Book Cover

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

Hard/Softcover/Kindle - 5 May, 2004, Available on

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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Course 5:3

Hypothesis #3—The Universal Economic Solution:  Democratic capitalism can be universal because it has demonstrated the capacity to raise the standard of living and improve the quality of lives under both democratic and authoritarian governments.  

Economic freedom works best within a democratic structure because freedoms are complementary:  Economic freedom contributes to and enhances political and social freedoms; social and political freedoms contribute to and enhance economic freedom. Economic freedom has been demonstrated to work, nonetheless, under authoritarian governments so long as the government’s true mission is the welfare of the people. Economic freedom cannot work in a totalitarian structure, but in our increasingly interdependent world, people recognize the failure of totalitarian governments to improve lives; therefore, younger generations in most societies are applying long-term political pressure to move their governance towards economic freedom.

Both Adam Smith and the Marquis de Condorcet recognized that the new American republic would have the best chance for economic freedom to work because democracy and capitalism are inherently synergistic. Despite the impediments of concentrated wealth and collectivism, economic freedom in America did improve the lives of many millions, thus confirming Smith’s theory and Condorcet’s optimism.

In the late-twentieth century, Lee Kuan Yew demonstrated in Singapore that economic freedom can also improve lives under an authoritarian government.  Singapore ’s transition from being a third-world to a first-world economy was used as the title of Lee’s book. Even more impressive was the improvement in the standard of living and quality of life in authoritarian Indonesia , the world’s largest Muslim country, with a total population of over 220 million people (see chapter 7, DC Vol I). 

Authoritarian China is a work-in-progress, but it has already improved the lives of more people through the introduction of economic freedom than any other country in history has done. All of these efforts under authoritarian governments have included serious imperfections, as also do efforts at economic freedom in democratic cultures, but if the criterion of success is the improvement in the quality of millions of lives, then they succeeded. 

Many believe that economic freedom should be paralleled by political liberties, such as the freedoms of the press, assembly, religion, civil rights, due process, and democratic elections. This perception that economic freedom and democratic rights go hand-in-hand is correct in the long term.  Short-term, however, economic freedom is so powerful that it can work under conditions of limited political freedom; indeed, it becomes a compelling force towards greater political freedoms.  This assumption is based on the belief that once the freedom genie is out of the bottle, once people are more economically comfortable and better educated, then political freedoms will follow. Some political activists give priority to political freedoms over economic freedom, but it has been demonstrated that this sequence does not work well.  Many American politicians seek political gain by criticizing other country’s human-rights violations, but they fail to place the complex management of change from tyranny to economic freedom in the context of a long process that must begin with economic improvement. 

Jean-François Revel, a former editor of L’Express and winner of many European honors, proposed that “economic freedom sooner or later leads to political liberty.” Revel then made this distinction:

What is needed is less state and more government. The democratic renewal stems from nothing so much as the practical necessity of diminishing statist omnipotence and impunity while enhancing governmental competence and responsibility—for humanity cannot persist in self-destruction. 

This sensitive relationship between liberty and democracy, including the dangers in rushing to democratic elections before economic momentum has been gained, has been well examined by reporter Fareed Zakaria in The Future of Freedom. Zakaria points out that a rush toward democracy can be counterproductive unless a structure of law is in place.

The proposal that economic freedom will eventually lead to political freedoms is particularly convincing in the Information Age because the profile of the educated, independent-thinking employee is the same as the profile of the citizen who will demand political freedoms.

In the later part of the twentieth century, the universal system of economic freedom was improving lives throughout the world.  The American government, however, reversed this momentum by making mistakes that escalated the traditional impediment of concentrated wealth into destructive ultra-capitalism. Hypothesis #4 describes this impediment.

Ray CareyRay Carey

Ray Carey learned through managing companies for 33 years how to change the work culture to provide employees with their best opportunities to develop and contribute. This experience began as a 28 year old plant manager and later president of an electric motor company, and concluded with eighteen years as president , chairman, and CEO of ADT, Inc.

See Carey's autobiography of his work career in chapter two of his first book,

Democratic Capitalism, The Way to a World of Peace and Plenty.

For more information about Ray Carey and his advocacy of democratic capitalism, visit the pages of this website.

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CCDC 2/7/2018 - Rejection

Updated on February 8, 2018

Owen decentralized to the work station and let the workers run their jobs. This was the key to motivate the workers to produce and innovate more. It required a management that understood the philosophy and were trained and motivated in it themselves. The Mercantile philosophy, however, was still one of maximizing profits by suppressing wages and benefits. In contrast, Owen's capitalism added worker income that was spent to the benefit of economic growth called the "multiplier effect".

Owen understood that the "intellectual" community demeaned his proposals. Early in the 19th century Owen had demonstrated the capitalism in which capital and labor were synergistic.Owen also identified the intellectual negative attitude towards capitalism that continues to the present.

This is still the challenge to the intellectual community to study the alternatives in capitalism in order to promote the one that maximizes the amount of wealth and distributes it broadly.

Owen joined the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. Its members were the elite of the town whose manners had been acquired in respected schools. In their company Owen never forgot his origins: 

I was yet but an ill-educated awkward youth, strongly sensitive to my defects of education, speaking ungrammatically, a kind of Welsh-English …I felt the possession of ideas superior to my power of expressing them, and this always embarrassed me with strangers, and especially when in the company of those who had been systemically...

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