The Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, October 18, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street
James Bay

Topic: Does Capitalism Need An Overhaul, Or A Burial?

moderator: John Pope

Capitalism is an economic system in which trade, industry, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit.

We have come to accept that capitalism has been the right system for achieving prosperity by allowing private enterprise to provide us with the many goods and services we so much depend on today.  The growth of society has clearly benefited from this system in many ways.

But now there are voices saying that there are serious limits to growth (, and that pure, unregulated capitalism is no longer needed, and that it is in fact actually causing serious problems for the environment, the economy, and general well-being of the average person.

Here’s a highly recommended article from the British perspective:  Here are a few comments from it:

“The Conservatives now feel in great danger from a Labour leader who claims that his rejection of contemporary capitalism is not old-fashioned, but modern and the new mainstream.”  -Toby Helm, journalist

“We all want economic growth; the real question is what type?”  -Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Director, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London

“The capitalist system we know is dominated by huge, unaccountable, global banks and corporations”  -Marc Stears, Chief executive, New Economics Foundation

“The capitalist “mainstream” has been challenged by Jeremy Corbyn’s alternative economic vision…”  -Ruth Lea, Economic adviser, Arbuthnot Banking Group

“If capitalism here is at a crossroads, it’s more likely to stumble hesitantly straight on than to turn sharply left or right”  -Tim Bale, Professor of politics, Queen Mary University of London

“The international story is one of orderly retreat from full-blooded globalisation and unrestricted free trade” -David Goodhart, Director, Policy Exchange and author of The Road to Somewhere

“In 2017, the fastest growing economies are for the most part not free-market democracies” -Ngaire Woods, Global economic governance, University of Oxford


The book “The Limits To Growth” has proven to be correct in its predictions: “Our findings should sound an alarm bell. It seems unlikely that the quest for ever-increasing growth can continue unchecked to 2100 without causing serious negative effects.”

“A United States Congressional committee concluded in 1941, ‘The principal instrument of the concentration of economic power and wealth has been the corporate charter with unlimited power….'”

Naomi Klein’s new book “This Changes Everything” addresses these problems with capitalism; she specifically targets capitalism’s effect on the environment.

Some have argued that we now live in a Corporatocracy which is an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests.  It is true that the powers and privileges enjoyed by corporations has grown over the years.  I highly recommend that you read this brief article which describes the historical growth of modern corporate power.


Is capitalism as serious a problem as Klein suggests?

Is the world ready to give up on capitalism?

Can the negative effects of capitalism be mitigated by regulation?

Can governments control corporations?  Do governments really have the power to revoke ‘Corporate Charters’?

What kind of system could replace capitalism?

Who are the biggest beneficiaries of unregulated capitalism?

Is Socialism the answer?

[Your question here]

See you there!  Bring a friend.