The Capitalist Manifesto is a book by Louis O. Adler , a neo-Thomist philosopher. Kelso and Adler detail the three principles of economic justice, Participation , Distribution , and Limitation. In the Preface, Adler acknowledged Kelso as the originator of the theory. The Capitalist Manifesto was on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller List in February and March of , ranking 15th and 13th, respectively, and was reviewed in a number of major publications, including Time , which stated that the book presents its analysis as "a revolutionary force in human affairs offering still unplumbed promise for the future," and that it "refutes the charge that capitalist thought has lost the imaginative flexibility to cope with the challenges of the age.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Gorge yourself on some tart smelling salts. And get this: it's all going to be up to the you-and-me of the voting public to lean on our elected representatives to nudge capitalism towards modernity by enacting a law that says:. Every CEO who makes democracy happen in his or her corporation within the first 10 years of the program, gets a lifetime tax holiday. So now there is something noble for you to do, my fellow-capitalist. An actual social mission above and beyond your dedication to the making of moolah: start pressing your government for a payback when you democratize yourself — and enjoy a bigger tax cut than ever imagined by those zombie puppets of predator capitalism, the GOP aka the Greatly Outnumbered Party.
Steve Jobs of Apple would, for sure. But how many others?
The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business
If only CEOs were self-aware enough to know they're not only caging their workers, but themselves: the potential of everyone — management and labor alike — is locked down-and-out on the stultifying top-down feudal plantation command economy of 19th century capitalism. But under our widely accepted and highly admired system, we just have to cope with the results of dictatorship-predator capitalism: cars and burgers that wreck our environment and endanger life on earth; HMOs that deny us operations that could save our lives; and CEOs who make more money in a day than their workers make in a year.
In fact, when it comes to making wise business decisions, it's a good rule to trust workers and their unions more than CEOs and their bail-out backstops in government. The pamphlet was written by the research department of the United Auto Workers Union. When the war ended, the union had a strike at GM with demands that included putting union and public representatives on GM's board, something GM was too dumb to go for.
Hey, these dirty-nailed workers are not our class, darling. But the Union fought on, and most of the things that let workers into the middleclass — like annual cost-of-living adjustments — were invented by them against the wishes of the CEOs. They funded Cesar Chavez's farm workers union. They provided their conference center in Port Huron, Michigan to the Students for a Democratic Society to write their manifesto.
They helped the National Organization for Women get started. They helped fund the first Earth Day. And the UAW has been agitating for national healthcare all along. Our workers are the lifeblood and backbone of capitalism. Unaccountable CEOs are the terrorists of capitalism. When all workers everywhere have the basic right to vote for their CEOs, we'll have democratic capitalism, and the US will indeed become a shining city on a hill.
We're stuck with labor and management being enemies, when they should be friends working with the same purpose and motivation. We're stuck with mutual fear and hatred and rage instead of comity and community in the workplace. Workers live in fear of management, because they can be fired for any or no reason. Management lives in hatred of labor, because they think of them as costs that mess up their profits. Management wants machines for workers, and they're stuck with people. The workplace is like a dysfunctional family — rigid, disciplinarian, abusive Dad vs.
We have workers who try to get away with working as little as possible for as much money as possible, and managers who work as long and hard as possible for as much money as possible: not a good life for either. Workers don't have the satisfaction of being committed to their work, and managers don't have the time left over from work to be committed to the satisfaction of family life. Call me a dreamer. How do you make companies accountable to the greater society and our planet and our environment when they're driven by the profit motive?
Well, you can do it without being moral at all. Just make business accountable. The capitalist solution to this conundrum is simple: every business has to eat its own costs. Let me explain. Take America's dying auto industry, once the most powerful in the world, that made the weapons with which we won WW2.
It makes cars and trucks. But we pay for the roads and bridges, and the traffic lights, and the polluted environment from gas emissions, and the health costs from car accidents that kill more than a million people a year. As the mantra goes, under capitalism businesses privatize profits and socialize costs. Martin Luther King nailed it when he said capitalism is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.
Under a democratic, accountable capitalism, businesses will have to step up and pay for their costs themselves. The immorality of business only happens because it has been able to outsource its costs to the rest of society. If corporations had to pay top-dollar for polluting the environment, they would stop polluting the environment.
If tobacco growers had to pay the medical bills of those people they give lung cancer to, they might decide to switch to growing fava beans or Golden Delicious apples. If global finance companies have to account for the social costs of imploding derivatives by paying unemployment insurance to the millions of Americans who've lost their jobs because of this reckless gambling, they might cut down on their trade in risky derivatives.
What can one say? Fuck me with a blowdryer. Paint me yellow and call me a banana. The mind boggles into a fog of boggledom. Extravagant analogies fail me, and I've got the market in extravagant analogies cornered. Let me try. It's as mind-begoggling as Newton espying the grandeur of gravity in a fucking apple, or Blake seeing a world in a grain of sand and holding infinity in the palm of a hand.
It's as stomach-bechurning asa mom seeing the freedom of single womanhood waltzing out the front door as she plaintively scoops poop from her squealing baby's bottom at three o'clock in the morning while her husband snores blissfully in bed and her nipples hurt like two little fires burning her dreams of being the first violinist in the Berlin Philharmonic to ashes smoking fitfully at the bottom of a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.
Something like that. Anyway, you get the idea. Businesses have to eat their own costs, and bingo! The way the factory farms of agribusiness treat animals is absurdly cruel and monstrously evil — caging living creatures together as tightly as skeletons in a mass grave, so confined that beaks have to be snipped and tails clipped to stop them from tearing each other to pieces in claustrophobic rage and sorrow.
This has to be addressed by special legislation. One day we will surely stop eating our genetic cousins, and then this legislation won't be necessary. Eighteen percent of all greenhouse emissions in the world come from methane-farting livestock. The sooner we stop eating red meat, the better for our health and our planet.
Agriculture should anyway be returned to small farmers all over the world, since subsidized agribusiness doesn't do much to solve world hunger, which is the big moral problem of our time facts to chew on: a billion humans are hungry to the point of famine; two billion people depend on the food grown by million small farmers in developing countries; these farmers' debt burdens have driven , Indian farmers to suicide. It can only be solved if each country grows its own food, and maybe if most regions and areas and cities and towns and hamlets and garrets and even most families grow their own local food in their own back garden lots, and apartment dwellers grow food on their window sills and rooftops.
Flying food around the world pollutes the planet. Gardening is the best hobby in the world: if our kids grew up nurturing nature, waiting for fluffy clouds to water seedlings into pretty flowers and colorful veggies, we'd be a nicer, kinder, better world. What about taxation, so hated by the Reaganauts and the Thatcherites? It has to become heavily progressive again, like it was before Reagan was put in charge by a cabal of Californian CEOs and ruined the Golden Age of American Capitalism when the middleclass expanded dramatically and a family could live on one paycheck and CEOs didn't pay themselves to times what their workers made.
And there should be a tax on all financial transactions. Human rights need a bit of looking at, too, especially equal rights for women. You wouldn't want your sister to grow up in an Arab or African or Asian country. Oppressing women is an economic cost on society, perhaps the biggest cost currently preventing the world from becoming a capitalist paradise. It halves the potential of an economy. The rights of all humans should be expanded in our democracies, plutocracies and dictatorships — to include the inalienable right of everyone to food, health, shelter, legal and military protection, education and free expression.
It may be that all those goods and services should be provided by the state, for free, out of our collective taxes. These rights may be too vital to be left to the machinations of the private sector, too precious to be ruled by the profit motive. It looks like agriculture and finance — the food that fuels humans, the credit that fuels business — may be in need of either government takeover or intrusive regulation to steer them away from too-big-to-fail-or-function monopolistic practices in the West.
Feudal capitalism breeds monopolies — Microsoft and Google are the latest examples of big business crowding out small businesses — and government's job is to break them up when they happen, and to prevent mergers when bankers and CEOs drool at the hefty fees involved and forget that mergers only work for their short-term pocketbooks but never for any actual long-term business prospects. Not even the omnipotences of the Christian, Islamic and Hindu gods spliced into one Supergod know what the government was thinking when they forced Bank of America to swallow Merrill Lynch and give themselves years of merger heartburn.
The financialization of the American economy is a travesty of common sense. Casino capitalism as opposed to value-producing capitalism is a waste of human effort. As for the goddam Fed, it should be made accountable to somebody — perhaps the President. It's the most undemocratic invention ever, created and staffed by banks to oversee banks, giving one man the authority to throw around trillions. As for the rich, they should be forced — yes, fucking FORCED — to use their wealth productively instead of hoarding it in hedge funds.
All that money is just sloshing around instead of being productively invested to start new businesses. Personally I see no place for the gambling of securitization and credit-default swaps in a healthy capitalism. Heard about use value and exchange value and surplus value?
Let me introduce you to the value of credit-default swaps: Vegas value. Credit-fault swaps are about spreading risk so far and wide, the whole system is at risk. The Chinese would have to make toy fart balloons for a million years before they'd get up to that Vegas value. These toxic viruses were invented in ; before that the world got along fine. What the hell is the raison d'etre of these financial weapons of mass destruction? A CDS is betting that a party will default on their obligation. Hey, let's bet on the fact that we're fuckups. What kind of a system bets on its own failure?
This is not the creative destruction of capitalism; it's the destructive destruction of capitalism. It's betting that capitalism will default, which it obligingly does, seeing as its practitioners are willing to bet it will. While we're at it, I don't see much use for private banks either. Obviously they can't do their jobs; they'd rather speculate than finance businesses. The state runs schools, the police, the army, and should run health. Just the job for a boring government bureaucrasy, I should think.
The government is the solution, not the problem. The greatest advance of the last 30 years, the Internet, was invented by the government. Against the excesses of capitalism, there is only one defense: the nation state. The militarization of the American economy is ridiculous.
It must mean one of two things: either we're the biggest bullies in the world, or the biggest sissies. Our government spends more than half our tax dollars — the so-called discretionary spending part — on the Pentagon, which is more than the rest of the world spends on its armies combined. We have over overseas military bases. For what? What is the Department of Defense defending us against? Sensible spending of our money? Why aren't they called the Department of Attack? Talk about rampant socialism: the military-industrial-Congressional complex is simply a government handout to corporations who make things we don't need, to do things we shouldn't do.
What a circus: weapon systems sophisticated enough to fight alien invaders from the Planet of the Borgs or Klingons but useless against insurgents armed with nothing more than AKs, IUDs and the joy of killing Americans; cost overruns running over the moon and back; workers making guns instead of butter, beds, blenders and bulldozers. This boondoggle has no connection with capitalism: it's command-economy Soviet-style communism in action.
It may also be a fair legal point to make everyone in a corporation — workers and management alike — personally responsible for any harm the corporation causes, instead of moving legal obligations over to the corporate entity, which is a way of escaping personal responsibility. And we may have to get used to the fact that there is a limit to growth — that developing economies need it, but developed economies don't — and that the solution to overproduction is to stop stimulating demand, and for all of us to seek happiness in our personal lives instead of in junky stuff.
Research shows that beyond a minimum point of material security, more money makes nobody happier. Moreover, growth by polluting corporations has pitched our only planet into becoming unfit for human life by the time our grandchildren bear children, which should make us all desperately unhappy unless clean, green energy becomes our universal 1 agenda of all time — a challenge bigger than capitalism itself, that only a modernized capitalism can face.
Current capitalism — caged in its extractive and non-sustainable stage — caused this problem, and is bound to lose this fight. What to do about our elite? You can't trust them from one generation to the next. Bush Sr was a fairly responsible president with a sense of noblesse oblige. Yet he raised a son who blackened the family name forevermore, plunged the US into two unnecessary wars, stood by helpless while the sea washed an American city away, dug the economy into a grave of debt, buried the GOP under the ideological rubble of absurd unreason, and sanctioned torture.
That Bush Sr was a terrible parent? That Bush Jr was one exceptionally dumb puppet? It's a drama out of Sophocles by way of Ionesco. Like the poor, the elite will always be with us. Privilege breeds entitlement. Entitlement breeds indifference.
Its goal is to remake our economic system — and the Democratic Party.
Indifference breeds scorn. Scorn breeds condescension. Condescension breeds pride.
Which comes before a fall. There's just no getting round the vicious circle. Privilege corrupts. Total privilege corrupts totally. The poor are said to leech on society, but the privileged are full-bore vampires. The bloodlust of our vampire elite is as rampant as a trillion ticks on heat, and can barely be bottled up by democracy. Our income inequality, now back to Gilded Age proportions, is the direct result of the usurious greed of our elite. I don't know what happens at elite universities, but obviously they don't know how to teach their students — the future leaders of our democratic yet capitalist nation states — the first thing about social responsibility.
Maybe we should make this an entrance requirement to any Ivy League college: go work as a community organizer in some urban ghetto for a year first. America has plenty to choose from. Rub the noses of the elite for a good year of daily exposure in the downer of extreme poverty, and they might emerge with half a heart and a moral compass that points more or less north. Either that or a No-Child Policy for all millionaires.
These eight points, although important, are all supplemental considerations when it comes to the urgent business of discouraging capitalism from choking on its obvious contradictions like a teenager risking accidental death for a bigger orgasm by masturbating himself with one hand while strangling himself with the other. The fundamentals are really simple, and summed up in Evert's three-point plan for modernizing capitalism and giving it a human face:.
Bernstein has done what no conservative or libertarian proponent of capitalism has even dared try: to defend it on moral grounds. This book will revolutionize American culture if read by every college student.
The Capitalist Manifesto Book Review
All in all, a remarkable achievement. Bradley Thompson, Ph. Hopefully, it will be adopted as a textbook both here and abroad with foreign editions and translations. Bernstein's seminal work is a triumph in the crusade for freedom and individual rights. We certainly need more books like this.
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While ably recounting how capitalism became the world's most practical social system, he also explains precisely why this was so: because it was the world's only supremely moral system. Table of Contents.