Ever since the Business Roundtable’s announcement last year of its advocacy of “stakeholder capitalism”, the notion that customers, employees, vendors, and suppliers are co-equal in strategic priority with corporate shareholders, the term as become the new buzzword in elite circles. Even Sen. Marco Rubio has chimed in with his version, which he calls “Common Good Capitalism”. So it is no surprise that it was kicked around extensively in January in Davos at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, and many speakers indicated in no uncertain terms that “capitalism as we have known it is dead”, meaning the obsession we have with maximizing profits for shareholders alone, which many globalists blame for economic inequality and other world crises such as climate change.
Then along comes the current rise of populism and nationalism around the world, which are anathema to a globalist and “Davos man”, who tout the supremacy of supranational agencies and agreements, which empowers unaccountable elites and technocrats who “know better”. Think the European Union. There are no binary choices here–we’ll need a mix of globalism and nationalism. In this spirit, R. R. Reno, editor of First Things magazine, has given some thought to questions that need consideration, primarily as they apply to Americans:
- Should there be limits to globalization? If so, then set by whom and toward what end?
- Can we make the global economy work for high school-educated Americans?
- How should we respond to mass migration?
- What is the future of American global leadership?
- What is the role of the nation-state in the 21st century?
Finally, it’s worth remembering that the nation-state remains the most successful model for enhancing human freedom, economic advancement, and individual flourishing in world history.
Vern Wuensche says
Leave free enterprise alone and all Americans will be fine!
robert gruy says
None of the “wise men” promoting this concept have read Adam Smith and thus can’t appreciate “the invisible hand” idea. The benefits of operating a business to maximize profit helps all stakeholders; employees, vendors and suppliers all benefit from a profitable enterprise.
Victoria Wind says
I guess types or flavors of capitalism will ebb and flow depending on the feel-good trend du jour, but until profit-seeking at the direction of consumer choice is severely disrupted or retarded, I can’t believe that capitalism is dead no matter what we choose to label it. These relabeling exercises are a joke, and those economists should be embarrassed. Davos, for sure, should throw off more for us than this. What is more of a threat to capitalism is government and supra-government schemes to regulate and impede the creativity that capitalism spawns.