Ask any successful capitalist and he will tell you that capitalism is the Holy Grail of modern economics. But, something is happening. As capitalism’s limitations become more and more apparent, economists, professional and otherwise, are attempting to mitigate its inherent flaws by calling for a return to ethical or “conscious” capitalism. Paraphrasing Einstein, if you cannot solve a problem with the same energy that created it, can capitalism be saved?
Bypassing formal qualitative analysis, you might assume the problem is transparent enough—greed. Within a system in which markets and financial speculation operate with dwindling oversight thanks to corporate lobbyists, income is propelled upward leading to rising income inequality. Profit is privatized while loss is socialized, allowing a few the benefit of exploding wealth while the incomes of the majority working class stagnate or even collapse. This ongoing debasement could possibly be labeled a modern day quasi-feudal system.
Even Pope Francis was recently quoted, “The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal.” He goes on to say, “The worldwide financial and economic crisis seems to highlight their distortions and above all the gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption.” And it’s in this statement that the Pope orbits what really ails Capitalism.
Yet, capitalism, its embryonic beginnings found in slave-based ancient Athens and Rome, is merely a symptom of human culture and conditioning that runs so deep, as to be very nearly in our DNA. Capitalism is not the only economic system that allows greed to run rampant with vulnerability to corruption. It was one of the most famous economists in history, who in his critique of capitalism, castigated it as “exploitive and alienating,” believing it to be run by the wealthy for their own benefit. Let’s briefly review the promises offered by other economic structures.
Deeming capitalism inevitably precipitates class warfare resulting in eventual self-destruction, German-born socialist Karl Marx theorized the working class would then would create a “worker’s democracy.” Pre-Marxism/Leninism socialism, individuals were not to work in isolation, but in cooperation with each other in that all who contribute to the production of a good, are entitled to a share in it. Society would own or control property for the benefit of all, propagating true freedom and equality. Marx’s views about society, economics and politics influenced revolutionary socialists as they took power in the 20th century espousing modified Marxist doctrine offshoots that led to the formation of a communist Soviet Union in 1922 and the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Let’s take a look at the insanity being produced at the hand of one of these offshoot giants.
In 2011, Australia’s Dateline reported on the ghost and decaying cities China built and continues to build to maintain GDP growth. Watch the video—it is mind boggling. There are 64 MILLION vacant apartments no one can afford. Rather than erecting housing the commoner can inhabit, people remain homeless and out on the street. Is this a “revision” to Marxism that is serving the good of all? (This side-story contains the second clue to capitalism’s kryptonite.)
Capitalism itself, through private ownership and free markets, promises equal opportunity. The reality is that the “too big to fail” get too big to fail and end up creating cartels within industry bases, as seen with big oil’s vice grip on energy, slowing down the exploration and development of renewable energy sources. This, while the Libor and other large banking institution scandals and investigations are too numerous and ongoing to list.
Wealth and dominance are then put to use reinforcing capitalistic power, while the working class is left to do their bidding just to survive. It seems if not for regulation and/or social safety nets, humans immediately return to exploiting each other. Does what starts out as good intentions by society always turn bad? Why can’t we get it right?
[Please note: Metaphysical meaning and happy ending to follow.]
Dedicated to the advancement of human consciousness, Christine Horner is the founder of What Would Love Do Int’l, media arm In the Garden Publishing, Bodhi UniversiTree and is the author of the recently published “What Is God? Rolling Back the Veil.” Look for her upcoming new radio show, From Mystery to Mastery e-Merging Science & Spirituality by visiting her web site at www.ChristineHorner.com. This article may be reproduced with full attribution only.