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Capitalism and Social Change: Some Thoughts on How to Change the World

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Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP,volume 41)


Alan M. Webber, co-founder of Fast Company and former editorial director and managing editor of “Harvard Business Review,” proffers a chapter investigating the relationship between capitalism and social change. In this chapter, Webber presents some of the great ills afflicting modern mankind: environmental degradation, climate change, poverty, and war and violence. He then argues that the cause and the solution of these ills is the same: capitalism. As both communism and socialism have proved inept in obtaining what they promise, only the living, dynamic nature of capitalism is capable of responding to the aforementioned challenges. The author locates the crux of the solution in the interaction between capitalism and social problems that has resulted in social entrepreneurship and hybrid capitalism as exemplified by Mohammad Yunus, Bill Strickland, and Rosanne Haggerty.


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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2990-2_16
  • Chapter length: 13 pages
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  1. 1.

    Although Szombatfalvy is right that the world has difficulty in feeding itself, this is more generally thought to be due to a distribution problem, rather than a lack of food. The world is actually dealing with an inverse of the demographic problem feared by Malthus, with a drop in the population making it difficult to maintain social security systems in First World countries and an adequate labor force in Third World countries. This is exactly where good sustainable development comes in.


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Correspondence to Alan M. Webber .

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Webber, A.M. (2012). Capitalism and Social Change: Some Thoughts on How to Change the World. In: Schlag, M., Mercado, J. (eds) Free Markets and the Culture of Common Good. Ethical Economy, vol 41. Springer, Dordrecht.

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