Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cooperativism or Balanced Capitalism

It is time for something new.  Unregulated pure capitalism has proven to be as detrimental to the majority as socialism has been in practice. Unregulated capitalism has left us with an extremely concentrated wealth and ravaged other countries resources in ways not unlike early colonialism. We need something different. It's time for a Bourdieu doxa moment of realization. 

I attended a chakra balancing session at my yoga studio the other night. (Go ahead and roll your eyes.) I don't really understand what chakras are or that I believe in them. I just like to try new things. Well, the relevance here is that at the end of the session she started talking about contested dates for the end of the Mayan calendar. She explained that she thought the two dates described a period of shifting and that she thinks we are basically in the midst of a paradigm shift. This reminded me of The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler that I read in college. The book describes the time period in which Western European thought made a major paradigm shift. The chakra session leader noted the global uprising against our current economic values and asserted we are not happy with the way things are and that she thinks things are beginning to shift. 

I've also been reading in magazines such as Yes! and in online articles and videos about new ways of doing business. Social entrepreneurialism, in particular, catches my attention. There is so much emphasis now on business models more like Tom's Shoes, businesses that benefit the customer, the employees and owner, and the greater community. These businesses thrive best in a capitalist environment and shy away from any taboo labels such as socialist. I think they are portents of what's to come though and what we should all be advocating for. 

Cooperativism or, if that sounds too radical, balanced capitalism is how I would describe my ideal vision for our economy, both globally and at home. Cooperativism is business that is beneficial to all stake holders. Profit becomes only one of goals with value rather than the only goal of value. Our resources and the sustainable use of those resources from extraction to disposal has equal value to profit from product. The life of the product and it's disposal, benefit to community and need has equal value to profit. The health and wellbeing of those that create the product has equal value to the product itself. Most importantly, corporations do not have equal value to the individuals that make up that corporation. 

Things like those single serving coffee makers would be devalued since they create an enormous amount of waste....