Democratic Capitalism

Democratic capitalism is the only system in human history that has empowered people to escape poverty by the billions. [Arthur Brooks]

Is this true?

I think of China, and since 1917, I’m confident that billions have escaped poverty under communism.

So, I feel that Brooks’ statement is a very ethnocentric evaluation of democratic capitalism.

But perhaps China’s success was in large part dependent on American democratic capitalism.

There are a lot of thoughts I have on the concept of capitalism. In life there are winners and losers, and history is written by the victor, which taints our perception of the good that prevails. Good for whom? Those who agree to subscribe to the institutions utilizing democratic capitalism for their benefit? How may lives have been lost as a result of the exploitation of democratic capitalism? (and democratic for whom? Americans?

Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” does a fantastic job chronicling the story of the “losers”, and it is much more macabre and subtle than history likes to remember.

Is any capitalistic society truly democratic?

It seems to me that democracy consistently breaks down as inequality increases.

I feel that America was most democratic when land was abundant, which is why democracy thrived so successfully here for so long. But as wealth concentrates and centralizes in the hands of a few, and property ownership and wealth decline, democracy seems to be eroding.

There was an interesting economics paper titled Economic Inequality and its Socioeconomic Impacts (Thorbecke 2002) that showed that as inequality rose in various countries, civil rights increased. Its as if governments attempt to pacify growing economic discontent with granting civil rights.

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