Free Markets, Free People
Davos elite: Capitalism is the problem
That is certainly the premise at work in Davos as “political and economic elite”, who’ve served us so well to this point, meet to
plot discuss modifications to capitalism.
Economic and political elites meeting this week at the Swiss resort of Davos will be asked to urgently find ways to reform a capitalist system that has been described as "outdated and crumbling."
"We have a general morality gap, we are over-leveraged, we have neglected to invest in the future, we have undermined social coherence, and we are in danger of completely losing the confidence of future generations," said Klaus Schwab, host and founder of the annual World Economic Forum.
"Solving problems in the context of outdated and crumbling models will only dig us deeper into the hole.
"We are in an era of profound change that urgently requires new ways of thinking instead of more business-as-usual," the 73-year-old said, adding that "capitalism in its current form, has no place in the world around us."
Show me “capitalism” at work somewhere, please? Social welfare, in its current form, driven by high taxation and deficit government spending, is what “has no place in the world around us”.
The dirty little secret these “elite” won’t admit was that their premise that capitalism could forever fund their social welfare states is absolutely wrong and failing. They’ve killed the goose that laid the golden capitalistic eggs. It isn’t “capitalism” that is failing. It is their social welfare system that is “outdated and crumbling”.
These are just the same people who got us into this mess trying to shift the blame from unsustainable policies founded in socialism to something which has kept their socialist utopias functioning for more years than they would have had it not been there.
And we should also be precise about what it is that has kept them stumbling along this long … a mixed economy, not capitalism. A mixed economy which has featured less and less capitalism as the years have gone by. Capitalism in its defined form exists in few, if any places in this world.
Margret Thatcher’s warning that the only thing wrong with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money has come true … again. The agony was only prolonged because some free market mechanisms were left to at least partially function over all these decades that the Europeans (and now Americans) were constructing their little social welfare houses of cards. The elite simply refuse to see that reality and now seek another target to which they can shift the blame. The ultimate in “can kicking”.
The eurozone’s failure to get a grip on its debt crisis and the spectre this is casting over the global economy will dominate discussions.
"The main issue would be the preoccupation with the global economy. There will be relatively less conversation about social responsibility and environment issues — those tend to come to the fore when the economy is doing well," John Quelch, dean of the China European International Business School, told AFP.
"The main conversation will be about a deficit of leadership in Europe as a prime problem," he added.
The deficit in leadership isn’t just found in Europe. It is found worldwide. And it isn’t a deficit of leadership from capitalists, but instead a deficit of leadership within the ranks of the political elite. They continue to do or try to do the same things that have gotten us into this mess and expect different outcome. We all know how Einstein defined such activity.
It is interesting to note, too, that the Euro elite are now ready to pitch “social responsibility (however they define that – does that mean the welfare state?) and environmental issues” over the side.
But, in fact, it is more than just that which they should be considering abandoning. The problems they face do not find their root in a capitalist system or within capitalism itself. In fact, capitalism could be their savior, if they only gave it an opportunity.
However, they’d also have to abandon most of the social welfare state to do so.
No, their primary problem is to be found with the institution that has attempted to control their economies and which constantly gets in the way of any capitalistic successes in the name of social justice.
Government. And more to the point, government spending driven by high taxes and borrowing. It requires a deficit in intelligence not to understand that.
In essence Davos will be the elite – the social welfare elite – trying their hardest to shift blame on a system they’ve done the most to try to kill over the decades (even while using it to extend the life of their social welfare states).
Controlling government, taxation that provides disincentives to business, labor rules that prohibit firing bad employees, mandated early retirement and generous welfare benefits are not the problem of capitalism.
They are the problem of large, intrusive and socialist leaning governments.
But, apparently, that won’t be a part of the discussion in Davos.