"Business Leaders of Today are Not Capitalists"

Via Mark Thoma comes this thinking on the nature of our economic system and by John Kay at the Financial Times in Business Leaders of Today are Not Capitalists.

John Kay says that the term “capitalism” is misleading in modern economies:

..So the business leaders of today are not capitalists in the sense in which Arkwright and Rockefeller were capitalists. Modern titans derive their authority and influence from their position in a hierarchy, not their ownership of capital. They have obtained these positions through their skills in organizational politics, in the traditional ways bishops and generals acquired positions in an ecclesiastical or military hierarchy. …

And Mark comments on the article:

This is an important point, and it relates directly to the claim by many that inequality is needed in capitalist economies as an engine of growth. I think small businesses still operate in something resembling old fashioned capitalism — owners putting their own resources at risk to open a new business — but big business is another story (and in some cases, such as the finncial industry, too big too fail considerations reduce risk considerably for high level executives making arguments that this type of risks motivates innovation, etc. hard to swallow).