Posted by: Middleclass Search | September 10, 2012

Capitalism Note #1

Wikipedia lists 42 major forms of government with 23 subgroups. A review of the list will quickly eliminate most of them as viable options. But one of those that remain is capitalism. This is not an argument for or against capitalism, but rather an argument that there are different types of capitalism. A ship of pirates that elects their captain is a capitalist democracy but that is hardly an acceptable form of government for a large, advanced society. Since the beginning of the mercantile system (somewhere around 1600, when the Dutch created merchant companies to conduct international commerce), there has been concern that the capitalistic system might suppress the common man. As in any economic system, the problems with capitalism lie not with the system but with how humans interpret and implement the system. As nations have found in the past, there is a fine line between a privateer and a pirate. The same is true about the practice of capitalism. Within capitalism, there are many different forms and in fact, each nation that practices capitalism does it in a slightly different way. I will define the form of capitalism that we currently practice in America as “corporate capitalism.”

For the past one hundred years most of social our economic thinking, our business thinking, and our tax laws have centered on corporations with the assumption that, if you take care of the corporations, they will take care of the middle class, since both have the same objectives.  But as many corporations expand their horizons and move into a global environment, the objectives of the middle class and global corporations may no longer coincide. Many of the United States’ traditional organizations, including labor unions, Chambers of Commerce, and even its two political parties, have been slow to realize the need for a different approach to the way that the country practices capitalism in order to maintain its current standard of living. Americans need to change their thinking and tax laws to better support the middle class, not corporations. I will define this version of capitalism as “middle-class capitalism.”

To some people, corporate capitalism is the only form of capitalism, and to even suggest another definition is considered a step toward socialism economic thinking. Such status quo thinking has doomed hundreds maybe thousands of past civilizations it is time to see if capitalism cannot work for a middle–class as well as corporations.

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