Finance / Politics / Policy / Thoughts

FWIW – Viewing Capitalism in 21st Century

The notion of “defending” Capitalism, as a term or even a system, seems counter-productive.  While historical accuracy is vague on the original coinage of the term Capitalism, there is little doubt that the original vernacular usage of the term in the late 19th century was pejorative.  Other writers in the 20th century through mid-century attempted to articulate the term as a singular theme encompassing free enterprise, market economics, and other similarly wealth-generating theories.  Contemporary economic theorists, scholars, politicians and pundits are now re-examining the precepts of Capitalism and what it means for the future of the American way of life.

It is vital for the early 21st century mindset where we currently find ourselves to recognize that progress and successes have made Capitalism as a term insufficient at best, dangerous at worst, for approaching the totality of our economy and social interactions.  The way we view language now suggests inherent in Capitalism is the pinnacle of economic success centers around the acquisition of capital.  This implies that hoarding or preserving capital is the highest good in economic society.  Coupled with copious modern legislation and structural authorities discouraging risk of capital, this has entrenched a mindset that they only way to keep capital is the way that it was originally generated and guard against the loss of its value.  Sadly, this inherently is anathema to the risk necessary for innovation and creative growth.

Entrepreneurship, enterprise, open markets, free-flow of resources are what we see as “the good” of an economic system.  This encourages new entrants to take risks, existing resources (and yes, even capital) to be accessible for new opportunities that have the potential for new wealth generations.  What that entails is a continuous removal of barriers to entry, embracing of new participants, unfettered access to resources, and above all rewards for risk.  To be sure, unfettered access does not equate to equal share, but we must be cognizant of the systemic and structural denial of resources.

Whereas the term Capitalism seems to draw exhaustive attention to the holding, doling out, usage of monetary capital, a healthier view would be to focus on access and appropriate use of resources.  If we as a society and economy focused our attention on ensuring access to resources rather than protecting capital, we would open up a new floodgate of innovation within the system which ultimately leads to generation of new wealth and prosperity.

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