Confronting Capitalism, with George Swope
Thursdays from 1-3pm on 4/23, 4/30, 5/7, 5/14, 5/21. Note that this course will begin and end one week earlier than the others in this cycle.
Classes will be held at Wellfleet Preservation Hall (335 Main Street).
Milton Friedman, the laissez-faire capitalist professor, argued that “Capitalism has been a success story in improving the lives of people. Capitalism has delivered more growth and freedom than any other system.” Yet in the recent 20th annual Edelman Trust Barometer — an annual survey of 34,000 people across 28 countries that measures the public's trust in NGOs, business, government, and media — most people believe that modern day capitalism "does more harm than good in the world.” This divide is certainly reflected in our current political climate.
Capitalism--spanning a spectrum from laissez faire to authoritarian--shapes the market economies of all the wealthiest and fastest-growing nations. But does that mean it is perfect as is, and that we would not all benefit from an honest evaluation and reconstruction of the free market system that has shaped our country’s way of economic growth. The truth is capitalism needs to address its many issues. For instance, in the US, Europe, and Japan, economic growth has slowed down. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few; natural resources are exploited for short-term profit; and good jobs are hard to find.
Our text will be Philip Kotler’s Confronting Capitalism (available on Kindle). Using it as our guide, we will examine 14 major issues challenging capitalism, including: • Persistent and increasing poverty • Automation’s effects on job creation • High debt burdens • Steep environmental costs • Boom-bust economic cycles• and more. Each
week we will collectively discuss several of the issues Kotler identifies and his suggested resolutions, as well as our own thoughts and recommendations for a better economic system that yields more shared prosperity and equity.