Some CEOs, including Hsieh, tweeted requests to be interviewed by e-mail or phone, but were told that rules were rules. Even background information was restricted to websites linked to from tweets, but there was an abundance of background information to be found. Many of the websites were found using what are known as "hashtag" searches on Twitter for #capitalism and #socialism. Those sites often leaned to one fringe or the other, but others had useful information, such as a Rasmussen survey in April that found just 53% of Americans believe capitalism is the superior economic system, although it remained solidly ahead of socialism because 27% were undecided.
Chris Jenkins, CEO of executive search firm Harrington & Reed, says the new capitalism is spelled "Capitol-ism," due to the intervention from Washington, D.C., and he tweeted a link to his May 5 blog entry headlined "Observations on Whether We are Moving Away from Capitalism," where he criticizes government intervention into the private sector.
"The government takes $1,000 in taxes, wastes $800 on bureaucracy and inefficiency, and pays the employee the remaining $200 of his own money," Jenkins wrote in his blog. In a tweet he added: "Nothing like the citizens funding the government takeover of their own jobs. Feels good short term. socialism or worse long term."
"history affirms that capitalism works but that a widespread societal quest for 'security' can be it's enemy," tweeted Mark Oakes, CEO of Concentric Security, with expertise in anti-terrorism solutions. Then, later: "In the event there was any question relative to my earlier tweets, I firmly believe capitalism will win out!"
Another blog link from Twitter suggested that a generation of investors has been lost due to the market collapse, but former GE CEO Welch tweeted to USA TODAY and his thousands of followers that he was unconcerned. "hold that thought and watch what happens when Dow goes thru 10,11,12. 'Experts' love to focus on today not tomorrow."
Companies and the CEOs they hire are largely to blame for capitalism's erosion, tweeted Alexandra Gibson, CEO of Gibson Design Management. "Bob Nardelli was a disaster @ Home Depot & then hired as head of Chrysler? Govt is bailing out bad leaders & sending message ..."
"A pure Capitalistic Economy would let Chrysler fail then another company would come in and buy them for pennies on the dollar, " tweeted Jeff Mello, co-founder of BuzzCal, a website that alerts sports fans to when their favorite teams are playing.
Morris agrees. "a huge problem is that the irresponsibiliy of those large company CEOs has painted a negative portrayal of ALL business..."
"we WILL end up paying for the free lunch we've been enjoying. Capitalism/entrepreneurship is in the human DNA. Drift is temporary," tweeted Larry Strassner, CEO of Russell & Mackenna, which makes cottage-style furniture.
John Q. Public gets chance to weigh in, too
Twitter allows interviews to be conducted in private using what is known as a direct tweet, but most CEOs, including Welch and Case, had no objection to being interviewed publicly where all could read what was being said, and at times weigh in.
"maybe capitalism itself is evolving," tweeted in Martin Montero of Austin, who describes himself as a social media practitioner, cyclist and knowledge junkie, among other things.