Can Capitalism Survive?

Capitalism is often blamed for creating inequality and the poverty suffered by millions of people around the world. This has always been the case but has come into greater focus since the financial crash of 2008. Even within capitalism there are critics, as relatively few people benefit from its rewards. Capitalism, therefore, if it is to survive, needs to change.

Supporters of capitalism argue that it creates jobs, drives economic growth, improves the lives of the people it touches and, therefore, trumps other systems of economic organisation.

Its advantages include wealth creation, the delivery of education and health care, the sharing of prosperity through philanthropy, and the provision of a better life for countless people who would otherwise remain destitute.

Its disadvantages include the dislocation and destruction of jobs, the short-term nature of its actions, its potential to undermine democracy, the creation and embedding of inequality, and the outright rejection of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

There is, however, a growing clamour that suggests capitalism needs to change and change significantly, to develop a more balanced approach that helps the many rather than just the few.

Without change, capitalism will continue to advantage the rich and disadvantage the poor and support a divide that splits evermore into those who have and those who have not.

Capitalism, unchanged, will destroy itself, as greater numbers of people become disaffected and disengaged, and communities become angry and bitter and get left behind.

One suggestion for a renewed version of capitalism is the idea of ‘Inclusive Capitalism’, which, although cynically viewed by many, merits consideration.

Inclusive Capitalism suggests companies take a long-term view and listen to the concerns of shareholders and society to ensure a greater and more equitable sharing of wealth; in this way business becomes part of society rather than aloof and separate from it.

By adopting such an approach, capitalism would ensure everyone is able to participate in, and avail of, its benefits and prosperity.

In its true form, capitalism can address its greatest faults: income inequality and the exclusion and isolation of the poor and disadvantaged.

Capitalism was never meant to create enormous gaps in income or disproportionally advantage one sector of society to the detriment of another; it was and is meant to create opportunity and generate wealth to enable a fair and flourishing society.

Capitalism will prove successful if, and only if, it broadens its vision of how business and society can work together for the long-term collective good.

SO, if capitalism is to survive it must change and change radically to ensure more people avail of, and share in, its array of riches.

What do you think?

Can capitalism survive?

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