Here are four various economic systems, explained in brief fashion from my point of view.
Capitalism is where people swim at their own risk as they try to earn for themselves what they want—despite the fact that there’s always danger to the society from the powerful among the greedy and corrupt.
Socialism and Communism are where the powerful among the greedy and corrupt are put in charge under the promise of eliminating danger to the society from the powerful among the greedy and corrupt.
(Yes, that’s your brain telling you to stop and think about this a bit before you move on.)
American Capitalism is where the powerful among the greedy and corrupt are put in charge, ostensibly to keep the society out of Socialism and Communism, because we all know that the danger to society from the powerful among the greedy and corrupt is really serious.
(You should probably stop and think about this, too. “American Capitalism”, by the way, is simply the name I chose to describe “Capitalism” as it is currently being run in the US.)
Jack’s Capitalism is where the majority figure out that there are indeed some reasonable limits to personal wealth and power, so they are proactive and diligent about keeping the greedy and corrupt from becoming powerful enough to cause major damage to the society.
(Sorry to name this after myself, but it seemed the easiest way to talk about it without getting it confused with existing names for alternative forms of Capitalism.)
Why We Can’t Probably Have Jack’s Capitalism
For a system like I envision to work, you’d have to have a considerably higher percentage than we currently do of people who are cognitively/morally enlightened and motivated enough to envision a realistic improvement upon society, and to work to make it so. Currently, in the United States most who regret what goes wrong with Capitalism in general are swayed that either Socialism/Communism or American Capitalism are the best remedy.
And this should not surprise us as the powerful among the greedy and corrupt are also in charge of the American education system, the mainstream media, social media, communications technologies, and, I fear, even of the major church denominations. There’s just so much influence to steer people to either of these two bad remedies—and once they’ve chosen one, to distract them from doing their own thinking by fomenting hatred for and outrage over the opposite camp.
In my estimation, it would take a massive organic campaign among the people to overcome this—something on the order of a major religious movement, the likes of which this world has not seen since what Jesus accomplished in the First Century AD—one that influences the way that the people live and think, and the extent to which they are willing to invest and sacrifice themselves for a greater cause. (Good luck getting Americans to put any sort of limitations on riches and power when so many are hoping to become rich and powerful themselves.)
However it happened, the radical philosophy of Jesus has been extensively watered down since he was here, and those few in the churches that glean those original teachings from the scriptures today tend to do so not because of the churches to which they go, but actually in spite of them. Whether the churches are under the direct control of the powerful among the greedy and corrupt, or are simply under the influence of the prevailing philosophy the powerful are promoting everywhere, I think it would take something very powerful indeed to turn the heads of enough Americans to bring about any substantial reform in our political/economic system. As it is, there are too many “solutions” being put forth in our hearsay/meme culture—keeping us divided—and not enough actual examiners among us to figure out that most of them aren’t going to work.
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”Mark Twain. Autobiography. 1907.
And where are we going to get more examiners? Who’s going to train them en masse?
Now, let me state for the record that I don’t think that Jesus came promoting a formal economic system. But I will say that his Golden Rule, as we call it, would utterly destroy the system we have. And those who voluntarily play by the Golden Rule here on this Earth often are abused here, though they are said to receive great rewards in that next world. You’d need a lot of folks willing to give up power and fortune here in order to steer the whole society into a better economic system. Yet Jesus seemed to expect that only a “narrow gate” would be necessary to accommodate the good guys, while the wide gate would be for the bad guys.
So I’m not sure what to expect. Obviously, we could do better. But how much remains to be seen.