Capitalism can be social and democratic
Contrary to what many believe, the market is not anti-social or anti-democratic. In fact, it is precisely the opposite of that. Capitalism is a system of economic organization in which the means of production are privately owned and goods and services are produced by a community of individuals, for the other individual members of the community.
When resources are exploited in a certain way, it is because consumers want it that way. When enterprises produce exclusively for their own benefit and not for that of the community, it is because consumers want it that way. When technological innovation is predominantly proprietary and not open source, it is because consumers want it that way.
It is consumers, in their capacity to consume, who decide both the structure of production and the actual market outcome, by voting with their dollars. Consumers, like you and me, have all the power in the capitalist system. Substituting the social democracy of the marketplace with the coercive monopoly of a political elite is counterproductive and truly antisocial.
Consumers have the power to change the system
After you realize that it is you, and the millions of others who are like you, who really determine what the face of capitalism looks like, the door to social enterprise and for-benefit production is truly opened.
Now, it is true that a system where people vote with their money is a system where the wealthy are disproportionately powerful. Money is distributed unequally among the population, and a rich person has more voting power than a poor person. However, we are all consumers, and we, the 99%, are by far in the majority. The rich aren’t even close to having all the money in society.
Look around you. Luxury products such as laptops, broadband internet and home entertainment systems which used to be accessible to only a select few just a decade ago are now widely available for the masses at ever lower costs. Why? Because the masses demand it. Likewise, when the masses start demanding renewable energy and social investment, that is exactly what the market will provide.
Acting responsibly creates a responsible world
As you can see, corporations are not out of control. They are exactly what we want them to be. The state of the market is a direct reflection of our spending patterns and the values we espouse by voting with our dollars. The solution to the problems caused by our increasingly anti-social world is the advent of the social enterprise.
By organizing ourselves on a voluntary basis in social enterprises, by supporting social ventures and social entrepreneurs and by rewarding responsible corporations who make a positive social impact, we can truly change the world for the better.
Corporations aren’t ‘evil’, and neither is capitalism or the market. But power that is wielded at the barrel of a gun is. It is up to us, the consumers, the silent majority, to use the power invested in us by the democracy of the market, to bring about a new world. Not through force, but through voluntary interaction with one another.
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 15:58
Responsible ConsumerismWritten by Marquis Davis
Published in Social Enterprise
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