As socio-political systems go, one rises above all others, trading on a now-dirty word to create the happiest, healthiest people on Earth. So why aren’t we all following their lead?
Our tendency in the West, as children of capitalism, is to measure costs, rather than value. Similarly, we more often focus on quantity than we do on quality.
These are critical distinctions, because the first of these favors whittling away at a thing until it is picked clean, while the other one favors building a thing up, so that it is robust and resilient.
Capitalism trades on one impetus above all others: how much can one squeeze out of a person or thing — a measure we call efficiency — to maximize profitability for the personal benefit of employers or owners, before we discard the spent resource, and find a fresh one to start the process anew. Whether we apply this philosophy to a human being, the land, a company or another sovereign nation with riches, capitalism can’t afford to grow a conscience.
In the free market, consciences are costly.
This is the antithesis of collectivism, whose primary goal is to build up increasing levels of broad-based, inclusive resilience and strength by applying the principle of personal accountability in the name of community, to maximize the long-term health of the whole. Paradoxically, by focusing on the whole, the wellbeing of every individual asset within it — human and otherwise — thrives. Collectivism necessitates the cultivation of consciences.
In the communal environment, it is individualism that is costly.
To distinguish these systems, we can say that one is parasitic, while the other is symbiotic.
One is reductive; the other, additive.
The only way that capitalism works for the community is in a mode of altruistic or collectivist governance. That is, with governing structures in which virtues and ethics are baked into the DNA of an enterprise.
NPOs and NGOs
In the capitalist market, these enterprises are called not-for-profit organizations, or NPOs. They are typically set up by individuals…