Good Capitalism v. Bad Capitalism

In a meeting this past week I heard a reference to the concept of good capitalism and bad capitalism.  I was waiting for a definition of the two, never quite got one.

When choosing a picture to represent this concept my first thought was a photo from Russia, instead I chose a shot from the last regatta I sailed in.  I am guessing that the flagrant exhibition of wealth that is on display at any regatta most certainly represents good capitalism.

That leaves me struggling to define bad capitalism.  I don’t think Naomi Klein (author of the The Shock Doctrine) would struggle too much.  In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world– through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

In observing the attitudes of young Czech’s at the turn of the century she observes, “Where communism saw them only as potential producers, capitalism sees them only as potential consumers; where communism starved their beautiful capital, capitalism has overfed it, turning Prague into a Velvet Revolution theme park.”

What strikes me about the concept is that it is so illustrative of our political rhetoric today.  The extremes that drive all debate: you’re good or bad, right or wrong, left or right.  Democracy is defined as “a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges”.  A successful democracy requires compromise, the only way to realize equality for all is for every one to give and take.  So, as we enter this holiday season, a decade into our new century, let’s hope for the gift of tolerance and understanding – without it, we may be witnessing the end of the greatest democracy in history.

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