How Many Types of “Good” Capitalism Are There?

It is no secret that capitalism has been in trouble for some time. This outmoded economic system continually increases tragedies of all kinds and cannot extricate itself from the perpetual crisis it finds itself in. Capitalism continues to fail to meet the needs of millions, at home and abroad.

In endless attempts to prettify, legitimize, rescue, benefit from, and extend the life of this transient economic system that is wreaking havoc every day, many capital-centered thinkers have advanced various types of “good” capitalism over the years to disinform the polity. These include:

  1. accountable capitalism
  2. managed capitalism
  3. ethical capitalism
  4. progressive capitalism
  5. conscious capitalism
  6. friendly capitalism
  7. people’s capitalism
  8. regulated capitalism
  9. stable capitalism
  10. fair capitalism
  11. sustainable capitalism
  12. inclusive capitalism
  13. social welfare capitalism
  14. responsible capitalism
  15. common good capitalism
  16. pure capitalism

In reality, these are oxymorons, irrational conceptions, false dichotomies, wishful thinking, and apologies for the status quo. They are a desperate attempt to portray capitalism as something other than capitalism, as something socially responsible, desirable, and worth preserving. Equating the category “capital” with its opposite is straightforward disinformation, not just intellectual laziness.

While capitalism has evolved over time and taken different forms, it has always centered on major owners of capital exploiting labor-power to maximize profit as fast as possible for themselves, resulting in economic and political power becoming more concentrated in the hands of fewer people. This has always been at the base of the capitalist mode of production. Capitalists cannot accumulate capital without exploiting labor-power, which is the only source of new value. Redistributing profits—commonplace under “casino capitalism”—is not possible without new value first produced in the productive sector, simply because what is not produced cannot be distributed. This conclusion is critical. It is why the stock market, which produces nothing, crashes or “corrects itself” regularly. Fictitious capital cannot stay permanently disconnected from productive capital. The chickens must eventually come home to roost.

While capitalists constantly invent new schemes to counter the inescapable law of the falling rate of profit, there are no new economic models of capitalism, per se. The laws of value, accumulation, and profitability all stand; they have not disappeared. Greater monopolization of economic sectors, more “financialization,” more advertising, casino capitalism, disaster capitalism, crony capitalism, printing phantom money, toxic and exotic financial instruments, and the rise of the so-called “rentier” economy are all direct products of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism between social production and private ownership. They are natural expressions of capitalism at a particular stage of economic development, not aberrations or anomalies. This is how capitalism is unfolding at this time.

The role of the aforementioned oxymorons and false dichotomies is to hide the fact that capitalism as an economic system is exhausted and cannot be “reset,” “renewed,” “fixed,” or “improved.” They pressure people into believing that an alternative to capitalism does not exist. Indeed, despite its many problems, capitalism is supposedly “the best” history has to offer.

As the end draws nearer for capitalism, irrationalism, disinformation, parasitism, violence, and all manner of treachery will intensify. In futile attempts to save capitalism, bizarre ideas and arguments will increase. Twisted logic and absurd statements is all the anticonscious ruling elite can offer in the final and highest stage of capitalism.

To be sure, global, national, and local private interests are not going to cede power voluntarily and support an alternative to capitalism. They are not going to suddenly become enlightened and embrace democracy and affirm the rights of all, including the right of the working class and people to reorient the economy to serve society and the people. This is not how things work in class-divided societies filled with many forms of violence, chaos, and rivalry. The rich are concerned only with their narrow financial interests, no matter the cost to society and the environment. They are opposed to a pro-social agenda that fosters social consciousness, unleashes the human factor, and humanizes the natural and social environment. They certainly do not want a diverse and self-reliant economy that meets the needs of all.

In this dangerous deteriorating context the working class and people need to become more vigilant, organized, and pro-active in order to fend off attacks on their rights. The working class and people must use well-established methods, as well as new and creative ways to deprive the rich of the power to deprive everyone else of their rights.

A society made up of an empowered polity directing the economy and all the affairs of society in a modern nation-building project is urgently needed. Decision-making power must not rest with the financial oligarchy if society is to move forward and human rights are to be affirmed. Major owners of capital are unfit to rule and are actively blocking the path of progress to society.

The working class and people are not interested in this or that type of capitalism. It is not about “bad” capitalism versus “good” capitalism. The working class and people are the negation of this anachronistic economic system and are eager to lead the historic fight for a new human-centered society and economic system free of competition, exploitation, and injustice. One humanity cooperating for mutual benefit and growth is simply not possible under capitalism. Capitalism blocks the affirmation of the common good. Raising the material and cultural well-being of all on a steady basis requires an alternative economic system, one that is free of capitalist social relations.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at Read other articles by Shawgi.