Saturday, June 25, 2011

Simplism: A New Alternative to Capitalism and Socialism

Both the capitalist and socialist systems are deeply flawed:

Capitalism results in too great a gap between a small wealthy class and a large and ever growing poor. Also, capitalism thrives on ever growing materialism, which promotes shallow values and environmental degradation.

Socialism doesn't work because it rewards the lazy and incompetent while punishing the hard-working and capable.

Of course, many countries use a hybrid of the two but I believe there's a need for a new approach. Here's my proposal for one. I call it simplism. It requires educating the public about three things:

1. the wisdom of our buying personal services rather than non-essential products. Our lives benefit more from such services as a tutor for our kids, assistant for ourselves, or a companion for our elders than from buying jewelry, new cars every few years, expensive vacations, big houses, etc.

Of course, if the public were to be less materialistic, many jobs creating and distributing those material goods would be lost, disproportionately to low-skill/low motivation workers. So for Simplism to work, I believe the government would need to create taxpayer-funded jobs for those unable to hold a private sector job. These jobs might include, under supervision, building housing, assisting in classrooms, cleaning up blighted neighborhoods, etc.

2. by reducing our spending to the truly important, we'd gain greater benefits than what our purchases would generate: we'd gain the freedom to do the sorts of work we want, the time to pursue our desired non-remunerative pursuits, and the peace of mind that comes from the absence of big unpaid bills.

3. the importance of learning to be an entrepreneur, to run your own business. That:
  • avoids your needing to be a wage slave, paid as little as the employer can get away with.
  • provides greater job security than if employed by others.
  • brings to the public better, faster, or less expensive products and services, thereby improving all of our lives.
  • creates new jobs.
The skill of entrepreneurship may be as important as the 3 Rs. Therefore, I believe it should be taught k-16 as well as through entrepreneurship bootcamps that are available to all.

I welcome your reactions.


Cornhusker said...

Fabulous...especially #3.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marty,

How would you create such a change in people and culture?



Anonymous said...


You say capitalism promotes environmental degradation.

Are you referring to our current system of state capitalism (corporatism) or free market capitalism?

Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D.

Marty Nemko said...

I would say both. It is just too easy for corporations to not suffer from despoiling the earth.

Marty Nemko said...


We've seen at public service campaigns, for example, the one against cigarette smoking, has been effective. I see something similar with regard to getting people to stop trying to become happy through materialism.

With regard to entrepreneurialism, with jobs being Priority One in the U.S., perhaps finally, the education pooh-bahs could be convinced to substitute entrepreneurship education for the arcana-larded curriculum.

Anonymous said...

Good ideas.

Anonymous said...


In a free market the Govt would not have a role. Consequently, it could not protect their friends (their large contributers)who pollute.

In the current regulated market, Govt agencies are the largest polluters.

Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D.

Dan said...


I love your idea. I think it would make a great book, with a catchy title! (Much better than your time saving book proposal.) Maybe make Simplism into a manifesto. It seems ideally suited for this era of big government in the U.S., which is crumbling even as it seeks to grow bigger.

I would suspect that many people are already following your precepts out of economic necessity.

John Steinsvold said...

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: "There is no alternative". She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

John Steinsvold

Perhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own.
--Georg C. Lichtenberg

Anonymous said...

Mr. Steinsvold, your link is a dead end. "Free"WebSpace ironically states that this is because of a billing issue! (???)


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