I want to preface this by saying I think you’re coming from a genuine place with your project—you want to make the world a better place. I do too. I don’t think there are people on this forum who would argue otherwise.
That being said, I think you’re maybe operating with different definitions of democracy and capitalism than many of us on these forums do.
You asked above about “gradual evolution of democracy and capitalism” and you keep referring to democratic capitalism but these terms are contradictory.
Democracy—true democracy—is not compatible with capitalism. Capitalism, being the private ownership of the means of production, allows for completely undemocratic control of politics. If you have enough capital you can lobby and buy politicians who will pass laws and policy favorable to the further acquisition of capital. This can look like deregulation or the lessening of consumer protections and workers rights, but no matter how you shake it these decisions are made by those who already have power at the expense of those who do not.
There’s been a growing effort to take money out of politics because of this. People want to lessen the very undemocratic control that capitalist institutions have over the government and their lives. You wouldn’t see the push back from those in power if this wasn’t the case.
Personally, I’d go a lot further than taking money out of politics. I’d abolish money. It’s a societal construct that has outstayed its usefulness as a method of record keeping/exchanging debt, and I believe it to be sad, naive and incredibly unimaginative to say we couldn’t develop anything better.
You ask what we could replace these systems with. What a more ideal system would be. I’m partial to socialism. When I say socialism I’m not talking about social safety net programs. I’m talking about workers owning the means of production. Billionaires should not exist. They should not be able to buy politicians, loosen regulations to increase their profit margin, or continue to cut back on pay or services employees should be getting.
Frankly, for democracy to thrive—for the human race to thrive—capitalism must be completely done away with. It has been argued that capitalism has done much to advance society, both in terms of technological advancement and in terms of social relations—but I would ask: for who?
I would argue that technological and societal advancements would happen regardless of the economic system. What capitalism does is it takes the results of those innovations and gives the rewards to a handful of people who, while they may have funded them, did not invent them and did not make them. Workers did those things. They’d do them no matter the economic system.
All that being said… Here’s the scariest thing for me: capitalism, on top of being entirely undemocratic, very obviously has no end goal. It demands infinite growth and consumption in pursuit of ever more profit on a planet with finite resources.
It’s the driving force of the climate crisis.
It needs to be stopped before it kills us. That is… If it hasn’t already.
I bring the above point up specifically because I don’t believe you have anything on your site about addressing climate issues (correct me/link me if I’m wrong) and I believe it’s imperative that ANY system looking to oppose or replace capitalism does so.
I commend you for wanting to build a better world. I’m not saying any of this to discourage you. But I believe historical context and shared definitions are important for these discussions and I wanted to at least offer some of that perspective to this discussion.
As I mentioned previously, both TZM and the Venus Project have been pursuing and advocating for open source technological solutions to the problems capitalism has caused and continues to perpetuate. They have their problems, but it might be worth it to look more into those projects purely to see what others who share similar goals to you have been saying and doing.
Beyond that, it never hurts to brush up on historical criticisms of the system you’re trying to replace. Many people on these forums are communists or socialists, and while I cannot necessarily recommend reading Capital yourself (the world could have ended by the time you finish it), there are other ways to absorb and digest its materials.
I personally am an anarcho-communist so in addition to the above I’ll recommend checking out The Conquest of Bread. It’s a book so heavily recommended it’s practically a joke at this point but it’s accessible and I think it has some stuff that might resonate with you. Maybe!
Good luck with your project!