Is Capitalism Failing Us?

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Is 20th-century capitalism failing 21st-century society? It’s a question economic elites debated this week in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland while attending the annual World Economic Forum. According to Time Magazine, the #1 theme at the conference is that capitalism needs an overhaul. Time‘s Jim Frederick writes:

“In 200 years, capitalism has already gone through several major iterations. But what, practically speaking, will a global capitalism retooled for the 21st century look like? More regulation? Or less? State Capitalism, like that practiced by China, Russia and many countries in the Middle East? Well, no one has quite figured that one out yet. But a surprising number of attendees (and these are the world’s most direct beneficiaries of the current system) seem to agree that something is wrong. And that in itself is remarkable.”

Protesters from the Occupy anti-capitalist movement release a banner reading ' Hey WEF! Where are the other 6.9999 billion leaders?' January 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Protesters from the Occupy anti-capitalist movement release a banner on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

Over the past three weeks on Moyers & Company, we’ve explored the seminal decisions over the past 30 years that led to today’s financial crisis and great economic disparities. Winner-Take-All Politics authors Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that America’s vast inequality is no accident, but in fact has been politically engineered. David Stockman, Reagan’s former budget director, spoke candidly about how money dominates politics, distorting free markets and endangering democracy. And most recently on the show, former Citigroup CEO John Reed says that, given the 2008 meltdown, he’s surprised Wall Street still has so much power over Washington lawmakers.

So let’s have our own virtual Davos Discussion here on

Do you agree with Occupy Wall Street protesters that our capitalist system needs to be completely changed, radicalized and reformed to best serve Americans? Or is there a way to work within the existing system?

Please share your thoughts and proposals in the comments below.

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