It's what happens when humanity grows up
It's democratic, ecological, fair, adventurous, and multicultural.
The Earth needs it and we need it. It almost sounds like fun.
It is possible and perhaps even likely that unrestrained capitalism has seen its last days.
If so, this is a good thing. Unrestrained capitalism was a predatory stage of human development. As Jason Child's puts it below, it "has failed miserably at accomplishing the goal of meeting the needs of the people. It has all but left our planet destroyed, and has produced a sociopathic wealthy ruling class. Profit has proven to be a very bad motive for human endeavors. Profit motive strips the soul from those who pursue it."
Americans and others need a more compassionate and creative option, one that includes the creative side of market economies and the compassionate side of socialism. Some call it Democratic Socialism or, in China, Organic Marxism. See below for more on this. For the sake of simplicity, I will call it Creative Socialism.
On the economic side of things, a New York Times columnist cited below, Timothy Egan, uses Denmark as his example of a hybrid economy. He writes: "Denmark has a slightly higher tax load on its citizens than the United States. But it also has budget surpluses, universal health care, shorter working hours, and was recently rated by Forbes magazine as the best country in the world for business."
Denmark is a mostly white country with a relatively homogenous population. Its citizens are struggling with what it means to be a multicultural society.
That's why it is important to emphasize that creative socialism is multicultural. Its citizens take delight in diversity, cognizant that many cultures make the whole richer. Creative Socialism is democratic, ecological, fair, adventurous, and enriched by differences.
Creative Socialism includes the entrepreneurial spirit, albeit tailored by wisdom and compassion. The citizens of a creatively socialist society do not take the profit motive as their highest ideal, that's adolescent thinking. Rather they take the well-being of life, human and non-human as their ideal. That's mature thinking. They have grown up, and grown beyond the idea that competition -- with winners and losers -- is what life is all about. They are interested in how business can serve community well-being. They are what Adam Smith dreamed about and for: free enterprise with empathic underpinnings.
Creative Socialism is also pro-government. Its citizens know that there is an important place for government in human life, small and big. There are some things that big government can do (universal health care) better than small government, and some things small government can do (local zoning ordinances) that big government cannot.
Creative Socialists see a healthy society on the analogy of a three-legged stool, supported by responsible government, responsible business, and civic organizations. The three legs make the stool stronger.
Creative Socialists are liberty-loving but not libertarians. They appreciate the rights and talents of the individual, but they do not fall into the cult of individualism. They understand themselves as persons-in-community not atoms in isolation, and they recognize that community is eco-community. It includes the larger web of life in which they are embedded.
Creative Socialism is what happens when humanity grows up. In the United States, where I live, its time has come. Already Americans embrace certain aspects of socialism: Social Security, Interstate Highways, and Medicare, for example. All that's needed in America is for older Americans to get over their fear of the word "socialism" and be honest to their already existing ideals: community, frugality, humility, creativity, compassion. Life is not about winners and losers. It's about what Martin Luther King, Jr. called beloved community, with ecology added. Creative Socialists know that.
-- Jay McDaniel
Springboards for Further Reflection
Timothy Egan, columnist for New York Times
from "Guess Who Else is a Socialist?" (October 16, 2015)
Americans already accept socialism
Democratic socialism entails a hybrid economy
What Capitalism at its best does well
What Socialism at its best does well
Money and wealth need to be more evenly distributed
Guidance from Pope Francis
from Fortune Magazine: Five Times Pope Francis Talked about Money
The Problem with Trickle-Down Theories
Working for Just Distribution as Christian responsibility
The Worship of Money as Root of Evil
Unrestrained Capitalism as the Dung of the Devil
The Vatican is Responsible, Too
From Predatory Capitalism
to a Still More Excellent Way
Philosophical Underpinnings for Creative, Democratic Socialism
All political philosophies presuppose a worldview or "way of understanding the world and human life" that guide them. Process philosophy offers a worldview that lends strong support to Creative Socialism.
A leading process philosopher and theologian, Philip Clayton, has co-authored a book on it: Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe. For a general introduction to Organic Marxism, see Organic Marxism, Process Philosophy, and Chinese Thought. For an introduction to the twenty key ideas in process philosophy, click here.
A Dynamic Path
Each time categories of thought are embedded in a new context—be it a new culture, historical period, region, or political movement—they sprout and grow in new ways. Consequently, open process thinkers do not expect Marxism to be a static thing but to evolve continually, just as human social systems are constantly evolving.
It seems clear that there are times where market forces bring benefits within a nation and between nations; and there are other cases in which unrestrained markets produce injustices that neither local communities nor the global community should accept. A major contribution of Organic Marxism lies in its ability to blend elements from both of these two socioeconomic systems.
We challenge the claim that democracy and socialism are inherently opposed to one another. Marx was right to view socialism as the most consistent form of democracy.
Certainly the last decades have shown an increasing turn toward individualism among Americans—at exactly the time that global climate disruption calls for community-based thinking and integrated international action to reduce pollution levels...,Both Marx and Whitehead challenge individualism and encourage a more social thinking.
I’ve been looking for this book. Perhaps you have, too. We’ve sought an alternative to capitalism that is flexible, good for people, good for communities, and good for the earth. We’ve wanted something could make sense to people from many walks of life: academics, poets, farmers, and, yes, businesspeople. Who would have thought that this alternative could be called Organic Marxism? Who would have thought that it could provide hope for China and for other parts of the world, even North America? Don’t let the word Marx scare you. You’ll be on board early on and want, like me, to get going with the great work of helping build local communities that are creative, compassionate, participatory and diverse, with no one left behind. Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr have given us a framework, a springboard, for doing our part in serving the common good.
Capitalism: a predatory phase
of human evolution
Capitalism was the predatory phase of human evolution, it is time to move past it. Capitalism has failed miserably at accomplishing the goal of meeting the needs of the people. It has all but left our planet destroyed, and has produced a sociopathic wealthy ruling class. Profit has proven to be a very bad motive for human endeavors. Profit motive strips the soul from those who pursue it. It panderers to the worst of human instincts and diminishes the natural affection that exist within humanity. There is a better way. A way forward that seeks to fulfill the potential of all people and provide for the needs of the many. Capitalism provides for the needs of a few at the expense of the rest of us. You were not born to be a debt slave a use your time here laboring your life away to make it possible for a handful of billionaires to live like kings. Capitalism has created nothing but war, poverty, and inequality. We can not fix the problems we have using the same old model that created them. Joblessness, living on the verge of economic collapse, working your life away with no time for family, faith, and simply being human. You only have one life, this is not a dress rehearsal. I hope that like me you want more for your children than for them to slave their lives away for the 1%. We have enough resources on this beautiful planet to create such a better and more equal world. A world where we all share in the benefits of what our labor creates. All that is required is that you believe that it is possible. Embrace Socialism worker, you have nothing to lose but your chains.
- Jason Childs
Capitalism: Americans Weary of Economic Inequality
Writing in The Nation magazine, Eric Alterman recently celebrated the fact that "economic inequality has finally risen to the top of the list of most Americans' concerns." Citing recent polls, he reports that more than 2/3 of respondents think our economic system favors the rich, and more than 80 percent believe that the nation's wealth gap is a problem for the country. (1) Anti-elitist activism, first brought to prominence by Occupy Wall Street and more recently by Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, possesses a wide foundation of support.
Not surprisingly, the polls also find strong support for the government to act to remedy the problem. The Pew Research Center reports that 69 percent of those surveyed thought the government should do "a lot" or "some" in this regard, and Gallup finds that a majority supports increased taxation on the wealthy. The public clearly understands that market forces alone will not reverse the trend to income polarization any time soon. If a brake is to be put on income inequality, the government will have to act.
It is not hard to understand the source of this alienation. The flood of big money that has dominated politics in recent years makes a mockery of the claim that the American political system is equally responsive to all citizens. The resulting anger directed at politicians is completely justified.
But what results is an immobilizing contradiction. People want the government to intervene, but they do not believe that it will do so effectively. Because of the resulting political cynicism, they fail to demand the tax and spending policies that would increase economic equality. This then ensures that nothing is done.
Ironically, the word socialism, despite long being reviled in the United States, might be the key to finding a way out of that contradiction.
-- Jay Mandle, Professor of Economics, Colgate University
in Huffington Post, Posted: 09/25/2015 3:43 pm EDT.
Time to Stand Up
I believe that the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of the drug companies, the power of the corporate media is so great that the only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.