If You Don’t Like Capitalism or State Socialism, What Do You Want?
Thirty-First Annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures
Gar Alperovitz, November 2011
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Systems—such as feudalism historically, capitalism and state socialism currently—are characterized above all by property relationships. And if you don’t like any of them, ultimately you have to ask who owns the capital in your system. We now know that 1 percent owns just under 50 percent of the investment capital; 5 percent owns two-thirds. It is a highly concentrated corporate capitalist system, maybe even more extreme in its ownership patterns than medieval society. I do not say that rhetorically. The pattern is medieval in its scale and scope of concentration of ownership. So ultimately, if you are interested in systemic change rather than—and I’m going to use a loaded word— “projectism,” you must ask not only who owns capital but what it might look like if the system were democratized, were American in content, and were to give rise to the principles and nurture the principles of democracy, ownership, community, and ecological sustainability.