Progressive capitalism

Over the last few decades the right has managed to demonize “liberal” one of the most beautiful words in the language. “Left” has fared a little better but it too is suffering from: 1) It’s association with failed socialist experiments of the past and 2) The constant harping of the lunatic right on what it percieves to be “the mindless left” and “leftist media bias” etc.

It’s perhaps time for a new term, one that is not so easily manipuplated and one that is in fact more descriptive of the beliefs and values of the vast majority of reasonable people. “Progressive capitalism” has been suggested and it seems a good choice as, containing the word "capitalism, it could less easily be uttered with a dismissive sneer.

Many of the people who are disparagingly labelled leftist today and who, for lack of a better term, might refer to themselves this way are frequently people who have a tremendous amount of respect for the capitalist model and it’s power, essentially, to motivate. They recognize that capitalism provides man with the best opportunity to fulfill his natural urge to seek out his own advantage and are eager that it be continued be allowed to do so, within reason.

The “leftists” of today are not opposed to capiltalism but to the abuse of capitalism and the elevation of capitalist ethics to a status somewhere above the democratic principle. Perhaps we can clarify and legitimize our position, beginning with the choice of the new label “progressive capitalist.”

You are a proggressive capitalist if:

(naturally nobody will agree or disagree to all of the following, this is just to get a general idea)

  1. You reject the idea of one dollar one vote and are therefore in favor of radical campaign reform.
    This is the big ticket item.

  2. You don’t advocate class warfare, you admit that it is happening globally and that the poor are losing.

  3. You believe that corporate welfare is a major problem.

  4. You believe in equality of health care and education.

  5. You believe in fair wages.

  6. You don’t believe that corporations, or individuals, should be allowed to pollute the environment for free. The price of oil and gas for example should include the cost of treating the health problems associated with their use.

  7. You pay for your own lunch, dinner, night of karokee etc rather than claiming it as a business expense thus avoiding taxation on that amount.

  8. You think that money spent on the military could be better spent elsewhere. This is particularly true in the US.

note: this is a work in progress, if you have a suggestion let me know, maybe I’ll add it to the list

You might be a progressive capitalist if

  1. You can overlook early 20th century American progressives’ support for eugenics and euthanasia.

I’d rather be called a liberal–and that term implies support of capitalism. If I wanted to try to defend capitalism from the left and didn’t want to reclaim/re-frame liberal (a la queer), I might call myself a democratic capitalist (w/o caps).

And why have so many been so willingly led to adopt our “demonization” of the left? Ask yourself that…

Too bad. If you could hear me now you would also understand that progressive capitalism can fully well be said with a dismissive sneer.

within reason? are we to trust the left to act within reason now? Good luck.

It only took them 70 years to realize that communism and socialism were failed policies. How much poverty has the left been responsible for throughout the Third World because earnest students who returned to lead “independence” movements implemented these stupid ideas?

What? No developed country has any safeguards? too few safeguards? against abuse in the system?

You try to package the same failed policies under a new name to create confusion?

Oh goodie. We can all retain our independent “narratives” on the subject then? because it is all about what it means to us as subjective individuals. Actually that should be Subjectivist Reductionist Deconstructionist Communicative Discoursist peoples of color, gender, age and political belief.

[quote]1) You reject the idea of one dollar one vote and are therefore in favor of radical campaign reform.
This is the big ticket item. [/quote]

So, you are going to decide who gets how much air time with a lottery to ensure that “all” voices are heard? That means that the fringe movement of 15 people who live in a tree are to get the same amount of air time as a mainstream candidate because who is to say which voices are “authentic?”

The poor are losing only where bankrupt failed leftist policies are being reimplemented under “new names.” Check out populism in Latin America and then reread the above and then reread the above and then reread the above until the message sinks in.

I am all for abolishing any and all corporate welfare. I am against farming subsidies. I am against business-lunch tax deductions. I am against deductions for charitable giving. I am against any and all subsidies but I am also against the same waste when it comes to “anti-poverty” programs.

Equality? of health care? So a 15 year old in excellent health should get the same time and amount of treatment as a 65 year old cancer patient? as to education, the push for reform is not coming from your “progressive capitalists” but from those who favor vouchers and less influence from powerful teacher unions.

I thought that you said you believed in capitalism. Now, you say that you believe in “fair” wages? And who exactly is going to determine what those might be? Remember that “fair” wages were demanded by the dock workers of Liverpool (once a great port) and these unions determined what and how “fair wages” should be paid and what happened to the port of Liverpool? Where is it in the grand scheme of things today? Better reread your economic history books.

Fair enough to a point.

No problem with this.

Yes, we have seen have we not, how capable the rest of the world is when it comes to defending itself. We have seen how when natural disasters occur, the US military is clearly a force that is neither desired nor beneficial.

How about believing in capitalism and leaving all the claptrap failed theories repackaged under a new name alone?

Capitalism for all its evils as democracy is the best of all possible systems. It is not perfect. But time and time again, we have seen how efforts to “protect people” actually lead to lower growth rates and lower standards of living. Can we get past the fact that communism and socialism have not worked and that any repackaging of the same failed policies under new names is going to result in the same er results. Failure.

For the same reasons people see no problem with an enormous tobacco or gun lobby. Or for the same reason they join evangelical churches or buy one too many cars, because they are stooopid, or greedy, or greedy and stoopid. In any event I think you’ll find that greed and stupidity are the two main themes at work in that monstrosity known as the extreme right.

Actually the new label might help a lot of people to understand that there is less difference between us than we thought and that together, yes, we can agree to some reasonable limits on capitalist power.

Learn to read. What I said was that many people labelled leftist are not socialist or communist at all.


The voters. If a person collects a certain number of supporters he is given free radio and television time. It would not matter whether he belongs to a party or not.

Yeah, yeah and visit a shoe factory in Vietnam sometime. Heck try to support yourself on minimum wage in the US sometime.

No that would be stoopid, moronic or if you prefer, idiotic. What it means is that if the fifteen year old and the sixty year old both had cancer the sixty year old would not automatically hog all the resources becuse he had money. It is a large topic. Perhaps we can save time if you assume a little intelligence in your readers.

I’m not sure but I sure as hell hope not you.

Oh sure, and the money you spent on star wars did what exactly for anybody but the defense contractors. Why would anyone send a nuclear bomb on a missle when they could just as easily send it in a shipping container?

How about not? The people you call leftists are capitalists, they are just capitalists with a conscience.

No we can’t because what you are saying is, as usual, bullshit. Unfettered capitalism isn’t even good economics and it is disastourous environmentally.

Yu can put lipstick on a pig and call it Shirley…but its still a pig.
Playing the name game just doesn’t work anymore.

or teachers unions? or government workers unions? or organizations that lobby for their own vested interests at the expense of the overall good of the community like certain NGOs? Which have been highly successful in keeping themselves and their staff in five-star accommodations but what have they done for poverty in Africa?

Careful your kneejerk biases are at work? I thought that you were against such biases and that is why we were looking at renaming or “reheating” tired old socialist and communist claptrap theories.

Actually, you can call it what you like but if it walks like tired communist and socialist theory, talks like it and acts like it, guess what? It is still claptrap socialism and communism and it too will fail. What reasonable limits are not already imposed (and to an excessive degree in many cases) on capitalism in the West?

Learn to read. The label may change but if the actual substance does not, they are still socialist or communist.

We have a securities exchange commission, we have numerous agencies that oversee banking, communications, energy, corporate behavior. What do you think is missing?

So then… How well has that worked in the past? And if they are willing to support a candidate, why cannot they fund him or her? with their own personal donations?

I have visited factories in Third World nations many times. Ask the workers what they would be doing instead? Ask them why they are so eager to work for such awful places? This same kind of leftist thinking is what is going to ensure that your policies are no more successful labeled as “progressive capitalism” than “socialism” or “communism.” The workers in Vietnam want to work for those shoe factories because it beats back-breaking labor in a rice paddy. Those are the alternatives.

One may have to start out at minimum wage but if one wants to get ahead, then one does not have to stay at minimum wage. Raising minimum wages has merely reduced the number of entry-level jobs particularly in disadvantaged areas. Feel free to prove me wrong with any studies that you might have. haha

Hey, they are your policy suggestions. If that is how you want to describe them, then sign me up for your program. I agree with those terms. We are in agreement. See how “progressive” this discussion has become?

Is that the case now? What about Medicare and Medicaid programs? Who do they cover?

In discussions with you Bob, I have found it unwise to assume any intelligence at all, must less to make the assumption that you can and do read with any critical insight. You do appear literate though. I assume you need not mark your signature with an “x” but correct me if I am mistaken…

I thought that you said you believed in capitalism. Now, you say that you believe in “fair” wages? And who exactly is going to determine what those might be?

So who will decide? Answer please… Or didn’t you get around to thinking your “policy” through that far? What a surprise!

I don’t know Bob. Ask the North Koreans about their missile launch. Ask the Japanese why they want to be part of the missile defense system? Ask the Taiwanese? Ask the Gulf states that would be threatened by any Iranian nuclear program? Ask the Israelis? Gosh. I just don’t know.

Capitalists with a Conscience. My my my and I thought that they were to be called “progressive capitalists.” Oh, so they can redefine capitalism now so that it essentially appears to be exactly like “socialism” or “communism” right? How much more Orwellian do we need to get here? Terms will be redefined to mean what I want them to say? Good luck. I ain’t buying any of that argument.

Where is capitalism unfettered? America? Hong Kong? Where? Also, why is it that the nations with the most “fettered” capitalism are the ones with the slowest growth rates who are talking most urgently about the need to reform? Back to you…

The voters. If a person collects a certain number of supporters he is given free radio and television time. It would not matter whether he belongs to a party or not.[/quote]

Amen! In my view, this is the key in taking our republic back from the monied interests that now run the show. If elected officials are going to feel beholden to their campaign contributors, why not make the public the donors. As to authenticity, anybody with ballot access (and therefore a chance to win) gets free air time on publicly owned airwaves, and then let the voters do what they do. What a concept.

I never spoke in favor of unions.

Good point. There is hope for you yet.

You must really admire my style as you copy it all the time. Were you aware of that?

Something that actually works to ensure the rich pay their taxes.

It has never been tried.

The reason we don’t want candidates supported with private donations is because that is bribery, not democracy. You know and I know and most everyone else knows that with the power of lobby groups as they exist now most countries could not be considered could not be called functional democracies at all. A good attempt, indeed a brilliant attempt is made to make it appear that they are but what you have essentially is a system of bribery. The gun lobby, or the tobacoo lobby, or the lobby groups representing for the defence industry or oil companies or auto-mobile manufacturers pay our politicians and our politicians do what they are told. If you honestly think that is a sensible, fair, democratic way to run a country then good luck to you…

I think you need a bit of re-education. I recommend two years actually working in one of those shoe factories and living on the wage supplied.

haha. I hereby increase your re-education time to four years, two in vietnam and two in a Mcdonalds in California. Surviving on minimum wage is little better than being a slave, you’ll see.

Capitalism with a twist. What I believe actually in is a guaranteed monthly stipend given to everybody. That amount would be taxed back from the people who don’t need it and the people who do need it, namely those attempting to survive on minimum wage would be allowed to keep it. The employer and the worker would be allowed to work out an acceptable wage between them. This would amount to a fair wage. I never said anything about a “minimum wage”.

Yes, I believe that you just don’t know. Maybe somebody has money to make off it. What do you think?

So Hong Kong and the US are doing well despite the regulations. Gee this is getting confusing isn’t it?

Haha bit rich coming from you eh?

Now, learn to post or at the very minimum figure out how the f*** to use the quote function. That might be a good start. Your posts are difficult enough to read as it is without messing up on such a grand scale.

Check again for the latest “edited” installment in the bob conquers fred saga. It’s a doozie.

haha Meanwhile back in the real world, economists everywhere ponder the meaning of the new progressive capitalism expounded on by Bob. Everywhere, economists, bankers, financiers, government officials, etc. look at implementing these “wise” progressive policies. Then, again, for those of us who still are tied to the strings of reality, now would be a good time to stifle a yawn and pray that populism does not triumph in Mexico and that the Sandinistas don’t bring their “progressive” vision back to Nicaragua courtesy of all that Chavista funding. Ironic isn’t it that US aid is “neocolonialist” but buckets of cash to influence an election by Chavez is “spreading progressivism.” Yeah, something is getting spread already and it ain’t the legs of that mistress that Chavez has been banging. Wish he would spend more time with her and less being “brilliant” or developing “progressive strategies.” The only place for this, the usual, Latin American style thug is with a bottle of wine next to a pool filled with scantily clad models. That or in his tailor’s shop designing pretty new uniforms with even more bangles, stars and wider gold trimmed epaulets. But then again, the more time spent by Bob and others of his ilk reading and digesting and memorizing the tracts of heroisimos like Chavez mean less time to bore the hell out of us with “progressive” posts. eh?

[quote]Meanwhile, on the left, the word “progressive” has started to replace “liberal,” for several reasons, including a renaissance of faith in the socially transformative power of the state. Recall that liberalism in the 1970s and 1980s was more about empowering interest groups rather than what Hillary Clinton has called a new “politics of meaning” (which she grounded in the Progressive social gospel tradition). A host of intellectuals — and Bill Clinton himself — argued that Clintonism represented the restoration of progressivism. Recently, Joel Kotkin argued in the Washington Post that the failures that followed Hurricane Katrina proved that we “need” to return to the cult of government competence manifested by the Progressives. The New Republic’s Peter Beinart’s new book, “The Good Fight,” is, as others have noted, the most coherent case for a new program of “Liberal National Greatness.” And at the supposed ideological extremes, we’ve seen Naderites and Buchananites finding common cause.

Progressivism is not merely the faux populism of the Internet. Nor is it solely the label for whatever policies self-described Progressives prefer. It is a faith — often grounded in Christianity, but not necessarily so — in the redemptive power and professional competence of the state. And, frankly, I despise it.

As a matter of analysis, Brooks is right. Much of intellectual conservatism has bought into the logic of progressivism. The war on terror has hastened the classically Progressive yearning for security. The arguments between the political parties for the foreseeable future will not be between champions of state intervention and champions of laissez-faire. They’ll be between those who want the state to do “liberal” things, on race and the environment, for example, and those who want it to do “conservative” things, such as faith-based initiatives and national education standards. Forced to choose, I’ll take the latter. But I won’t like it. [/quote]

According to Goldberg, it is not just the left but also the right who has found a new interest in “progressive” causes. Nice to see, though, that Bob has fallen for this claptrap nonsense with his usual alacrity. Viva progressivistas!

Thank you fred for that lovely segue into the comments I believe need to be made regarding the following exchange…

Good point. There is hope for you yet. [/quote]

What the “progressive capitalist” label is intended to name is the bulk of “reasonable people” who understand that while capitalism has proven itself to be a remarkably productive economic model it is not free of problems that need to be adressed. I wish to point out however that I was mistaken when I suggested that there might be hope for “you” and that, by extension, you might wish to join us, the reasonable people. You are not reasonable. You are lunatic fringe of the worst kind, and are not interested, essentially, in anything but the enrichment of the wealthy americans that you hope some day to represent. Gun, tobacco, defense industry lobbies? No problem. Good money to be made there. Bungled war efforts? Even better. Really good money in that. Urban sprawl, global warming, air pollution. Ditto. You’ll have to exuse the rest of us though if we nail you and your ilk for the war mongering, gas guzzling, obfuscating packets of greed and egoism that you actually are.

Problem is with the problems that you “reasonable” people want to address…

No thanks. I think that I can “think” for myself, but you “reasonable” people go ahead with your “reasons” but I doubt that you will make much “progress.”

Great. I am so happy that I am not “reasonable” in your sense of the word.

Coming from you that is kind of cute…

I seem to post a great deal about a great many subjects that interest me…

Hmmm. Sort of like how I support vouchers for students in failing schools. The vast bulk of the beneficiaries who would support such a policy would be poor minority students in failing schools…

No. Not no problem but unless they are doing something illegal, you do not have the right to go after them. Why not alcohol companies? drug companies? food companies? car companies who should be sued for accidents? The problem with you people is that you don’t think. That is why we have laws and courts and that is why it is best to leave those who know what they are doing in charge. If you want “progressive capitalism” why not move to a country where such policies are actually practiced rather than demand that they be implemented in countries that a rich because they have not adopted them?

So head over to those nations with “progressive capitalism” and let us know how you fare…

What does this have to do with “progressive capitalism” as proposed by “reasonable” people?

Great. So go invest away. Maybe you can bring “progressive” qualities to the defense industry such as guns that don’t fire bullets but spray soap bubbles instead?

Hey, if you don’t like those “qualities” you can work to vote in policies that would fight them. That is your right but until they are democratically implemented you do not have the right to get on your high horse to enforce them or impose them because you feel that they are “right.” Interesting that you have not responded to the global warming thread in a long time. Recent report where UN officials and various ambassadors from various nations were asked if they had $50 billion extra to spend how would they spend it? Less than $1 billion to stop global warming. It is not a priority for most people when millions are dying of malaria and AIDS and suffering from excessive trade regulations and corruption and lack of rule of law and poor governance. It may be YOUR priority but that does not make those of us who do not share it wrong or stupid. It means that we have chosen to be more concerned about other areas. AND even if you are concerned about global warming, what are YOU suggesting that we do about it? Kyoto is a failed policy that the adherents of which cannot even live up to. We have said we cannot and will not support such efforts becasue we realize that postponing global warming by six years in the next 100 is not worth the economic costs and that is if Kyoto lives up to the most OPTIMAL results.

Yeah. I am sure that is what the “rest of us” see. I think that I will stand by my arguments while you “reasonable” people keep proposing that the same failed policies of socialism and communism be repackaged as “progressive” to get people who do not remember the failures of 10 to 20 years ago to support them. For those of us who actually understand how these policies do not work, we will continue to fight them. Unfortunately, for you, it seems that your new list of “progressive” countries includes only Venezuela and Bolivia.

The proposal to grant air time to people who have gained a certain amount of support would make campaign contributions unneccessary and would prohibit teacher’s unions and environmental groups as much as it would the gun and tobacoo lobbies. I only listed those because they are the two groups that everyone knows have had a negative impact on social policy. Obvious examples. Things that only members of the lunatic fringe could have a problem with. You are in favor of vouchers. Congratulations. You are not a complete nut.

Really? Care to share some thing that supports your view on this subject?


Everyone knows? or everyone is now biased against these two groups? If tobacco sales are legal than the company is within its rights to promote its product through marketing efforts unless there are specific laws against it doing so, i.e. to under 18 etc. IF these companies are legal and allowed to sell and market, then banning them from doing so is illegal. Ban tobacco products. Ban guns. Make them illegal, but until you do so, you cannot act as if such a law has already been passed.


In a world of insane, the lunatics would be the sensible, rational ones. Sign me up if this is what qualifies as your “lunatic fringe.”

Well, I am glad we agree on something though I would like to hear more about your reasons for supporting vouchers. I am not confident that having you on “our side” is a good thing given your propensity to adopt very unusually “unreasonable” positions on other issues.

Campaign contributions fred. Cam-paign con-tri-bu-tions. That is what we are discussing here. Some of us have a problem, for example, with the fact that a defense contractor could contribute to a politicians campaign and subsequently benefit from the decisions that that politician makes. Let me know if you are still having trouble with the basic concepts and I’ll try to put it across even more simply, if that is possible.

Well for the love of Christ with all the things that you are throwing out, it is nice to finally know that we are discussing “campaign contributions.” Thanks really for letting me in on that little secret.

Is that what is happening? Got any proof that politicians are voting based on contributions received from defense companies? Well, how about this? What about teachers unions who are donating in huge numbers and in huge amounts to Democrat candidates who block attempts at education and school reform. You said you supported vouchers so then what do you think of the fact that so many teachers unions are actively soliciting funds to influence elections to block vouchers. Check out the National Education Administration’s web site.

haha. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings in the philosophical discussion but it was damned frustrating having to go back and explain the most basic tenets. As to this discussion, no need to explain them to me as long as you define what we are addressing in this particular exchange. Seems to have changed quite a bit from the beginning no? or am I just imagining things? What happened to global warming and gun lobbies and tobacco companies?

In your case, I have no doubt that you could (and often do) put it even more simply. Of that, I have supreme confidence in your, er, abilities…

Well for the love of Christ with all the things that you are throwing out, it is nice to finally know that we are discussing “campaign contributions.” Thanks really for letting me in on that little secret. [/quote]

It’s me fred. I make sense remember? Re-read the thread I think you’ll see what I mean.

It is not usually necessary to prove a negative but in this case I’ll make an exception. Over to you.

I am against interest groups contributing to election campaigns. Thanks for supporting me on this issue.

No, yes, they are still there using their money to corrupt the democratic process.

And on that note, I am outta here haha. When you want to talk seriously, let me know and I will come back to play with you…