I am a “compassionate capitalist.”

My name is Joy, and I’m a “compassionate capitalist.” So, I start a business to help people.

The business teaches poor/middle class how to file taxes. It’s meant as a check against corporations and rich folks getting all the breaks. It’s to level the playing field to the common person. That’s the overarching goal. Our mission statement.

I build my website, buy ads to get the word out, hire accountants, train them to teach others IRL. I charge consumers $2.99. It saves them, on average, $3. I can’t charge them any more and maintain my compassion. It’s my compassion cap.

It becomes a successful venture! The playing field is leveled, and I make a profit. Success!

I am a capitalist, yet compassionate.

In year two, my business hits a snag. Everyone that used me in year one now have the knowledge. They don’t need me anymore. My goal (of teaching people) is complete. That’s good! But my goal (of teaching people) leaves few repeat customers. That’s bad!

Also, other capitalists who’ve seen this business model are entering the market. And, I fear, they are less compassionate than myself. They utilize “free market” labor from overseas, paying pennies on the dollar. And these people are shamefully overworked.

But they’re cheaper, so customers choose them because of your standard market forces. So, I’m forced to lower my price from $2.99 to $2. I also need to cut costs. I scrap my original accountants; hire a cheaper batch. IRL lessons are now online. Ad buys are still needed.

But it works! In year two, we get enough customers to keep the business afloat. We level the playing field against corporations! Success!

I am a capitalist, yet compassionate.

Year three, this idea’s catching on. So much that corps learn their tax cuts aren’t worth what they once were (it’s all relative, you know). So, they throw money at lobbyists to change the code. To stop this, I need to make more money.

I also need to hire new accountants (to learn new tax code). And keep up with competition’s price gouging. And expand. I lower price from $2 to $1. To allow that to happen, I need to cut costs. Rather than hiring IRL teachers, the whole job’s now automated. My staff is myself.

And now, any labor (customer service, website design, etc.) simply must come from overseas, paying as close to nothing as I can manage. I hear rumors about them worked 18 hrs at a time in bad conditions, but I can’t do anything. There’s no other option. Plus, it’s legal, so.

But the tax code change is good sort of! I don’t need new customers; the new tax code means they all have to come back for re-education! So, it works! People buy just enough to pay lobbyists, pay new accountants (before I fire them), keep website running, expand.

But when I say “just enough,” I mean that literally. We have $1 of net profit. The next year, the business cannot expand. I have a choice to make: Do I take the loss, or close down the business?

I am a capitalist, so I close it down.

But I’ve made the world a better place, no doubt! The playing field between common folk & corporations is more leveled than before, surely! Until the next year. My business is gone, so money I paid to lobbyists to keep tax code frozen has dried up. Corporations rewrite the code.

Soon enough, similar services offering tax education also dry up. (They can’t keep up w/ the rewrites either.) The entire market collapses. In another year, any impact has disappeared. Corporations pay a vastly smaller percentage of taxes than common folk. The field is unleveled again.

(Also: I likely made the world worse by contributing to poor working conditions and funneling money to lawyers, lobbyists, corps. Whoopsee!)

I’m Joy, and I was trying to be a compassionate capitalist.