No, it does not have to be an oxymoron!
I have been one of the loud critics of Capitalism as a destructive force (having earlier been directly involved in propagating it). Then I started thinking about the concept in detail and after reading about the subjects of Capitalism and Sustainability, I also came across several articles that also cover Sustainable Capitalism.
I wish to start a discussion about Sustainable Capitalism.
I now believe that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Capitalism if it is devoid of GREED! Like any "ism", it is not in itself wrong. It is when we add the extremist human elements that we turn something beneficial into something extremely destructive.
How do we take the GREED out of Capitalism?
Like in every other area of life and business, "paradigm shifts always start from the outside" (author unknown). We can just look at Nokia and Kodak, to mention a couple of examples; both, industry giants with a pedigree, seem to have dissolved into thin air with the advent of the iPhone and then Android. So, if we study for example Apple, what one observes are 2 critical elements that have to be present in order for a paradigm shift to occur, obliterating the incumbents; something (product) revolutionary, and that masses (people) are prepared to pay for. Of course, then there is always the aspect of timing and execution.
Let's focus on the product and the people.
Before we do so however, let's explore why it is that I believe that GREED (extreme capitalism) is what is wrong with Capitalism. Look at any "successful" corporation; the first thing I would like you to notice is that, like me, you probably started thinking about financially successful corporations. However, I ask you, aren't there other aspects that must come into what we define as success; what about how much they are polluting our air, waters, soils and destroying forests? I think, in all fairness, one must balance financial success with environmental footprint and their humane approaches to staff (in the nineties we used to call it "triple-bottom-line", that turned-out to be just a marketing slogan, alas). For the sake of the argument, let's, for now, ignore these other extremely important aspects of success or lack thereof.
How the business model works today, is that these "successful" corporations, race around the world to get the cheapest labour (another form of slavery) in order to pay their management and owners, obscene amounts of money, they hide-away in off-shore banks behind impenetrable corporate structures. So, these corporations are “achieving” a few things; they are promoting lower wages, lining the pockets of those that best can extract sweat for least money (called managers), while killing billions of dollars that have been syphoned out of the economy within bank vaults of a handful of individuals, while in the meantime destroying our ecosystems; all the while avoiding taxes that are required to maintain societal infrastructures. Does this seem to be healthy Capitalism to you? Of course not, because it is Extremism, not what I believe Capitalism was meant to create. Furthermore, through shares and stocks, these same companies then syphon-off shareholders funds as they ride the stock market roller-coaster, which undoubtedly, with faster frequency, arrive at a crises-wipe-out moment like in 2008 (where small shareholders lose their shirts and the pre-warned executives maintain their wealth, not facing criminal or even civil justice).
So, what's the alternative?
The answer is simple but equally difficult to implement. In a few words it is “Capitalism, for the people, by the people”.
Capitalism, for the people, by the people (C4PXP)
In other words, distributed and shared capitalism. Simply by creating a new, “clean” ecosystem, matching conscientious investors with proven “clean” players, corporations and start-ups. Then mounting significant marketing campaigns to ensure people choose wisely.
Effectively, the “product” are the products that these “clean” organisations offer and the masses, are those people that consume and gain dividends.
Simple but not easy
When Sergio Marchionne, the then head of FCA (Fiat Chrysler) was asked why were the sales of the 2 new and brilliant vehicles, the Giulia and the Stelvio, so underwhelming, his answer was (and I paraphrase), “We built 2 amazing Teutonic class vehicles but never expected that the Germans would react so aggressively to defend their patch”!
It is no mean feat putting together a “clean” capitalist system, Sustainable Capitalism, the details could easily become overwhelming and require experts in many fields to ensure it gets going on a good footing. However, the real challenge is the fake news from lying organisations that we are already experiencing, just their reaction to global “green” protests is a sample. Imagine if an alternative emerges that exposes them and offers real solutions. The reaction of these incumbents with their billion-dollar budgets would be nothing short of an avalanche.
Would you go-out of your way to purchase a product from a company you partly own, sometimes maybe even paying a bit more?
We call it Sustainable Capitalism.
Imagine if the shareholders of your supplier are the consumers (you) by virtue of their custom. How and why would this work financially? In an ecosystem of a company, a profitable organisation or a corporation, there are many costs that go into the P&L that result in a profit or a loss for that business. So imagine if that same company diverts one (1) cost-item in the P&L, the part that is syphoned-off to offshore banks, into better pay to staff, better healthcare for its staff, better working environments for their staff, better products, better climate and ecosystem conscious processes, paying for any environmental damage and that the surplus goes back in dividends to those individuals that buy that company’s products. We are talking of billions of dollars that get redistributed here. Clearly the point here is not about dividends, but sustainable and healthier living for the many not the few.
Now imagine if the products that that company makes are either renewable energy products or, in any case, products that do not harm the environment, vetted through C4PXP screening.
We call this Sustainable Capitalism, C4PXP (Capitalism, for the people, by the people). Referring to the “paradigms always shift from the outside” slogan (and as they have already proven), one cannot expect the wealthy 1% to hand over their billions and turn Destructive Capitalism into Sustainable Capitalism. C4PXP is an outsider that intends to start a revolution that saves the planet.