Editor's Note

Editor's Note by William McKenzie, Editor of The Catalyst

Making capitalism work for all

The impact of capitalism occupies a large place in public debates in the United States and around the world. The Fall Catalyst explores the contours of this discussion, as well as debunking some  myths surrounding it.

In their Catalyst conversation, the American Enterprise Institute’s Ryan Streeter and the Brooking Institution’s Richard Reeves persuasively contend that framing the debate between capitalism and socialism is a false choice. Instead, the question is how to make capitalism work better for all. 

Similarly, Dallas economist and writer Abby McCloskey suggests that we not get bogged down in a right/left debate over capitalism. Drawing upon Nobel Laurate Edmund Phelps’ work, she suggests we would be better off working to create a society where all can flourish.

One of the biggest questions in this worldwide debate is whether the Western version of capitalism or the Chinese version will prevail. Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson raises and addresses five key points about that prevailing question. SMU Cox School of Business Professor Robert Lawson also draws from his 30 years of co-authoring Economic Freedom of the World annual reports to show how capitalism is winning around the world, albeit slowly.  

Millennials are seen as being in the middle of the square-off between capitalism and socialism.  But in a just-the-facts column, the Pew Center’s Carroll Doherty explains that millennials may be more open to some aspects of socialism than older generations, but they too just want to make capitalism work better.

University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication Professor Craig Watkins draws upon his extensive research into the new innovation economy to describe how young people facing an uncertain and unequal economy are experimenting with new models of work, entrepreneurship, and career. This is a must-read essay to understand the changing nature of work. 

Of course, many families struggle to make ends meet in today’s economy, so we asked Maggie Parker and Christie Myers, who have worked extensively across Dallas to develop economically-challenged communities, to discuss what stands in the way of more people gaining access to capital, information, jobs, and good wages. We put that question as well to three student-leaders from the University of North Texas at Dallas, a campus that serves students who often are the first in their families to attend college.

You also will hear from these Bush Institute experts about creating pathways into capitalism: 

  • The Bush Institute’s Anne Wicks, who heads our education reform initiative, looks at the skills citizens need for capitalism (and democracy) to survive.
  • Matthew Rooney, managing director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, reports on economic strategies that can help challenged Central America grow.
  • Two fellow directors of that initiative, Laura Collins and Cullum Clark, write, respectively, on how entrepreneurial immigrants create businesses that often serve Main Street and how “place” affects Americans’ ability to get a good job, create small businesses, and accumulate wealth.

Business leadership naturally plays a pivotal role in the health of our capitalist economy. Bush Center President and CEO Ken Hersh deals with the renewed debate over whether businesses should produce results beyond the bottom line, explaining that the new business model needs effective leadership. And Conscious Capitalist CEO Alexander McCobin explains why making a profit is crucial, but profits should be seen as the byproduct of serving a higher purpose and creating value.

These pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bush Institute, but they do keep with our mission of being a catalyst for ideas and prompting action on timely, relevant issues. We hope you will share your thoughts on capitalism for all. 

Letters to the Editor: Your Response to the Summer 2019 Engaging a Troubled World Catalyst

Re: Joseph Kim on I Am a North Korean Refugee. The Plight of Refugees Matters to Everyone.

Thank you for this most important essay. I, too, believe that this is a subject which needs attention and understanding.
Christina Jacques, Dallas, Texas

Re: Matthew Rooney and J.H. Cullum Clark on Facing the Economic Challenge from China

Outstanding article on China! Glad that all eyes and ears are alert to what is developing on the horizon.
Cheryl Elaine Betson, Seal Beach, California

Thank you for the excellent and balanced recommendations for actions. Now we need to start doing them on the ground.
Y.K. Hui, McKinney, Texas

Re: James Patton on People of Faith are Collaborating to Combat Hatred

Great to have an article with actual examples of what can be done to reduce hatred and divisions by joining across religious divides. Wonderful and vital work by the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy.
Jean AbiNader, Bethesda, Maryland

Re: Spring 2019 Catalyst Young Conservatives Want a Voice on the Environment

Well-written article that I will share with other conservatives so that they will better understand the American Conservation Coalition and how it and other conservative environmental groups differ from AOC’s New Green Deal.
Beverly Hanson, Appleton, Wisconsin

Your publication and the quality of the writing are excellent. It encourages nonpartisan action to bring people together to sustain nature and our planet. Thank you for your good work!
Chester Sansbury, Columbia, South Carolina
Vice Chair, Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship

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