Book Cover

Democratic
Capitalism,  The Way to a World of Peace and Plenty
by Ray Carey

Hard/Softcover/Kindle - 5 May, 2004, Available on Amazon.com

Ray Carey presents the theory and practice of democratic capitalism by coupling his experience with a synthesis of the thought of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Stuart Mill.  The empirical evidence is clear: democratic capitalistic companies produce superior results, and nations that support economic freedom and keep money neutral improve the lives of their people.


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CCDC Blog

CCDC 12/22/2017

Updated on December 29, 2017

Democratic Capitalism-- Book Review

Julia Sneden based her review of Democratic Capitalism on her reading as I had no communication with her. Her review supported my premise based on fifty years experience running companies that democracy and capitalism should be synergistic not in conflict as most academicians believed. This will be examined further in the next Carey Center article “Good Capitalism vs. Bad Capitalism.”

Copies of Democratic Capitalism are available at no charge for you and your associates including students. Please provide a mailing address.
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Review of Democratic Capitalism by Senior Women Web
Culture Watch


Democratic Capitalism is a fascinating, important, erudite book that leads the reader through the history and development of capitalism making a clear case for what needs to be done in the future.

This fascinating, important, erudite book is not an easy, weekend read, nor a book you’d like to take on vacation for a beach read. It requires patience and hard thinking. Fortunately, it is written in a clear, accessible style that leads the reader, step by careful step, through the history and development of capitalism, and explains the current state of the world’s economics in terms even a layman can comprehend. It also makes a clear case for what needs to be done in the future.

That’s a tall order for one book, but the author acquits himself handsomely. Carey served as CEO for ADT for many years, and has, since his retirement, spent untold hours of thought and research before writing this book. It is a masterpiece of meticulous documentation (there is a 20-page bibliography) and explanation. The proposals set out in the final chapter are short, clear, and well-supported by the preceding evidence.

Carey begins by reviewing the 18th century writings of John Stuart Mill and the 19th century theories of Karl Marx. Both men expounded new theories about the equitable distribution of wealth, Mill believing that a free market system could eliminate scarcity, and Marx maintaining that only a revolutionary approach could rebuild the world’s economic systems. Carey comes down squarely on Mill’s side, although he points out that toward the end of the 20th century, the United States has strayed widely from Mill’s principles, veering off into what Carey terms “Ultra Capitalism.” This he defines as “... short-term and greedy ... [a] record concentration of wealth that ... limited the spread of economic freedom and provoked global social tensions and violence.”

This is a hard charge, but Mr. Carey makes a most convincing case for his theory. The next time you find yourself asking why so much of the world hates us, pick up this book. The answers it offers are painful to read, but pretty much incontestable.

What, then, is democratic capitalism? It is a system that combines the best aspects of the political construct of democracy with the economic construct of capitalism. Carey’s premise is that in the past, we have gone about things in the wrong order, seeking to establish the political structures of nations first (as in post-Soviet Russia), and then to encourage their economic development. Done the other way around, i.e. seeing first to the economic stability, democracy is bound to follow. He believes that people everywhere long first for the basic material comforts (food, a place to live, a job). Once those things are achieved, they long also for freedom, as defined by democracy.

Democratic capitalism’s “...common features include a fundamental morality broadly understood, customer loyalty, high levels of productivity, job security, meritocracy, minimum structure, action orientation, and a compensation system that is both fair and perceived to be fair.” Moreover, under democratic capitalism, workers will have minimal interference from management, and encouragement in their desire to be innovative. Democratic capitalism will also harness the power of worker involvement, sharing profits that will create worker/owners through plans like payroll-deduction stock purchase and 401K plans.

In his explanation of how he himself came to be a passionate believer in democratic capitalism, Carey summarizes his own career, during which he learned effective methods of motivating the people who worked for and with him. As he moved up the career ladder, he began to formulate the principles that brought great success both personally and for the companies he ran.

Carey cites thinkers all the way back to Aristotle. The list of his readings is astounding: Galileo, Descartes, Isaac Newton, Condorcet, Edmund Burke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Robert Owen, Kant, Hegel, and so on and on. To say that he has been both catholic and meticulous in searching out his sources is an understatement.

Democratic Capitalism is an important book. When you’ve read the book, you might want to consider sharing your copy with your Congressman or Senator, who would probably thank you for it.


CCDC 11/29/2017

Updated on November 29, 2017

At the time of Mill, Marx and Engels educational material on the superior economic system was available. It was not used for the reasons described in this CCDC article.The result is a feeling in society that the economic standard and the quality of life should be better. They are right.

When most academician find that the title of the book that I wrote is Democratic Capitalism, the Way to a World of Peace and Plenty their frequent response was "Isn't that an oxymoron?" If I find one who will listen I explain that is is not an oxymoron and that the question indicates to me that the person who asked it is defaulting on their responsibility to add knowledge of a superior economic system for broader application.

Ray Carey
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J.S. Mill’s Democratic Capitalism Manifesto

In mid 19th century John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels studied Robert Owen’s demonstration of substantially greater profits from investing in his workers, “vital machines” as he called them. The culture in his spinning mill was trust and cooperation which Owen cultivated through company sponsored education of students as young as three.
Marx described the productive results from changing the culture from alienation to cooperation and even saw an end to war as nations switched to democratic capitalist trade. Engels described workers freed to reach their potential. Mill’s book had a whole chapter on worker ownership systems.

Mill’s manifesto combined greater wealth production with worker satisfaction:

The other mode in which cooperation tends to increase the
productiveness of labor, consists in the vast stimulus given
to productive energies, by placing the laborers in a relation
to their work to make it their principle interest—at present
it is not—to do the utmost, in exchange for their
remuneration. It is scarcely possible to rate too highly this
material benefit, which yet is nothing compared to the moral
revolution in society that would accompany it; a new sense of
security and independence; and the conversion of human’s daily
occupation into a school of the social sympathies and the
practical intelligence.

If democratic capitalism is superior in both profits and worker satisfaction why is it not the universal system? The answer is that instead of studying Owen’s positive experience of investing in the workers most academician inherited from Plato and Aristotle a critical view of capitalism and commerce. They viewed the State as the agent for social progress while Greece was over one-half slave, absorbed by repetitive wars, and without public education. Aristotle wrote: “a man who lives the life of a mechanic or laborer cannot pursue the things which belong to excellence.” Plato wrote: “It is important for the state first to keep its trading class as small as possible; second, trade should be made over to a class of people whose corruption will not harm the state unduly.”

The self-development of workers was inconsistent with this Greek tradition, but an awareness of this contradiction did not penetrate the cultural conditioning of most academicians, then or now. This view had a long life because it seemed to confirm for each generation of academicians that they were superior beings. The road to peace and plenty will not be found until the academic community studies economic alternatives and finds the system that maximizes wealth by providing humans the opportunity to reach potential.

 

 

 

 

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