A Capitalist Fundamentalist

08/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Since early in this century (using 9/11 as the time mark), fundamentalism of various types has been rising, and our media seem to be having fun fueling the fires. I'm tired of hearing reports only about fundamentalist Muslims, Christians or Jews and the bad raps they are getting. Fundamentalism as a belief system doesn't necessarily have anything to do with religion and can be applied across the spectrum of human endeavor.

I've often declared myself as a major believer in capitalism and today I proudly slip on the tee-shirt labeling me as a fundamentalist capitalist! One important difference between me and the religious folks is that I have no interest in killing or harming those who don't believe in the same way. However, I do carry the missionary zeal necessary to be a good fundamentalist and feel that if more people understood and embraced my capitalist beliefs, the world would be a better place. Certainly at least, the faceless and sometimes mindless bureaucracies that affect so much of our lives would be better places.

I keep a "capitalist" house and pray several times per day for the people, resources and determination to help realize my business dreams. Several personal development "bibles" are frequently read and quoted from at my house including "Think and Grow Rich" and "The Greatest Salesman in the World." I gather with like minded entrepreneurial thinkers on a regular basis and we sometimes speak the short-hand of quotations from revered and mostly dead capitalists. Now this is not my religion, but if I want to be a good fundamentalist, I must learn from the ways they apply core principles to all aspects of life.

Here is the simple foundation of my belief. Capitalism generally refers to an economic system built on private ownership of the means of production which are operated for profit. The market aspects such as investment, pricing, distribution, and production are determined through the operation of a market economy. Since I live in California, let's use this state as an example of a multi-billion dollar enterprise that could use some capitalist thinking. Since we have the most heavily populated state with over 36 million people, fundamental capitalist principles would mean that we'd also have the largest budget surplus among the states, and not be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Because we'd create the most products and services of value and receive the most in my fantasy scenario, our education, transportation and communications systems would all be as world class today as they were 45 years ago. Ideas, capital, goals, creation, revenue and results are all tightly linked in my fundamentalist view.

My form of "fundamentalist capitalism" begins with teaching basic economics in every school grade from 2 through 12. Even your favorite post office clerk should know as much about commerce as they do about postal work rules and coffee breaks. Everybody has customers to serve and yes that includes your spouse family. The principle that nothing gets made until something is sold means that your ability to articulate concepts, plans and expected results will determine much about how whether your dreams are realized in this life. Because true capitalism must give as much as it gets, it has nothing to do with the selfish greed that seems to have Wall Street in its grip these days. The creation of opportunity and wealth always feeds more than one person and can elevate entire communities. Fundamental capitalism is a mutual benefit game. Remember that when you write a check you get privileges and accepting a check means that you take on obligations!

Unlike a religious form of fundamentalism, my branch says that great and wonderful rewards come in this life. You'll have to talk with your clergy about what happens in the life you have after the body wear out. I believe there is such a thing as heaven on earth---and it is well capitalized.

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