The New Spirit of the World of Capitalism

Did you know that 'If established trends in wealth inequality were to continue, the top 0.1% alone will own more wealth than the global middle class by 2050.”? For several years, inequalities have been growing between countries but also within nations. Is this the result of modern Capitalism in the twenty-first century? Capitalism is according to the French economist, Thomas Piketty, 'defined as the sum total of nonhuman assets that can be owned and exchanged on some market”. However, 'there has never been any capitalism without a spirit of capitalism' which 'can be defined as a result of the interaction between capitalism and its critics.' The spirit of capitalism has evolved since Max Weber first introduced it in his work 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism'. The new spirit of capitalism might be, hence, the consequence of a financial economy avid for capital and the flexibility of our society, which leads to even more disparity.

The capitalist economy in the 21st century might be characterised as Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre call it: enrichment economy. The goal remains the same - to earn profits. However, this new conception of capitalism proceeds differently. Particularly, in the way of commercialising goods, augmenting the profit margin on each and every product rather than on the whole productivity and collecting money from the wealthy rather than from the unfortunates. This new spirit of capitalism aims to focus on the commercialisation thanks to marketing. The idea is to provoke the interest of the consumers for the product by creating around the latter a process which would make the consumer considering purchasing. Besides, this capitalism tends to incorporate the luxury economic process into the standard economy by supplementing to the product an improvement, which is related to the past and therefore to its own history. Henceforth, the product makes the most of this process, based on its differences. This is how companies tend to justify high-priced products, by selling those goods as exceptional. Furthermore, we observed a change in the way that capitalism operates in terms of motion. Capitalism translate to delocalisation and robotisation. Indeed, to earn more profit, companies are willing to expatriate in countries where labour is inexpensive. Robotisation, as for it, deprives employees of work which profits owners for whom the financial gain is the ultimate purpose. This new form of capitalism is now prioritising finance's interest over the company's interest. Indeed, this financial capitalism imposes itself as a founding principle of societies. Therefore, financial capitalism runs the economy across borders through the stock market, shareholding and banks, which are the mains operators of capitalism in the 21st century. This system which is now integrated into our lives accrues a huge amount of transnational power but also the control of resources and global institutions. This new financial system directed to rentability allocates a larger part of the wealth to capital income and a lower one to wages income. As the financial markets expand, the transnational companies become financialised and they create more financial employments than productive ones. Moreover, banks help companies in their financial engineering. Corporate governance aims to bailout and shareholders have the right to scrutinise, causing harm to the employees.

The new spirit of capitalism takes place in an era of transfer and flexibility. Indeed, nowadays the way companies and employees work are completely different from what we used to know with 'standard capitalism'. First of all, the companies which dominate the realm of finance and information, employ from this point forward a lot of precarious employees, whose job are insecure. Those companies and employment agencies necessitate from their workforce a perpetual adjustment in their profession which is also improving ceaselessly. This results from the will of companies to look for efficiency and productivity. Thus, the docile or flexible employee is the opposite of the Fordism type employee. He or she can be distinguished by his or her adaptability and versatility. The employee is no longer a specialist, enhanced by its proficiency, expertise and experience, as it could have been the case previously, but he is taken thanks to his potential. Companies are compelled to use flexibility as they work in a globalised context in which commercial competitiveness is fierce. This is the reason for which companies diversified themselves into several fields. For instance, Amazon was originally an online bookstore, but it has expanded itself into an online marketplace and into a cloud computing platform, even in the television and film distributor competing with Netflix. To this must be supplemented financial risks correlated to the fickleness of worldwide shareholders. Indeed, shareholders are favoured because they are those who bring financial support into the business through stocks and bonds. The flexibility of this market allows shareholders to sell and to buy their stocks whenever they desire. This dependence on shareholders is necessary for these transnational organisations, otherwise, it will jeopardise them.

The world has known for numerous years a lot of inequalities between people. As time goes by, societies have seen those inequalities being diminished. Nonetheless, despite the improvement of living conditions, one can witness those disparities are not yet ceased and they are, on the contrary after having reached the lowest point, increasing again. Those inequalities can be either at a global scale, between people from rich countries and people from Third-world countries, or between people from the same country. Furthermore, inequalities are conspicuous, not only in wages but also in property. As Thomas Piketty noticed, patrimonial caste earns money from their property and not from its salary. Those patrimonial inequalities are due to a reaccumulation of inheritance, since the end of the Second World War, which worsens the gap between the wealthy who possess and the ones who do not. This situation is quite significant in Western countries, as some people become marginalised and excluded as they cannot benefit from capitalism. Indeed, in European countries, the increase in the wealthiest property is much faster than the economic growth.

It is obvious that the new spirit of capitalism is based on a different type of economy which extols the merit of finance and put it at the heart of its organisation. This is how finance by means of the global inclination towards exchanges, movements and changes which are faster than before, allows companies and market actors to drive business more flexible. This new spirit of capitalism, throughout the two previous ideology, steers to even more inequalities which without further ado, get back on top of things. Then, one can notice a resurgence of reluctance to this type of capitalism. Indeed, this system and thus its spirit as its own limits. These limits might be economic because of the flexibility which generates a weakening co-working team, social due to the unequal repartitions of wealth but even environmental and geopolitical. 

07 July 2022
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now