Collectivist Capitalism vs. Compassionate Capitalism

AdamSmithGary Clifford Gibson writes at Another Working Blog in the Submergent Plutonomy:

This is actually a fairly simple distinction. Capitalism that grows from an individual or family’s personal work building assets without exploiting other people is compassionate capitalism, while the impersonal stock investment, M.B.A. networking trans-national globalism business approach is collectivist. The collectivists are cold-blooded while the small time capitalist is compassionate and cares about his own work and building up of resources.

Adam Smith, the modern spiritual founder of capitalism, wrote largely in support of compassionate capitalism inclusive of trade. There weren’t the sort of large-scale networked corporations in existence in his day that built up huge global capital advantages and leveraging monetary sophistication. It is quite a stretch to transmogrify The Wealth of Nations into a support for absolute abstract modern business practices and monetary policy. One must be disingenuous to extend Smith’s Wealth of Nations so far as that.

Adam Smith was a pragmatic economist and held the welfare of the people of England of his day-of the ordinary people, as being of first concern. He sought for methods to understand, improve and describe more ideal forms of economic methods. One of the fundamental challenges of his day was to liberalize trade and business from the corrupting control of concentrated wealth in the form of royal power or taxation that was not spent to advance the interests of the people of England.

Thus in the United States today compassionate capitalists may rightly oppose foreign military spending in badly thought out ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We know that jihad by the U.S. Government in Afghanistan is opposed by jihadists from Kashmir, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world. Our jihad is an economic one, for the military industrial complex makes a vast fortune on the enterprises, while the goal of preventing terrorist attacks through the installation of a toady regime in Kabul is unlikely to stop the sources of jihad in Pakistan, Kashmir and elsewhere. Better policy is required. What does the expense do to increase the standard of living of the poor and middle class in the U.S.A.?

Compassionate capitalist support a general increase of wealth in the United States for all citizens and of a healthy ecosystem. They have their eyes open and look at the real world and not just abstract profit and loss statements or throughput concepts and expanding networked, corporate power and market control.

Compassionate capitalist support practical limits on the opportunity for individual citizens to control other through the acquisition of monetary wealth and leveraged investments. Social capital may be perceived as differing from compassionate capital and should be limited. A democracy has the freedom to choose to limit the power that collective business enterprises may gain because of their capacity to oppress the citizenry and harm the security of the nation’s ecological environment. It is reasonable that a maximum percent of the gross national product held by any legally individual entity such as a corporation or individual might be set in order to prevent tyranny.

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  • Joey Cabal

    Smith warned of the existence of joint stock companies (corporations) would create a climate of rampant corruption by separating the owners from the day to day operations of the business by the managers. (executives)

  • Cortacespedes

    “Capitalism that grows from an individual or family’s personal work building assets without exploiting other people is compassionate capitalism. ”

    Without “exploiting”??? How does this work exactly? Has it ever been done? Does the author know what Capitalism is?

    I worked as a lead baker for one of these so called “compassionate Capitalists”. A small artisan shop, family run, quality “product”; “fun” surroundings.

    Lemme tell ya now, a bigger sack of tyrannical “hippie”overlords you’d be hard pressed to find. These so called “enlightened” employers enforced a “no breaks, no lunch, no benefits” workplace. Rising bread waits for no man; if you gotta eat; eat, bake, mix dough and grind wheat at the same time.

    My manager told me once, that the baking system they designed was done in such a way that you’d always be working in a “time deficit”. There was no way to get ahead of the game, in this way, the worker was always trying to “catch up”, and thus, would work faster.

    There are no such things as compassionate Capitalists.

    And any article that EVER mentions “free healthcare” needs to be immediately scrutinized. The medical profession does not violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Capitalism is capitalism. The growth imperative in pursuit of survival in a competitive market demands that costs be minimized as much as possible and profits be maximized on a timescale as short as possible. So of course every corner that can be cut will be cut.

    • Ted Heistman

      What do you think of this company http://www.woodmans-food.com/about/?

      What’s your solution?

      • Cortacespedes

        It’s almost exactly like Winco, a store we have out here in the west. The “employee owned”spiel is PR. The wages for a Winco worker are about the same as one who works for Walmart. And there is one really mysterious thing about the “employee owned”stores… why are they so anti-union?

        I do have a solution to my baking job problem, it would go something like this: I would have liked to have been “cut in”… not just me, mind you, but all of us. Real partnership, not PR. I was a very competent experienced baker, an asset…give me a percentage instead of a wage. Make me really responsible for success or failure. You keep your end of the deal, I’ll keep mine. Partnership mentality instead of master/servant.

        I’d also like to keep it small. That’s what would kill it as a capitalistic endeavor. Better to grow like a tree instead of a dandelion.

        Yeah, that wouldn’t be capitalism, it would probably be more like a cooperative.

        • Ted Heistman

          Woodman’s does seem to pay more. I had a buddy that worked there he said they paid $14 an hour to start as a night stocker. He said if you fuck around though and show up late they fire your ass!

          Incidentally is there anything preventing you from starting a small business as a baker and partnering with as many people as you like?

          When I lived in Madison, I bought most of my food at either woodman’s or Willy Street Co-op. I knew a guy who worked at the co-op to. Whatever the “co-op” thing does it apparently doesn’t eliminate working place drama and bitching and complaining!

          • Cortacespedes

            I’d really like to start a bakery. I think the biggest problem with that right now is market saturation. Those capitalist hippies have opened 7 stores in this region. Kneaders just opened a new store, and Crumb Brothers is up and coming.

            Tough market. Eh, my baking days are over.

          • Ted Heistman

            If that’s what you really want to do I think you should go for it!

          • Andrew

            Don’t take the business public and you’ll have less pressure to maximize profits.

  • BuzzCoastin

    any economic system based on money technology
    is doomed to suffer the effects of money
    you can’t have philanthropy with avarice
    you can’t have a money based system that can’t be gamed

    the Polynesians had an economic system based on gift giving
    no money, no ownership, just gift giving reciprocity
    the richest were the biggest gift givers

  • Ted Heistman

    I thought I was supposed to hate everyone who has more money than me? isn’t that what being part of the 99% is all about?

    • Andrew

      Money isn’t capital.

      • Ted Heistman

        armadillos aren’t reptiles.

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