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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Competition is killing our spirit: The impact of late-stage capitalism

Dong Woo Im
A student looks over posters hanging up in University Hall. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

There’s no denying that our society is more divided than it’s been in decades. Our country is spewing hate from both sides, and it’s starting to prevent any real progress from taking place.  

I wholeheartedly believe it is due to the competition embedded in the culture of our nation. There is this idea that to be successful, we must be better than others. 

We punch down because if you punch up, it means you bite the hand that feeds you. So, we are programmed to find the differences in each other that can allow us to feel better than the next person. 

Because of this, people in our society feel isolated. I asked a student named Anthony how he felt about our society, and he gave profound answers that helped give a glimpse into his worldview.  

I first asked him what he thought of capitalism, and after reflecting, he mentioned that it’s a silent killer. It prioritizes profit over lives—he proceeded to give the example of how people go to the hospital for debilitating issues and are given crippling debt.  

I asked him how these scenarios in life affect his feelings about himself or the world around him, and he answered with a saddened look. He said that he feels constant dread, as he worries that any situation can leave him chained to bad circumstances.  

He continued by stating that these emotions and fears weren’t ones that the people around him felt. This led him to feel alienated from people. 

I asked him what he thinks could be a solution to these capitalistic problems, or even solutions to his personal emotions. He decided that for our nation to flourish, democracy must survive. People need to be able to choose the way that the world around them reflects their values. However, we must also actively value human lives over money. 

I began thinking about how these ideas of capitalism affect our lives as students. In this late stage of capitalism, people are beginning to question whether our system is flawed, and some of us are realizing that it is. 

There’s the issue of social injustice that is rooted in this idea of competition. This can be racist, misogynistic, anything that is rooted in opposition. There must be successes and failures. There must be people who can be seen as easy to exploit.  

These injustices are vital to our system’s ability to thrive, and they allow corporations, like pharmaceutical companies, to carry on with their crimes against humanity. The idea is money over people.  

Even UMass Boston tuition costs are rising by 2.5% next year, and this is on top of an already difficult to achieve education [1]. These price raises don’t benefit the students, and I think more of us are starting to realize that. 

Just owning a home is now considered a luxury, and it’s really starting to have people question our quality of life. Students are beginning to wonder who even benefits from capitalism: the many or the few? 

I believe that as the years go on, and as our country continues to divide, we will begin seeing that these laws and regulations are in place to help certain people and for many, we realize that it isn’t us. 

Students and the younger generations are at the mercy of our country’s decisions, and we’re feeling the existential dread of it all. Our planet is dying, people can’t get the healthcare they need, and no one can afford to rent, let alone own homes. There’s a lot of anxiety coming from people who simply want a way of life that was reflected in the “American dream” just 20 years ago. 

Things are terrifying, and people are really starting to feel these effects everywhere, like Anthony proved. As students, it is important to express the issues we have with our nation and brainstorm changes we’d like to see, even if these solutions don’t work out or aren’t feasible.  

There is a societal desire for change, and people in this nation are starting to feel it grow beneath their feet. It’s important to remember that our voices matter, and the only ones who can invoke change, are us. 



[1]: UMass to raise tuition 2.5% for next academic year – CBS Boston (cbsnews.com) 

About the Contributors
Mercy Moncada, Opinions Writer
Dong Woo Im, Photographer