Rebranding Capitalism


It's all in that capitalist concept of "branding." All the sneering about the inequalities "inherent" in capitalism, famous novelists presaging and praying for the collapse of the "capitalist system," seems to have had the desired effect. MSNBC reports that business are now using the phrase "free enterprise," which Americans like better than the apparently sinister-sounding "capitalism":

Nearly two years after the financial crisis helped push the nation into deep recession, costing millions of Americans their jobs, their homes or their retirement savings, even capitalism's most ardent supporters concede it's developed a bit of a bad reputation.

Now, everyone from small activist groups to major business lobbying organizations are embracing a term that several surveys show Americans like better: free enterprise….

It's been used so often by people … who are anti-corporate or anti-business that they've, I think successfully, created the idea that capitalism and greed are the same thing, where free enterprise isn't greedy but capitalism is greedy," he said.

A survey conducted earlier this month for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that 65 percent of small business owners had a very positive impression of free enterprise, while 45 percent viewed capitalism in the same light.

Individuals like free enterprise more as well. A Gallup poll conducted in February found that 86 percent of Americans had a positive image of free enterprise, while 61 percent had a positive image of capitalism.

I wrote about the war against capitalism, errr, free enterprise last month in the National Post.