Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Four Capitalisms

The well-deserved conviction of Ken Lay and his people has gotten me thinking a little. Some people think Capitalism is evil, others think it is good. I think both are very simplistic because there are at least four different kinds of capitalism.

1. Robber Baron Capitalism. This is the type that many on the left think is the only form of capitalism. This is capitalism where the rich and powerful exploit the poor in order to gain total wealth and power over others. It does exist and is an offense to humanity, but it is not the only type of capitalism.

2. Union Capitalism. This was originally a response to Robber Baronism where the workers collectively force the boss to treat them better. While it is a good idea in theory, I believe that most unions are nearly as corrupt and exploitive as the robber barons.

3. Enlightened Capitalism. This is capitalism with morals where the man with the money feels a sense of obligation and responsibility for those below them. Such businessmen do exsit, in fact they are fairly common. They also recognize that their situation is better when the working class is reasonably comfortable and reasonably secure. The difficulty with this one is that it depends far too much on the character of the capitalist which is an uncontrolable factor.

4. Popular Capitalism. As far as I know, this was defined and popularized by Maggie Thatcher. It is where the working class is allowed, encouraged and enabled to buy stock and thus become part of the money system. This is, in my opinion, the best way to do it. The problem is what happened at Enron, but prosecution and restitution to workers and small stock-holders should help.

No system works perfectly, but Capitalism does produce less poverty than Socialism. It may be the lesser of two evils, but if we seek a perfect society then there is no system that will work.


Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I enjoyed reading this. Capitalism is the survival of the fittest and I thank God for Christian mercy and kindness even if I'm not a Christian. It's the only thing that can tame and civilize capitalism.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

I was very glad to hear Enron executives get their due. Capitalism creates competition which is a good thing, but it has to go along with morality.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I don't cotton to the idea that the "market" is the way to solve everything. Some Govt. regulation is required to have a fair and equitable society. Right now, everything is slanted in favor of mega corporations, and we are moving towards a robber baron capitalism of the post civil war American economy. I for one, do not wish to see that return. How will putting two men in jail restore the lost life savings of 20,000 Enron employees? Maybe the death penalty would send a message to these executives who think they are so far above the law.

12:08 PM  

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