Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Toilet Seat (Capitalism vs. Socialism)

I want you to conduct an experiment.  Go into your bathroom and look at your toilet seat.  As a matter fact take a look at your whole bathroom.  Chances are if you’re not a complete slob you actually care about how it looks.   I know you probably don’t clean under the toilet seat as often as you should and chances are if you’re a guy there’s more than a few things in there that shouldn’t be but for the most part it doesn’t look like somebody had a “food fight” with excrement.  In fact I’d go so far as to say that if you make a mess when you’re puking your guts out from one too many shots of Jack, you’re probably going to clean it up the next day.  Take a picture of your bathroom; you’re going to need that later.  

Now I want you to take a little road trip.  Drive on any of our wonderful interstate freeways and keep going till you feel like you’re going to have and accident of the bowel kind.  Pull into one of the many rest stops, trucker stations, or hell, even a 7-eleven anywhere along the road.  You really gotta go at this point right?  Now, tell me do you just drop trow and go?  Of course not.  Chances are you’ll get a number to call “for a good time” more than a few idiots have completely missed the bowl and pissed all over the seat, the floor has God knows what kind of liquid on the floor, and chances are high there’s a stink that only a burn-out shitter can top.  While you’re doing the pee pee dance desperately trying to clean off the seat (or hovering) I want you to pull out your camera or phone that you took the picture of YOUR bathroom on.  Compare and contrast.  

You see the first bathroom, where you don’t hesitate for a second to proudly sit on your thrown and do God knows what (you dirty bastard), is a great example of Capitalism.  That second bathroom, that makes you want to jump into a vat of bleach, that’s Socialism.  I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t make any sense.  After all Socialism is all fluffy clouds and sunshine right?  Well no.  Actually it’s not.  See the whole point to Socialism is that EVERYBODY pisses into the same pot so to speak.  Its like if you invited your whole neighborhood (or everybody in the Barracks) into your room to use your toilet.  They DON’T have a vested interest to keep it clean, prevent it from getting stopped up, or hell, even using the toilet at all.  

You see in a Capitalistic system everybody does what’s in their best interest and the system as a whole weaves the varied multitude of interests together for the common good.  I have an interest in keeping my bathroom clean, and to keep a clean bathroom I go and get air fresheners, soaps, you name it.  This money spent is sent to the companies that make said products, and they thusly have money to keep THEIR bathrooms clean.  It’s a nice grand circle of clean bottoms and good smells after dropping a deuce.  Most of all, because we all have clean bathrooms we don’t have a shitty disposition when dealing with other people. 

Now that second bathroom, that Socialist bathroom, EVERYBODY gets to use it, so why would it be bad?  It’s not in an emergency.  Remember you’re about to suffer the Baghdad Blowout.  It’s you need somewhere to go, and hopefully something to wipe with.  But that’s just the thing EVERYBODY uses it, and most likely nobody besides the small staff manning wherever you happen to be, have a vested interest in making sure that the bathroom is in any way clean.  Indeed, they probably hate you all for the foul shit you do in there.  In Socialism, everybody submits to the collective good, that will *hopefully* work to satisfy you’re individual interests.  The Bathrooms are everywhere you get to shit, everybody’s happy. . . Right? 

Well, be honest, after dropping trow in even the cleanest public bathrooms, you’re typically not all sunshine and flowers are you?  Therein lies the whole problem with Socialism.  When your bathroom breaks, and the plumber says he can’t be there to fix it for a week, you get pretty pissed.  You sit there and bitch and gripe about how you can’t even use your toilet without reenacting a scene from the Titanic, and you wish that there was someone that was someone, ANYONE really whose vested interest it was to make sure your bathroom was clean for you.  Well. . . unless you’re going to pay someone based solely on how good your bathroom looks, why should anyone ELSE care how nasty foul or disgusting your bathroom gets?  

You can apply this principle to anything you use, any place you go, any service to are given.  Waiters are nice to you because you tip them.  They have a vested interest in making sure that you like the service you’ve been given.  The Cafeteria lady doesn’t care that her giant mole with three really coarse hairs sticking out makes you sick to your stomach.  She gets paid the same if you blow chunks after you eat as she does if you eat like they put crack in that food.  FedEx really does care if your presents get there on time and undamaged, they have a vested interest in being quick.  You pay extra for that.  The USPS, well it got there didn’t it?  

Every time the system “fails” we are tempted to turn to that system that’s always there for emergencies, the one that  has everyone pissing in the same pot so everyone has a vested interest in making it work, but the practical example I just gave you explains exactly why that system DOESN’T work.  In Socialistic societies there are always personal interests that are sacrificed for the common good, because in the end everybody’s happy right?  The problem is that as time goes on, more and more interests must be sacrificed.  It always starts out little, but sooner or later the high cost of maintaining that system has people cheating every which way.  Eventually people just up and leave.  The Makers become Takers, and everybody is looking for someone who screwed up worse then they did so they look blameless.  

What we need to understand is that *most* of the time Capitalism is cyclic in nature.  It goes in cycles of expansion and contraction, but as long as there are needs, no matter how strange, there will be somebody out there willing to fill it, for the right price.  When the system seems to totally fail, chances are there’s something other than the system itself at fault.  Chances are someone is tweaking the system to make it “friendlier” for everybody.  Much like being on a ruck march where every 1/3 mile someone adds a pound to your ruck, by the time you get to your destination you’re sucking serious wind, that is if you get there.  So remember kiddies, the next time the “system fails” instead of advocating we all have public bathrooms forced upon us, why don’t we look for the REAL reason, and simply fix the problem.  Trust me, it’ll make everything seem less. . . shitty. 

1 comment:

kylem said...

Not exactly disagreeing with you...but I should just point out that filthy bathrooms in 7-Eleven are themselves a great example of the type of prioritization that goes on under a free market system. 7-Eleven is of course a very large and enormously profitable multinational corporation--and if it really mattered to their business, then they'd enforce a tougher john-cleaning policy on their franchises than they do. But they don't give a shit, so to speak, because there's no govt rule that says you have to clean your toilets this or that often.

If they started losing customers to AM/PM on account of gross restrooms, I'm sure they'd (1) push for customers to flush after use, (2) spend more money to keep them clean, and (3) might even charge customers to use the bathroom--which, strictly speaking from an economist's point of view, is *the* most capitalist solution.

You don't say this directly, but what your analogy seems to suggest is that public goods are uniquely a feature of socialism, whereas in a capitalist system everyone has to their own bathroom. As a staunch believer in capitalism myself, I'd add to your point that public goods like free bathrooms are very much a part of capitalist societies. And when I'm on a long roadtrip and that Wendy's burger I ate an hour ago has reached critical, uh, mass, I'm thankful that 7-Eleven's profit model depends at least in part on folks like me to bolt out the car for the head, so that they can try to sell me a bobble-head doll or pack of sunflower seeds on my way out.