I’ve always maintained that those of us who live in capitalist democracies are responsible for the world we live in. Despite the underground forces of corruption and manipulation, we still have a vote and we still have a dollar to spend.
That’s the idea behind “Citizen Capitalism”, a movement founded in Toronto by adman Andy Macaulay (formerly of Zig) Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD) instructor Anne Sutherland, and magazine editor Beth Thompson.
From their “Purpose” page:
Isn’t it ironic that while the world has never been plagued with such deep and far-reaching challenges as it is today, the solutions to our very survival will ultimately be driven by little actions taken every day by you and me. By the choices we make as citizens — to vote at election time, to take an active role in our communities by volunteering or shopping local, to be mindful of how and why we consume.
Governments will change regulations because we as citizens will vote them out if they don’t. They can be a powerful utility for change, but it’s up to us to use them properly.
Business will prosper by heeding the interests of all its stakeholders, or we as citizens will buy from their competitors.
It will be nothing short of a reboot of the operating system underlying our economy and our way of life. Change will be driven by us, as individuals. As consumers. As voters. As shareholders. As employees. Behold the birth of citizen capitalism, the salve for a hurting world that will also provide smart business with the greatest opportunity for innovation and profit since the invention of the steam engine.
Their call-to-action is to become a more self-conscious consumer, starting with this self-assessment:
They then welcome concerned consumers to join their movement (and network) in writing frequent letters to politicians and businesses, in your own country and region, demanding that they heed the ethical consumer/voter groundswell.
Can it work? Depends on how many people get involved, and how dedicated they are.
For myself, I’m just happy to see an opportunity to change the system from within, rather than just expressing impotent alienation from it.
Thanks to Ryan for the tip.