Can humanism save capitalism, again?

Can humanism save capitalism, again?

by jaskaw Pro @ 2011-10-15 – 01:19:37

Human kind will never be united under any single ideology of any kind. However, I think that the central ideas of humanism can with time creep in from the windows left even a little ajar and from the cracks even in the closed doors everywhere in the world.
Humanism will never take over the world and the followers of humanism will never even rule anywhere. However, exposure to the humanistic ideas and ideals can slowly cause smallest of changes in the people who rule the nations and the world. In fact, this extremely slow change has already been going on in the west for hundreds of years already.

The central ideas of humanism have already changed the zeitgeist or “the spirit of times” dramatically. Thanks to quite universal spreading of humanistic ideas of the common human value of all human beings, things like feudal rule over serfs or slavery are not publicly accepted in any form anymore, anywhere.
However, humanism is never something that is paraded victoriously on the streets to the sounds of the trumpets. It is something that is learned by reading a wise book for a moment before going to sleep.

Humanism really is not a conquering ideology, but it is just an attitude and a way of thinking that can change people for the better. It will not transform people in a flash of light, but it can change peoples attitudes towards other people a little bit by a little bit during many, many years of learning.
There will never be a world that would be ruled by humanism, but we can slowly and tediously crawl towards accepting and respecting people who are different from us.

However, humanism is not a fixed ideology like a religion. It will always live and change when our societies and their needs do change. Humanism is for me personally also about striking the right balance between the need of the society and the needs of an individual; even if this is not included in the normal definition of it.
Where this delicate right balance is to be found depends on the current state of the society and the status of individuals. No universal answer can really exist.

Over London by Rail Gustave Doré c. 1870. Shows the densely populated and polluted environments created in the new industrial cities. - Wikipedia

The important thing is that one must be able to base ones ideas on a solid foundation and for me humanism offers this foundation. However, humanism will never be a vehicle for achieving personal power and glory for its followers.
As far as I can gather, humanist parties have never won elections on a purely humanistic platform. I highly suspect that such a thing will never happen.

The greatest single thing about humanism is that it can make all other ideas and ideologies softer and more human. Every ideology can be softened and pacified by a dose of humanism.
A hundred years ago capitalism was saved from itself by western socialism that was dosed in the ideas of humanism. By making the capitalists share the dividends of capitalism even a bit more evenly, these movements created the new mass-markets that the capitalism needed to expand and also the already lurking dark social crisis was averted.

To solve the current crisis of capitalism, the new rise of humanism just could be the medicine again. Moving the zeitgeist from the current glorifying of open greed to sharing, taking care and being members of communities just could make a world of difference in the long run.
As always is the case with humanism, there will not be a revolution, but just the slow evolution of zeitgeist towards a more healthy direction if all goes well.

ps. Here is my guide for stepping away from reality in 10 easy steps

1 step away :
Actual industrial production.
2 steps away:
Retail and wholesale of actual products.
3 steps away:
Actually financing the industry and trade.
4 steps away:
Marketing of actual products.
5 steps away:
Creating international brands
6 steps away:
Selling and buying of industries to form international conglomerates.
7 steps away:
Creating financial tools to facilitate takeovers and selling and buying of industries.
8 steps away:
Creating financial tools for handling the excess corporate profits.
9 steps away:
Creating financial markets for excess capital that is not needed in actual economy or in other words tools for just betting on the performance of actual economy.
10 steps away:
Creating financial tools for handling the excess capital that has been created from winning bets by the extensive betting on the real economy. There is just is so excessive amounts of unneeded capital that soon one needs to place bets on the bets that are placed on the bets.

ps. This little essay was originally inspired by a Facebook-chat with Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, who is an Iraqi humanist currently living in Malyasia. He is also the admin of Facebook-page for Global Secular Humanist Movement at