Is Capitalism bankrupt?

It would take 4.4 earths for there to be enough for everybody to consume as much as the average American.

Counting the Cost,’ a news channel on Al Jazeera asks the question: Is Capitalism bankrupt? Capitalism, which has been led along by Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ dominates the world economy. It’s pretty much the only show in town. Yet, with the ‘global financial crisis’ – now the buzz word of the decade – capitalism is under the spotlight. Governments across the world are experiencing overwhelming debt – “The world’s largest economy, the US, has a $15.2tn debt” (that’s 15.2 trillion!!), bankruptcy and ‘bailouts’ across the EU and public riots such as those experienced in Greece.  The financial crisis has hit hardest on the poor of the world, revealing an even greater disparity between the very rich and the very poor.

Some staggering statistics on the programme:

The Economic Policy Institute has found that 1 per cent of US households control 42.7 per cent of the country’s assets.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, the richest 20 per cent of the world’s population control 82.8 per cent of its income, while the poorest 20 per cent control just 1 per cent.

This episode of Counting the Cost explores how capitalism is “open to abuse, corruption and could benefit from taking a page out of the experiences of emerging economies.”

In the programme, presenter Kamahl Santamaria speaks to Mark Weisbrot from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research; Bryan Caplan, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute in Fairfax; and Loretta Napoleoni, the author of Maonimcs: Why Chinese Communists Make Better Capitalists Than We Do.

Watch the programme for yourself and you decide: is capitalism outdated, unworkable and unsustainable in the 21st century?

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  • Check out our cartoons of the month as created by Brick that reflect on fair (and unfar) trade, trade barriers and globalization.