Community reaction to doubts about capitalism in Davos
"Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the
world around us."
It was a bold statement, perhaps especially so because of
who made it: Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and chairman of the World
"We have failed to learn the lessons from the financial crisis of 2009," Schwab, a longtime capitalist, told powerbrokers from around the world at the forum's annual conference this week.German Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum, speaks during a briefing session Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland.. (Laurent Gillieron/Associated Press)
"A global transformation is urgently needed and it must start with reinstating a global sense of social responsibility."
CBC News Chief Political Correspondent Terry Milewski noted how rare such remarks are from a capitalist club insider. He contrasted Schwab's unexpected remark to Stephen Harper's staunchly traditional take on global finances.
· "This high-profile about-face from a formerly staunch promoter of unfettered capitalism is the best news I've seen in a long time! . . . Will he make an impact? How many world and business leaders will be willing to listen?" - yogateacher
· "Schwab is right to talk of the quality and not the quantity of economic growth. He is looking at the global picture and it isn't pretty. Harper, on the other hand, is taking a parochial stand which I fear will be seen as smugness by his Davos audience." - nushound3
Other were more skeptical about Schwab's change of heart, and said the two men are more closely aligned than it appears.
· "Crocodile tears - capitalism is all about scooping up as much of the pie for yourself as is possible. All the smarmy mouthing of platitudes about social responsibility reveals only that they fear the stirrings of the giant of social unrest ... Scold away Steve, you are preaching to the converted - they are just working to a different script with a different audience." - Douglas55
· "I worry that Schwab is simply posturing in an effort to appease growing unrest. It won't work!" - Pharlan
Others did not mention figureheads at all, and focused on the idea that capitalism, as we know it, cannot last.
· "In hunter-gatherer societies, the difference between the top and bottom levels of society is quite small. Even chiefs will participate in food collection, and the economic difference between them and the poorest in these societies is actually not that great. In contrast, with the economic specialization that followed first sedentary farming and later industrialization, the disparity between rich and poor has become at times astronomical, as it is today . . . Throughout history, when the disparity between rich and poor becomes too great, this has become a recipe for revolution." - Tacitus
· "Capitalism as a form of economic policy is not the problem. The problem is that our political leaders allowed the Social Contract, integral to successful capitalism, to be breached in the 1970s and continued to allow the balancing tenets of the Social Contract to be stripped away in an attempt to boost economic activity and strengthen profit expectations throughout the following three decades." - old broad
· "As long as we have corporations that are 'Too Big to Fail' we do not have capitalism. Simple as that. In capitalism everyone has the freedom to succeed and fail. What we have is socialism where instead of being for the people it's for the corporations." - Voska1
· "Both socialism and capitalism have advantages and disadvantages. When either is used without the restricting controls of the other, the disadvantages take control and override the advantages. The solution is a partnership of each and encourages the advantages of each while obstructing the disadvantages of each." - Dennis Brady
What do you think of Schwab's comments? Please
feel free to continue the conversation below, and add to - or challenge - any
of discussion points.
Thank you, as always, for following our coverage.
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