What is Democratic Capitalism?

Democratic Capitalism is built on the belief that markets of free participants make better decisions over time when given choices.There are two markets that interact in such a system:  

(1) Democracy:  The determination of a democracy's “greater good," with all its related trade-offs, lies with the electorate and its representatives and their ability to create consensus; and

Capitalism: the economy, which allocates economic resources based on individual market participants' decisions within the system determined by that democratic consensus.  

The democracy market currency is the individual
vote; the capitalism market is based on the currency established by the democratic consensus.

The Story of DCI

Democracy is the heart of American success since its founding. Democracy has expanded to include more of the citizenry and Capitalism has evolved in response to an ever increasingly complex world. We believe that capitalism is usually the most efficient and effective tool for a democracy to achieve its objectives. At the same time, we agree with the patron saint of capitalism, Adam Smith, that business left to its own devices will lead to monopolistic consolidation and financial excess.

DCI was founded to encourage the use of capitalism to address the needs of American democracy and to work with candidates and legislators that share our approach. In facing which party gives us room to participate, the Democratic Party provides some space for nonideological participants that populate the middle of the political spectrum. The hostility of the ideological left to folks like us is real, but unlike the current Republican party, there is at least some space to make our case.

Over the past generation, party affiliation has remained fairly constant. While Democrats and Republicans have a similar 28% of citizens that identify with them, Independents represent a much larger group (42%) of citizens than either party. This group is turned off by the infantile fighting within and between the two parties, that seems more interested in ideological purity than incremental progress.

Instead, the frustrated middle wants to see progress on the issues that directly effect their lives, which DCI believes requires bipartisanship. This means achieving what is possible, rather than wasting time and resources passing “messaging” bills that will never become law. It means a commitment to incremental progress, as expressed by Ruth Bader Ginsberg when she wrote “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time”. It means speaking in language that addresses all Americans, particularly those that do not see the world as we do.

DCI is set up as a partner rather than merely a donor. We look for opportunities to help Democratic US House members and candidates that share our views and values. We provide issues research and phone/text banking support to our friends. We also do independent research regarding issues that we believe are important but not sufficiently in the public discussion. We generally shy away from issues that are already in the public media forum because our resources are more useful elsewhere.

DCI’s research and campaign support focuses on members and candidates in the next generation of Democratic Party leadership. By supporting those candidates through the use of DCI’s college student staff, DCI is investing in the next two generations of Americas leaders.

DCI’s activities are directed and funded by Steve Chapman of Lake Oswego, OR.