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.