an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
The problem is, Capitalism sees rich people as better at running our institutions than everyone else. In fact, you can see this blatant promotion of oligarchy over democracy when you take a closer look at the words used.
The state represents a democratic government, which makes decisions based on the popular needs of the community. If the public were in charge of trade and industry, they’d want them both to benefit the good.
Private owners are people as well, but a very small number of people. Rich people. Not everyone.
Thus, if you translate the definition of capitalism from Americanism to Realism, it reads:
1. an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by the rich for profit, rather than the public for good.
Defenders of Capitalism will quip; the state does NOT represent the public… it’s corrupt.
And they are right.
And defenders of The Public retort, “so are you!”
And they’re right too. Corruption is a problem of humanity, not one of politics or poverty.
The problem is that capitalism leads to a dog-eat-dog society where you must fight for your piece of the dream: to enjoy your life in peace.
However, we have good news. The solutions to the problem of capitalism are already known. You probably know them yourself.
Transparency, for example. Any human system that increases transparency also reduces corruption. It works for individuals too; when we are subject to judgment, we behave.
Locality is another solution. As we push against the urge to make everything efficient and cheap, we get in return things that are high quality and purposefully produced. We also get more environmentally responsible companies that invest in their communities.
Shared Power also works. Not just one leader, but many leaders, all collaborating. By sharing power we cancel out behaviors that cause corruption; greed, hubris, deceit, or aggression.
Imagine what it would be like to live in a community that was entirely transparent, focusing on local economies, and willing to let you have influence. Is this possible?
Not with capitalism.
But I believe it won’t be long until we fully integrate the Wisdom of humanity into our organizational structures.
Economic Justice is the transition.
An economically just business may be owned privately, but the real value of that company is shared.
Here’s what a just business would look like:
- Open power. Policies and procedures are set and enforced by employees. Leadership is rewarded financially, but their salaries are set by their team, not other leaders. A business can only do this if they trust their employees.
- Open books. You’d be able to see every purchase, know exactly the cost of every item, how much each person is paid, how much was sold, and what the plans were for the future. A business can only do this if they are being fair in how they operate.
- Open Trade. Customers pay for actual costs. They are shown the cost of production (based on employee-driven sales goals) that includes all administration and provisions for capital expenses and development costs. This makes financing dynamic, responsive to relationships between employees and customers. Prices are set because of a need for relationships, not profits. A business can only do this if they care more about adding value to their community than making a fat profit.
And that’s it. Any business could do this today. But they won’t because of one simple reason.
Capitalism promotes power consolidation and secrets. If you show weakness you will become the prey of something more powerful.
Wouldn’t it be nice to evolve beyond survival mode?
Perhaps a just economy could lead to a just society, one where there is more peace, and we live more sustainably with our environment.
We are social creatures, and value relationships above all other experiences of life. That’s why we need to realize that this world is a LOT less hostile than we were taught.
We’re on top of the food chain. We’ve got plenty of food and shelter. As a species of seven billion individuals, we have enough resources to ensure each person can live a long, happy life.
We’re just stuck in survival mode. All of us, together. Like a comedy of errors, we fear each other and hurt each other while deep down, wishing we had peace.
Things are changing. Humanity is waking up. We’re not satisfied with old knowledge. We yearn to move forward because we look back and realize one startling fact. It’s getting better.
We’re on the right track. World peace could be a reality. Who knows, maybe we’re close.
Let’s be open to each other, and find out.