In my infinite journey to find a poli/philo/spiritual doctrine that fits my personal beliefs and will also work out in reality I stumbled upon socio-capitalism. From what little I’ve read (wikipedia and a couple of online articles) socio-capialism seems pretty good. It basically combines some of the best ideas from capitalism (incentives, property rights, free enterprise) and socialism (social responsibility, minimum living standards, promotion of fair-play) into one overarching concept.
I have to admit, at first glance this concept seems right up my alley, however, I literally just started reading about this stuff a day ago. I also went on Amazon and bought one of the only books on the topic I could find. “Social Capitalism: In Theory and Practice” which is a three volume set by Robert Corfe. Just from glancing through the pages via Amazon.com it seems more like a text book you would buy in college than a leisure book, but hopefully I can work my way through it and be able to speak intelligently on the subject in a few weeks.
Strangely, during my search of material there were only a handful of books that covered the theory (as opposed to capitalism or socialism in which there are hundreds) so this could be a great opportunity for me to weigh in on the subject. Just from my limited research on the concept of social capitalism I figured I would briefly touch on a couple concepts that on the surface seem promising.
One advantage claimed by Social Capitalism is an increased stability of economies that results from careful government regulation. Regulation should be as limited as possible so that Tier-One participants can generate the greatest GDP. However, regulation is needed to ensure that individuals do not exploit markets for personal gain at the expense of market growth and stability.
Another potent advantage under Social-capitalist theory is the clear real-world distinction between individuals who fall into the two tiers. Tier one individuals have steady incomes that allow them to function without private or government support. Tier two individuals cannot meet the prevailing standard of living and rely on private or government support. The largest portion of this group includes:
- Poor families dependent on government housing and food stamps
- Children who depend on public and private educations to become participants in the marketplace
- Elderly persons who no longer earn wages necessary to meet the prevailing standard of living
- Low-income criminals who require police intervention.
This excerpt touches on a fundamental issue that I believe is important to understand. One, the importance of the free market and two the importance of taking care of the lower class. A fundamental flow of pure capitalism is that not everyone can be wealthy – there fundamentally has to be poor. Socio-capitalism recognizes that fact and addresses it.
I grew up extrememly poor myself. My parents in no way valued education or “higher” forms of thought or research. Luckily public education and grants helped me go to school and college. Without those social programs in place I and many others would probably have been lost to capitalism. Neo-Conservatives and extremest often fail to value the contributions (and potential contributions) of a productive or potentially productive lower class. As a friend pointed out in my article yesterday – the benefits of research could also be lost in a pure capitalistic environment, but have a chance for funding and the benefit of all in a socio-capitalistic environment.
– free markets
– property rights
– limited role of government in business (except as a promoter of fair play)
– a foreign policy against nation building or policing of other nations
– a government based on morality and social benefit
– social programs encouraging the second tier to thrive (education etc.)
I will be doing more research over the next few weeks/months and hopefully I can enlighten myself and maybe a few readers on this concept. Hopefully it is something worth thinking about.