Self-declared Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in a congressional primary last month, said Friday that material gains under capitalism were the result of "human evolution."
Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old whom DNC Chairman Tom Perez called "the future of our party," explained her views on democratic socialism to "Firing Line" host Margaret Hoover. Hoover asked about the future of capitalism and pointed out that it’s the economic system that has brought the most people out of poverty, but Ocasio-Cortez attributed modern prosperity to humanity’s natural growth.
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"I think that those things that you talk about, that you discuss, are part of the course of human evolution," she said. "So I would hope that the most recent economic system, our current economic system, is the one that is most beneficial for everyday people."
She added that her preferred system of democratic socialism would work best if people were only to vote for something if it is "a good idea."
"When we talk about democratically socialist economies, first of all, they’re done with the full input of everybody," she said. "You vote. It’s democratic. So if something is not a good idea, it doesn't get voted for, ideally."
She granted that capitalism was temporarily the "most efficient and best" system, but that it must change "as we evolve."
"We’re starting to see that the people who create value in society are not experiencing any portion of the value that they are creating. So I do think that, absolutely, capitalism was the most efficient and best economy, perhaps, for the time that it was at, perhaps. But as we evolve, as automation begins to take out extremely large industries, we have to say that we aren’t going to throw those people away," she said.
On whether democratic socialism calls for an end to capitalism, the candidate expressed openness to the idea.
"Ultimately we are marching towards progress on this issue. I do think that we are going to see an evolution in our economic system of an unprecedented degree. And it’s hard to say what direction that that takes," she said.
Hoover pressed on whether she though capitalism would be the dominant system in the future, and Ocasio-Cortez said, "it’s absolutely a question."
Ocasio-Cortez has struggled to differentiate between the socialist system and her democratic socialist views since she gained instant notoriety for her victory over Crowley. Elsewhere in the "Firing Line" interview, she also had difficulty explaining her position on Israel, having previously argued the Israeli military was guilty of a "massacre" of Palestinians.