Last month, elites and a group of impressive foundations gathered in London for a neoconservative-sponsored event dubbed “Conference on Inclusive Capitalism: Building Value, Renewing Trust”. The event has an impressive premise:
Since the financial crisis of 2008, a significant debate has begun about how to improve capitalism so that it creates long-term value that sustains human endeavour without harming the stakeholders and broader environment critical to its success.
Inclusive Capitalism is a movement that seeks to respond to the serious dislocations caused by developments in the capitalism of the last 30 years: worldwide increases in income inequality, large-scale corporate and financial scandals and the fraying of public trust in business, historically high and persistent unemployment and short-term approaches to managing and owning companies.
At its core, Inclusive Capitalism is concerned with fixing the elevator of the economist Larry Katz’s famous analogy that portrays the American economy as an apartment block in which the penthouses have increased in size, the middle apartments are more and more squeezed, the basement is flooded, but what “gets people down the most” is that the elevator is broken.
I’m waiting patiently to see what productive value comes from this one-day event.
We all know the same thinking getting us into problems usually fails to get us out. These people are hardly the types to come up with brilliant ways to rid ourselves of capitalism’s blatant shortcomings. Neoconservatives? Really? Check out Inclusive Capitalism’s founding organization, then ask yourself: do I really expect change from this group?
One attendee and speaker, Harvard Economist Larry Summers, went great lengths detailing capitalism’s benefits. But barely acknowledged the system’s near sole ownership of humanity’s greatest man-on-man catastrophes:
- Turning slavery into a runaway economic terror machine
- Destroying indigenous populations worldwide
- Subjugating poor people world-wide to the wealthy class
- Limiting essential needs to those who earn them
- Destroying the planet
- And, most perniciously, creating that stalwart buffer (aka the middle class) between the rich and poor thereby ensconcing forever a distance between the haves and have-nots by making the have-nots feel they have, when really, they don’t.
I could go on, but you know all this already.
Which raises the question, given it’s huge failures and the public’s acknowledgement of those failures, why are our “great” leaders even attempting to, as one newspaper put it, make capitalism stronger.
God no. Not that.
Instead, perhaps our leaders should be creating a better way to run civilization, now that we all know capitalism is not working. Then again, maybe that’s too much to ask of our “Great leaders”.