Capitalism-Doomed or Adapting?Have you ever really stopped to think about capitalism? How do you define it? Some definitions are more loaded than others if you look at the various links in this Google search However, if you own or lead a business, you are definitely participating in this system.

Describing the system to ourselves

There are so many words to describe the way we think about capitalism. There are variations on how capitalism is expressed if you start looking at how some corporate entities are state-owned to the mixed economy type.There are advocates for free markets, laissez-faire or free enterprise as if they are infallible. Other people raise questions about how money is distributed, how workers are treated by their employers or the potential for creating instability. No matter where you fall philosophically, the flaws in the system brought a great deal of havoc in 2008 and we’re still dealing with the consequences.

The flaws are the issue.

There are fierce debates in many countries about how to regulate this system. Certainly one of the most famous critique of capitalism is Das Kapital by Karl Marx. When we are faced with troubled companies that are “too big to fail” and they can harm a national or even global economy, something is amiss. It’s easy to blame the elite rich or labor unions or whomever is your target but at the end of the day, we’re still participating in this system.  There are ethical questions about what happens to the widening gap between each economic class, unemployment and consumerism. How do we talk about the flaws of capitalism?

The process of redefining capitalism

Perhaps it would have been more accurate to say it’s a process of redesigning capitalism. One movement has been sustainability. While it is often associated with green technology and environmentalism, sustainability also includes developing business models that can respond well to stressors and successes. Even in Nouriel Roubini’s post, “Is Capitalism Doomed?” the question lies in how we think about people and what makes them productive more than exploiting markets. There is also more expressed desires for a flexible work-life balance and work that has meaning and purpose. Where does this fit in?

Join the conversation.

It behooves us to not ask ourselves what we believe about capitalism and how we want to create businesses that are sustainable. This is the business climate we’re in and the turbulence isn’t going away in a hurry. We can choose to continue supporting current practices, foster a revitalized system or eliminate capitalism as we know it altogether. It may not be a clear answer but your answer is part of conversation.

In the next #kaizenblog (Twitter chat) on Friday, September 9th at 12pm ET/5pm BST/9am PT we’re discussing this topic. Please join us and add your thoughts and expertise. If you can’t join in on Twitter, please add your comments below.

Which aspects of capitalism are still relevant to the current economic climate?

What trends are you noticing in discussions about capitalism?

What is changing on a micro-level (within your business community) that is sustainable?