Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 3, 2012, 9:33 a.m. EST by Underdog
from Clermont, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
We all talk about capitalism on this forum. But when we do, what do we usually have in mind? Speaking only for myself, when I think of capitalism I envision large multi-national corporations with balance sheets of billions of dollars. I think of the Fortune 500 companies that are publicly traded on the NYSE or AMEX. I get an actual mental picture of a heartless monster devouring resources, both human and natural, that operates much like a gigantic machine without any sense of balance or control over its relentless drive to ever-higher profits regardless of whatever carnage it might leave in its wake.
But is such a vision correct? Lately I have begun to think not. According to Business USA, in 2008 there were 5,930,132 firms in America. 3,617,764 of them had 1 to 4 employees. 90,386 of them had 100 to 499 employees. Only 1,956 of them had 5000 or more employees. Those that had 500 or more employees made up only 0.3% of all firms, but those firms had 50.6% of all employees.
I know we have all had conversations with those who have defended capitalism here. But how many of them were small business owners? I know I have had a few conversations with several of them. Depending on their argument, we have labeled them "trolls" and other such things. This has at times been undoubtedly true, but at times, perhaps not.
For me personally, I am struggling to come to a definition and understanding as to at what point capitalism becomes destructive. I am 100% positive that it is. But is it true when you are talking about 3.6 million firms that employ 1 to 4 people? Maybe and maybe not.
I would like to understand at what point any given small business firm in America crosses the line into a "destructive greedy monster" that is then described as "raping the planet of its natural resources and destroying habitats and species". Is the answer to this question to simply break up all large corps into small business entities of 500 employees or less (the general definition of a small business)? Such would be possible if a large corp with, say, 50 internal departments became 50 independent businesses interacting together with the same overall function as before, yet not subject to an overarching gigantic pyramid structure usually found in the typical large corporation.
My whole point of this post is that I am beginning to call into question my assumptions about capitalism. I still believe it is evil and is destroying the planet in the name of profit. But with this many people earning their living in businesses of 1 to 4 people, perhaps we need to clarify our thinking about who we are going up against, as well as clearly defining who/what the "enemy" is.