Jamie Dimon defends capitalism: 'The alternative is terrible'

'I've been a stout defender of capitalism, and how it works'

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon defended capitalism and billionaires on Tuesday, warning socialism would be ruinous not just to American companies, but to the broader economy.

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“I've been a stout defender of capitalism, and how it works,” Dimon told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview. “Not that it’s perfect, but the alternative is terrible. And so, you know, acknowledging there are some flaws in society, we can help lift up and businesses can do more, is not not defending capitalism. That's just faulty logic.”

Dimon was referring to criticism about a decision in August by the Business Roundtable, a powerful CEO lobbying group led by Dimon, to update the purpose of a company to equate the responsibilities to customers, employees, suppliers and the environment to that of shareholders.

“The American dream is alive but fraying,” Dimon said at the time. “Major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term.”

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But the 63-year-old billionaire insisted the pronouncement was not a diss of capitalism: “There’s nothing wrong,” he said, with lifting up a community, whether it’s by training employees and providing jobs, building data centers or improving technology.

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And if a community is “sucking wind” like Detroit, “you’re not going to own a business,” he said.

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“That's good for everybody,” Dimon said. “Look at America versus Venezuela, Argentina, North Korea, Cuba. And all we said is, it's not only one thing, it's all these things, like a team. You need a quarterback and you need a running back and a wide receiver.

Dimon’s comments come amid a push by Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to make sweeping changes to the U.S. economy, largely by raising taxes on the ultra-wealthy and Wall Stree to pay for sweeping social programs, like Medicare-for-all, tuition-free public college and universal child care.

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Although Dimon was reticent to discuss any 2020 presidential candidates, he did say that he will not vote for Sanders or Warren, should they win the Democraitc nomination. In November, Dimon traded barbs with Warren, suggesting she “villifies successful people” with her call for a tax on the richest Americans.

“I was simply saying that I don't like the vilification of people at all,” Dimon said. “I think it's a mistake. I think a lot of people work hard. A lot of people lift themselves by the bootstraps.”