping jobs to countries with low labor costs, which is the path to high profits. Our stock market should be a delight to investors, and it is for the folks who control it because of the wealth they have in the market. Brokers acting on orders from hidden sources short sell the stock they don't yet own then buy it when the market drops. Since hedge funds occupy so much of the market, it is easy to create the noticeable swings. And then we have the speed-trading folks buying and selling in split seconds as a stock goes up and down, and they always have an eye on buying low and selling high. This is done with fast, fast computers. Let's not forget the salaries of top corporate executives. They make nearly 500 times the salary of the average middle-class worker, yet they made only 13 times the amount in the 1970s.
That's it in a nut shell. Self-absorbed greed, with no regard for the consequences to people outside a small circle, results in our low employment, a huge reduction in the middle class with, as it is said, 1 percent of the population superrich and the remaining 99 percent poor. So many unemployed with little hope . . .