Making The Case ... for Capitalism
7th November 2022 - 15th January 2023
Setting the scene
“Sir Anthony Eden developed the domestic policy theme of a ‘property-owning democracy’ as the right way to popularize capitalism and counter nationalization.”
(Lord Hailsham, 1959, The Conservative Case, p.143)
Through the CPF’s 2017-18 consultation on Conservative values, members identified several areas as being central to modern Conservatism. These included freedom, defence, justice, democracy, integrity, responsibility and opportunity. Each of these may also be important to non-Conservatives, but different groups of people will often understand the same term to mean different things. That is why we need to be clear about what we mean by the terms as Conservatives and, if necessary, deliberately choose to use different terms in order to communicate our vision and values more effectively. The first topic that we want to consider in this new “Making The Case” series is Party members’ support for responsible capitalism, private enterprise and a free market economy.
In his landmark 2021 survey on politics, economics and culture wars, Dr Frank Luntz observed:
“The greatest threat to capitalism isn’t socialism or communism. It isn’t even wokeism. It’s from capitalists themselves. … If you want to save economic freedom in this country, you have to do better.
“There is more that unites the UK than divides it. But different people see the country differently -- and the divisions that exist are significant and serious. It will worsen if not given alternative unifying narratives. The gap between rich and poor is what bothers voters most – much more than the divide between north and south, elites vs. ordinary people or even Leavers vs. Remainers.”
Be sure to watch the three-minute video with Dr Luntz, made to introduce this discussion!
Capitalism: The practices or principles of capitalists; the dominance of capitalists in financial and business enterprises; esp. an economic system based on wage labour in which the means of production is controlled by private or corporate interests for the purpose of profit, with prices determined largely by competition in a free market.
Capitalist: A person who possesses capital assets; esp. one who invests these esp. for profit in financial and business enterprises. Also: an advocate of capitalism or of an economic system based on capitalism.
Capital: Real or financial assets possessing a monetary value; the stock with which a company, corporation, or individual enters into business; the total sum of shareholders’ contributions in a joint-stock company; accumulated wealth or goods, esp. as used in further production.
Questions for discussion
If you had 30 seconds with someone to make the case for capitalism, what would you say?
How might we best promote capitalism to the next generation?
What international example do you think best exemplifies the benefits of capitalism?
What international example do you think best highlights what can go wrong when capitalism is neglected?
Please share any helpful short quotes from world leaders on the subject.
What should capitalism look like when translated into policy in each of the following areas?
i. Cost of living
ii. Energy security
iii. NHS health and social care
iv. Global influence
7. Is there any other observation you would like to make?
For further details, download the consultation brief.