How to cheat the capitalist system (legally) part 2

How to cheat the capitalist system (legally) part 2

In the first part of this series, we looked at some of the features of living in a capitalist system. Now we going to have a look at how you can benefit from some of the better parts of capitalism.

Become a shareholder – Buy into the system

If companies run a large part of the world economy to make a profit, you can easily buy into a piece of the action by becoming a shareholder. If you’re not familiar with shares, here is a quick overview. Being a shareholder means being a part owner of the business. If a company makes money and uses it to grow, you’ll benefit from the (hopefully) greater share price. If a company makes money and decides to it pay out to its owners (it doesn’t have to do this), you as a shareholder will receive that payout in the form of dividends.

Why am I banging about shares? They are good investments, but they’re also the best way that you have to profit from company profits. I’m not suggesting buying individual company shares (unless you are prepared to do comprehensive research on each company). I’m suggesting you think about buying index funds, or index exchange traded funds (ETFs). Generally, index funds are a collection of stocks (shares) on a particular stock market (e.g. the New York Stock Exchange). Buying these types of funds means that you can buy all the companies on a particular market, and immediately get access to all their future potential growth and dividends.

You’ll need to do your research, however it is relatively easy to buy a few index funds that cover multiple markets, for example, domestic stocks and global stocks. Keep in mind that shares are by nature very volatile assets, meaning they make and lose their value quickly over the short term. That means you need to invest for a long term horizon where you can ride out temporary falls, at least five years or more. By owning their shares, next time you receive poor service from a company, remember that you are sharing in their profits at the other end, and therefore you’re getting the last laugh.

Be the controller, not the customer – own the system

Let’s face it: some companies care about their customers, others don’t. No amount of legitimate moaning from consumers is going to change that fact. But you can take control over the choices you make, and how you are treated. As a consumer, you have power. You have the power to walk away, the power to take your business elsewhere, and the power to boycott a product.

How do you do it? Here are some ideas:

  • Shop around for the best deal – not just on daily items, but on loans, bills and big ticket items.
  • If you’re not getting the best deal, call your company and ask for a discount. The worst thing that can happen is that a company says no, and that no is coming from someone that you are unlikely to speak to or email ever again.
  • Next time you’re online shopping, do a 30 second google search for see if there’s a discount code you can apply. If someone’s being offered 10% off, it might as well be you.
  • Be prepared to walk away. If a company does not do what you (reasonably) ask them to, go somewhere else. Don’t just threaten. Walk.
  • Check your privacy settings on social media. Why? Well, in addition to identity theft, social media companies use your information to sell specific products and target ads to you. If you don’t want them to do this, you can change or limit it in your privacy settings.
  • There’s no such thing as customer loyalty. You don’t have to stay with a company because you’ve been with them for 20 years. In fact, if you have been there for 20 years, they’d better be treating you right.

All these tips and others are designed to show you that you have power, and you can control much on the goods and services you choose to use. Remember, they’re out to make a profit. Don’t let them make their profit at your expense.

Maximise your value as an employee, or create your own business.

I hope you like your job and whatever you do, you enjoy it. Many companies care about their employees and their significant contributions. However, many others don’t. Here too, you have options. You can take responsibility for your value as an employee. Work out those features of your work that you really enjoy and perform really well at (you have them: everyone is an expert in something). Those features reflect your value. Now you need to make sure that your workplace or business acknowledges and appreciates your value. If they don’t, you have the power to find another job. Much like customer loyalty, your first loyalty as an employee should be to yourself and your worth. I know it may not be easy to find or start another role. However, you have the right to be appreciated. You’re worth fighting for.

If you have ever wanted to start a business, living in a capitalist society makes it easier for you. The internet makes it easier still. You don’t need to bury yourself in bank loans to start one either – you can begin a small enterprise selling items by using sites like Ebay or Etsy, obtain crowd funding on multiple platforms, and start your own website for a relatively cost. You can even start a social enterprise, a non-profit that helps communities through its products and services, employs people that are underprivileged, and incorporates its profits back into the business to keep it growing. That’s a great way to use the best parts of capitalism, and it’s craving for profit, to give back to society as well.

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