Congruous capitalism

Here’s some idealism for you: I would like to think that the future of human endeavors is congruity. There is a lot of emotional writing about rational topics. That emotion often colors the writing to the point of irrationality. It seems to me that this is because many of the prominent systems of our lives are incongrous. These inconsistent and seemingly irrational systems drive us to emotion and our logic suffers for it.

I’ve been reading Failed States by Noam Chomsky. I think you could summarize it as “the U.S. government says it is doing something for reason A, but is in fact doing it for reason B”. People really dislike Ticketmaster, who would defend themselves by saying “we’re trying to make access to live music easier” but everyone knows “we’re trying to maintain a monopoly and squeeze the margin as tightly as possible”. You can play this game at home for any institution that is widely reviled.

Some other incongruous systems:

* Politics: ostensibly about the will of the people, but really about the short-term interests of those with the clever lobbyists
* Telecommunications: ostensibly about helping people communicate, but really about maintaining monopolies and minimizing the maintenance cost of those monopolies
* Insurance: ostensibly about helping people put money away for a bad day, but really about minimizing pay-outs to maximize profit

It is my hope that the businesses that emerge from this economic conflagaration are those that connect more directly with their customers. In doing so, they are more transparent. It is harder for their internal and external goals to conflict. In this way, they can profit from aligning their objectives with those of their customers. Sure, they may not make obscene profits, but that’s fine.

Here’s a tag-line for this congrous capitalism: “May greedy capitalism die by a thousand cuts of moderately-profitable honesty.”

2 thoughts on “Congruous capitalism

  1. Agreed! It’s not wrong to make money doing something for someone else, or making something for someone else, but making billions in profits year after year implies (to me) that you could be charging less for your services & products.

  2. Up to a point, I agree. I’m fine with Google or Apple turning large profits because I know that, in general, they operate in competitive markets and excel at what they do. I’m not OK with Exxon or AT&T making huge profits because they have actively reduced the competitiveness of their markets and then cut their costs to the point where doing business with them is a miserable experience.

Comments are closed.