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There's more to Capitalism than Profit

Are we evolving capitalism?

Evolution is unstoppable, not just with apes, but with our ideas and systems as well.  Capitalism is evolving but the media, bankers and finance experts talk only of its evolution in one direction – and that’s towards ever-increasing profits.

Bankers (“Banksters”) are always finding new ways to profit off your debt. Investors have found ways to profit from failing companies (“Shorting” stocks). Wealthy and influential people have successfully manipulated the stock market for their own gains (here’s Jim Cramer’s arrogant take on the subject). Banks secretly collude (the recent Libor Scandal as an example) for shared advantage, and of course softened punishments for illegal stock trading, the increasing revolving door of politicians to the private sector (i.e. John Baird this week), and the merger of commercial and savings banks have all created new “legal” means for wealth creation for those in the game, profiting off the losses, debt and hard work of the rest of us.

On any given day we hear of the increasing wealth of the investor class, the increasing divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, the decrease in available social service and education funding, the shrinking middle class, and a general feeling of “where the hell is all our money going?”

Last year Oxfam reported that the 85 richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people. What a ratio that is! (See the report here)

Capitalism, by definition, is about more than just maximizing profits – I’m no expert, but I would say profit is merely the desired side-effect of Capitalism. Capitalism is about building capital, maximizing efficiencies, creating an open competitive market, and much more fancy economic stuff. Profit is a part of Capitalism, but it’s not the whole kiboodle.

As our society evolves, so do our morals, our values, and our priorities. As we learn to do more so must we learn to understand more.

If Capitalism “won”, then it’s time the victor took on the responsibilities of a true leader

Capitalism 1.0, ruled as it is by rich men focused only on profit, hasn’t been allowed to mature. It’s morals, values or priorities remain the same: “irrelevant!”.

What we’re witnessing today is a lack of balance. Today we know better than ever that everything is pendulums and balances, swings and roundabouts. Like all systems, Capitalism MUST be allowed to evolve and find a balance between wealth creation and wealth distribution. Today’s extreme discrepancies between the “top” and the “bottom” haven’t been seen since royal families, selected by “God”, ruled entire nations (and we know how little regard Capitalists have for Nations, don’t we?)

Capitalism needs profit, at least so I’m told. Profit is a great reward system – just look at how many good people have had evil jobs, just for a pay cheque. This evolution of Capitalism doesn’t remove profit, it simply knocks it down a few pegs. When profit is the first priority, life suffers. When profit is the third priority, we have room to recognize the values of other important factors – worker safety, the eco-system, children, education, etc.

Now, I’m no socialist (or any ‘ist’ for that matter). In today’s world, I believe we need an upper class and I believe people who work hard deserve to earn a respectable income, but a history of immoral (though questionably “legal”) activities have brought us to a cross roads: either we allow a full and balanced evolution of our current system or we have increasing social unrest, unending war and poverty, and a class system similar to the United Kingdom in the days of the Tudors. Personally, I’m not yet ready to declare a wealthy man a god or a King.

Evolving Capitalism to find balance

Evolving Capitalism to find this balance, by finally exploring and encouraging it’s “left” side, is vital in order to find a balance that, some suggest, fills the gap left from the downfall of the Soviet Union. If Capitalism “won”, then it’s time the victor took on the responsibilities of a true leader.

As I’ll continue to say, I believe the most peaceful path to balance is by encouraging everyone we know to promote the idea of Capitalism 2.0. An evolution, not a revolution, of today’s system. We need to encourage co-operation and collaboration before competition – especially in small towns – within all sectors, and within all businesses. We need this Capitalism 2.0 as a stepping-stone towards the next, radically different World of Tomorrow (“Utopia”) which we are all dreaming about.

Thanks, in part, to the lobbying efforts of the wealthy ruling class, who will literally kill to maintain their luxurious status quo, we will never get off today’s system until we evolve it. The wealthy have no interest in change (pun intended), and so the changes required to build a truly equal, global “Utopia” will remain far out of our grasp, perhaps even our own comprehension, while we maintain today’s system of inequity.

Capitalism 2.0, an evolution from today’s top-down, profit-above-all version 1.0 of our modern world, requires no new laws, no new economy, no major change, save one: You.

The change must come from us – the regular folk trying to feed our kids, keep our jobs. We will build it from the bottom-up, crowding out today’s top-down Establishment, to create a world that then can create a future that genuinely works for everyone.

But first we must evolve from today.

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