I think when you describe capitalism as allowing but not forcing “profit above all else” you are downplaying the impact of one factor: wealthier companies and investors tend to buy or force out of business their competition.
It doesn’t always work that way. A privately owned company can be run however the owners like as long as they don’t run out of money. By reputation, Costco treats its employees well and they’re still around and still public.
But on average there’s a kind of natural selection at play, so the overall trend will always be downwards. I don’t have a better economic model to propose, but this race to the bottom is a fundamental flaw in capitalism.
Agreed. I am by no means suggesting that capitalism is perfect: it isn’t, and there are definitely financial incentives (and greed) that can skew companies in a negative direction. We all too often see companies and individuals that get greedy and become ruthless. This may be a semantic point, but I see this as primarily a flaw in people, not the system. The system can support both good actors and bad actors.
This is why I think we need to be realistic about the good and bad attributes of the system. For example, I think capitalism has wonderful benefits for rewarding people who work hard. As a small example, I run my own business, I work my arse off, and I am able to comfortably support my family. I do though consider myself to be a generally good person, and ethics are a key part of how I do business: I want to ensure that my clients and myself both derive value from our relationship (not just my own goals) and that this is all underlined with respect.
Capitalism does have a dark side though, and greedy people can also thrive in a capitalist society. This is why I think social services don’t work well if they are driven by profit-motivated companies: greed can invariably get in the way of a social conscience. This is why I do think government acts as a mediation for getting the balance right here, but then we also need to be mindful of the benefits and disadvantages of government too (e.g. governments are slow and bureaucratic).
As you say, and part of why I said this in the show, I think this is all just life. I don’t have another model to capitalism, and I think even if we did, it wouldn’t catch on. Capitalism wasn’t concocted in a lab, it is the natural system that fell out of people’s motivations, so I think we are best to embrace it and always work to ensure it works as humanely as possible.
I agree with most of what you said. But again, I think the nature of capitalism skews more companies than not in a negative direction because the more ruthless ones tend to beat the ethical ones.
I’m glad you’re able to make a living with things the way they are. I’m extremely fortunate, I make a good living as an experienced software developer. But I would call my path here 10% hard work and 90% luck. And for example I have one brother that’s been unemployed for almost a decade due to a chronic illness and another that had to restart his career after a work injury. (And he also had to take his former employer to court to get the surgery costs for his work injury covered.)
So I would say to anyone: bust your behind, find your niche, try try try and try again until you find a way to make an honest living. It’s the only thing we can do. But at the end of the day the whole game is more about luck than anything.
I get about 5-6 days out of mine. It’s a work phone that stays in Low Battery Mode so it can receive emails, PagerDuty pings and text messages. Calls get forwarded to my own phone so I can take calls in the car without major hassles.