Partism embraces free market capitalism as history has proven that, in inclusive economies, this is more effective than state directed economic models at achieving material growth and wellbeing for an ever increasing number of people.
However, left to itself, free market capitalism has proven to work to the disadvantage of weaker economic players, create unacceptable levels of inequality and welfare, and operates without sufficient regard to sustainability. In order to address the negative impact of free market capitalism and to stimulate it, governments have, for well over four hundred years, introduced wide ranging and complex laws, regulations and codes to govern the function of markets. In inclusive economies, these rules have tended towards eliminating excessive, irresponsible and criminal behaviours and ensuring a balance of fairness in the way the market operates. For example, weights and measures, anti-trust, anti-competition, and anti-pollution legislation.
During the last fifty years of the twentieth century, free market capitalism in inclusive economies was characterised by a virtuous circle which tried to achieve equitable opportunities for all economic participants with economic growth enjoyed by every section of society. The efforts of the elite to aggrandize their power and unfairly exploit their economic position were resisted for the benefit of the majority. However, all the empirical evidence is that, since the start of the twenty-first century, free market capitalism has become characterized by a viciousness which enriches and empowers a small minority to the detriment of the majority.
There has been an adverse structural change in the relationship between capital and labour with many free market capital economies now taking some of the characteristics of an extraction economy as evidenced, for example, by the failure in the market to efficiently allocate private capital to long term investment projects. Instead, hot money moves rapidly into such areas as soft commodities and energy trading. During the banking crises and in one year alone, the amount of money invested into index linked wheat futures increased by 48%, directly causing an increase in food prices and hardship for the poorest. One UK bank was trading in the UK’s electricity market in an average day all the electricity actually consumed in that day, irrespective of the fact that most of the electricity supplied was under long term contracts. Each of these trading activities skims a certain percentage off the top of others’ economic activity and instead of being invested in productive activities or for social benefit, it typically gets spent on non-productive or selfish activities. In the long run, this will lead to lower economic growth and exacerbate the unfairness.
The vicious exploitation of free market capitalism by elites in all its forms has to be urgently addressed to restore trust in the political and economic systems. Social cohesion could rapidly evaporate on the complaint of unfairness with the result that radicals could put the fabric of society at risk and democracy in peril. It is the purpose of the Partism Foundation to consider and create policies and proposals which accord to the Partism Philosophy, and its inalienable principles, so as to help re-balance free market capitalism away from its vicious state back to a virtuous one.
The Partism Foundation supports the virtuous circle of employees working for, and reporting through to, Boards of Directors and then those directors reporting, and being directly accountable, to shareholders which in turn should include a substantial number of employee shareholders (and their pension fund) for it is one way in which a partnership culture can be instilled throughout business.
In the UK the best example of a Partism Company is John Lewis Partnership which runs the John Lewis and the Waitrose chain of stores and where every member of staff is called a partner and shares in the profits of the business.