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The Death Of Capitalism


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Great article by Fred

The economic crisis has focussed many minds on immediate survival, ranging from individuals coping with redundancy, to governments propping up failed banks and car manufacturers. In a crisis humans tend to panic and regress into old thought patterns and old habits at the very time that long term whole system vision and breaking the mould is crucial. Short term remedies may provide temporary relief, but will only lead to greater repeat crises later for they just perpetuate the circumstances that created the problem in the first place.

Prime Minister Brown and President Obama are doing precisely that with their rescue packages, though they think they have gone beyond that by discussing new regulatory frameworks. That, however, is only what should have been there in the first place, and might have been so, were it not for the Thatcher/Reagan free market folly. I am amazed that she/he did not know that powerful greedy people will take advantage of any loophole, relatively speaking, or is that a jibe to close to home in her case? New regulations do not change a rotten system; they perpetuate it.

The next generation of Madoffs and Goodwins will find their way round any new regulations legally or illegally, and other banks will provide the secret services that Swiss banks have now been reluctantly obliged to curtail. People will continue to overlend so that others can overspend, and economic and land policies will continue to concentrate wealth in fewer hands and foster further social injustice and unrest. The inevitable result in quick time will be even greater crises; that is until we are forced to restructure the whole global trading system. The longer we delay making the inevitable fundamental change, the harder and more painful the process will be. At least this generation of politicians will be off the hook, which seems to be all they care about anyway.

So what might a whole system perspective reveal? It takes no more than an early glance to see that capitalism, as we know it, has no long term future as a stable structure for the fair and equitable existence of all of life on this planet. This is so for as long as the level of human consciousness fails to evolve beyond where it is today. Ultimately conscious is more significant than systems, and a variety of systems could be made to work.

• Clearly Adam Smith’s founding principle of capitalism that, “The trickledown theory will take care of the less well off” was plain wrong. Despite all the economic growth in the past two hundred years and the vast wealth accumulated by some, the gap between the rich and the poor is now widening at an ever increasing rate. The description by US economist J. K. Galbraith was more apposite, “If one feeds a horse enough oats, some will pass through it onto the road for the sparrows.”

• Economic growth, an essential tenet of capitalism, demands ever more production and consumption of energy and resources which we simply do not have – and more emissions that we don’t need. Despite all the efforts today to use renewables to meet our needs, and new fuels and ideas in the pipeline, only massive cutbacks in consumption will save us in time. To promote growth and consumerism to save the economy at this time is counter productive, short sighted and irresponsible, but that is precisely what our politicians are doing.

• Capitalism, especially the Thatcher/Reagan version, glorifies the success of the individual at the expense of the collective. That expense goes far beyond merely increasing the rich/poor divide to create a catalogue of social problems from obesity to teenage pregnancy and produces diagnosable emotional distress. (The Selfish Capitalist by Oliver James 2008, Published by Vermillion)

• Another failure of capitalism is the social impact of land ownership. It concentrates land and wealth in the hands of the few and severely constrains future generations. We need to see ourselves as stewards of the land that we tend for future generations, and we need to pay for the right to use it, but not own it. “People cannot own mother earth, they just think they do. If we don’t care for it, our mother may reclaim it at a cost.”

• Capitalism is a system that, by its very nature, invites people to seek competitive advantage for gain, which in turn encourages people to sail close to the wind, in other words to bend or break the rules. We have enough hardened rule breakers not to have a system that causes other ordinarily naturally honourable people to see no option but to join that club and play that game.

Capitalism is a system designed and modified occasionally by and for people at the level of consciousness that prevails at the time. The creators may be a step ahead of the average consciousness and the followers a step behind, but the system will nevertheless reflect the collective group think. The group think of capitalism was for competitive individual material gain, something akin to what we see in adolescents trying to make their mark in life.

Capitalism gained traction as the industrial revolution took hold and the new found coal and oil provided the opportunity for great feats of engineering in the form of steel and steam ships, bridges, railways and later cars and aeroplanes, and now it is electronics. It also created wealth and lifted many out of poverty. We became enamoured with knowledge and technology, and the belief grew that we could engineer our way to Utopia. This in turned skewed our education towards the quantitative away from the qualitative, towards knowledge rather than wisdom and towards outer riches rather than the riches that lie within.

Materialism took hold, but without the wisdom to use our technology wisely, within 200 years we had taken humanity to the brink of self-destruction through a lack of vision and wisdom, and through over consumption in the illusion that more stuff will make us happy. Meanwhile we in the industrialised countries having plundered the resources from the less “developed” world, we left them behind in poverty, yes, one third of the world’s population. Where is the wisdom it that? For many it may not have been the intention of capitalism, but that has been its effect, and now it is in trouble with only ourselves, our bankers and our politicians to blame.

The riches that lie within, and the wisdom referred to in these two paragraphs, could and should have been ours along the journey of evolving consciousness, except that we failed to foster and later even recognise that journey in our rush for other things that we deemed more important and now we have the consequences. Our whole educational purpose is skewed by the perceived needs of capitalism. We educate our children to be good consumers rather than to be wise or self-responsible.

When the human evolutionary process goes too far off track in one direction, in the end it will hit the guard rails. Those guard rail collisions are lined up before us, and setting aside several earlier ones from futile wars to unnatural disasters, we have now met the economic one. The environmental one that is far more consequential awaits us if we don’t wake up fast, and to a considerable extent even if we do. Fortunately there is a new groundswell of conscious people arising all over the world who see through the transparent folly of unconscious political and corporate leaders who are acting out of fear, and as I suggested before, behaving at an adolescent level of consciousness. As Albert Einstein reminds us “We will never solve the problems at the same level of consciousness that created them in the first place.” (Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken 2007 Published by Viking)

Hope lies not in our current leadership, but within ourselves along with all those humble but wise people who are awakening from the illusion of the consumerist dream, and can envision a better world, one that is back on the psychosocial evolutionary track. The task of divesting the power from those politicians and corporations that are driven by growth, greed, fear and self-interest is not easy task. The challenges we face are huge, but evolution is on our side and we have vision and wisdom, something that they lack. That is apparent. We may have to use methods that seem a little distasteful at times, such is the planetary urgency. I compliment Leila Deen for dishing out green custard to Lord Mandleson, though that may not have been distasteful enough.

Appologys for the long read ;)

Linky Here

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Guest sillybear2

The illusion of capitalism finally died the day they decided to bail out the banks.

Markets are neutral, they are trying to naturally correct imbalances, falling house prices is just part of that, trying to prevent that correction is a sin.

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We have never had a free market. Only a partially free.

Under the Tories we had less government intervention and the markets worked well.

Under Labour we had much more government intervention and the markets worked poorly.

The more government interferes in a free market the more market failures it creates. If we are ever going to find a sustainable model of capitalism is must be one in which the role of government is the minimum it needs to do only what it must.

All alternatives to the free markets have resulted in massive poverty, death or both.

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A situation in which the land is owned as a private cartel and the arbitrary claim to it is backed by government power, is not a free market and it will not behave remotely like a free market. Until the lie that it is, is addressed, right and left will keep fighting the same faux battle of employer vs worker ; free market vs socialism.

Edited by Stars
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The illusion of capitalism finally died the day they decided to bail out the banks.

Markets are neutral, they are trying to naturally correct imbalances, falling house prices is just part of that, trying to prevent that correction is a sin.

Well put.

It will be interesting to see exactly how that sin is punished. I suspect that we are well down the road of the law of unintended consequences.

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Guest X-QUORK

I find it staggering that there are still some who defend unfettered free market capitalism. Look around you folks, stretching off into the horizon you'll see the smouldering ruins of the capitalist experiment.

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I find it staggering that there are still some who defend unfettered free market capitalism. Look around you folks, stretching off into the horizon you'll see the smouldering ruins of the capitalist experiment.

:lol:

You can't stop free market capitalism, even your cells are capitalist.

All you can do is subvert it or destroy what it makes afterwards. Thsi is the death of socialism, the final hurrah of Marx's bobbins faux philosophy. next up will come some wacky ersatz but crap fascism and a de facto free market.

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All you can do is subvert it or destroy what it makes afterwards. Thsi is the death of socialism, the final hurrah of Marx's bobbins faux philosophy. next up will come some wacky ersatz but crap fascism and a de facto free market.

Bingo: free market capitalism is what people do when there's no gang of men with guns stealing 50% of their income and telling them what to they can and can't sell and for what prices.

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Guest X-QUORK
:lol:

You can't stop free market capitalism, even your cells are capitalist.

All you can do is subvert it or destroy what it makes afterwards. Thsi is the death of socialism, the final hurrah of Marx's bobbins faux philosophy. next up will come some wacky ersatz but crap fascism and a de facto free market.

I'm not going to enter into a long-winded existentialist debate with you Injin, life's too short. However, consider the point that even the selfish gene recognises that cooperation can be beneficial...to that end one could say some cells are capitalist, and some are socialist.

Anyway, all this sounds very silly. Moving on...

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I find it staggering that there are still some who defend unfettered free market capitalism. Look around you folks, stretching off into the horizon you'll see the smouldering ruins of the capitalist experiment.

I find it staggering that there are still some people who think we had unfettered free market capitalism over the past 70 years. Look around, government pervades into nearly every aspect of peoples lives and business.

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I'm not going to enter into a long-winded existentialist debate with you Injin, life's too short. However, consider the point that even the selfish gene recognises that cooperation can be beneficial...to that end one could say some cells are capitalist, and some are socialist.

Anyway, all this sounds very silly. Moving on...

That's right - your cells are free market capitalists.

Socialism is the equivalent to cancer, it takes energy from cells that are together because of mutual self interest and it uses their energy to make a useless lump. (hello, Gordon!)

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Bingo: free market capitalism is what people do when there's no gang of men with guns stealing 50% of their income and telling them what to they can and can't sell and for what prices.

Yes, first thing on the list is 'Buy guns, start protection racket for 50% of people's income'.

Without a strong government and the consequent rule of law, you can't have capitalism; you only get feudalism.

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Yes, first thing on the list is 'Buy guns, start protection racket for 50% of people's income'.

Without a strong government and the consequent rule of law, you can't have capitalism; you only get feudalism.

Without feudalism you get feudalism?

Eh?

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That's right - your cells are free market capitalists.

Socialism is the equivalent to cancer, it takes energy from cells that are together because of mutual self interest and it uses their energy to make a useless lump. (hello, Gordon!)

That's about the opposite of reality. Cancer cells grow exponentially, evolve to new circumstances, take advantage of new opportunities and don't allow themselves to be regulated.

Then they all end up dead because of ignored externialities.

Cells compete at the organism level.

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Without feudalism you get feudalism?

'In order to stop men with guns stealing 50% of your income, you must give 50% of your income to men with guns': I never understood that either... the only people who seem to benefit from that argument are men with guns.

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jebus what a rubbish artilce

We became enamoured with knowledge and technology, and the belief grew that we could engineer our way to Utopia. This in turned skewed our education towards the quantitative away from the qualitative, towards knowledge rather than wisdom and towards outer riches rather than the riches that lie within.

damn smelly hippy

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable
That's right - your cells are free market capitalists.

Socialism is the equivalent to cancer, it takes energy from cells that are together because of mutual self interest and it uses their energy to make a useless lump. (hello, Gordon!)

What a load of ********.

Cancer cells are ruthless unregulated opportunists with no regard to the regulated homeostatic balance of the functional whole.

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What a load of ********.

Cancer cells are ruthless unregulated opportunists with no regard to the regulated homeostatic balance of the functional whole.

Bankers cells are ruthless unregulated opportunists with no regard to the regulated homeostatic balance of the functional whole.

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