Capitalism – Curse or Blessing
Karl Marx obviously thought capitalism was a curse and considered that wealth should be controlled by the state for the benefit of all. Communism and capitalism are based on envy and greed respectively. Some questions: Is the way now clear for un-bridled capitalism to take control? Should capitalism be left to its own devices, or does it need to be controlled in some way? Could the world divided into nation states control the multi-national corporations in any realistic way? The “Blessings” of capitalism Large companies can spend money doing research and development which small concerns cannot do. Capitalism does produce wealth though the principal of the wealth “Trickling down” is much disputed. The “Curses” of capitalism The quest for profit only benefits a few share-holders, not workers, consumers, or the community at large. Because capitalism requires continual economic growth, it will inevitably deplete the finite natural resources of the Earth. Capitalism tends to promote inequality, widening the gap between rich and poor. Capitalism benefits from high unemployment to keep wages low and this can be a hidden political agenda. Slavery in its various forms is completely compatible with capitalism, and still exists in many countries of the world. I am particularly concerned that national, and international, laws control the excesses of capitalism and protect the human race from those who would use capitalism to exploit and control.
The Republican establishment’s leading presidential hopefuls know the current upbeat economy isn’t trickling down to most Americans. Since Ronald Reagan moved into the White House, Republican policies have widened inequality. Personal disposable income has grown nearly 6 times more with Democrats in the White House than Republicans. The lion’s share of economic gains over the past thirty-five years has gone to the top regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans inhabit the White House. That’s exactly the point: Since Reagan, Republican policies have nudged it toward big gains at the top and stagnation for everyone else. The last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity was Dwight D. Eisenhower, in the 1950s. The gains from growth were so widely shared that the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. Under Reagan, Republican policy lurched in the opposite direction: Lower taxes on top incomes and big wealth, less public investment, and efforts to destroy labor unions. These Reaganomic principles are by now so deeply embedded in the modern Republican Party they’ve come to define it. Because these very principles have contributed to the stagnation of American incomes and the widening gap between the rich and everyone else, Republican aspirants who says they want to reverse widening inequality are faced with an awkward dilemma.
Growing God’s Economy, Cultivating Compassionate Capitalism
Most of the followers of Q Ideas, and most of the people attending the Gathering emerge out of an Evangelical Christian background. Although I follow Q Ideas online, I normally would not have considered attending their high priced annual gathering. As a liberal, progressive, and self-proclaimed evangelical Methodist, I was intrigued with the conference organizers choice to have the gathering in Portland. Something tells me it is also changing the hearts of thousands of Portland area Evangelical Christians. Through the voice and work of Q Ideas, there is emerging a new vision of what it means to spread the gospel of Jesus; one that recognizes the face of Jesus in the faces of the poor, unemployed, homeless, abused, and hopeless that suffer in the midst of a city of beauty and prosperity. Like the Mayor, I was confronted with my own bias about Evangelical Christians. My impression of the social enterprise segments of the conference is that it is a brand new idea for most of the people who attended. At least the conversation about faith, vocation, compassionate capitalism, and Corporate Social Responsibility has started in the emerging post Evangelical movement. ‘ The Gathering was infused with meaningful questions about the state of the world and rich with ideas for creating a better world. A big thank you to the hosts of Q Ideas for bringing this Gathering to the city of Portland.
The Compassion of Capitalism
We benefit from the compassion of capitalism and we must help others achieve the same blessings. Google defines compassion as “Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” Sufferings or misfortunes of others – we feel a current state of uneasiness or hardship that we want to improve. How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it. As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation. We must be able to have sympathy for and identify sufferings of others in order to solve problems and serve others. Sympathy and concern for others form the bedrock of free market exchange. Entrepreneurs play a vital role in identifying the misfortunes of others, putting themselves in others’ shoes, to really experience what they are going through. In a free society, men like Henry Turkel can take their natural born sympathies towards others and aid them in their misfortune. Through his profession, he had many occasions to understand the needs of infants and others who are incapacitated such that they cannot feed themselves.