TED Conversations

Luke Hutchison

TED Fellow,

TEDCRED 50+

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Is capitalism sustainable?

Bono stated in his TED2013 talk that the numbers show that we can eradicate all poverty worldwide by 2030. While I really hope that is true, it begs the question: Is capitalism sustainable? Is it possible to have a rich and middle class without a poor class? The sad reality of capitalism is that if there is an exponentially small number of people with exponentially large wealth, there has to be an exponentially long tail of much poorer people who are each contributing to that wealth. Not that we necessarily need an exponentially small number of people with exponentially large wealth, but would the world keep running without capitalistic incentives that increase the separation between rich and poor? Can we eradicate all poverty without the rich sharing their riches? What happens to civilization when nobody is willing to work in the factories and orchards, or build roads?

(Please don't take this question the wrong way! Personally I wish that nobody had to work menial jobs. I just don't understand how we can eradicate poverty when so many jobs will always translate into low-paid labor.)

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  • Mar 5 2013: We could possibly eradicate poverty but that doesn't mean there won't be a lower, middle and upper class. Capitalistic incentives and self interests will most likely always result in some people having more than others. We could increase the velocity of poverty being eradicated if society used the same principles of capitalistic incentives and self interests with social causes as it does wealth creation. What if people could concentrate on eradicating poverty, even dedicate their lives to it, and know they and their family will have security in the future because of it? That would create an environment that allows different new ideas and more involvement to accomplish that goal much quicker.

    Thanks for reading and your feedback.
    Dave
    www.RepaySomeday.com

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