What is capitalism? In its purest form, Capitalism is a system wherein the economy of a political body is determined wholly by the business dealings of private entities with the sole purpose being for each of these entities to individually turn a profit. Even in its purest form the system is ripe for chaos, as individual entities, in order to maximize their profits, are naturally inclined to lie, cheat, and steal in an effort to maximize their profits. There is no room for ethics in pure Capitalism. In an effort to introduce some kind of ethical overlay, what we have is State Capitalism, which is a Capitalism made even more chaotic by the introduction of governmental oversight and regulation over the business dealings of the private entities. Ostensibly, in State Capitalism, it is the role of the state to keep an eye on the Capitalists and make sure that their quests for profits do not infringe on the well-being of the general populace. The state thereby would focus on being a safeguard against the inherent sociopathy of the Capitalist quest for profit in spite of and at the expense of all other possible considerations. The state’s job is then to be the purveyor of ethical concerns that would generally be disregarded in an economic system purely motivated by the maximization of profits; the environment, class and racial inequality, education, infrastructure, and many other concerns would then fall within the purview of the state, and the state’s approach to these things should be in antithesis of the concerns of the private Capitalist entities motivated by profit.
On the contrary, what State Capitalism has given us is a governing regime that has been bought by the Capitalists to aid and abet them in the maximization of profits at the expense of the non-profit-oriented concerns and needs of the general populace. The state has become nothing more than another element in the profit-maximizing strategy of the Capitalists, to be bought, sold, negotiated with, deceived, or dealt with however else is deemed necessary by any given private entity in their quest for greater and greater profits.
Sadly, this is what we get right now. Efforts to fix our broken system that do not focus on the basic philosophical premise that all efforts to rectify the ethical failings of Capitalism will almost certainly be subsumed by Capitalism are sadly going to fall flat. We don’t just need more regulation and oversight. What we need is a bottom-up re-envisioning of the kind of society in which we want to live. Do we really want a society that has at its core the idea that the concept of ‘profit’ is above and beyond all other concerns?
That’s exactly what we get with Capitalism.