“Working will get you where you need to be”

The interviewee here is a young male high school drop out with a GED. They have worked several part-time jobs, live at home, and are currently attempting to find long-term employment. The most relevant section of each response has been quoted below.

Question 1: How do you define capitalism?

“What I think it is, is the system in place where money gets you further, if that makes any sense. The more you work the more you’ll earn, the better you’ll be, etc. In reality it’s much more complicated. Lots of ins and outs. But that’s the basis. Working will get you where you need to be and you have to do it yourself.”

Question 2: What role does capitalism play in your daily life?

“Well I do try to make money and get a job. Which I think capitalism is. I do frivolous spending which have no real meaning but scratch an itch. The standard. Everyone spends what they can when they can.”

Question 3: What differentiates capitalism from other modes of production.

“The rich get richer easier, under the guise of having done it themselves. In reality it’s being born into it and what not. Capitalism is more self-serving.

Question 4: Do you believe capitalism is inherent to society.

“No, not at all. There are other places that have been more successful that big capitalist America that operated under different systems. So no, not at all.”

Question 5: How do you think capitalism has evolved over the years, if at all?

“More corrupt now. It’s like I said earlier, the rich are getting richer, the cost of everything is increasing and the wage is not. Capitalism here at least is becoming worse.”


The interviewee understands capitalism to be, at its core, a system where work returns money. The more work one puts in, the more money one gets. It is a very natural part of life, everyone gets a job and spends on things they like when they can, but they can imagine alternatives. Beyond that, they think there is historical precedent for these systems.

However, there is a sense that this system, which is not inherently distasteful, has become corrupt over time. The interviewee could not articulate why this happened. To them capitalism has a central nature independent from the actions of its participants, but certain participants abridge this, namely the rich.

The interviewee’s understanding of capitalism is decently national. While they acknowledge and understand that capitalism exists other places, they seem to think it is different or that American capitalism. This could root from only being familiar or being most familiar with capitalism close to home, or it could indicate an understanding of the U.S. as capitalist at heart. Unique in that inherent-ness, even if capitalism isn’t natural.

The overall view of capitalism by the interviewee is interesting as it demonstrates how one can understand contradictions or flaws in capitalism by lived experiences even if one does not have a solid definition per se.

It Goes Against the Basic Function of a Society


The interviewee is a 20 year male. He has a Highschool diploma, but is not currently attending college. As of right now he works in customer service. The interviewee grew up in a upper middle class, bordering on wealthy, house hold with both parents present and attentive. He also attended private school all of his life.

How do you define capitalism?

“Capitalism is an economic ideology based around the belief that a free market unimpeded by government regulation would create greater quality and cheaper goods and services for the consumer due to competition.”

Do you believe capitalism is inherent to society?

“Capitalism isn’t inherent to society as it often puts profit and corporate interest before human interests which goes against the basic function of a society which is to provide safety and community to a group of citizens.”

What do you think are some positive aspects of capitalism? What are the negative aspects?

“Some positive aspects of capitalism are the potential for competition to create better goods and promote social mobility. Some negative aspects of capitalism are that unregulated markets allow large companies to outcompete smaller companies and control the markets and a lack of government resources for underprivileged people.”

How do you see people’s views of capitalism being generationally different?

“Many older people view capitalism as a way for the average citizen to amass wealth and create a better life for them and their families, while many of the younger generations feel that capitalism has created a hostile economic environment that keeps the poor down while the rich continue to generate greater and greater wealth.”

Do you like capitalism?

I do not like the current capitalistic system that is employed throughout most of the world as it is driven mainly by profit rather than providing a high quality products and services as well as preventing the less fortunate from accessing the essentials for living or creating an environment where they cannot excel due to the high cost of living produced by this system.


I believe it is appropriate to mention I know the interviewee quite well so his responses did not come as a surprise. In the past he has expressed his distain for the current US economic society we live in, and this is what made me want to interview him. Additionally, I find his takes on capitalism and the current economic state of the US interesting because his up bringing would indicate that he has benefited quite well from capitalism: private school, big house, never having to worry about food. Yet, he strongly despises where our economy stands. When reviewing his answers I noticed he was very concerned with the underprivileged, corporate greed, and the overall well being of the community.

I do have to wonder if these concerns stem from him barely making over minimum wage and working for a large corporation. But I have to remember this individual has always been sensitive and concerned for the well being of “the little guy” (his words). So perhaps his frustration is not a result of working for a corporation, but instead an issue with the ethics of capitalism and how it results in corporations putting profit before the well being of humans. This is where I can draw parallels to my previous interview. The last interviewee was also concerned with the ethics of capitalism, but in a more environmental way. This trend of ethical concerns is something I will continue to be vigilant of in the coming interviews.

An Economic Major’s Perspective

This interview was completed by T, a 23 years old senior college student who has been working since she was 15 years old in both serving and factory jobs. She views herself as lower-middle class, both growing up and now as a working adult paying her way through school. She is currently studying applied economics and business and has an office job offer lined up in Quantico following graduation. Her knowledge of economics and her critique of the overarching concept of capitalism proved to be an intriguing and informative discussion. The most impactful part of her interview is described under each question, and, after the interview was completed, I went back and reflected on her views and observations. 

  1. How do you define capitalism? 
    1. I don’t know if you want to ask me about capitalism, it might turn into my manifesto. . . Alright, I’m an economics major so I should know this. Capitalism is an economic system where people and companies work towards their own individual profit instead of the state controlling it. I learned one thing in class.
  1. How do you think that capitalism impacts the economy?
    1. Well since we are a capitalist economy I would like to think capitalism impacts the economy quite a bit. . .instead of human rights playing a role in laws and stuff its private companies own interests. Some things have to be controlled by the state, we’re seeing the impact of that in things like healthcare right now. Allowing the production of goods necessary for the survival of humans given their circumstances at a set price is just horrible. When we lost our insurance the flat rate for anything medical was so high that if I got sick or hurt before I got back on insurance, I didn’t know if I could pay it. 
  1. What role do you see yourself playing in a capitalist society?
    1. Anyone living in a capitalist society has a role in it. I am working, going to school to get better jobs to work, or spending my small amount of free time doing whatever I want. All of that amounts to either my own individual profit or the company I am working for’s profit. Even the university profits from my desire to get a job requiring a college degree, and those student loans put food on the table for the people whose calls I ignore. I’m an economics major; the study of capitalism is inherent in understanding the American economy.
  1. What do you think of other types of economic systems? 
    1. I would say I am socialist if I didn’t find so many problems with socialism. Some kind of socialist system? In an ideal world, I guess. The production of goods and services for use at least sounds better than for purely profit. Let’s go back to bartering, I don’t know. 
  1. How do you think capitalism has evolved over the years? 
    1. It seems more cutthroat now, I guess, but I only have my lifetime to observe, and only half of it if that. When I was a kid it felt like everyone famous was a millionaire. Now we have billionaires and trillionaires. No human should be able to accumulate that kind of wealth. 1 percent of the population with a majority of the money? That just doesn’t seem fair. It’s evolved so that the people at the top keep getting richer and richer, and the only way you can launch yourself there is a good idea and a loan. And underneath the people become poorer and poorer as they hoped that maybe, if they worked hard enough, they might rise to the top too. In reality, capitalism is becoming meaner. 
  1. What do you think are some positive and negative effects of capitalism? 
    1. I can probably speak more about the negatives than the positives. . .capitalism definitely promotes inequality as an innate part of its structure. People profit off of other people. Us regular citizens get caught in this boom and bust system where we don’t know what the price of something will be from one day to the next. I want to start my own business, but I know it is going to be hard with other companies monopolies on the market and the hard start for up and coming businesses to get off the ground. On a positive note, if I do make a really successful business, I will be very well off and might buy a few dozen cats. But the chance that I get there is small. I don’t really want to think about it.

T knew quite a bit on the subject of capitalism given her major and therefore made several points that I found very thought-provoking. I surprised the interviewee with the interview, so she was not given time to prepare her statements or look up anything. The interviewee had very little to positively say about capitalism, looking at the downfalls of capitalism and their views of capitalism per their experiences. Given their major and their personal goals for the future, T’s anxiety, when faced with the uncertainty of the market and a capitalist world, showed at the end when I asked them about the positives and negatives of capitalism. Trying to break into the world of business is scary because there are so many older and bigger competitors in the American market, and I think that is what pushed the interviewee’s view of the economic system.

A Healthcare Perspective

My first interviewee is KL. She is a 24 year old college graduate who is now in a graduate program pursuing a physicians assistant degree. KL has taken some economic classes during her time in college but has no official background in the area. She graduated with a BS degree in Biology. However, her family is involved in the world of politics and government. She has some insight to capitalism and how it has affected herself and her life. Below are the questions I asked her along with her response.

The first question I asked was, how do you define capitalism? KL’s response was one I somewhat expected as someone who does not have background knowledge of the topic. Her response was, “I’m not exactly sure what capitalism is, but I believe it has to do with goods and products throughout the country being controlled by government or at least the government having some say in trade.” Her definition of capitalism was a basic conception of the idea. KL understand that capitalism is a mainly for individuals or businesses who own private goods in the economy. She was right when she said the government has some say in the matter of goods. It is a public market after all.

The second question was, do you think that capitalism impacts the economy? KL’s response was, “I think capitalism impacts the economy because with its control over such goods, services, and industry in general, there are strengths and weaknesses associated which does have an impact on individuals lives. For example, some products may be more expensive than others and because of that some people cannot afford the best products which is hard in our society considering the economic gap.” KL mentions great points to the impacts capitalism has on the economy. She brings up how many individuals are affected by the decisions made by private owners that are able to shift the prices on goods. It creates an impact that can be difficult to individuals who are not able to keep up with the fluctuation of prices. It is a very relevant concept that needs to have more focus on the matter so more individuals have the ability to actively partake in the economy.

For the third question I asked, how do you see yourself in a capitalist society? KL had an interesting perspective on the topic as an aspiring healthcare worker. “I guess coming from a healthcare standpoint I suppose it can be involved with capitalism. Healthcare is so expensive and often more expensive than people can afford, causing businesses to make a profit on people suffering, illnesses, tests, and/or any medical treatment needed.” KL mentions an issue that is really prominent and debilitating to many people. Healthcare in the United States is incredibly expensive and for those who do not have insurance or poor insurance suffer from the expenses even a checkup can cost. It seems as though healthcare is a business that thrives on taking peoples’ money. It is a perfect example of capitalism in our country as many healthcare centers are “private”.

The next question I asked was, do you find capitalism to be effective? KL responded with “Capitalism probably has positives and negatives towards the society. For businesses or agencies that need money to survive and can get money from society, then that’s a strength. But if there are others exploiting people for money unnecessarily then it leads to the vicious cycle of people getting more and more wealthy and others becoming more and more poor.” KL raised a good point how capitalism can be viewed from all different sides. There are definitely pros and cons to the affect on society. The bad being exploitations from private businesses and the good being businesses are able to survive during times of fluctuation int he economy.

The last question I asked KL was, how do you think your parents view capitalism in comparison to you? Her response was, “I think my parents and I see capitalism relatively the same because there are many faults in our society and capitalism can be seen as one of them. Especially during the pandemic, when the rich just get richer and more and more people are struggling to survive, these are issues that should be worked towards resolving because all the people suffering because of this disparity and abuse of power and money is scary seeing.” I really like KL’s point of view on this matter especially as she is an aspiring healthcare worker. As children of our parents we tend to share similarly on ideas regarding society and other matters as it is a result of our nurture. KL brought up an important point regarding the difficult time we are in now. The COVID-19 pandemic is truly scary. It has taken a toll worldwide with no exception to the United States. In this time of uncertainly people who have been able to thrive are those who have money and don’t need to work to get through this time. Those who are trying to survive are individuals who have to work for money. I agree with KL on the fact that our economy needs to work towards a better system of making sure everyone is helped as they should not be suffering during a time where a virus is currently still uncontrollable.

An Elder Millennial’s Perspective

Today I interviewed a thirty-five-year-old woman who was born and raised in Virginia. Her highest level of education was high school, she works in an office, and she is a single mother. She also claims that she would categorize herself to be lower-middle class in our society. These are the highlights of our interesting conversation about capitalism.

What does capitalism mean to you?

“It’s like the opposite of socialism, right? Instead of everyone contributing to the pot for universal services and rights, you have to work and pay for what you can afford. Everyone is in the business to get rich.”

What is your role in capitalism?

“To spend and make money! Ha-ha! I’m a consumer, so businesses rely on my consumerism to succeed. I’m also an employee, so I provide a service to customers for my employer.”

Do you think that capitalism is beneficial to your life?

“I could definitely benefit from universal healthcare and a free college education. I think those are necessities that everyone should have access to. There are benefits of being in a capitalist country though, but the rich benefit way more than others. I don’t think that I benefit from it, but I could be wrong. There are a lot of struggling people out there that could benefit if we took care of each other.”

How do you think that capitalism impacts the economy?

“I know that it’s bad when people aren’t spending money. Like when we got those stimulus checks during lockdown to encourage people to spend money- that was supposed to boost the economy. I don’t really know how that stuff works, but they’re linked.”

How do you think capitalism has changed over time?

“I don’t know. People seem greedier and more people are living beyond their means because they have to now. Not saying that people thirty years ago didn’t struggle, but you could afford to live on your own and work for a minimum wage job back then. Now, you have to get several roommates or live with family while working two jobs and you’re still In debt. It’s so hard to make ends meet. Prices go up, but wages aren’t.”

How do you think that capitalism interacts with the media?

“Marketing and ads are everywhere trying to entice you to spend money on crap that no one needs. All of these businesses are competing for money and don’t care if it’s a quality product or not. I don’t even use social media anymore because it’s all ads now. Did you see that documentary on Netflix about it? It’s hard to go fifteen minutes without someone trying to sell you something these days.”


My interviewee was hesitant at first because she did not want to sound like she did not know what she was talking about. She loosened up as we got to talking about things and she realized that she had more to say about capitalism than she had initially thought. Her overall outlook on the system was negative because she does not believe that her family benefits much from the system itself. She works to live and there is not an excess of funds coming in. She is a single mom who works hard but is still in debt and deals with the stresses that comes along with that. She is frustrated. What she knows about capitalism and the economy, she hears from political debates, friends, and other people expressing their opinions online, so she does not fully understand how it works or why it works. I think that this nature of understanding will be a trend as we continue these interviews.

An Awareness of the System

The person being interviewed, DD, is an 18-year-old student who has been working in the retail space since the age of 16. DD does not have a set career path yet and seems to be interested in the sciences over the humanities. From what she has explained her family is tentatively middle-class.

When asked about how she defines capitalism she describes it as “money, the cycle of buying things, paying for things and earning money to continue buying and paying for things.”

Following that she was asked how capitalism impacts the economy and explained that “not in a good way, there’s a lot of people who are poor and are starving while people like Jeff Bezos are very rich, I don’t think that is very good for an economy to have someone hoard money.”

She was asked how she viewed herself in a capitalist system and she explained that she viewed herself as a “target” because “they want to sell me everything and anything, sometimes it works but sometimes not, I feel like I’m just there to work if I don’t work I don’t get paid and then I cant take care of myself.”

The follow-up question was how her parents viewed this system compared to her: “They care a lot about it, I think they think that the system only works if you try to earn money” When asked to elaborate she said, “they think that the only way to get by is to work hard, they think people are just lazy, I don’t know, I don’t argue with them.”

When asked if she think that capitalism was beneficial, she said, “how do we know? I mean, something else could work but no one wants to try,” and responded to the question of if capitalism is good for the community with “it makes people greedy, it can’t be good if it makes people worse.”

She was asked at the end of the interview if her experiences shaped her understanding of the topic and she said she wasn’t sure but that it likely did. At various times she talks about how economic instability can ruin a person’s life and it is likely that her experience in the workforce informed this notion.

The answers that DD gave seem indicative of awareness of capitalism and how it functions. Her answers were succinct and showed a more colloquial understanding of the topic at hand. What was notable was how often she would argue that the system was not beneficial for people’s well-being and harmful to a majority of people. Her answer about how she fits into the system was interesting as she seems to view it as cohersive in some way and ultimately a negative relationship. It is clear in her answers that she has some knowledge of the perceived damage of the economic system and holds some contempt for the people who are meant to be in control of the system.

Her opinion on capitalism also seems to heavily contrast her parents’ opinions on the system. This could be indicative of how younger generations may have a more negative view of the system and are more informed on its negative outcomes over other aspects of capitalism.

Overall, the interview may give credence to the idea that people have become more aware of the system that they currently live in. DD talks about how this system negatively affects people and how from her perspective people arent doing enough to stop these effects. While she admits that she is largely uninformed on political and economic concepts, it is evidenced that she is aware that she is living in an economic system that has a direct impact on her life.

“Love-Hate Relationship”


The person being interviewed is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington currently working in theatre as a lighting technician. He has not taken an economics class since high school, and his understanding of capitalism for the most part connects to his conception of the current U.S. economy and economic system. His graduation into the world of the pandemic and the current situation of the job force has given him an intriguing view of capitalism and its goals. The most succinct answers to the given questions are written below, removing the pause fillers and repeated words.

Question 1: How do you define capitalism?

“I guess if I were to describe it, it would be the American economic system, but if someone were to ask me for the definition, I don’t know what it is. I think it’s an open-ended economics system or something like that but with a little bit more rules and regulations.”

Question 2: How do you think capitalism impacts the economy?

“It is the economy; I mean kind of, but no. Aren’t we a trillion dollars in debt? If capitalism was doing what it was supposed to do, which is positively impact the economy, I don’t see a lot of evidence that supports that.”

Question 3: What role do you see capitalism playing in your daily life?

“Working 9:00 am to 5 pm, paying taxes, and dying as a hardworking American should. That’s the end of my answer. You got my answer. Theoretically, it’s supposed to be the driving factor as to why I go and get a job, and there are supposed to be benefits. But with capitalism not helping with health insurance or 401ks, capitalism doesn’t support me the way that I support capitalism.”

Question 4: What do you think of economic systems other than capitalism?

“When dealing with economic systems it feels like we are picking the lesser of the evils. We aren’t allowed to live on the planet, eat what we need, and exist with what we need because people want and need to exist with other things. Like, we don’t need to go be hunters and gatherers, but why can’t we have state-paid health insurance? At the expense of raising taxes, because nothing is free, but when you compare to having bad eyesight that you have no control over, what if you could just pay a little more out of a paycheck rather than pay thousands of dollars in copays? The line is very thin as to where capitalism is good and bad, and I am not enough of a professional to understand those or to make a decision.”

Question 5: How do you think capitalism has evolved over the years?

“I think people have made it evolve to what they wanted it to. It’s the reason I can’t remember the definition from school, even though I definitely learned it, because it is constantly evolving and changing. It’s weird to see the effect of Americans on capitalism because I don’t think we are very conscious about our effect or our influence on the economy. I think we react to what’s happening in the news and gas prices and things like that instead of focusing on what’s going on in a capitalist system. Take gas prices again for example. If I am driving and I see that gas went down from yesterday, I will for sure be more likely to stop than if gas had gone up in price from yesterday. I do not consciously think about buying when the gas is cheaper could have an effect on the economy or American capitalism. It used to be a conscious thing to be a consumer. Now it’s just life.”

Question 5: Do you find capitalism to be effective?

“Yeah, for sure. I mean, plenty of people are rich, they make 100,000 a year. When you understand the system and you are able to use the benefits that are for people who are successful, then you are able to create another abundance of success. I don’t think it’s effective for everyone though, which I don’t think it is designed to be. If it was, then why are things the way they are? Why is America in debt? Why am I in debt?”


He looked at himself as a consumer of goods and a producer of labor, someone who lives and dies in the system while trying as hard as he can to succeed within a capitalist setup. But how can someone succeed financially in an economic system that they know little about?  Although he could not fully define the system, he did understand his inherent ignorance on the subjects and wondered if his lack of knowledge of the system was purposeful. His statement that ”capitalism does not support me the way that I support capitalism” suggests that he believes the system is broken and does not support the common worker, but thinks it to be effective in allowing producers to accumulate more and more wealth. Hopeful Americans can stand with capitalism given the small opportunity to rise to the upper one percent in wealth. If that opportunity exists, the system of capitalism will continue to pique human interest and development. 

The comparison to gas prices is interesting as it relates to a previous discussion in class, in which the supply and demand of a product determines the price, but the public can blame that difference on a variety of factors that do not relate to the actual change in price. The interviewee’s admittance that he did not care why the price went down, just that it did, suggests that his interaction with the market and his understanding of it are not equal. This raises questions as to why consumers stay ignorant of the processes of capitalism when there are no benefits. The term “react” is a fantastic way to describe what people do in response to the push and pull of supply and demand. The lack of understanding of the readable movements of the market allow for people to react in certain predictable ways, such as the outrage at shortages or commentary on an abundance of a type of product. He admitted to being prone to those same reactions, but understands that there are forces beyond his control that shift the prices of commodities. 

A love-hate relationship seems to describe a common paradigm of the American working class with capitalism. Although their place in capitalism and as a member of the labor force gives the working class certain benefits, this subject’s discontent at the outcome of the system and his experience within it possibly conveys a larger overarching tension between capitalism and capitalists and the means of production.

Things Need to Change

For my first interview, I decided to talk to a college-educated woman in her 50s. She has no background in economics, is a history and English double major, and grew up as a military brat. When I asked her the initial questions of “How do you define capitalism,” she was worried that all the questions would be difficult. However, she could answer all the questions with ease, and they all had a central theme: capitalism needs to change to make it work.

After claiming that all my questions for her were going to be difficult, she answered the first question with no issues. Instead of giving a straight textbook answer, the interviewee said, “Capitalism is a free market society that doesn’t always benefit society as a whole.” Here, she shows more of her personal opinions on capitalism while also defining it. She continues, “Without safety nets, some citizens will fall through the cracks. Profits are more important than people in pure capitalism.” After the first question, I saw how the rest of the interview might go given her stance on capitalism. However, the next question showed how complicated her relationship with capitalism is.

            I decided to ask her, “How has capitalism affected your life,” next. What she answered surprised me. She explained, “I make my living off of capitalism. . . .” Her answer threw me off for someone critical of capitalism in the first question. She finished the question with, “But I’m also subject to the whims of people like Bezos because I make my living off of Amazon.” While she works with capitalism for a living, she is still critical about how this system works.

I then decided to ask her how she felt about other economic systems. She answered, “Communism has failed in a lot of ways. I prefer socialism with a side of capitalism. Capitalism can work in some ways but only if it is constrained.” This answer led me to my next question about capitalism’s positive and negative aspects. She explained, “I can give some people the ability to pull themselves up out of poverty. If there’s no government oversight or they can influence that, working-class people find it hard to earn a living wage. They [billionaires] see their profits as more important than humans.” The interviewee believes that reform is the only way capitalism can work in society. If there is no reform, then society will suffer. The interviewee implies that change needs to happen for capitalism to work in our society.

For my final question, I asked the interviewee, “Do you find capitalism to be effective?” Like most of her answers, she implies the need for change. She explained, “It’s so corrupt these days. Corruption is rampant in capitalism, and without some government oversight, it runs amok. Therefore, pure capitalism can’t benefit society.” Once again, she exhibits her stance on capitalism. Capitalism needs to change so that society is benefited. Whether that be more government interference or a change in how our economy is structured, capitalism needs to benefit everybody.

The interviewee had a pretty good idea of her understanding of capitalism and her stance on how it works in society. While she is not involved in economics, she gave intelligent answers that helped me understand how some people might see capitalism in our country. I wonder if the following two people I interview will have some of the same answers or a completely different stance on capitalism.

“There is motivation to make a profit which drives an economy.”


This individual was born in 1966 in New Jersey. Growing up in New Jersey and then moving to Virginia not too long ago gives her a unique sense of the differences between economics between the two areas. She was formerly a special education teacher but now works in a claims department for an automobile company. She is recently divorced and is living on her own and supporting herself with her own income.

“How do you define Capitalism?”

“It has to do with politics and economics. It is an economic system that deals with supply and demand which is driven by private control.” The interviewee

“Do you think Capitalism is beneficial to your life?”

“Yes, because it gives me an opportunity and freedom to create my own business or work for somebody. It gives me the freedom to choose what I want to do. There is motivation to make a profit which drives an economy.”

“How do you think your parents view capitalism in comparison to you?”

“Well my parents grew up in a completely different world than I did but I believe that there was a different capitalistic society. I think that growing up in times of war shaped their views on capitalism. I came from a family of eight siblings so my parents had to support us all and money was very important.”

“What do you think are some positive aspects to capitalism and negative aspects?”

“I think positive aspects of capitalism encourage competition and growth.” With what industries? “With any industry, you can capitalize on anything as long as the desire and drive is there.” What are some negative aspects? “There are social inequalities because of the competition that is created.”

“What do you think of other economic systems other than capitalism?”

“In my view capitalism is the best type of an economic system. Some people believe that capitalism ignores people’s needs and it results in wealth inequality. But that being said I think it is a far better system than socialism and communism”


This interviewee grew up in a completely different generation than the current generations growing up. Social media plays a large role in capitalism and compared to the interviewee’s generation where there was no social media. I believe views of capitalism differ between all generations. 

I Think it Temporarily Serves a Purpose


The interviewee is a 21 year old student at UMW and is majoring in Psychology. They grew up middle class and were raised primarily by their mother. Furthermore, being a psychology major they are concerned with ethics and that is reflected in the interview.

“How do you define capitalism?” 

“It’s the economic structure where individuals and businesses can make profit off manufacturing or services.” I warned the individual that I was going to be asking them questions about capitalism, and it was later revealed to me they googled this definition before the interview. 

“Where do you see capitalism in action?”

“Everywhere. . . where do you not see capitalism in action? Everything we purchase and use. These things are not just given to you. You need to purchase things from big companies.” I then asked if small businesses contribute to capitalism and the interviewee answered with a hesitant “I think so right?”

“How do you think your parents view capitalism in comparison to you?”

“In this generation there has been a trend towards sustainability. For me and my family I don’t see the bad impacts of capitalism, but people who live near industry do. So there should be more consideration for them. Social media plays a part in our “resistance” towards capitalism and social media has heighted our awareness towards the bad aspects of capitalism. Something our parents’ generation did not have.”

“What is your role in capitalism?” 

“I definitely help it continue by participating in the economy. Like buying things from Amazon, Target, Walmart and other big businesses, and it makes me feel guilty. However, I don’t feel as if I am participating towards the negative parts of capitalism when I buy from small businesses. Ones that are sustainable and equitable. However, I can’t do that as frequently because it’s expensive and I feel bad about that.”

“Do you find capitalism to be effective?”

“I think that it temporarily serves a purpose but also creates a lot of problems and it has negative impacts on people’s lives, but I don’t see them because I am not around that side of things. However, I do not believe it to be a sustainable system or an equitable one.”


The interviewee has very limited knowledge about what capitalism is. They even went as far as prepping for the interview by researching terms. However, once we moved away from the “what is capitalism” questions I started to notice the individual was very concerned with the environmental and sustainability aspects of capitalism. Although, the individual did also make it clear that they never have been “harmed” or personally experienced the negative aspects of capitalism, yet they were still bothered by its detrimental effects on people of lower socioeconomic status and people who have lost land/homes due to capitalism’s industrial aspects. Finally, I want to reiterate the interviewees point about social media. Social media has shined a light on the dark parts of not just capitalism, but society in general. Later after the interview the individual elaborated a little more on this point and explained that “social media has given anyone a voice, and it’s made it harder for corporations to hide their misdoings.” This is something that is particularly unique to our generation and it poses the question has social media played a part in the evolution of capitalism?