Capitalism AND socialism are failures but we can do better

Capitalism is a failure. Politicians obsess over the need for ‘growth,’ yet continual growth of debt-fuelled consumption on a finite plant is unsustainable, and having more money doesn’t make us happier after a while anyway. Ordinary people will be paying back the debt created by the bank bailouts for decades, while the rich who caused the mess keep their fat bonuses, yet continue to behave disgracefully. Inequality is on the increase in capitalist countries which is bad for everyone, even the rich.

It’s no wonder that Marxism is making a come-back. But as far as I’m aware, despite The Communist Manifesto being the second most-sold book of all time after the bible, there are exactly zero examples of Marxism being successfully implemented. If it hasn’t happened in 164 years then I can’t see it happening in the future.

We need an end to the capitalism Vs. socialism debate and face the fact that both have some good ideas but neither has worked over the long-term to deliver the thing that really matters: The long-term wellbeing and happiness of all humans on the planet.

My suggestion is that we need to take the best of capitalism and socialism and add a healthy dose of radicalism to build a better system. I’m not talking about a pathetic half-baked compromise of slightly left-leaning politics, but a reinvented system.

The starting point of socialism is sound: Creating fair societies with more equality and more power to people who go to work and create value for the rest of society. But that’s as far as I’d go with it. Giant, controlling states with monolithic nationalised industries aren’t the only way to achieve this goal.

Capitalism and markets seem to be the most efficient and dynamic way to organise people to make things happen, and the freedom to start your own ventures outside of the state I believe is a basic right. But we need to fix the fundamental flaws in the system. We need to recognise that money is just one form of capital and that human, social and environmental capital also need to be grown in balance with this. And we also need to fix the status quo of ownership, changing the norm so that employees are the owners of democratic businesses.

Now is the time for us to leave the old, failed concepts of capitalism AND socialism behind and rebuild.

45 thoughts on “Capitalism AND socialism are failures but we can do better

  1. Great blog. Glad I found it.
    I’d go further and say that capitalism and socialism are products and co-incident with industrial society. As is big government and its attendant big militaries and big welfare states.
    Current economics has no answers to anything but more growth, which solves some problems while creating others. Socialism will be a bigger failure in the era of global markets than it was in the era when national markets were tightly defined and protected. Capital, ideas, and labor can more easily escape the chains of governments today than ever before.
    A friend of mine says, “All our economic models are based on things that get used up. But knowledge gets more valuable the more it is used.”
    I think your last paragraph points to where we should go. We need to measure all forms of capital. And, as in the mission of your blog, we need to explore new forms of organization for value creation. Not just in business, but in politics and governing structures, too

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