Capitalism is under fire. Pundits take potshots at capitalism. They decry its evil nature and harmful outcomes. Indeed much of this criticism is warranted. Just look at the many people who practice it wrong. I call this, greedy capitalism.
Greedy capitalism is the insatiable lust for more. Profits, not for any real purpose other than to increment their money scorecard by another dollar.
Monetary gains sought with no ethical compass to guide it. This includes exploiting workers, defrauding investors, cheating on taxes, stealing from the innocent, backstabbing stakeholders, and insider trading. The list goes on.
It’s no wonder practitioners of greedy capitalism receive the sneers of those who witness it. Yet not all capitalism is greedy. There are two other kinds we don’t often hear about.
Entrepreneurial capitalism is the backbone of prosperity. It’s the driver of small business, those men and women with a vision to produce a product or provide a service. For their efforts, they dream of earning a profit to care for themselves and provide for their families.
Entrepreneurial capitalism is the backbone of what made the United States great. It is us pulling themselves up by our bootstraps. We pursue industry, raise our standard of living, and become self-sufficient.
Yet there is a risk when entrepreneurial capitalists become too successful, when profits far exceed needs. Then they place themselves at risk of becoming a greedy capitalist, but there is a third option, a higher calling.
Enterprise for the benefit of society. This is where philanthropic capitalism come in. Its vision is to first provide for oneself and then to care for others: donating money to worthy causes, financially supporting others so they can help those in need, using business as a means to benefit humanity.
Capitalism is good. Greed is bad. Join me in decrying greedy capitalism, while upholding the virtue of entrepreneurial capitalism and philanthropic capitalism. May we use money wisely to care for ourselves and benefit others.
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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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2 replies on “Three Kinds of Capitalism”
Very good distinction between the types of capitalism. It is good to know that the broad brush of capitalism needs to be further refined.