The Fundamental Beauty of Capitalism–or, Finding Your Ease in Business

How many times do I need to read about the ills of capitalism? The ickiness of marketing? The yuck factor of sales?

Capitalism has been exploited for all sorts of purposes that are yucky. But capitalism itself–at its core–is a force for good. Capitalism is a source of prosperity for both the consumer and the producer.

Fundamentally, capitalism is beautiful.

In his new book, Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey describes how business is in large part responsible for much of the great strides we’ve made in the last 200 years. Despite many of the problems that rampant cronyism has created–even in the recent past and ongoing today–it’s the soul of business that keeps us moving forward as a society. You and I are not subsistence farmers under the thumb of a feudal lord. Nor are we forced to follow in the career steps of our parents or beholden to a system of guilds.

We’re self-determined.

To that end, it’s the fact that business is based on the “voluntary exchange of value” that gives business its moral footing.

Whether as a producer or as a consumer, no one is forced to do anything. While it’s true that others utilize manipulation, prey on fear, or exploit weakness, it’s still choice that reigns in business.

We live in an age of information parity, as Dan Pink writes in To Sell is Human. More than ever, consumers have choice and agency when determining what to buy.

But how do they choose?

It’s easy to believe that all your customers think about is how much less they have when they’re doing business with you. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your customers are thinking about how much more they have.

That means the fundamental beauty of capitalism translates into a source of ease for you & your business.

Business-done-well results in two parties having more than they started with. Your customer values what you’ve delivered to her more than the money she spent on it. You value the financial gain more than the time or energy you spent delivering the product or service.

It’s a beautiful exchange. And completely voluntary. Ease-full.

“That’s great,” you say. “But how does this actually help me succeed?”

It gives you a new frame through which to view your business:

  • What does my customer value more than money?
  • What is she already looking for?
  • What transaction would leave him feeling richer?

When you’re focused on that kind of value and communicating with your customer on her terms, you’re focused on the beauty of the exchange, the ease of the connection, the meaning of the transaction.