Skip to content

February 23, 2016


Individualistic people on Team Capitalism

We’ve discussed the individualism of the U.S. culture. Yet the dissidence to that notion is that American Capitalism is a team sport. So how can a bunch of individualist form strong and competitive teams?  This is an example of the Chess rules they inject into our game of checkers.  Many of us don’t quite understand how to play this capitalist game, and we end up at the bottom rung.

As we fill out an employment application or hand over our resume it is a question that we ask, “May I join your team?” Yet the gatekeepers have a particular type of person they are looking for in each available position.  If they are looking for a running back and you are slow… If they are looking for a Center and you are short…  If they are looking for a person with a bubbly people person personality, and you are a introverted tech person…

Each team has a gatekeeper.  The gatekeeper’s job is to screen people from entering or exiting their team.  For example, a human resources manager is a gatekeeper for the corporate team.  They have a list of all the qualifications for each position, they manage the corporate culture and personality traits that are required for entry.  Another example of a gatekeeper is a high school math teacher.   The grade that she assesses you earned in her class is gatekeeper responsibility that determines if you move up, get to graduate or if you gain access to college.

Life is filled with gatekeepers, and many people don’t realize this fact until it is too late. They have failed in the eyes of many gatekeepers and find themselves underqualified to join teams that grant the reward that we desire.

It is easy to get the impression that American culture is individualistic and lose the idea of the team effort. The first and most important team that anyone will be a part of is family.  If one is born into, or creates a strong family team environment, they have an advantage.  Yet, often times parents team building skills are contingent upon the family team they were raised in. It is to the advantage of each young adult to objectively assess their childhood to accentuate the positive and admonish the negative to ensure an expanding legacy.


The second team a person enters into is one that is designed by the government. Thus through this team government has the right, option and power to influence all citizens’ outcomes.  Schools are funded and managed by government employees.  Their focus is education of the 3 r’s (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic).  So there is a delineation of responsibility between the first team and the second teams impact on the lives of our youth.  The family team is responsible for prepping students for academic success.  The second school team is to create the academic success.

The third team that we as young people join are our friend groups, later in life we refer to this team as our social life, then it develops into our network. Yet it is an extension of a same team of Associates.  So the main 3 teams are set up and we do participate, but our culture has us strive for individuality and rebellion.  So when it comes down to asking to join the forth group of employment, we may not be as prepared as our competition.  This is what makes some rise, and some fall.

Our American system is set up in a way that says you can be as rich as you work hard/smart to be. Capitalism means that all resources (capital) is up for transference to the team with the best idea to maximize (capitalize) its use, “Profiteering.”  The risk of profiteering is the failed attempts.  Investors use capital and builds a team and risks failure to gain profit.  This business owner is taking a gamble.  When he/she agrees to hire an employee, that is a gamble that states the owner thinks he/she can put an employee in a position to earn the company more money than the agreed upon wage.   This is why it is called a wage. As in wager, a gamble that if I pay an employee $20,000, the employee will add at least $30,000 in value to the company.  If the employer loses this wager, the employee loses the employment.  The employer can then place another wager against another potential employee’s labor.

Another example of wage is to “wage war;” which is a bet that my army can defeat your army, winner takes all. 

When we send a resume, we are asking “Can I be a part of your team?” The employer asks himself, is this a good bet? Once an employee is hired, the employee will tend to want to be promoted to a higher level of Corporate sub-teams, such as the management team, or the Vice President team or the Executive team.  Each level has new requirements and expectations.  The one commonality of these new requirements in most corporate environments is to exchange any preset culture for the corporate culture.  The corporate culture may vary slightly on image and methodology, but universally the corporate culture is one that places the highest priority on corporate profiteering.  The higher one moves up in the organization (sub-teams) the more one has to prove this shift corporate values over and above personal and prior values.  This action is considered either selling out or selling up.

Once a company or team accomplishes high profits, they have the option of sharing that profit with the team in additional income rewards. This is a likened to “doubling down” in gambling terms.   Yet the employers and the employees are on opposite sides of the negotiating table regarding the reaping of the rewards, fruits or profit from prior success.  Employees may feel that they should be compensated more and the wealth be shared among all team players.  Yet the corporate culture prioritizes the preservation of the corporation over and above the immediate needs or demands of the waged employees.  Thus an internal battle is realized and individualism is justified as team loyalty is questioned.

Within the last 40 years there has been a decline in loyalty between sub-teams within companies. This is due to depressed wages, international trade agreements, outsourcing of jobs, (which was called globalization in the 1990’s) and lack of immigration reform or enforcement.  During this same period, quality of education (team #2) has been on a consistent decline, the cost of college tuition has exponentially grown and family structures (team #1) have deteriorated.

The above factors have all played a role in the quality of team #3, social networks. As people deal with more drama and trauma from team #1 they become less willing or available to form healthy and functional team #3’s.  As people are failed by team #2, they congregate and form disenfranchised or criminally enterprised team #3’s.  Both of which cause team #4 to use the recommendations of gatekeepers to deny or limit peoples access to teams and subteams.  Thus reinforcing a class system with the impoverished stuck at the bottom.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brittany Barr
    Feb 23 2016

    As I read the above passage the first thoughgt was how can the balance of individualism work within a capitalist setting . That question was answered right away , You create sub-divisions that will start you from the bottom with little access to capital . Than they will allow you to gain a little more access to the capital and as you where in team 1 and 2 you were taught how to strive for individualism at the same time you are taught that you can become as successful as you aim to be. So when you later join your corporate team it is perfect because you will try your best to move up but you will remain “loyal” because you want to be the person on top. And that is how both individualism and capitalism can coexist.

  2. Kevin Rodriguez
    Apr 20 2016

    Frankly, I think this is and could be directed to young adults. Most need to read this article before heading into the real world to prepare for what lies ahead. Seriously, this is a help. I agree with practically everything listed on here. From the resume to the promotions, to the team effort, everything pretty much adds up. This is very helpful when it comes to understanding capitalism and individualism, which in my opinion, are pretty much the same.

  3. Jorge Acosta
    Apr 24 2016

    As I read this article I began to think of the term “gatekeepers”. I found that it does fit into what they were talking about. In every group I have found that if you don’t befriend the gatekeeper, they have the ability to shut you out entirely, whether it is a soccer team, a new job, a group of friends, or even entering a relationship where the girl is the gatekeeper.

  4. Chris Glover
    Jan 10 2017

    This article masterfully interwove the correlation between family, education, and friendships and explain how they all work to shape your personality, values and marketing potential. One of the ideas What I was not expecting was the idea of how a person’s sculpted personality has to then change once a person goes into the “real-world” which is to say the job market. It is then that the said person must conform their thoughts and values to mirror that of the company’s in order to pass through the gatekeeper in an effort to get to where that person wants to be career-wise. This dynamic was quite interesting as I myself have gone through this same process and struggle when my personal values have to be compromised to fit the corporate mold.

  5. Raymond Jackson
    Jan 12 2017

    I find it interesting how the different teams affect one another. Without a strong family, one may have a hard time finding the will to strive in school and meet friends. Without a solid network, one will have trouble finding a job. The teams are greatly interwoven, and for this reason if one deteriorates, so do the others. I believe the way to resolve these issues are to create more programs from companies to help their employees surpass whatever hardships they are going through. This would not only help their employee’s well-being, but also improve the worker’s efficiency to the company. By allowing the team to go out of their way and assist an individual team member will make the team strengthen as a whole.

  6. Sydney Sanford
    Jan 13 2017

    This explained the three main fundamental things in today’s society and relationships. As we grow up, yes we are individuals, but we fit into many groups along the way. First family, secondly school/ education, third friendships and social life, and fourth employment. The people who were grow up to be depends on how we were raised. So essentially, if your home life and your family don’t have a stable environment and relationship, it will affect your outlook on the world and your relationships with different people. That’s where it all stems from. Yes we are individuals, but essentially we are all working in a team. Over the years our perception of corporations have changed because they are who employs us and who we put our loyalty and trust into, but we must understand that they only do what benefits them, not what benefits you individually. This society today is filled with greed and people will do whatever to get on top regardless of who they will hurt along the way.

  7. Abriana Trivison
    Jan 13 2017

    As I was reading this article I realized how much “stepping into the real world” has changed myself and my life. I never thought about how much I have grown and how I have worked to create new programs at my job to earn more hours thus more money. Creating a good connection with your coworkers and becoming like a family has given me a support system where we all relate on a working level and feel the same pain when hours may get cut back. Instances similar to this bring the team closer together almost to protect and defend each other from the employers.

  8. I have struggled with this system and it took me a while to get a job due to the fact that I was never taught how to dress well or how to compete in a employment environment. So I went and joined the army which put more chips in my corner and taught me how to better appear as the wage that companies wanted to use. Since then I have been getting certifications and improving my wardrobe because now I know how to play the game. I enjoyed the article and I only wish I had read it prior to having to learn it through my struggle.

  9. Cameron Murphy
    Mar 4 2017

    I fell the system of collegiate education is severely broken as a whole. Most full time type jobs now days require at the least a bachelors degree as a minimum requirement. The messed up part is that not only does college cost an all time high causing most graduates a lot of debt, but also the company looking to hire wants to keep pay as low as possible for said position. It has become yet another system broken in this government that needs to be mended.

  10. Kosomapong Sanly
    Mar 5 2017

    There are many teams I am a part of and they are explicitly mentioned in this article. It is interesting and true. I think about this when I think of how I got hired or how I hire people at my job. People have to get along with others to be part of a team and that is what hiring managers want to see.

  11. Beatriz Temores Garcia
    May 31 2017

    The reference of a team sport in explaining individualism in a Capitalism team was very easy to follow. Explaining the sequence of the teams that an individual encounters in their lives was on point. Family, school, education and friends are the initial teams that everyone encounters in preparation for the fourth team, employment. It was felt that this article brought up the importance of how our initial preparation and interaction with individuals, mentors, and institutions shape our ability to gain acceptance by the “gate keepers” in the capitalist world. Depending on how prepared and knowledge enriched we have become will depend on whether an employer is willing to wager on us and allow us into their team. Knowing how to gain access seems into a capitalist team seems to be the ultimate goal of individuals and I agree with this. However, once in an employment team our goal should change and we should inspire moving up the corporate ladder. I agree with this article that this should be done as a group effort within the fourth team. However, it is my personal opinion that this is easier said then done. Even though subgroups should work as a team and share the praise, this is not always the case. There are those more eager to move up the corporate ladder that will step over so many to get there. Another great point is that is brought up the questionable loyalty of employees and the increase in higher education cost that prevents individuals from gaining corporate success. Employees constantly feel that they are not being compensation accordingly and they feel as though their employers are getting richer. While this may or may not be the case, the relationship between the employee and the employer is affected and in the long run may deteriorate. The disadvantage is to the employee because he/she will have to start over. While the employer on the other hand has the next persona standing in line for that gate to open up. As for education, the cost of the same is making it difficult for individuals to join into that “second” team which is essential for personal and professional enrichment. It is not impossible, but burdensome. If someone wants to join the education team they may risk becoming indebted. These are the hard choices in life that we have to make in order to gain access to the capitalist team. Overall, I enjoyed this article and feel that there are many points that could be discussed in great depth with the potential of many different viewpoints and opinions.

  12. Marylin Salguero
    Jun 1 2017

    I believe that you have to be a strong and have many different characteristics to be independent on your own but also bring contributions to a team. Having unique and strong characteristics can be helpful to join a team. You may have really strong leadership skills; another member may lack this skill. This is why a team is well balanced, and has different types of people that can contribute differently. Making the team successful. Yes, every gatekeeper is looking for something in specific, but there has to be at least one gatekeeper that is looking for something you have. If they are looking for a running back and you’re slow, you don’t qualify. But there is a gatekeeper out there looking for someone slow, not everyone is looking for a running back. Same with being introvert, being an introvert can have its benefits. What if everyone is an extrovert, being an introvert can be your unique characteristic.
    We have all had at least one gatekeeper in our life. Some who have slowed down our path and someone who did stop us. It is true that we get caught up in the “America Culture”. I think the idea of team work has lost its value. It’s like as soon as you get to the real world everyone is alone and do things for themselves only. Working in teams in college isn’t even that common. Working in teams is very beneficial. The government does set up the system in a certain way. Those who can play get to be successful but others who can’t get stuck in the system. We all have advantages and also disadvantages.

  13. John Robinson
    Jun 1 2017

    I think we have to have a great balance with money making, and morals. Each one of the teams are important. However businesses bet all day long. Stock market, and business is all a gamble. Even going to college you are betting that when you finish, you get a good job. You risked your time and money for that piece of paper degree. Marriage along with home ownership are also forms risks that you take a gamble on and either pays rewards, or pays consequences. Life itself is a gamble the bugger the risk, the bigger the rewards. I like this article because it looks at capitalism from a different point of view. Capitalism can be used to your advantage if you play the game of life right!

  14. Juan Garcia
    Sep 21 2017

    My thoughts on this is can be summed up as enlightened. I knew that people decide whether or not they want you on their team when getting hired, but I didn’t know how much it plays in to the cooperate structure. It is really amazing. I think the purpose of the team capitalism is to benefit the company, but I want to be apart of the team. I believe it would be in my best interest to be part of the capitalist infrastructure. I understand that the infrastructure reinforces a class system with the impoverished at the bottom, but it relates to the previous assignments that a person should be the best they can be with no regards to outside factors. I am aware that I can become a part of the team that gets disenfranchised, but that is a gamble I am willing to take in this system. I believe I can be apart of a good team through merit alone.

  15. Freddy Sanchez Jr
    Sep 24 2017

    I believe that one of the main issues regarding this matter is that education is being cut from all sides. One of the strangest rules that the United States has is the school funding is based upon surrounding property taxes rather than a need-based system. It makes absolutely no sense that areas with high-income kids get more support than lower-income kids simply because they are richer. In my opinion, that is discrimination of the dirtiest form. Poorer kids probably need a lot more help than the kid whose parents can afford tutors, but the poor child who cannot pay attention is put in an over-crowded classroom, with teachers who are thinking about quitting their jobs because they can’t even afford scotch tape.

  16. samara shore
    Jun 28 2018

    Reading this, I’ve come to look at capitalism in an entirely different remark. Starting off in a good family with a strong support system, is the most important team to belong in, and then from there one joins many different teams within the realm of capitalism. The fact that joining these teams requires a certain personality or physical build by a gatekeeper, can be a detriment for many people who don’t meet the requirements. The decline of loyalty between these sub-teams and companies is proven with higher tuition, lower wages, and this leads to deterioration within family structures. Especially with the Trump administration we see loyalty for corporations, not the individual, although he pushes for making unions unnecessary for the power of the individual, it really is more about the corporations being able to buy out people for cheap.

  17. Kat Rivera
    Jun 28 2018

    The team of family is a eye opener to me as it has affected individuals’ further development in adulthood including myself. I have not reached all stages of the team, such as corporate. I have been through the team of school which I also agree prepares us to move up to Team capitalism. Its interesting how all factors affect our success, as it builds our outlook in life. If we are influenced by schooling, family, and friends to believe that we are not set to succeed in life we may meet those assumptions. Further being discouraged, may lead individuals to not seeking credentials leading to rejection by gate keepers. It seems as if its just human behavior to listen and absorb our surroundings.

  18. Kat Rivera
    Jun 28 2018

    It is interesting to see how our society is modeled to bring us through teams in order to further prepare us to be successful in our capitalist society. Often we see that most people who are successful were raised in a household with all members present, and in high quality schools. If a person going through the same chain of teams, but at fewer resources its harder for them to meet the standards of a gate keeper. I personally feel like it might be a challenge for myself only if I do not take initiative to assure that I have credentials & experience for the position I want to achieve in further positions such as in corporate jobs. We can see through this structure that individuals absorb and take in their surroundings, further taking them along with them through adulthood.

Share your thoughts, post a comment.


Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments