Hillary Clinton: Big Business Is ‘Disrupting Our Democracy’

May 2, 2018, 8:39 PM UTC

While on the campaign trail in Iowa during the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton was asked if she was a capitalist. She responded in the affirmative. This answer, while true, may have hurt her chances of winning a state where 43% of Democrats also identify as socialists—a number that’s even higher among millennial voters.

“The reputation of capitalism is pretty much in tatters for young people,” Clinton said Wednesday afternoon at the Shared Value Leadership Summit, a gathering of some of the preeminent minds in business (who are presumably capitalists). While the presidential candidate doubled down on her belief in the capitalist system, she warned against the corporate status quo.

“I support hard work, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial energy,” she told Fortune president Alan Murray at the intimate New York City event. The current system is out of balance, with too much power tipping “toward biggest companies with most influence,” she said. “They’re disrupting our democracy.”

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The disruption is evidenced by increasing levels of income inequality, one symptom of which is CEO pay. That some CEOs are paid 200 times more than their median workers is “not okay,” she said, because the entire system of capitalism depends on trust. “Trust holds the democratic market economy and the political system together.” Having such glaring disparities among blue-collar workers and the corner office erodes that trust.

How does one go about fixing that imbalance and regaining people’s trust? Clinton, a Democrat, gave a tongue-in-cheek, “simple, partisan answer:” Change the majority Republican Congress in the November 2018 mid-term elections.

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