Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes told CNBC on Wednesday that the US government should play a more active role in building an economic system that offers widespread prosperity.
In an interview on “Squawk Box” Hughes said the new kind of capitalism he envisions was hardly an outlier after decades Widening the gaps between rich and poor Americans.
“I’m trying to describe the common sense in America which, in my opinion, believes that capitalism can work, but that there are many types of capitalism,” said Hughes, adding how it worked has worked for most people. “
“Instead, we need a capitalism in which markets are managed, in which we have smart regulation, in which we make public investments, in which we have macroeconomic management,” said Hughes, who has left Facebook more than a dozen years ago to work for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook.
Olivia Michael | CNBC
Hughes said antitrust law is indeed an area in which some elements of the capitalist system he described are already embraced by people on both sides of the American political spectrum.
“Left and right there is a new majority that says that the government must intervene not to punish a large company for doing something wrong, but to create a fair market in the first place so that small businesses can flourish,” said Hughes, who was two years ago called for the dissolution of Facebook.
He said he liquidated his Facebook share in 2012 and admitted that he had made a fortune with the company. However, he wrote in a 2018 LinkedIn post that his ability to “make half a billion dollars for three years of work” shows that something is “deeply wrong with our economy.”
Hughes said he saw Americans of various backgrounds “rejecting the idea that markets were ever free”. The concept of a truly free market in the US, he added, is really just “a twist. It’s an idea. It’s a myth that somehow dominates the discourse.”
The people of the US also recognize that “we need public investment to create the wealth the country needs to see,” he said. As evidence, he pointed to the vital government support for the US economy in response to that Coronavirus pandemic and the great recession that preceded it.
“The idea that if you can just let go of the markets, whether they’re natural, or they’re beautiful, or they’re messy, that just doesn’t work,” said Hughes. “The government intervenes every time they fall apart.”