Those companies are rewarded with capitalism. Apple, for example, has grown tremendously. But it sells expensive phones to billions of people who can afford them, again many can’t. The same goes for most public companies: they sell to those who can buy and ignore those who can’t.
Successful companies are successful for a global middle class, which continues to expand, albeit plagued by epidemics. Companies that meet this can hire the best and brightest and install technology to save labor costs. These are centers of innovation and creativity.
Meanwhile, governments and citizens suffer at the real cost of survival. Companies don’t have to worry about public infrastructure, defense, adult care, education and child care. The lion’s share of these costs are external.
In short, public companies are the cream of global capitalism – be it the victory of the system or the abomination, the price of owning a slice of this system should be enough for everything else. And those prices should go up.
So the challenge is to expand the benefits of capitalism – not to make it habitable.
Congress can make innovative laws and subtle rules to better distribute the benefits of capitalism. Instead of raising taxes, don’t use tax codes to defraud companies to give shares to all employees of the company so that labor enjoys some of the benefits of capital? Or by increasing their wages instead of increasing the company’s profits in inflation?
With the dynamism of public companies and the world awake in capital, it is a fair bet that we will one day see the Dow at 72,000 or 144,000. Instead of trying to slow down that momentum, why not bring the earners to their fold and promote the prizes? It may seem like a utopia, but only because we forgot to fight for it.
Jacqueline Carabel is the founder of The Progress Network and most recently the author of “Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the American Way of Power”.
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