23 things they didn’t tell you about Capitalism

Capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the others –  W. Churchill

I recently listened to a podcast talk by Ha Joon Chang, a true capitalist who debunks the myths about capitalism. He is S.Korean by descent and works on developmental economics at Cambridge University. His blunt and cutting approach tells you as it is – not as what it seems to be. His talk about the 23 things on Capitalism are absurd, counter intuitive and destroy the myths of the free market ideology.

Here are some of them:

  • There’s no such thing as free market: Politics have always determined the boundaries of market, thus shattering the myth of market rationality and efficieny
  • Companies should not be run in the interest of the legal owners: Since companies are owned by floating shareholders, they don’t have any long term committment in the company.
  • Markets are not fair, inefficient and don’t reward justly: A classic example of a bus driver in India fighting cows, pedestrians, cycles et all v/s a bus driver in Denmark!
  • Despite the fall of communism, we still live in planned economies
  • Financial markets need to become less efficient and not more, which will lead to really plunging falls
  • Making rich people richer doesn’t necessarily make the rest of the people richer
  • People in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than people in rich countries

Capitalism is seen at its best when countries are moving up in the value chain or in other words getting richer. India is classic example of the Ha Joon’s philosophy. While India is registering record level growth in the past recent years, it is ocurring in pockets of isolation -a huge sprawling mall next to a slum with extremely poor access through potholed roads and snarling traffic.

Capitalism has many different forms and we don’t need to follow the American style only. Japanese, Sweedish, German and Chinese also enjoy capitalistic fruits. Perhaps taking the best of each state and using that as an economic framework will be the right way to justify the 23 things laid out by Ha Joon.

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Comments

  1. My concerns with capitalism as it stands is the obsessive race towards greater profits, especially at the cost of people’s pay and/or employment. To maximize profit, they cut peoples benefits, then their pay, then the number of employees, then move the factory over seas. It is a race to the bottom, to see how little a corporation can pay it’s employees while still making record profits. It’s wonderful for the shareholders but not for the society as a whole. At least that is my opinion.

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