Capitalism on the Couch: Does Our System Need Therapy?
Inspired by the concept of Conscious Capitalism, my doctoral dissertation for The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) of Alliant International University was titled “Capitalism in a Conscious World: Exploring Consumer Awareness of Conscious Business Practices.”
This 255-page dissertation involved original research, where I spoke to more than 100 survey participants about their perceptions of conscious business practices. I intended to determine first, how widely aware people are of the concepts of Conscious Capitalism, and also how much conscious business principles mattered to them from a consumer standpoint.
I was so intrigued by these ideas and their practical application in today’s society that I was moved to write a book. I feel that a better understanding of these principles is needed today more than ever. If we are to evolve as a people, I think it is essential for us to understand our relationship to capitalism and make the changes necessary so we can continue to fulfill our dreams without compromising our connections to our work, our personal lives, and others.
A Brief Summary of the Book
We open with this scene:
A frantic patient walks into a therapist’s office, desperate for help. As we listen in, we realize that this patient used to be highly respected in the business world but has recently felt out of sorts, as people no longer trust him.
The therapist, initially startled by the abruptness of this new person, offers some help.
As the patient prepares to leave after his appointment, the therapist interjects. “Excuse me, I never got your name,” he asks. Turning back to the therapist, the patient says, “My name is Capitalism.”
Author Dr. Glen F. Pastores, an Organizational Psychologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, puts capitalism on the couch and guides readers through the counseling process to explore one of the most critical relationships in our lives. It’s about the relationship we have with a vital system that affects our careers, families, legacy, and health.
While we hear a lot about capitalism as an entity, both from those who love it and those who hate it, Dr. Pastores dares readers to ponder a different question:
“What is your relationship with capitalism, and how is it changing?”
In this book, readers will first be introduced to a brief “patient history” of capitalism. They will develop an understanding of how dysfunction has manifested within the capitalistic system. They will also gain insight into how their relationship with capitalism is changing and learn what they can do to change how they relate to the system as they move forward in life.
Why We Need Conscious Capitalism Now
While plenty of thought leaders talk about capitalism as a general construct, few examine how our relationship with this system affects our daily lives. Conscious Capitalism challenges business leaders to shift how they approach capitalism, taking a therapist’s point of view and recognizing that, at its core, the system is made up of individuals, each of whom offers their own perspective.
When the story is complete, we can say that when individuals within a system are healthy, the system is stronger as a whole.