We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Enlightened Capitalist

Click here to access article by Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

I'm not terribly impressed with their central thesis: 
Capitalists and corporations, we argue, are driven not to maximize profit, but to ‘beat the average’ and increase their differential power. In this approach, the redistribution of income and assets is not a ‘societal’ side effect of the economy, but the central conflict that propels modern capitalism. And the main weapon in this struggle, we claim, is not investment and growth, but what the American political economist Thorstein Veblen called ‘strategic sabotage’ – the restrictions, limitations, hazards and pains that capitalists impose on the rest of society in order to sustain and augment their differential power.
Capitalists and corporations are motivated by both. Given that capitalist operations are now coming up against the resource limits of a finite planet, they are driven more by the second motivation which essentially constitutes power and control.  

However, I am really impressed with, and amused by, their deconstruction and satire of current efforts by capitalists, especially "enlightened capitalists" to defend their system.