In the quest for never-ending profit, capitalism has conquered nearly every aspect of life in the United States. However, it has its flaws. 580K people in the country are homeless, 37 million are living below the poverty line, and 46 million cannot afford necessary healthcare services. And that's just scratching the surface.

So in an attempt to spark a debate about the system, TikToker Nikki Apostolou made a video, asking other users to "name a capitalist scam that we've all been conditioned to believe is ok." And that's exactly what it did. Nikki's clip has accumulated 147K views as well as 1.5K comments and plenty of 'stitches', many of which contributed to the discussion she has started.

Continue scrolling to check out some of the most popular ones.

@recycldstardust Why does every channel need its own streaming service. #netflix #hulu #peacock #capitalism #nativetiktok #nativetiktoks #nativefamily ♬ Lofi - Domknowz
#1

Homelessness

Homelessness

We have five times as many homes as people who need homes. But why would that be? Banks and landlords. They keep the prices high by making the supply low artificially. Housing is not a commodity, it's a human need.

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Marc
Community Member
8 months ago

I have traveled to many countries in my life, and although homelessness occurs in every country, I have never seen as many homeless people in a wealthy country as I have in the U.S., especially in the larger cities. Also, many of them are veterans, which is even more schizophrenic and sad after the U.S. is so big on its military and soldiers. In some places in the US, you would think you were in a third world country somewhere if you didn't know you were in one of the richest countries in the world right now. Sad...

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We managed to get in touch with Nikki Apostolou, and even though the content creator has just given birth to a beautiful baby, she agreed to have a little chat with us about her now-viral TikTok.

"I came up with the idea for it after really thinking about how we were sold this bill of goods about 'cutting the cord'; how the idea of digital entertainment as opposed to having cable packages was supposed to be more affordable and accessible to those who can't afford the high cost of cable and internet," Apostolou told Bored Panda.

"In the end, all these different streaming services at the prices they offer end up being just as expensive, if not more expensive than cable is, thus creating the illusion that we have a more affordable choice if you want to have the same amount of access to different types of entertainment, news, quality educational programs for children, documentaries, etc."

#2

Dental Care

Dental Care

Our teeth are just kind of extra and they're not part of our bodies or health. So they're not covered by health insurance, unless you pay extra for those luxury bones.

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ZAPanda
Community Member
8 months ago

Also mental health etc

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#3

40 Hour Work Week

40 Hour Work Week

You want to know why we have the 40 hour work week? Because Henry Ford freaking said so.

It's not based on science. There are plenty of professions where you do not need to be there for 40 freaking hours. There's a lot of data that says, if we shorten the work week, workers would be more productive, but we're still doing the same thing this freakin jerk, who lived almost a hundred years ago, said.

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Julie C Rose
Community Member
8 months ago

And plenty of people work more than 40 hours just to make ends meet.

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The way Tiktok users reacted to Nikki's video really surprised her. "On my post alone, there were a lot of discussions and debates on both sides of the spectrum that were fascinating to read and engage in. But even more exciting were the many stitches to my TikTok, sparking numerous amount of discussions and topics of different things that capitalism does that really screws the average person," she recalled.

"I've learned so much from all these stitches and has really opened my eyes to a lot of injustices."

#4

Weddings

Weddings

Explain to me how a retirement party for 200 people, fully catered with a room rental, chairs, the whole night cost $6,000, but a wedding cost $25,000 in the exact same location with the exact same caterers.
 
It's because you put the word wedding in front of it. I had a huge wedding, huge waste of money. Thank God it wasn't my money. I'd say 99% of the people I don't even speak to anymore. 200 people showed up. I only speak to four of those people currently in my adult life. Save your money. If you have to have a big wedding, just tell everyone it's a required retirement party and save yourself 80 fricking percent. It's stupid.

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Caro Caro
Community Member
8 months ago

Invite friends and family over for a party and when everybody has had their first drink announce you are getting married ... here ... now ... !

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#5

Saving For Retirement

Saving For Retirement

The traditional pensions used to be considered deferred compensation. That means with the switch to 401k, we all took a pretty big pay cut. Because no matter how much you save, since we're living longer, it's probably not going to be enough.
As with everything else, only the top income earners are going to be okay, the rest of us are going to be screwed.

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ZAPanda
Community Member
8 months ago

This. Life is to be lived. It is not about working till you are too old to actually enjoy your life.

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#6

Dream Job

Dream Job

The idea of a dream job or the notion that we need to turn our hobbies into our careers, because it perpetuates this idea that something that you do for self fulfillment and something that you do for enjoyment is a waste of your time. Unless you're making money off of it.
This isn't me saying that you shouldn't do. But there is a big expectation for us to turn the things that make us happy into things that give us profit. And it's not uncommon for people to lose their love of their hobbies, because they're no longer doing it for themselves. They're doing it to pay their bills. They're doing it to get a grade and they're doing it to contribute to a capitalist society that cares more about their ability to produce than it does about their wellbeing. Just because you can monetize your hobby doesn't mean that has to be your end goal.

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Scagsy
Community Member
8 months ago

This exact same thing happened to me. The fallout from the 'dream job' literally almost killed me and I am still recovering from it 20+ years later. If you can make a little money from your hobby so that it self-funds then great, but don't ruin your pleasure by making it into a business. Ask yourself what you are going to use to unwind and relax after work if your hobby is your job.

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The content creator thinks our system is far from an ideal one. "Health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, poverty wages, property taxes, inflated rent due to gentrification, the list goes on!"

However, gentrification in particular hits Nikki on a personal level. "I grew up in Brooklyn NY from the late 80s to the early 2000s, and what it has done to that borough really saddens me. The place that once was for the working class, but many areas within the borough are now for the rich as housing prices skyrocketed to disgusting levels."

"For example, in a working-class neighborhood, a house that was valued at 300k is now priced at upwards of 1 million dollars! Most working-class people cannot afford a house at that price. This has pushed my people out of their communities as well as contributed to the housing and the homeless crisis," she said.

#7

Spending 4 Years In College It Is Totally Acceptable To Take A Low Paying Entry Level Salary

Spending 4 Years In College It Is Totally Acceptable To Take A Low Paying Entry Level Salary

That after spending four years in college and doing countless internships, it is totally acceptable to take a low paying entry level salary. And when you take that entry level salary, it is totally wrong in your first couple of years to take vacation days. Or to call out sick because doing all those things is not very loyal to the company that you're working for. And the company is supposed to be above all else, even before your family, before anything. But it's not because of the company. It's so the people on top, the upper management who are making four times your salary can afford to buy a vacation home and live a life of luxury and give their families a life of luxury so that they can buy vacation homes and they can take vacations. But if you do that, you're not a hard worker. How messed up is the capitalist system.

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De Gueb
Community Member
8 months ago

Sounds more like USA. Vacations, Holidays are mandatory in most European countries to the point that I was forced to take 7 days of once, all paid of course. I get 25 days 22 min +3 the company gives me. I can take them anytime plus we get 12 days including local bank holidays, national bank holidays, Xmas Easter, 1st of May, New Years day. In some jobs you can't always pick the dates, other jobs have 50% picked by the company and 50% at your own will.

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#8

Buying Things To Make Up For A Lack Of Self Worth

Buying Things To Make Up For A Lack Of Self Worth

We buy cars we can't afford to appear successful. We buy beauty products to appear attractive enough to try and get approval from others.
 
Tell me right now, what's the destination or achievement that you think that you need to accomplish before you can feel good enough about yourself? Is it that you have to buy the house? You have to have the big wedding. You have to make a certain amount. We've been conditioned to believe that there's a certain level of achievement or destination that we'll arrive at where we will finally feel good enough.
 
And it's all a lie. A sense of self worth can never be purchased. Your self worth comes from within. You're good enough and successful enough when you decide so. Not when society does. In an insane society that wants you to buy products, to make up for your lack of self worth and secretly hopes you'll never discover it, is an act of rebellion to know that you are worthy now.

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Stefan
Community Member
8 months ago

It's up to people to stop buying brands.

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#9

The Way We Sleep

The Way We Sleep

The way you sleep. Currently in America, we actually have a really bad issue with chronic sleep problems. 70 million Americans suffer from them, we just really don't talk about it. You may ask why we have this problem and some scholars would say before the pre-industrial revolution, humans would sleep in two sleep cycles. So what they would do is they would go to bed, sleep for about 4 hours, wake up, read, write, do their morning activities, and then go back to bed for about three to four hours.
 
I'm a psych major. And in one of my classes, we were talking about sleep. I asked my professor about biphasic sleep patterns because it seemed to line up really well with the REM cycles and our sleep pattern. My professor actually told me she had never heard of that before and told me it went against human nature. Even though we have documented evidence. But then again, the sleeping industry in America brings in almost $432 billion a year.
 
Maybe we wouldn't have so many sleeping problems if we could organize our work schedule around our sleep schedule and not vice versa, that shouldn't be radical.

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Phil Vaive
Community Member
8 months ago

Another problem with sleep is that a significant portion of the population is being forced to ignore our circadian rhythms, because people who go to bed later and wake up later are seen to be, for some reason, lazy. It doesn't matter that we get the same amount of work done from 11-7 rather than working 9-5, or that we're at our peaks in the afternoons and evenings. It doesn't matter that forcing ourselves to get up at 6 am to be at work at 8 is actually having a drastic impact on our mental health. And it doesn't matter that we wind up with "insomnia" when really it's just that our bodies aren't ready for bed yet at 10:00 at night. It's all in pursuit of the 9-5 capitalist nightmare.

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#10

Expiry Dates On Food

Expiry Dates On Food

As long as the food isn't moldy or doesn't smell bad, it's fine to eat. It does not matter what the date is.
A Greek yogurt lasts like a full month after the expire date. I've never had any problems. It's never given me stomach problems. It's never made me sick, nothing like that. Actually, I Googled it and it says there's no blanket process for setting expiry dates. Instead, food manufacturers and retailers determined these dates as they see fit. So companies can literally put whatever date they want on there. So of course, they're going to put the quickest date possible to get you to buy more stuff. They literally have scammed you into throwing away perfectly good food. So you could then go buy more. 

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Kanuli
Community Member
8 months ago

It’s not the industry’s fault that people don’t educate themselves? Expiry (best before date) is really more like a guarantee by the producer till when it should be fine. It’s also about legal cases here. And yea, we put something in a shelf. Tested it after a certain time and if it was still fine that was the expiry period more or less. Chicken, eggs(can test with floating test) and anything where you might get really sick from you might avoid. Also stuff where it’s hard to determine if it went bad, maybe due to a strong taste for example. But anything else: if it smells/tastes fine, go ahead.

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#11

Hustle Culture

Hustle Culture

A lot of the weddings that happen in the United States, a lot of any kind of relationship in the United States.
The concept of a five, eight hour work week.
The fact that sick time oftentimes has to be earned.
Convenience taxes.
The conversation of basing how much you actually are attracting somebody based on how much they earn.
The concept of getting upset at someone who's on government assistance.

When in actuality, most of the billion dollar companies are on several government subsidiaries.

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Caro Caro
Community Member
8 months ago

I've heard and read "Lazy people on welfare, taking MY money" but I never heard those same people say "Lazy billionaire owned company taking MY money and pay unfair wages".

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#12

The Western-Medicine Approach To Mental Health

The Western-Medicine Approach To Mental Health

Capitalism and greed should NOT be factors in providing proper mental health care. Not to mention lack of access.

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Marianne
Community Member
8 months ago (edited)

Not only true for mental health. If a medicine or vaccination does not provide enough profit, it will be taken off the market. This is why we don't have a vaccination against Lyme disease.

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#13

Dieting

Dieting

We are constantly sold weight loss programs and supplements, even though there is substantial and robust research showing that dieting does not work in the long term. Most people who start a weight loss diet end up regaining the weight that they lost. Over two thirds of people end up gaining more weight than their initial starting weight before the diet.
 
Then the dieting industry blames you and says you just need more willpower and self-control and programs and powders and teas, which leads us to blame ourselves and invest more time and money into dieting. So even though dieting doesn't work, the diet industry is profiting. It's worth $72 billion.
 
If dieting didn't work for you, stop blaming yourself. It is not your fault diets just simply don't work over time.

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Sowieso
Community Member
8 months ago

I think it is important to make a difference here between diet in general (what you put in your mouth on a daily basis). Or diet (a vision/program that tells you what you can and can not eat). A whole lot of people would benefit from adding fruits, vegetables, legumes, complex carbs,... to their general diet. This just leads to a healthier overal lifestyle. But (crash)diets that tell you to exclude complete food groups (carbs, gluten, sugar) are proven to be detrimental to your health in the long term, and to worsen cravings. Leading to a pattern of jo-jo dieting, which is kind of awful for your health. Every different nutrient has it's role to play in your body. Problem is that in highly processed foods, which take up the biggest part of any supermarket, the balance of these nutrients is tampered with too much, leaving it to be too sugary, fatty or chemical.

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#14

Mindfulness And Toxic Workplaces

Mindfulness And Toxic Workplaces

Mindfulness and toxic workplaces, where they want you to just learn to be mindful and breathe through the pain. So you can just suffer some more in your toxic workplace and focus and be more productive because it's not about changing the system.

It's just about accepting where you are so you can be a good worker and keep producing for the person at the top. That's oppression.

True mindfulness practice from a Buddhist perspective is about undoing unjust things and finding justice and compassion and empathy for all. It's not about enduring toxic oppressive systems.

But capitalism has it all tripped up so we'll just breathe through it so we can endure the toxicity.

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Libstak
Community Member
8 months ago

I don't u understand all the power tripping in modern work culture. People who push others around as though they are their own personal slaves while using elitist job speak like "hard work will be rewarded" as though they are dishing up treats to well behaved but inferior pets. Who are all you people? You will rot and be worm eaten in your grave just the same as everyone else, nobody is a special snowflake.

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#15

We've Totally Normalized Living In Vehicles

We've Totally Normalized Living In Vehicles

Who can afford to buy a house, let alone a piece of property and building one. Minimum wage is so low, no one can even afford an apartment.

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ZAPanda
Community Member
8 months ago

America only guys. Elsewhere we have social housing

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#16

Minimalism

Minimalism

Minimalism is upheld as the gold standard, it's pushed almost as a spiritual form of lifestyle. Netflix even made a documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. Our complex ornamental design was a deep and significant part of human culture since the dawn of humans, simply, since people started clothing themselves, until about 1931, when Adolf Loos an Austrian architect wrote Ornament and Crime. He compares excessive ornamentation to being something that's criminal and inhuman. The problem is this essay became a seminal text in many architecture circles.

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Stefan
Community Member
8 months ago

I don't see hte link with capitalism. However, minimalism has gone too far. I'm in awe of Art Deco, gothic or sometimes Art Nouveau creations. The International Style (glass, metal, concrete) is inhuman.

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#17

That Mental Health Is Individually Determined And Only The Domain Of Psychology

That Mental Health Is Individually Determined And Only The Domain Of Psychology

Your individual psychology matters, but so does your community relationships, environment, safety, economic status, all the factors that make up your positionality?
 
This is why therapy is political and why it's essential that therapists understand all the other elements that comprise mental health extending beyond the individual. We can't think our ways out of oppression or capitalism or poverty, we just can't. What we can do is learn to cope with the system, find agency to change what we can, protect ourselves, tap into pockets of joy and pleasure because you deserve it and advocate for a greater change.
 
Mental health is physical. Health is community health is environmental health. It's all connected.

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Caro Caro
Community Member
8 months ago

The man on the photo needs a hug.

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#18

Higher Education

Higher Education

There's a statement I hear a lot in higher education and I say it myself too, when we talk to students, we tell them, you might not be able to take a full-time course load. You may have other responsibilities in your life that you need to focus on and that's okay. Complete this degree at your own pace. And while that's very true it's not necessarily okay, but we've been conditioned to think it is. We've created a college system that only allows some students that privilege to complete a four year time period, because they can afford to do it without working full time, or they can afford to do it without having a student stipend to help them pay for living expenses while they're in school or they can afford to do it because they don't have to pay for child's care while they're in school.

So like with everything else in our society, privilege gives people choice and people who don't have that privilege do not have that.

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Uber Mensch
Community Member
8 months ago

Let's not forget the "tendency" for colleges to REQUIRE certain classes, or not grant students credit for outside learning. Colleges seem more like for-profit money-making institutions than scholastic environments: MANDATORY fees, even for things that the student doesn't want and will never use.

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#19

Charter Schools

Charter Schools

A lot of people are waking up these days to the scam that is charter schools. They've been around for about 20 years now, maybe a little bit. But with charter schools, their primary motive is profit.
 
They are for-profit companies and they act like it. They pick and choose their students. Their teachers have less training. They union bust, their school boards are unelected, and that is not a good thing with educating our youth.

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K M
Community Member
8 months ago

I teach at a charter high school in one of the poorest cities in the US. Our students are the ones the public schools push out. I have a doctorate, and certification in my discipline. My colleagues are amazing. We routinely pick up students who missed the bus, drive students home, do outreach to community centers, deliver food, and check in when we don't see a student for a few days. I'd invite anyone who writes these ignorant comments to attend one of our graduation ceremonies. Oh, and we are non-profit. I make far less than the unionized teachers at public schools, and I teach far more hours (we are a year-round school). We change lives. Granted, those lives are 99% young men of color. Maybe that's what really bothers some of you.

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#20

Punitive Damages

Punitive Damages

In theory, it sounds great. It's supposed to be some sort of monetary compensation that ordinary folks can pursue. If they've been the victim of some sort of wrongdoing at the hands of, say, the government or a corporation only. It actually worked that way in '94. The Supreme Court decided that punitive damages cannot exceed the total amount of compensatory damages. Translation, the amount of money awarded by a jury for say, emotional harm suffered or estimated cumulative wages lost cannot exceed the amount of actual wages lost for money spent to rectify the problem. This decision was in the result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which decimated the entire economy of Alaska and had untold ramifications on the people and the environment for decades to come.
 
The claimants in that case were originally awarded $5 billion in punitive damages, Exxon appealed to the Supreme court, and they only got 500 million. Now it's set a whole legal precedent.

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Atero
Community Member
8 months ago

Decision of that session should not come as a surprise if you look at supreme court composition in 2008. After all - if you get in bed with republican/tory you WILL get fu**ed.

#21

Coupons

Coupons

They convince you you've saved money before you've even spent it. When in all reality, unless you really need it, you'd be saving money by not even spending the money in the first place.

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Tiny Dynamine
Community Member
8 months ago

Oh right, so eating the money instead, yeah?

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#22

Banks

Banks

I let my money sit with you and then you get to determine whether or not I spend it. I can go get a credit card and I can spend as much money as I want in a day, all the way up to my limit.

But with a debit card, I can only spend $2,500 per day. And if I want to make a big purchase, I have to walk into the bank and beg them to let me spend my own money. Meanwhile, my own money that the bank has, they don't let me spend, they loan out to other people, charge those people like 7% interest and they give me like 0.0%

They don't even have all the money. If we all got together collectively and went to the banks to withdraw our own money, they don't have it. They used to have to keep 10% on hand. Now they have to keep 0%. It's time to buy Bitcoin and cancel banks.

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Atero
Community Member
8 months ago

Yea right, buy bitcoin and enrich mofos who jumped that ship earlier than you. ;)

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#23

Private Property

Private Property

Private property. Essentially by creating a system of ownership, colonizers created a system of possession, which allowed them to justify the removal and genocide of Native/Indigenous people.

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Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
8 months ago

Ownership of land predates capitalism by a few thousand years.

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#24

The Idea Of Attractiveness

The Idea Of Attractiveness

It's so often aligned with race, with hair texture, with skin color, and it's not real. Do you understand that the things you consider to be attractive are based off of the things you've experienced or what you've already been exposed to? So if someone puts a picture of you, of a white woman with long hair and tells you this is pretty for 20 years, you don't think you're going to, at some point associate that image with attractiveness? It's all a scam. Outside the person you're with right now, if you're in a relationship, you only thought they were attractive based on your preconceived middle notions of what attractiveness is. So yeah. Have fun with that. The idea of what is attractive or what is desirable, especially in partnership, is a tool of capitalism.

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May
Community Member
8 months ago

It's also partly biological though, in that we find symmetry and looking healthy attractive, regardless of race or changing beauty standards

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