Coexist vs. Capitalist Bumper Stickers?

This may be one of those “only in America” things, but I have observed on several occasions car bumper stickers that have the word “Capitalist” portrayed in a manner similar to the ones portraying “Coexist.” The Coexist sticker uses religious symbols from a variety of religions to portray a world that embraces many different ways of worship with a message of respect, diversity and understanding. My wife and I had one on a previous car and I have shirt that I often wear with the same logo. I have seen variations of the concept using words such as “Tolerance” which we have displayed on our door to the garage among other items.

The “Capitalist” bumper sticker uses the same concept to portray a message of free markets, I would presume. Yet, maybe it is just me, but I get a sense that the portrayal of Capitalist is a means to counterbalance the words Coexist and Tolerance. This strikes me as odd, as the words do not have opposite meanings. I also find someone driving a nice car in America not needing the word Capitalist to portray that they believe in making money in free markets.

You see, I am believer in capitalism, provided it has some governance. I have time and again noted that unfettered capitalism is not the answer as it gives greater freedom for the “haves” to take advantage of the “have-nots.” We have unfortunately slipped down that path more in America as evidenced just this week by the increasing disparity in the top end of our wage earners versus everyone else. This slippery slope is traceable back to the early 1980’s when taxes were significantly reduced on the upper end leaving flat growth for most people and heightened growth for the higher income earners. Yet, my business is based on the concept of capitalism and I believe when governed correctly is the more elegant economic model.

Yet, I am also a huge believer in coexisting. We must embrace our differences and be more inclusive. Another pet saying of mine is when religion is inclusive it is at its finest and when it is exclusive is at its worst . An unfortunate history lesson bears this out as more people have been killed over religious differences than any other issue – Catholics versus Protestants, Sunnis versus Shiites, the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews, the Crusades, etc.

So, I am a capitalist who believes in coexisting. But, let me make two final related points. First, for true capitalists, you will make more money by coexisting and being inclusive than you will if you only trade with people who believe or look the way you do. Think about that. As an example, in the Jim Crow south, southern white capitalists still conducted trade with African-Americans. To do otherwise would have hurt their business. The white businesses may have served African-Americans differently, but they did indeed trade with them. It was for this reason that the Civil Rights movement used a boycott of the bus system in a town in Alabama to gain some concessions.

Second, I believe that inclusive, coexisting economic trade does wonders for relationships between disparate groups. When the leaders of a country do bad things, the western world poses economic sanctions on the country. When this is done it punishes the wrong people. The everyday people are the ones harmed by the sanctions and, in a non-free society, they have little power to express grievance unless there is a revolution. I believe if you promote free trade among civilians and open the markets up to many, this is a better way of diplomacy.

You need only contrast the two Korea’s, the flourishing South Korea versus the totalitarianism in North Korea. The restart of the manufacturing complex on the border of the two Korea’s where civilians of both are working side by side, is the best example of goodwill and free enterprise which far exceeds the impact of political maneuverings. People everywhere want a safe and secure place to live and feed their families. If you allow this to happen, then they will care less about political differences.

So, capitalism is not the opposite of coexisting. They work quite nicely together and should. Capitalists will make more money by coexisting than not. Coexisting is the right thing to do and if we focus on doing the right thing, then it makes other things flow more easily and naturally. Even capitalism.

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10 thoughts on “Coexist vs. Capitalist Bumper Stickers?

  1. Why do we need a Coexist bumper sticker here in America? Isn’t that what we do? You should take your Coexist stickers to places like Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and North Korea and see how “tolerant” they are. I’ll stick with my Capitalist sticker, since it is in danger with the current administration.

    • John, thanks for your thoughts. In my view, we actually could do a better job of coexisting, as we have too much marginalization of people who believe or act differently. You are correct that other countries could do much better, as well. I do feel through commerce with different people and countries, an economic coexistence will be very copacetic with capitalism, so it is not an either/ or scenario.

      As for the comment about capitalism being under attack under the current administration, as an Independent I believe that is political rhetoric. While he is far from perfect, capitalists have done quite well under this President as well as under other Democrat White Houses. The data shows that the stock market, economy and job creation have each done better when Democrats are in the White House, which many Republicans would take issue with, but is true. The concerns I have is people not in the top 10% have not done so well under this recovery as per a study realized last week.

      Many thanks for commenting. All the best, BTG

      • Note to Readers: I believe the move to renew a relationship with Cuba is a great example of freeing a market up to commerce. This will only help break previous barriers that will benefit both countries. From the US side it gives access to 11 million new customers.

  2. The capitalists doing “quite well” under Obama and other democratic administrations are those gaining government franchise or other benefits, (crony capitalism) which certainly takes them out of the realm of being Capitalists.

    • Thanks for your comment. I always appreciate hearing from folks. Although I wrote this a while back, we have more access to data. We have had 73 consecutive months of job growth, the 5th longest economic growth period in our history soon to be 4th, we have a more than doubled stock market and an unemployment rate of 4.9% under Obama. In 2015, more cars and light trucks were sold in the US than ever before. And, we sold more houses since 2007. So, the short answer is the capital markets are doing pretty well under this President, in spite of the picture being painted by prospective candidates.

      Where we need to do better is the social injustice and increasing poverty that has occurred over the last 35 years due to technology, outsourcing, offshoring, downsizing and suppressed wages.

      Again, thanks for your comments. Keith

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