It’s hard looking at the impacts of COVID-19, along with the racial and political conflict in the U.S., and not be totally discouraged. Everything is so divisive on all sides, and dialogue and disagreement are almost not allowed. COVID is the tip of the iceberg showing us our limitations and our mortality. We are forced to be isolated, inconvenienced, and even pushed to realms of questioning our purpose. If we are honest, we realize…we are not in control. But how do we proceed forward? This question was forced upon me to answer when I agreed to give a keynote speech titled: Can Capitalism Save America?
Before getting into this question, it’s important to understand that we are at a crisis point even deeper than the question of capitalism. There are real pains, concerns, and challenges we face. Rooted in the very practical questions people are asking today are much more basic and foundational questions like: Where do we put our hope and trust? Is it in a leader, an economic system, money, education, a political party, religion, your neighbors, or is it in yourself? So practically, how do we move forward from here? Moving on from here requires an all-inclusive, outward view of our current circumstances, not just a ‘me’ mentality. This will not be a fast journey, but it will be an effective one if we let it. This looks different for everyone, but we each have a responsibility to think about how we use our time, talent, and treasure for the common good. How are we spending our most precious resource that diminishes for everyone with the movement of a clock? Are we using the talents we have to make a positive impact? Even if our finances are taking a hit, or we have limited resources, how are we using what we do have? People want to be part of the solution to this world crisis and we have already seen the efforts through volunteers, business, innovation, protesters, movements, charity drives, and even certain investments that positively impact the common good, like opportunity zones.
Thinking through these basic questions should be a requirement for everyone before we start to point the finger at someone or the system. As we all have heard many times in our lives, “focus on what you can control.
In the next newsletter, we will begin to dig into the question about capitalism, but before that, I thought you might like to hear the input we collected from advisors across the US when I asked a couple questions about capitalism. First, 97%+ of advisors who responded said, or implied, that capitalism was the best or right economic system. The vast majority of those same respondents also said that capitalism needed some tweaks, changes or reforms.