You know that the population is of this planet is now ten times greater than it was in the ages preceding capitalism.; you know that all men today enjoy a higher standard of living than your ancestors did before the age of capitalism. But how do you know that you are the one out of ten who would have lived in the absence of capitalism? The mere fact that you are living today is proof that capitalism has succeeded, whether or not you consider your own life very valuable.
I think the thing about capitalism is it's an evil necessity, capitalism. Communism has been tried and failed, and socialism, that doesn't work very well. Capitalism works, but the problem about capitalism is it does mean that a few individuals become very wealthy. Therefore, I think those individuals have enormous responsibility to redistribute that wealth either by creating new businesses or creating new jobs and making sure that money just doesn't lie in a bank account for future generations.
That so many of us find it entirely plausible that a vast network of researchers and health officials and doctors worldwide would willfully harm children for money is evidence of what capitalism is really taking from us. Capitalism has already impoverished the working people who generate wealth for others. And capitalism has already impoverished us culturally, robbing unmarketable art of its value. But when we begin to see the pressures of capitalism as innate laws of human motivation, when we begin to believe that everyone is owned, then we are truly impoverished.
There's a real difference between venture capitalism and vulture capitalism. Venture capitalism we like. Vulture capitalism, no. And the fact of the matter is that he's going to have to face up to this at some time or another, and South Carolina is as good a place to draw that line in the sand as any. That's not what we're looking for in a president of the United States. We're looking for someone that knows how to build jobs, create jobs. And that's what I've done in the state of Texas. So there's no use trying to paper this over. That is a problem for Mitt, and he's going to have to face it.
We've now become conscious of the uncalculated social, economic, and environmental costs of that kind of "unconscious" capitalism. And many are beginning to practice a form of "conscious capitalism," which involves integrity and higher standards, and in which companies are responsible not just to shareholders, but also to employees, consumers, suppliers, and communities. Some call it "stakeholder capitalism."
Despite the miracles of capitalism, it doesn't do well in popularity polls. One of the reasons is that capitalism is always evaluated against the non-existent, non-realizable utopias of socialism or communism. Any earthly system, when compared to a Utopia, will pale in comparison. But for the ordinary person, capitalism, with all of its warts, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with our everyday needs and desires.
Everyday I become more convinced, there is no doubt in my mind, as many intellectuals have said, that it is necessary to transcend capitalism. But capitalism can not be transcended through capitalism itself; it must be done through socialism, true socialism, with equality and justice. I'm also convinced that it is possible to do it under democracy, but not in the type of democracy being imposed by Washington.
At the turn of the [21st] century it was really Sergey Brin at Google who just had the thought of, well, if we give away all the information services, but we make money from advertising, we can make information free and still have capitalism. But the problem with that is it reneges on the social contract where people still participate in the formal economy. And it's a kind of capitalism that's totally self-defeating because it's so narrow. It's a winner-take-all capitalism that's not sustaining.
We need to graduate from the ridiculous notion that greed is some kind of elixir for capitalism - it's the downfall of capitalism. Self-interest, maybe, but self-interest run amok does not serve anyone. The core value of conscious capitalism is enlightened self-interest. As Jim Cramer on CNBC says, "Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered."
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