By Ibtasam Elmaliki
Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, announced in February that he is running for president as a “centrist independent.” Since his announcement he has yet to vocalize any distinct policies, resulting in potential voters are not taking him seriously. Schultz has even encountered a heckler during his book tour event who labeled him an “egotistical billionaire.”
The world economic forum records the American public has negative sentiments towards capitalism. They do not trust it. Who can blame them after the Great Recession? So the question remains, why, if Americans are not trusting of “Capitalists” would such labeled candidates consider running for president?
Schultz is known for preaching conscious capitalism. He believes that corporations must use their money to help the rest of society. Aby Sanchez, a political science major and social justice activist, is not buying this principle, stating, “Capitalism is a system invested deeply into America that gives the illusion that if you work hard you can make your dreams a reality.”
“It paints a picture that everyone has access to the same opportunities. You just have to find a way to get there. This is a false illusion. Capitalism is the same reason why the rich continue to stay rich,” remarks Aby.
The history of capitalism and its effect on the poor is what’s making the idea of conscious capitalism not settle with people. “People are so quick to blame the poor for their life, without asking or looking into how the capitalist system and how its history played a role into making sure their life would be like that.”
In this current political climate Sanchez believes America deserves a leader who understand the dangers of capitalism. “America needs leaders who understand how dangerous capitalism has been and has continued to be for people of color, women and low income communities,” she says.
“We can not continue with a leader or leaders who support the capitalist ideology, because then the poor will always have a hard time getting out of their circumstances. We need a leader who realizes how the capitalist system has made every institution a business.”
On the other hand, Israel Santana, a political science student and stock trader, is willing to give a candidate like Shultz a go.
“In my opinion, if a clown like Trump has not destroyed this country by now, why not give a successful businessman a chance,” says Santana. “Regarding him being a hyper capitalist, it is what it is. Although capitalism has its problems, it has been the main reason why the United States is so powerful economically.”
Santana does not agree with Shultz’s approach to the system but agrees conscious capitalism can provide jobs. “What I don’t like is that he has this mentality of ‘the system is broken, and I can fix it’,” he says. “But capitalism brings competition and competition brings news ideas which fixes problems.”
Some citizens have expressed that they are not too sure they would trust a candidate who overcharges for coffee to run the nation. However, after the last presidential election, the possibility is not completely daunting. “We already had the worst candidate we could ever ask for,” says Santana. “What’s the worst that can happen at this point.”