An internationally known economist and marketing guru who manages to make the “dismal science” of economics interesting will advocate for reform of capitalism at a St. Petersburg College forum in January.
Philip Kotler, a professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, believes 21st century capitalism is designed to benefit the 1 percent at the expense of the working class and is, in his view, undermining democracy.
The forum, part of the Dinner Series offered by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, is titled “Healing America: The Case for Social Democracy.” It will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Jan. 31 in the Conference Center on the SPC Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. Tickets for the dinner and program are $25, with advance registration required at http://solutions.spcollege.edu/. Students and educators may register for $20. Media co-sponsors are the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU.
Dr. Kotler, the author of 57 books, including “Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control,” the “Bible” of graduate business schools worldwide, believes capitalism is still the most successful system for stimulating economic growth. But its current free-market focus leaves it with significant structural problems: boom-bust economic cycles, persistent poverty, high debt burdens, a disproportionate influence of the wealthy on public policy, and steep environmental costs, among others.
But, he says, a few significant tweaks could transform capitalism into a healthier, more sustainable economic system, one that works for all, not just the 1 percent. Kotler believes a Social Democratic system could be the answer. Social Democracy is considered by some economists as the Third Way, midway between the neoliberal free-market policies of Milton Friedman and socialism. It is the form of government in such advanced countries as Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, New Zealand and The Netherlands.
While that shift would run counter to today’s U.S. political culture of low taxes and smaller government, Kotler asserts it would be healthy for business. In his view, such Social Democracy elements as high minimum wages and vibrant unions would lead to increased worker performance and productivity, which would lead to greater profits, a vibrant consumer market, safer work places, a healthy environment, and basic happiness.
Combining elements from both the political right and left, Kotler makes a coherent case for what would be a radical shift in economic and political philosophy in the U.S. Debating that view with Kotler will be Dr. Jeff Felardo, Assistant Professor Economics at Eckerd College. Moderator will be David Klement, Executive Director of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.