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Purple Capitalism and Social Justice

Capitalism offers real opportunities to advance social justice. Across America and across the world, capitalist-driven innovation and entrepreneurship has generated profound benefits for human well-being. Yet, it’s also true that unbridled capitalism can lead to suffering and misery. The challenge of our time is to leverage the virtues of capitalism and defeat its excesses.

Purple Capitalism sees economic freedom and social justice as complementary ideals, linked by the imperatives of human empowerment and moral fairness. We’ve seen how energetic competition in open markets elevates diversity and inclusion over outdated hierarchies. We’ve seen how the pursuit of happiness is most likely to succeed when it’s built from a broad foundation of mutual benefit rather than brute, abusive exploitation. Over the long run, we’ve seen how capitalism can serve the cause of progress.

Security and prosperity are native human desires. Traditional capitalism is a system of rules for channeling those urges into a strategy for building national wealth. It favors personal self-interest over state planning to motivate individual effort. But when constructive appetites give way to destructive avarice, or when structural incentives give rise to perverse outcomes, the orthodoxies of forbearance fail. The fullest benefits of capitalism cannot be achieved without confronting the hazards of unconstrained capitalism.

A Program for Purple Capitalism

Overcome the perils of capitalism.
Be alert to perverse incentives.

Say No to private prisons.
Profit-seeking motivates investment in innovations that put more people in prison for longer times.

Say No to private armies.
Dependence on mercenary power weakens official chains of command over the conduct of policy.

Say No to private self-regulation.
Like foxes guarding chicken coops, un-monitored producers externalize costs at society’s expense.

Advance the promise of capitalism.
Be alert to progressive alignments.

Say Yes to extension of property rights.
Women and others who were once treated as property have won the freedom to own property.

Say Yes to equal opportunity.
Competitive businesses seek employees by merit, and act accordingly to extinguish workplace biases.

Say Yes to entrepreneurial innovators.
Freedom to trade goods and services fosters organic spread of skills and self-empowerment.


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