12
Nov
09

Have we fallen out of love with capitalism?

canaryHistorians may disagree on the detail, but most would agree that a desire to have democracy and capitalism lay at heart of why the Berlin wall came down. Many believed this was it – liberal democracy and free market capitalism would sweep the world as the undeniable logic of both systems defeated all the alternatives. To be honest as a 15 year-old watching the fall of communism, I can remember writing much the same in a history essay the time. But things haven’t quite worked out like that, judging by a survey today.

Arguably, capitalism has fared better than democracy. Some of the world’s most powerful countries – Iran, China, Russia – either have no democracy, or have had to answer serious questions about how free and fair their elections are. And there’s no obvious sign that that will change soon.

Capitalism though, and the globalisation it’s brought to the world, has marched on. Even countries like China have found ways of making it work with their single party form of government. Bar what Cuba, Venezuela and a few others are trying, few challenge the basic principles the economic system the vast majority of us use.

Which is why I’m particularly interested in a BBC survey out today. Here are a few of its findings:

– only 11% of those questioned across 27 countries said that it was working well.

– Most thought regulation and reform of the capitalist system were necessary.

– More than 29,000 people in 27 countries were questioned. In only two countries, the United States and Pakistan, did more than one in five people feel that capitalism works well as it stands.

– Almost a quarter – 23% of those who responded – feel it is fatally flawed. That is the view of 43% in France, 38% in Mexico and 35% in Brazil.

These seem like startling figures to me. Does this just represent current anger at the economic downturn and the perceived causes of it? Or is this something more fundamental?

Are you giving up on economic principles that as much as politics motivated so many in 1989? Has the belief that capitalism was indisputably the fairest and best way to organise the way we work and trade started to wane?


77 Responses to “Have we fallen out of love with capitalism?”


  1. 1 NSC London
    November 9, 2009 at 12:46

    I think the timing of this poll was pretty unfair. 18 months into the most significant market check of the last 100 years and you’re bound to get this reaction. Ask people this same battery of questions in boomtime and you’d get the reverse. Bad research, naughty naughty.

  2. 2 Roberto
    November 9, 2009 at 12:57

    RE “” More than 29,000 people in 27 countries were questioned. In only two countries, the United States and Pakistan, did more than one in five people feel that capitalism works well as it stands. “”
    ———————————————————————————————–

    ———– Assuming a legit survey with adequate controls, the above stat is chilling given that Pakistan is currently in anarchical freefall while being bankrolled by an increasingly bankrupt US.

    The roots of capitalism predate socialism and democracy by thousands of years and will survive long after socialism and democracy disappear. Modern globalism will reform itself into some new system of political organization.

  3. 3 Ibrahim in UK
    November 9, 2009 at 13:31

    I would think most of the negative reaction is because of the state of the world economies at present. The same question a few years earlier would have given a different answer. Also the rise of China shows that there is more than one model to follow. Templates for one culture don’t necessarily work in another culture.
    On an unrealistically optimistic level, it may signify that people are starting to wake up to the inability of capitalsm to address social and spiritual deficiencies, as well as being the driver for most wars.

  4. 4 patti in cape coral
    November 9, 2009 at 13:37

    “Most thought regulation and reform of the capitalist system were necessary.”

    I do think capitalism needs oversight.

  5. November 9, 2009 at 13:43

    Have we fallen out of love with Capitalism?
    As a world, not completely, but we are getting there. Our love for capitalism at the moment is not in any way entrenched in the merits of capitalism but in the failure of the world generally to come up with more attractive brides (ideologies).
    Especially with the recent global economic crisis largely being credited to weak state and institutional control and regulation – exactly what was said to be wrong with capitalism, I think we will continue to hang out with capitalism while once in a while taking a fling with whoever comes around the block. Most of the theocratic and fundamentalist ideologies are increasingly proving incapable of resolving conflicts and promoting development.
    At the moment, we are still with capitalism, but it isn’t a superb love story!

  6. 6 OHISA JAMES
    November 9, 2009 at 13:56

    I would say from the first time that capitalism wasn’t the solution to everything but the hypocritical Ideology of a few in the west who were not that happy to see that something good come out of other places rather than the west.They tried hard to discredit the USSR but history has turned against them and at long last they are turning to communism which they were so much agaisnt.Don’t the politicians in the West think it is time for them to give due credit to genuine ideas from other parts of the world rather than thinking that they are the only source of knowledge in the world?

  7. 7 Billy Musonye in Kenya
    November 9, 2009 at 14:06

    Capitalism is arguably the best economic system, but the the thing is that it has failed to work in Africa especially where corruption is rampant. Top government officials have been passing laws that favor monopoly thus creating for themselves companies s that are operated by cartels.

  8. 8 John
    November 9, 2009 at 14:07

    I don’t like capitalism w/o regulations. The capitalists think that they should be the corner-stone of a democratic system, and not government. I disagree with that, I think government has a role to
    regulate the economy for the general good of society. Somebody has to control those insulting commercials. (—-:]
    It’s true we here in the US live way beyond other countries, but we have no soul left; it’s all about
    money here and very little to do with the benefit to society in general. Just look at the fight to get
    a health care plan to provide individual basic heath care. Capitalism here has produced a Republican oppoistion that is basically Fascist.
    We went into Iraq & Afghanistan without this much opposition and a hell of a lot less turmoil.
    Bring on Socialism, but keep Democracy in tact.
    John
    Portland, Oregon US

  9. November 9, 2009 at 14:35

    Honey moon with Capitalism is turning sour.Reason is that Keynesian Economic Theory is not working in terms controlling Inflation and deflation.
    Secondly the assumption that material benefits alone can guarantee security is taking a beating as security of future is not guaranteed even by Capitalism.
    The divide between the have’s and Have nots have widened to the point of being unbridgeable, recalling to one’s mind the conditions obtaining in France prior to 1789;here the nobles have been substituted by Corporations and the obscenely rich.
    Fourthly,financial scams by corporates have disillusioned the common man.
    However, Communism is no solution as capitalism with more controls and distribution of wealth is the solution.

  10. 10 OHISA JAMES
    November 9, 2009 at 14:43

    Let us be realistic and ask the question directly to the capitalists,where in the whole wide world did the Capitalists ever Champion the course of the poor without strings attached or where have they ever gone to help where they will never get anything for their countries?Compare that to the courses the Communists championed for the poor?Capitalism is a fallacy this time round.

  11. 11 Chedondo, Johannesburg
    November 9, 2009 at 15:12

    I always thought the biggest difference between the Communist countries and the West was Democracy which I understood to mean the various things that come under the term human rights. I did not think Capitalism had anything to do with the absence (or presence) of human rights. I like to believe that the people that fled from the Warsaw pact countries did so for the love of freedom and not for the love of Capitalism. They wanted to know that they could choose to practice their religion in peace. That it was okay to disagree with the government leaders. People ran away from Hitler’s German or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or Honecker’s GDR to seek freedom, not Capitalism. Some may argue that freedom includes the freedom to loose your life’s savings at the stock market, but I rather doubt that this particular freedom would have played a major role in urging the people on through the Berlin Wall.

    If I had my way, I would ban both Capitalism and Communism. Communists killed you in their prisons and Capitalists kill you in your home – they just still your life’s savings and say ‘Sorry, the investment scheme failed. Your money is gone, and we are going to have to take your house too.’.

  12. 12 Chedondo, Johannesburg
    November 9, 2009 at 15:13

    I always thought the biggest difference between the Communist countries and the West was Democracy which I understood to mean the various things that come under the term human rights. I did not think Capitalism had anything to do with the absence (or presence) of human rights. I like to believe that the people that fled from the Warsaw pact countries did so for the love of freedom and not for the love of Capitalism. They wanted to know that they could choose to practice their religion in peace. That it was okay to disagree with the government leaders. People ran away from Hitler’s German or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or Honecker’s GDR to seek freedom, not Capitalism. Some may argue that freedom includes the freedom to loose your life’s savings at the stock market, but I rather doubt that this particular freedom would have played a major role in urging the people on through the Berlin Wall.

    If I had my way, I would ban both Capitalism and Communism. Communists killed you in their prisons and Capitalists kill you in your home – they just steal your life’s savings and say ‘Sorry, the investment scheme failed. Your money is gone, and we are going to have to take your house too.’.

  13. November 9, 2009 at 15:14

    PART I:
    Bantering “isms” around doesn’t focus the debate or elucidate understanding. Just as socialism/communism according to Marx never existed except in a few, private communal societies (mostly established on American soil), so capitalism according to Smith never existed except during the early years when LOCAL consumers controlled the price and quality of LOCAL goods through supply and demand. The downfall of both of these famous isms was greed (an important ingredient of expansion) that discovered loopholes in the theories and contorted the idealism (another ism) of communism and capitalism into tools that benefited a few without concern for the many.

  14. November 9, 2009 at 15:14

    PART II:
    Enter democracy (note that it is NOT an ism)! One rightly holds to democracy’s ideal of equal participation and rule by the majority as the only tool yet invented to insert the consideration of the many into isms that have been hijacked by a few. (The hijacking of democracy is a problem not addressed in today’s WHYS topic.)
    My Point? Throwing stones at an ism solves nothing. WE need to decide what we want (global vs. local, mass production vs. self-sufficiency, unlimited opportunity to expand one’s personal wealth vs. concern for the community, etc.), and then WE must INVENT how we can get there, keeping in mind the lessons of past isms’ failures. It’s time for a new ism with components of the best of past theories and mechanisms along with new and realistic theory how we can make it happen.

  15. 15 steve
    November 9, 2009 at 15:24

    @ John

    Are you suggesting there are no regulations? I suppose that’s why the 1933 and 1934 Securities acts created the SEC and all the regulations involved in dealing with securities?

    Maybe the current regulations we have from time to time are not adequate, but to suggest we have no regulations is dishonest at best.

  16. 16 rob z.
    November 9, 2009 at 15:40

    Good morning or evening to all,I like this question.
    Alot of people confuse capitalism with democracy,mostly here in th US.They are not the same thing.
    Capitalism is a type of economic system.
    Democracy is a form of government.
    Capitalism is good,as long as it operates by rules and is controled(key word:controled).
    It is up to a nations government to act in the intrest of it’s citizens,not corperations.
    Corperations are like mofias and drug cartels,they are preditory in nature,and if not controled dangerous for the adverage citizen.That is why unions were established as well as anti-trust laws.Without rules and a government to enforce them,there is no middle class.
    In the US out-sourcing has devastated communities,loose banking laws and lack of proper oversight has lead us to this point.
    Capitalism has not failed us,bad governing has failed us.In the US,poor governing in favor of greed,and keeping in step with what is best for it’s citizens.
    Rob in Florida.

  17. 17 John in Salem
    November 9, 2009 at 15:57

    Capitalism didn’t come out of the box complete and fully assembled. It is an imperfect system because there is no such thing as a perfect system and there never will be. Our institutions aren’t static – they evolve with us, and capitalism needs constant adjustment to changing demands just like we do. Left to itself it becomes a monster but the same is true of any system and that just tells us that dynamic processes can’t be left to themselves.

    A lot has been said about the East German people’s desire for capitalism and liberal democracy when the Wall came down, but consider for a moment that they had been living under one of the most oppressive police states ever conceived, a nightmare world as dark as Orwell’s “1984”. I think it’s safe to say that ANYTHING else would have looked like the promised land.

  18. November 9, 2009 at 16:18

    I would’nt have thought so,considering the fact that we are all capitalist under our skins.I think it’s called human nature.Capitalists are now embracing socialism and socialists are embracing capitalism.And I think that the two can meet somewhere to all our benefits and aspirations.

  19. 19 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    November 9, 2009 at 16:19

    The best days of Democracy and Capitalism are behind us; in actual fact it was in the 70s. Right now they are both total failures. What you hear mostly is a call for total freedom in all aspects of life which to me is tyranny which has continued to benefit just small clique. Most countries that profess these systems are currently the best abusers of legal systems and flawed selections of leaders.
    Ignorance of the masses continues to be exploited. In some countries sections of populations have false notions and delution about prosperity prefering a detached mode of life. You are given space to vent your opinions that no one listens. in most countries now many citizens have refused to work so that productions has to be shifted overseas. From recent examples in China and elsewhere, democracy is not a requirement. What you require is strong state institutions with visionary centralized authority. Socialism is failure? Go tell the people of Finland and Sweeden.

    • 20 Elina, Finland
      November 9, 2009 at 19:37

      @ Arthur; Just a quick kind comment: Finland and Sweden are not socialist countries. I’d define them both as ’capitalist’, though having very strong commitment to democracy; democratic institutions and democratic values, such as for example individual liberties, social justice and equality. State regulation is viewed as important in counteracting the inequalities and injustices inherent in capitalism. Perhaps this is best seen in the Scandinavian welfare state model (although, of course, it isn’t just one model, but in it there are certain features common to all Scandinavian countries).

      • 21 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
        November 10, 2009 at 13:08

        @ Elina in Finland

        Thank you madam. You haven’t contradicted me. The countries in your region can teach the rest how to cater for social welfare. There is nothing to be affraid as being labled socialist. Democracy is a component of socialism and socialism must be a component of democracy. Social means society. We should socialize all vital aspects of our lives; science, government, religion, environment etc.

        Hey! It is good for you to reach out. We hear very little from your area and that is why perhaps we are a little dense.

  20. 22 JanB
    November 9, 2009 at 17:13

    No, it’s just that we’ve gotten so spoiled that we start to whine when our economy shrinks by 4%, when this year we have to spend our holidays at home instead of some tropical island we start whining that capitalism has failed us and communism would be better.

    Those who’ve lived under communism know better.

    “What you require is strong state institutions with visionary centralized authority. Socialism is failure? Go tell the people of Finland and Sweeden.

    ARTHUR NJUGUNA”

    Sweden and Finland are both capitalist countries (Nokia and Volvo are successful multinationals coming from there), and they are both democracies, but I guess your African leaders don’t want you to learn about real democracy.

    • 23 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
      November 9, 2009 at 19:06

      @JanB

      Thanks. Sometimes one has to take the flying boots in the face. Today it was my turn. You are not entirely wrong.

  21. 24 Ronald Almeida
    November 9, 2009 at 17:39

    Capitalism has always been based on exploitation. So the majority on this planet have only known hate for it all along. On the other hand the exploiters i.e. the western countries love it and always will.

  22. 25 Margaret in Oregon
    November 9, 2009 at 17:47

    When I was 18 years old and taking my first economics class, I came to the opinion that capitalism, the way we use it in the United States was inherently self destructive. It is not in the best interest of most of the population of the country. 35 years later I have seen the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, I have seen my country men become more selfish and greedy and blind to the long term affects of a system that is “fataly flawed” as we use it.
    I have hope that the influences of some European nations and our new administration will help this country be better at taking care of each other.

  23. 26 Jennifer
    November 9, 2009 at 18:06

    Lets ask people like Michael Moore what they think. They love Capitalism as long as they can make money whining about how bad it is! Cha-ching let the cash register ring!!

  24. 27 Alan in Arizona
    November 9, 2009 at 18:31

    Are We in Love? I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I think it is the best weapon we have against the parts of the world that doesn’t have it. I’ve worked hard my entire life and I’ve never had to stand in a line for stale bread, toilet paper or other products that should be readily available to all. Capitalism and creative hard working people can accomplish great things for themselves and others less gifted or creative by employing them.

  25. 28 Bert
    November 9, 2009 at 18:34

    I think the question is a bit the product of today’s economic downturn and the hype surrounding it.

    Capitalism is a model in which businesses are compensated by their customers, for providing goods or services, and where wages are paid by individual businesses from their own revenues. The system is expectedf to be self-sustaining.

    So, how can anyone be opposed to that? In preference for what, for instance?

    Sure, the system can go bonkers on occasion. But quite often, the system goes bonkers as a result of unintended consequences of government meddling. In theory at least, greed should be self-limiting in such an economic system, as the most greedy will price themselves out of competition.

    I think government regulation is most necessary to prevent collusion. It is government guarantees, when they direct businesses to do stupid things, that is the bothersome form of meddling. And this is what was largely to blame for the current crisis.

  26. 29 subra
    November 9, 2009 at 18:37

    Capitalism has certainly brought progress and technological improvements, better health and longevity of life. Capitalists have produced surplus food to feed the famish people of Africa through food donations while communism supplied guns for killing those same famish people. Mugabe is still using the AK47 rifles to kill his people just like the Iranian rulers are using the same AK47 against protesters.
    That’s the difference between Capitalism and communism.

  27. 30 Bob in Queensland
    November 9, 2009 at 18:43

    Frankly, I was never IN love with the purest forms of capitalism. However, as long as it’s tempered with oversight, regulations and a safety net for those who need one, capitalism is probably the “least bad” economic system.

    Why? Because it’s the only one that accepts that the most basic human instinct is greed and, therefore, the only one likely to work.

  28. 31 Tom D Ford
    November 9, 2009 at 19:11

    “Historians may disagree on the detail, but most would agree that a desire to have democracy and capitalism lay at heart of why the Berlin wall came down.”

    I thought it was about Freedom.

    And that the Socialist revolutions were against the abuses of Free Market, Un-Regulated, Laisez Faire(SP?) Conservative Capitalism.

    After those Revolutions I thought we Westerners had made great progress towards moderation by Regulating against the worst abuses of Conservative Capitalism.

    But over the last three decades we have backslide down into the economic abuses of Conservative Capitalism, we have Giant Global Corporate Monopolies, and horrible booms and busts and Recessions.

  29. 32 Tom K in Mpls
    November 9, 2009 at 19:15

    The US government has taken small steps to guide the effective and flawed human system, capitalism. Anti-monopoly laws and allowing labor unions fixed many flaws of the late 1800s. Near 1900, antitrust laws stopped abusers trying to get around anti-monopoly laws. After 1929, laws were passed to stop massive borrowing for the purpose of investing, it is called margin limits.

    Now we need the government to quit mandating giving home loans to people that can’t afford them. Do not allow home loan interest to be tax deductible. And classify derivatives as insurance which would subject them to the same laws as car and life insurance. This last paragraph is all that is needed to prevent the current problems from happening again, in the same way it did.

    Change on such a large issue needs to be small and without emotion. That’s hard to do.

  30. 33 Tom D Ford
    November 9, 2009 at 19:56

    I think it is wrong to equate Capitalism with Freedom.

    History tells us that Capitalism has been one of the absolute worst abusers of Freedom. Examples are under Monarchism, Feudalism, slavery, human trafficking in girls and women for sexual slavery, drug smuggling, Oil Wars, Banana Republics, The invasion and conquest of Hawaii for capitalist pineapple growers, the Railroad case that gave “person hood” to Corporations, what Cecil Rhodes did to Rhodesia for diamonds, on and on.

    Capitalism can be effective for some things but not for all. And Un-Regulated Capitalism can be like a malignant cancer in our human body politic.

  31. 34 JanB
    November 9, 2009 at 20:43

    “Frankly, I was never IN love with the purest forms of capitalism. However, as long as it’s tempered with oversight, regulations and a safety net for those who need one, capitalism is probably the “least bad” economic system.

    Why? Because it’s the only one that accepts that the most basic human instinct is greed and, therefore, the only one likely to work.

    Bob in Queensland”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    “@JanB

    Thanks. Sometimes one has to take the flying boots in the face. Today it was my turn. You are not entirely wrong.

    It wasn’t meant to be taken personal, I wasn’t trying to offend you, just don’t let that all that abuse you describe (mostly about African leaders I guess, though Italy, for example, is affected by this as well) affect your opinion of democracy, because a lot of the regimes you are referring to are democracies in name only

    • 35 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
      November 10, 2009 at 13:13

      On the contrally. I am not offended and I like your engagement. Don’t mind about it; I find you quite agreeable. I am happy to dialogue with you. I am not here to protect or reject my region. I see myself as part of our lovely ‘blue marble planet’.

  32. 36 Guillermo
    November 9, 2009 at 21:47

    Ros indeeed the banner for the fall of the wall was Democracy and Capitalism.
    Democracy is an illusion. Capitalism is so brutal that today many people are in poverty, even in the rich countries. And don´t say that in the poor countries they are more poor. But as the law of physics, for an action it comes a reaction. In this case while in some countries 60-80% are in poverty, only a few are rich in a barbaric way. And some capitals, mostly in the industry of arms, oil and alcoholic and tobacco are dominant in the investments of capital in many countries around the world. The banner of this richness are the drugs, alcohol, prostitution that resume hedonism at its height point. And with viruses natural and artificial going around the world, with the sign of money in Pharmaceutical companies the scenery is quite gloom. The global heating is just a minor accident. When the Berlin wall came down everyone trumpeted that a new era had arrived. The era of abundance and the government of the people by the people and for the people. The tam tam of the drums is the music that has hypnotized young people. A scape from reality. Maybe the next fall of the wall will be the melting of the poles and this would be a reason to change in everything.

  33. 37 Nigel
    November 9, 2009 at 22:56

    Communism killed the countries that were under its thumb. US democratic captialism is killing the whole world as we are all now under their thumb.

  34. 38 JanB
    November 9, 2009 at 23:06

    “Now we need the government to quit mandating giving home loans to people that can’t afford them. Do not allow home loan interest to be tax deductible. And classify derivatives as insurance which would subject them to the same laws as car and life insurance. This last paragraph is all that is needed to prevent the current problems from happening again, in the same way it did.”

    I would like to add more:

    – Prevent banks from investing more than x times their capital (some banks had 100 times their capital trapped in loans which people and businesses couldn’t pay back during this crisis, there should be a limit, maybe like 10 times the capital.)

    – Prevent bonuses from being booked as “expenses”, so that bonuses can only be paid from profits, meaning no bonuses without profit and no employees getting fired to free up funds for the bonuses of others.

  35. 39 Ermenegilda
    November 9, 2009 at 23:32

    First of all capitalism and democracy don’t always go hand in hand! The other thing is that the free market was left to run wild with the idea that our democratically elected governments would slack the short fall. That was never going to happened but clearly it helped people sleep at night.

  36. 40 STEPHEN /PORTLAND
    November 10, 2009 at 04:28

    The “Let them eat cake” attitude from the top 10% of the population cant last forever. How much can the great unwashed take? If it weren’t for videogames, mobile phones other media distractions we would have stormed the Bastillel long ago.

    LETS DO IT….Viva la Revolution!

    Ohh Wait! I think Oprah Winfrey coming on!!!!! And I just got a text.

    Later!

  37. 41 OHISA JAMES
    November 10, 2009 at 09:55

    every country should practice what suits it best and stop taking any hypocrisy of the western politicians unless they start acting like chinese who have the policy of no interference.

  38. 42 Jim Wallace
    November 10, 2009 at 14:18

    I recently read an interesting reference to the relationship between ecology and economics. They both get their root from Eco, from the greek word “oikos” meaning home. Ecology is the study and care of our home, the planet and the environment we live within – from rocks, and mountains to rivers and oceans, to all living things in the ecosystem. Economics on the other hand is concerned with a more narrow focus within human activity – making profit, employment of labour, exploitation of materials, production of goods and services etc. Not surprisingly Ecologists have a bigger notion of the well being of the planet and all of it’s life, than economists with their narrower view.
    But economists have the greatest influence within political and national forums – No wonder then, that we are pursuing economic goals such as unquestioned economic growth which would need 4 or 5 more planets to sustain the current population of the world in the same material standard of living that we all told that we should aspire too. No wonder we are facing the environmental disasters that we do.
    It is time for the economists to move over and let the ecologists lead us into the
    future …………..

  39. 43 viola
    November 10, 2009 at 15:24

    No. The world has not fallen out of love with capitalism and never will, as the black market under communism demonstrated.

  40. 44 paul8222
    November 10, 2009 at 20:00

    Two recessions in the UK have taught most people unpleasant lessons, but I think it is greed that has to be dealt with.

    Germany, particularly the East has had a most unpleasant experience but is it enough for Chancellor Merkel to somethingh decisive and be supported?

    I think one of the objective lessons is that those with the most lavish lifestyles suffer the most.

  41. 45 David
    November 10, 2009 at 20:32

    If you lost so much money with the global money madness like myself, you would think twice to wholy support capitalism. In y view, we should have a hybrid of capitalism and socialism if we are going to do justice to the poor who are at the marcy of the rich.
    The inforation in the website bellow will shork you

    http://www.newint.org/columns/currents/2009/10/01/debt/

  42. November 10, 2009 at 21:18

    Capitalism is the best way to distribute wealth still. The problem is that too many invasive type attributes have been introduced into the system. These are recognized as anything that gives a product or service two values on the market. Loans, credit cards, leases, and even insurance are all included in this group of assets. They look like capitalistic ideas on the surface, but in reality they are a way of granting unbalanced power to those who already have it. This in turn forms a cast type identity to the system.

    These “products” are anything that uses nothing more then money to make money. The people who supply them do nothing more then shift money. They do not supply a good or service themselves. They have a damaging affect in a system where products and services are delivered to the highest price of the “willing and able”. If you go to the market and buy a $100 in groceries, but in reality you are paying $125 because you put it on the credit card, the credit card is causing a disconnect in the market price.

    Remove any market force that allows this type of capital manipulation and Capitalism will flourish once again. But I suppose here in the states, that would be like asking to have every zebra muscle removed from Lake Erie

  43. 47 Tom K in Mpls
    November 10, 2009 at 22:17

    One thing keeps annoying me. Every nation in the world has some poor people. People living in deplorable conditions. This will always happen as long as languages have the word ‘need’. The thing to look at is what political and economic systems have the lowest percentage of people that fit a fixed definition of poor.

    Any society would be wrong not to address the issue of the poor. But they should never undermine the systems that allow them to have the lowest percentages of poor.

  44. 48 Richard
    November 10, 2009 at 23:21

    I loved the show today Roz. As a WCPN 90.3 listener it was an interesting topic. I only wish the show was longer…Keep up the great work.

  45. 49 Jeremy from Lansing MI USA
    November 11, 2009 at 11:55

    Capitalism has not failed. The indoctrination of liberal ideologies into society and especially children has succeeded. All Capitalism is, is a free market. People earn what they work for, and buy what they want. Capitalism means that the government does not step into the free market whatsoever. Once they do, it is no longer capitalism. …which by the way, it hasn’t been for almost a hundred years. So I don’t get it, there is a partly capitalist system, and partly socialist system (redistribution of wealth). However, the only ones complaining about the system are the beneficiaries of the socialist part of the system, mostly because they want more socialism. Capitalism hasn’t failed, people have simply become lazy and addicted to handouts. In a true capitalist society, there are no handouts, which means you can’t be lazy. I think that the lack of true capitalism, or a free market, is what has failed. The government just needs to get out of the way!! By the way, if we really had a capitalist system, Africa wouldn’t be doing so poorly in the economy. They could compete if America didn’t have so many subsidies to artificially stimulate the economy.

    • November 11, 2009 at 17:14

      Jeremy,

      I am going to assume that you are not in the top 2% of the US wealth bracket. If you are, congrats. But you complain about handouts. The reality is that you are getting them hand over fist and not complaining about them, First of all, if the banks called in all of your debts right now, house, credit card, car loan, school loans, ect.. you would be waiting in those lines for a “handout” just like the people you condemn. I don’t know what you do for a living, but those very “lazy people receiving handouts” that you so believe have become “addicted” are supporting the paychecks of so many. Wal-Mart is one of the nations leading employers. Ask the CEO how he would feel if we just cut off welfare tomorrow? “addicted? yes. But 80% of us are as addicted to the free handouts as the people receiving a government check every month. Economics is not a zero sum game. Somebody had a very “capitalistic ” idea and thought that welfare would help them get rich. For a select few, it did. The rest of us need the lazy people as much as they need us.

      Remember if they were not unemployed, they would be competing for your job, education, and house. This would drive the prices up further and wages lower.

    • 51 Ann
      November 12, 2009 at 14:06

      Jeremy

      Would you prefer that those who cannot find work, those who are sick and those who are old, simply starve to death?

  46. November 11, 2009 at 15:40

    A lot of us don’t particularly like capitalism, but it’s the best we have.

    The market is an uncaring beast unfit for for caring people. It should be kept on a leash – regulation (with transparency and democracy).

    I personally would have preferred to have been born in the Star Trek universe (Next Generation, particularly), but capitalism will have to do for now.

  47. 53 Roy, Washington DC
    November 11, 2009 at 15:43

    Capitalism itself is a good concept, but in its pure form, it is prone to abuse. Just look at all of the events that led up to the banking system meltdown — greedy wealthy people who would stop at nothing to acquire more wealth. Then, when they realized that capitalism was no longer a benefit to them, they ran to the taxpayers begging for a bailout (which is more along the lines of socialism).

  48. 54 jens
    November 11, 2009 at 16:13

    it is interesting that a country where several months of vacation and the 35 hr week is standart looks upon capitalisme as flawed. well my dear people of france. you have been doing rather well from capitalism, since only making money will allow for the taxes that support your welfare state…….

  49. 55 Ronald Almeida
    November 11, 2009 at 17:22

    How can we ever fall out of love with Capitalism, when it licenses us to exploit any one we wish to? Especially those from the ignorant and gullible developing world, who live in regions with the greatest cultural and natural resources.

  50. 56 Elias
    November 11, 2009 at 19:00

    To quote Sir Winston Churchell ” Democracy is not perfect but it is a better system than any other that exists” , the same can be applied to “Capitalism”.

    • 57 Ronald Almeida
      November 12, 2009 at 13:08

      Sure! For the gluttonous, plundering west.The world has survived for time immemorial without either. It’s about time they found one’s that the rest of the world can’t see trough.

  51. 58 Ibrahim in UK
    November 12, 2009 at 12:26

    Capitalism rewards ambition and greed. Capitalism works well in the West because there are (theoretically) checks and balances in place to prevent abuse by the greedy. Capitalism doesn’t work well in Africa because there aren’t any controls to stop a dictator from depositing the nation’s money in a personal Swiss bank account.
    I think Capitalism assumes a certain infrastructure and wealth base from which it can flourish and take off. It’s the wings not the engine of the plane.

    PS: Since when did Iran join the list of most powerful countries in the world?

  52. 59 Ann
    November 12, 2009 at 13:50

    Have we fallen out of love with Capitalism?

    Oh I certainly hope so. Or at the very least I hope we have finally woken up to the worst excesses of this economic system which has created huge divisions in wealth, unchecked greed, exploits the poor and has lain waste to our planet. It is a disgrace to our humanity.

    We need a new way. A way which doesn’t just see economic growth as the be all and the end all. A system which is not based on whipping up a desire for more and more useless consumer goodies, but one which has sustainability, community and social equality at its heart. We need a system which upholds small scale farming and businesses, rather than the rampant, unethical mutli-national corporations who steal natural resources and human labour purely for the benefit of shareholders in rich developed nations.

  53. 60 gary
    November 12, 2009 at 14:43

    The desiderata of capitalism are inequitable evaluation of goods and services (profit) and monopoly. Communism and Socialism no better. It isn’t the economic systems that are at fault; it’s the people.
    g

  54. 61 John Smith - Jamaica
    November 12, 2009 at 16:40

    There is nothing wrong with capitalism if one looks at its tenets, i.e. Exploit at the expense of those who can’t. As an economic system, it is by far the only one which truly practices what it preaches. Whether the world can sustain a capitalistic view is another issue. Since the vast majority of society will not be able to exploit this system, then invariably, the will of the despondent will eventually ring out loud. Is capitalism dead however, I think not. It helps drive the creative will of others who seek more fame and glory for self. It allows thrill seekers to give of their best and as such benefit the cumulative knowledge of the world. Imagine if BP or Microsoft were not allowed to corner and exploit a market, would they strive as hard to improve their technological prowess in order to keep others out of their field. Would we have benefitted then from improved technologies or would we have to settle with continued use of leaded gasoline and 150 MHz processors.
    Onward capitalism and claim more victims, continue to create jobs for those who seem more content with praying for your downfall.

  55. 62 rob z.
    November 12, 2009 at 17:33

    In capitalism,”you have to spend it to make it”.Right now there is very little spending because those who screwed up got help from thier governments
    and are not showing gratitude to the taxpayers whose money they took.
    Capitalism works when everyone is doing their part.There are many willing and wanting to work,the banks don’t want to risk financing.
    It’s not the game,it’s a player not getting in the game.
    Rob in Florida

    • 63 Tom K in Mpls
      November 12, 2009 at 18:20

      The money was ‘pre-spent’. There was unreasonable debt from the lowest paid worker to our governments. New prosperity will not occur on a large scale until the debt is paid off. That is one half of the trouble with bailouts. It is increased government debt.

      • 64 rob z.
        November 13, 2009 at 00:02

        So the ones unemployed are just left in”limbo” until the market decides they can work?
        And unemployment will have to be extended indefinately?
        Which inturn adds to the national debt.

        And what about social stability?
        Too many people out of work and frustrated is not good.

        What is your feelings on this?

      • 65 Tom K in Mpls
        November 13, 2009 at 20:51

        Limbo? Pretty much. New markets built on the new realities need to form. I am one of the unemployed in limbo. Extending unemployment and assisting in education does cost money and extend the debt. We have to pay a price and IMO this is the best bet.

        If you bail out bad business, you are postponing more failure. And still spending money to do it. It seems obvious to me that we need to realize that our crystal balls don’t work. We cannot predict which bailouts might adapt ( suppressing new ventures on the way ) and the course new industries might take. It also gives corporations the feeling that they can try anything because they have a bailout safety net. This is not good.

        The only thing we know is that capitalism has an excellent history of fixing itself with or without government intervention.

  56. 66 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    November 12, 2009 at 18:46

    NO.

  57. 67 Kindi Jallow
    November 12, 2009 at 23:44

    It is unfortunate you have not given a defination of what you mean by capitalism, it may be crude capitalism or pseudo capitalism. I do not know which of them you actually mean, but just throw a little light on the topic capitalism and democracy work together like complements you cannot have one without the other. capitalism is a science athough they do not make laboratory experimants yet it is a science subject and if applied in a given situation it will work well. People cry foul when foundemental issues such as human rights violations are concerned.
    Capitalism can also decay or degenerate as was recently seen in US, UK and so on which brought about insolvency, liquidity and financial impropriety. The alam bells started ringing, some call for though regulations, tightening controls and punishment for crimes offenders.
    There was no doubt that capitalism was in its worst crises and needs to be rescued, a financial regulatory framework was establish and amendments are still being made to salvege capitalism.

  58. 68 Keith
    November 12, 2009 at 23:54

    Every night I pray to God that communism will take over. I hate capitalism so much. I dont care about political and economic freedom, I just want economic stability and security. I just want the same stores and shops to be on the street my whole life and the amount of times stores change in America is awful. I just want to have job secirity and work a job and not have to change jobs and move around constantly. I dont want to have economic mobility. I just want to work whatever job I am intelligent enough to do and I want to stay at that position my whole life. I don’t feel competitive with people who are smarter than me, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. I don’t want to develop my full potential, I just want to be myself. I am sick and tired of the never ending quest for success and the isolation it brings. I just want to know what to expect and have a full stomach.

  59. 69 Alexie Wynne
    November 13, 2009 at 02:38

    We will never fall out of love with capitalism, its popularity may vary depending on economic and political factors but as long as man’s love for wealth exist so will capitalism

  60. 70 Antree sdb
    November 13, 2009 at 04:14

    i think the world is moving for cpaitalism beacuse self prosperity seem to be the chief concern of the majority. Greed and Values are wlaking in opposite directions.

  61. November 13, 2009 at 11:45

    At the end of the day,
    Fukuyama’s world will be winning,
    and that would be the end of history,
    whatever we say.

  62. November 13, 2009 at 13:35

    capitalism = secret slavery..the economic crsis/failure was a direct result of this greedy form of dictatorship called capitalism..so now people are starting to understand they are just puppets on a string..waiting earnestly for a few extra pounds of money while giving away their live blood and sweat in return.

  63. 73 John LaGrua/New York
    November 13, 2009 at 20:31

    No system is perfect and the flaws of capitalism run amok came all too clear.Unfortunately,greed cannot be controlled by legislation and when a society becomes obsessed with materialism excesses will develop..Carefully crafted laws and operating rules can help but only a climate of reasonable restraint can insure against debacles as just seen .Government policy which encourages greed under the guise of free enterprise will in the end destroy any country.Vigilance is necessary in preventing political actions which lead to folly.”Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”

  64. 74 scmehta
    November 14, 2009 at 09:14

    There’s no love lost for the ‘beauty’ called Capitalism; but her lovers feel cheated and blackmailed, having to suffer terrible losses at the hands of her infidel agents and insiders. The lovers are presently angry, disillusioned, demoralized and disgusted with her agents/insiders. And now, it is for her to take them to task for the betrayal, and make sure that she tries to wash clean of the blemishes, so that her poise, charm and attraction are regained; and for that she does need a face-lift.

  65. November 14, 2009 at 13:16

    Unrequited love certainly.

  66. 76 Joseph
    November 14, 2009 at 18:22

    Capitalism is evolving into something much worse than communism in my view. Wealth is concentrating in hands of a few and those than control what we think (media) and what we can (our governments). Democracy is therefore non existent and we are just fools thinking all is fine. Public is the worst enemy and must be controlled as much as possible, certain opinions are not allowed. Makes me laugh when I heard about fall of a berlin wall that east europe has got freedom now. If I just take my children. Communist were not interfering much into parents and people were much more decent than now. It is amazing to watch how the same people started to behave when the regime changed. The amount of controlling just in UK is amazing. Communists were just amateurs. Maybe we couldnt travel freely but people were much more respected than now. Now you are a number. You dont like your working conditions – you are replaceable. Lets get some more immigrants here. Reading some opinions especially from US all I can say, good thinking of someone whose mind is daily getting propaganda from US media. As usual they are not telling you the exact truth same as famous radio Free Europe was broadcasting. Money can buy everything be aware of that.

  67. 77 Dustin, Indy
    November 15, 2009 at 15:10

    There is a great read for this topic…Plato’s Republic. For those who have not read this colorful and insightful piecel; basically, Socrates, through Plato’s redaction, states that democracy/capitalism is the 3rd worst form of the 4 kinds of all possible government/social structures. He states that such democcracy/capitalism will certainly decay, given enough time, into socialistic/communistic dictatorship, the worst of all governments/societal structures. Socrates then, rather masterfully, describes why this occurs, as people develop an ever increasing reliance on centralized government power/regulation/redistribution. Even 2,000 years ago, Socrates (or Plato, whomever you ascribe to the thoughts behind the work) knew that socialism/communism was the worst of all…sadly, we are given only ultra generic, uninsightful news columns today that completely fail to comprehend the subtlies of human motivation and philisophical investigation. No, we favor our ‘opinions’ too highly.

    Without knowing the book you have opened, one might believe they are reading an excerpt from a highly intelligent modern scholar describing the U.S. today.


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