5 New Crises of Democratic Capitalism

Don Tapscott is working to rethink democratic capitalism. He is he chancellor of Trent University a fellow at the Martin Prosperity Institute, and author of 15 books, most recently The Digital Economy. A few weeks ago he published a very provocative piece on democratic capitalism:

5 New Crises of Democratic Capitalism: Ideas on Solutions, Anyone?

Tapscott warns, “Democratic capitalism arose hand-in-hand with the industrial age. If it’s to survive the transition to a knowledge age and the digital economy, it will have to change — profoundly.”

By George Journal is reprinting the 5 crises points – a matter anyone interested in the health of our democracy should seriously reflect on. Here are excerpts from Tapscott’s writings.

1. Economic Growth Without Job Creation

This is the first time in history where the economy is growing but not generating jobs, at least not in a commensurate manner. Many economists predict decades of unacceptably large structural unemployment…. Unemployment is the fuel for social unrest and even revolution.

2. Wealth Creation Combined With Growing Social Inequality

Throughout the last century income for individuals and families at the 51st percentile were on the rise. Despite depressions and upheavals, prosperity for these individuals, and for society at large, increased steadily. This is no longer the case. Capitalism is becoming deeply skewed to benefit those who are most affluent and influential…. This is serious because it means that the American dream is actually not a reality for most.

3. Looming Environmental Catastrophe

The basic institution of capitalism, the corporation, has passed many costs onto society — what economists call negative externalities — and the big one is borne by the environment. According to nearly all scientists, our planet’s ecosystem is in deep duress; our air, our water, and, most urgently, our climate are being irrevocably altered.

4. A Crisis of Legitimacy for Democracy

In established democracies, voters haven’t been angrier with governors since the dawn of universal suffrage. Nor have so many citizens in so many countries acted on the bumper sticker exhortation “Don’t Vote! It Only Encourages Them!” …. The ongoing abuse of trust by elected and appointed office holders in modern-day democracies is not simply a series of isolated incidents but a manifestation of a deep and widespread rot. The result is a full-blown crisis of legitimacy.

5. Global Social Unrest, Upheaval and Conflict

Confidence in many of the critical institutions of democratic capitalism, ranging from big business and banks to schools, newspapers and the Supreme Court, is pretty much at an all-time low. This situation is not sustainable. Radicalization occurs when there is a disparity between expectations and reality. That disparity is growing throughout the democratic capitalist countries.


Follow Don Tapscott’s work at: http://dontapscott.com/


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