Socialism Revised and Modernized: The Case for Pragmatic Market Socialism

By James A. Yunker | Go to book overview

7
PEOPLE'S CAPITALISM

A. INTRODUCNON AND OVERVIEW

The people's capitalism thesis in effect asserts the irrelevance of the traditional socialist complaint against capitalism that capital property income is unearned by its human recipients, the capital owners. This complaint is irrelevant, according to the people's capitalism argument, because the distribution of capital wealth (and hence of the capital property income which capital wealth produces)--when properly understood--is not in fact all that unequal. If this were true, then it would not matter that capital property income is not a return to capital management effort in the form either of corporate supervision or investment analysis, that it is not a return to the abstinence and other sacrifices of saving, that it is not a return to risk-taking, entrepreneurship, investment, innovation, discovery, and so on. It would not matter because everyone--or almost everyone--would already be receiving their fair share of capital property income (just as promised by socialism), and therefore no one--or almost no one--would be in a position to complain about possible injustice and inequity under capitalism.

The overall people's capitalism thesis may be subdivided into three major components: (1) the distribution of current capital wealth is not excessively unequal; (2) the distribution of lifetime capital wealth is not excessively unequal; (3) the distribution of expected lifetime capital wealth is not excessively unequal. The three components endeavor to convey the following respective messages to the subject: (1) "you are already a capitalist"; (2) "you will become a capitalist as you advance in years"; (3) "you will probably become a capitalist at some point in the future." Clearly there are some individuals in society to whom these messages properly apply--the question is to what percentage of the population. The argument of this chapter is that except to the tiny minority of existing capitalists and their direct heirs, these messages do not properly apply. In fact, these messages attempt to create in the subject the delusion that he or she has a significant

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Socialism Revised and Modernized: The Case for Pragmatic Market Socialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Title Page ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - A New Perspective on Socialism 1
  • 2 - The Pragmatic Market Socialist Proposal 29
  • Notes 58
  • 3 - Pragmatic Market Socialism: Pro and Con 67
  • Notes 92
  • 4 97
  • Notes 140
  • 6 - Investment, Growth, and Entrepreneurship 175
  • Notes 199
  • 7 - People's Capitalism 205
  • Notes 234
  • 8 - Capitalism and Democracy 241
  • Notes 257
  • 9 - Capitalism and History 259
  • Notes 273
  • 10 - Prospects for Change? 277
  • ANALYTICAL APPENDIX 291
  • References 307
  • SUBJECT INDEX 325
  • NAME INDEX 333
  • About the Author 338
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