Capitalism, democracy and human resources

I’m a small business owner, and like most Americans, I believe in capitalism. There’s no better economic system for taking advantage of every person’s ability to create value for society. Also, like most Americans, I believe in democracy: government by and for the benefit of all citizens; that grants every individual the opportunity to strive for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

There is, however, an inherent conflict between our capitalist economic system and our democratic political system that requires constant attention to keep one from subverting the other.

Capitalists use their talents and creativity to maximize profit. Of course, in pursuing that profit, capitalists benefit all of society through the goods and services they produce and the innovations they create. But, when overwhelming economic success creates overwhelming political power, capitalism can come into conflict with democracy.

The democratic political system offers capitalists the freedom and opportunity to pursue their profit. However, in attempting to maximize benefit for all people, government can at times act to stifle the creativity and innovation of capitalists through over-regulation, thus setting in motion another conflict.

Balancing these conflicts requires an equitable regulatory and tax framework with strict government oversight to, on the one hand, prevent run-away capitalism from undermining democracy; while, on the other hand, preventing a “tyranny of the majority” from stifling innovation and economic growth.

So, how is our current framework working? I did some research on that subject recently. Bottom line: It’s working really well for the top 1 percent of households on the income scale, and fairly well for the next 19 percent. For the remaining 80 percent, however, not so much . . . literally!

I doubt most people are aware of how concentrated wealth distribution in this country has become. I know I wasn’t. According to government statistics for the year 2007 (the latest year for which detailed analysis was available), the top 1 percent of households owned approximately 43 percent of the country’s “financial wealth” (net worth, less owner-occupied home equity). The next 19 percent owned an additional 50 percent. That left only 7 percent of the country’s financial wealth for the remaining 80 percent of households. 7 percent! And, the gap has likely become more dramatic since the recession that began in 2008.

With the top 1 percent controlling such a large percentage of the country’s financial resources, the democratic system has become distorted. A capitalist oligarchy has biased the political system through large donations to, or should I say investments in, political representatives in need of campaign funds. As a result, many of our political representatives have become beholden to the few, rather than the many.

Control of major banks, media outlets and corporations (the top 1 percent owned almost 40 percent of all corporate stock), and the ability to pay an army of lobbyists and attorneys, has perpetuated the oligarchs’ ability to preserve and increase their wealth. This power to influence both the financial and political systems trumps the ability of 80 percent of households to access the resources (i.e. education, healthcare, financial stability) needed to fully realize their talents and creativity for the benefit of society.

For many people, borrowing through credit cards and home equity loans became the only route to the middle class lifestyle that they expected to be able to attain as citizens of the “world’s richest country”. Now, debilitating debt has virtually crippled their ability to contribute to our economy. We’re ALL the poorer for it.

A new regulatory framework, with strict oversight, that restores balance between our economic and political systems is imperative. Achieving that will require strong governmental action, and it won’t happen unless the corrosive influence of “big money” is removed from politics.

Logically, the first step must be to reform the way our representatives are elected. Any system that requires candidates to constantly pander to the wealthy for campaign funds will never produce the balance required to tap the talents and creativity of the majority. Structural change is required so that elected representatives can freely represent all constituents equally, without quid pro quo pressure from campaign benefactors or their agents.

Every citizen, every human being, if given the opportunity, is capable of being innovative and creating value for society. But, people can only do that if they have access to sufficient capital and financial security to enable them to unleash that creativity.

We live in a highly competitive world. As a country, we can’t afford to continue wasting such a large percentage of our human resources.



Views: 119


You need to be a member of San Pedro News Pilot to add comments!

Join San Pedro News Pilot

San Pedro News Pilot by email - sign up!

Delivered by FeedBurner

What is the

The is the social network and information outlet for San Pedro.

Want to keep up with the news in San Pedro, become a member.


Membership has its privileges!

• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.
• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of the new storefront or the school play? Upload them.

Latest Activity

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street promoted Jamaal Kellen Street's blog post Mary Star High Softball Dynamic Duo Signs Their NLIs
Nov 30

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street posted a blog post

Mary Star High Softball Dynamic Duo Signs Their NLIs

On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the sensational duo of Mary Star High softball made their commits to NCAA Division 1 schools in California their new homes at the next level upon graduation in late May 2020.The senior duo of pitcher Alessandra Samperio and shortstop Ashley Rico both signed their respective national letters of intent to stay close to home and further their…See More
Nov 30

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street promoted Jamaal Kellen Street's blog post Kaylen Scott Is 2019 CIF-LACS D-4 Girls Volleyball Player Of The Year
Nov 30

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street posted a blog post

Kaylen Scott Is 2019 CIF-LACS D-4 Girls Volleyball Player Of The Year

Let the postseason praise begin for Port Of Los Angeles High girls volleyball.18 days after capturing the program's first-ever CIF-Los Angeles City Section championship when it bested East Valley of North Hollywood in the Division 4 final, the Polar Bears were awarded with high honors by the Section on Tuesday when the annual individual All-City selections were announced.…See More
Nov 27

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street promoted Jamaal Kellen Street's blog post San Pedro High Boys XC Captures Seventh CIF Championship
Nov 24

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street posted a blog post

San Pedro High Boys XC Captures Seventh CIF Championship

WOODLAND HILLS - It was redemption time for San Pedro High boys cross-country.In the 2018 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 final meet, the Pirates finished a unsatisfying tenth place, but legendary head coach Bruce Thomson told the returning Pirates that 2019 was going to be something special, and on Saturday, he was proven true.The boys edged Marshall in a wide…See More
Nov 24
Dawn Clark-Johnson posted an event

“Fathers, Daddies, and Papas” by Women’s Voices at Institute of Musical Arts

November 23, 2019 from 2pm to 4pm
On Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., the Institute of Musical Arts welcomes back the eleventh installment of our WOMEN’S VOICES Storytelling Concert Series, with their performance, “Fathers, Daddies, & Papas”. 

It appears that TV commercials are just now discovering that fathers are parents too, but we have always known it. Four friends who have gathered to celebrate a birthday, share memories of their fathers, after the "birthday girl" shows off a piece of jewelry given to her by…See More
Nov 20
Lisa posted an event

Embridge - Jane Austen Meets Oscar Wilde in World Premiere Play at Little Fish Theatre

November 21, 2019 at 8pm to December 15, 2019 at 2pm
Embridgeby Kathryn Farren, directed by Margaret SchugtJane Austen meets Oscar Wilde in Victorian-era England, when cynical Mabel Martin’s doubts about love become tested when a charming man offers to help save her sister from a disastrous arranged marriage.Cast: Kathryn Farren, Daniel Gallai, Shirley Hatton*, Ryan Knight, Corrinne Mica, Brian O’Sullivan, Jamie Pierce*, James Rice, Don Schlossman, Annie Vest*This production is presented under the auspices of the Actors’ Equity Los Angeles…See More
Nov 14

© 2019   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service