Obama: ‘Socialist Theory or Capitalist - Just Decide What Works’

Craig Bannister | March 24, 2016

Whether it’s communist, socialist or capitalist, “Just choose from what works,” Pres. Obama told the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative town hall in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Wednesday.

“Just decide what works,” Obama advised the leaders of tomorrow:

“I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there's been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist.  And especially in the Americas, that's been a big debate, right?  Oh, you know, you're a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you're some crazy communist that's going to take away everybody's property.  

“And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works.  You don't have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory -- you should just decide what works."

Some political ideologies are better for solving certain problems, while others are best suited to address others, Obama said, calling on the audience to invent new forms of business and government that incorporate the best elements of each:

“And so you don't have to be rigid in saying it’s either this or that, you can say -- depending on the problem you're trying to solve, depending on the social issues that you're trying to address what works.  And I think that what you’ll find is that the most successful societies, the most successful economies are ones that are rooted in a market-based system, but also recognize that a market does not work by itself.  It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis, and there has to be inclusion.  Otherwise it’s not stable.  
“And it’s up to you -- whether you're in business or in academia or the nonprofit sector, whatever you're doing -- to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today.”