Capitalism Good or Bad?

Some people would say that Capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the others.

One of its major problems appears to be that it seems to be currently set up so that the rich get richer and the income wealth gap increasingly becomes larger and larger, which does not seem to be a sustainable nor truly ethical situation.

Here are some stats on this from the book The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer :

  • 1% of the world’s people own 45% of the world’s wealth.
  • less than 10% own 84% of the wealth.
  • 64% of the world’s people own only 2% of the world’s wealth.
  • the world’s 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50% of the global population.

Something does seem rather out of balance.

On the other hand, capitalism does appear to have some positive attributes. It appears to be a very motivating force, promoting greater creativity than other current systems.

Though there is also the argument that when we decide to make decisions based mainly on financial goals, it does not always seem to create the best outcomes.

It would also seem beneficial for a species to contain significant diversity and allow outliers (like Elon Musk) to create. Capitalism does seem to be a good mechanism for this.

Taxation appears necessary to run certain functions that government handles. Perhaps there are better ways.

Excessive taxation seems to take money from those that are good at creating and managing it and give it to what are usually less efficient organisations.

Perhaps a better way is for the very rich and the richer segments of society to self-tax and take on worthy projects that make significant differences, which many already do. Perhaps there are mechanisms that could be put in place to make this more effective and a significant factor in alleviating the planet’s issues.

This appears to be something the Effective Altruism movement advocates.

More on Effective Altruism later.

CEOs of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, in 2001, they earned 531 times as much.

Cooperative businesses, such as John Lewis and Spain’s Mondragon, which pays its executives no more than eight times its lowest-paid employees, have shown that businesses owned by their employees can be as successful as the most hierarchical, profit-driven enterprise.