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It's becoming clear that this form of "Capitalism" is crap. So what next?

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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:22 AM
Original message
It's becoming clear that this form of "Capitalism" is crap. So what next?
Seriously folks, money has truly become the visually apparent root, and commander, of the biggest "evil", the Bush Junta. That's only the head of the Ultra Exploitive Hydra but it's the only one that most people here know or care about.

Between gerrymandering, Corpo TV, hundred million dollar elections, and un-recountable votes, what little "democracy" that was assumed is now pretty much squashed.

Is it clear now that without economic democracy, political democracy is a fucking JOKE? Is it? Is it YET? Do you still think that Horatio (Or Huey Long) will burst out on the scene and take back the power from the ESTABLISHMENT? That establishment incudes the Bushistas as well as that Kerry dude too. It includes a butload of the fuckers that y'all think are on the side of the Working Class. By Working Class I mean people like myself who if they don't work, then after a while they lose their home and food, it's pretty basic, no work no eat. They can promise you the moon but the super-majority of the "moon" cheese is ALWAYS going to the top 2% now, it's set, we're fucked.

Your life may be "fine" now, mine sure as shit is, but the giant swindling machine that most of the "middle class" security is built upon is about to run its course. As in BOOM!

Are you at that stage yet?



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inslee08 Donating Member (155 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:27 AM
Response to Original message
1. Compared to what?
Sadly, our current form of capitalism (with a few adjustments of course) is the best form of an economic system that we have. It's certainly better than a communism (at least in practice), IMHO. So, unless you have a better idea...
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I don't know, maybe something with more controls on capital?
Why bring in the "c" word? Are we that berift of new ideas in the 21st century? How sad.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. A blended economy emphasizing small independent business, esp.collectives?
"The Divine Right of Capital" is an interesting book that presents the perspective that the function of the stock market is to create something of an aristocracy which buys and sells "rights to wealth extraction" from corporations but which does not contribute tangibly to the operation of the corporations.

While initial investments are used to supply startup money for equipment, facilities, etc., the flow of wealth is overwhelmingly in one direction.

A corporate structure may be needed for businesses that build airplanes and cars, but not needed for clothing, food, or furniture.

Rather than dreaming up a perfect world, simply creating more balance and diversity in the economy (by shifting towards small independent business, especially independently-run collectives) might weaken the stranglehold that corporate thinking has on our societies and governments.
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amjucsc Donating Member (195 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 02:14 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Actually...
Someone has to provide the startup capital for a business. No investors, no company (or at any rate, a much smaller one.) The idea that the investor class is composed solely of bloodsucking vampires who provide nothing useful is, IMHO, a bit exaggerated.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Venture capital is essential, yes, but..
While initial investments are essential, the book points out that the vast majority of money "invested" in the stock market can be better defined as a form of subsidized gambling.

Venture capital is actually used by the company, as is IPO money, to buy equipment or facilities or provide liquidity; but over 99% of the money invested in the stock market is not. Rather, it is a form of gambling on the future of the company, with the critical distinction that it is subsidized by the earnings of the company (whether by dividends or by ownership of retained earnings and the assets which retained earnings buy).

It's an interesting paradigm shift. I still tend to think of investors as the people that provided the capital for startup, but for large corporations that have been around for decades this is too far from reality. They are closer to being the financial heirs to a feudal estate.






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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #14
23. The key question then...
is what laws and other structures do we place on our society that restrict capital to that which we deem socially useful? I'm kind of skeptical any are needed.

It seems to me that this form of capitalism is just the logical conclusion of the idea of capital being necessary to start a business. While the IPO may be the cornerstone of all this, without a secondary market for securities, such assets would be so lacking in liquidity that their value radically degrades. Once we open the doors to a secondary market, then this detatchment from reality of which you speak is pretty much inevitable.

Having an active government smooth the edges of this system would go a long ways towards making it work for everybody though. Such large scale capitalism will obviously produce a lot more losers than winners, so the government must provide an elaborate safety net funded by a progressive tax system. Public goods such as health insurance, auto insurance, utilities, and child care should be provided by the government in addition to the socialized roads, schools, and fire departments we already have. Add a pinch of aggressive environmental and labor laws and a willingness to figuratively bust skulls to fight corporate fraud, and you've got a recipe for a mixed economy that rewards innovation, yet makes sure everyone shares in the wealth that we as a society produce.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Chartered companies with a finite life & finite scope were the rule until
the late 1800s.

I found this website with a list of restrictions commonly placed on chartered companies:
http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate_accountabilit...

* Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.

* Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.

* Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.

* Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.

* Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.

* Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.


There's also an interesting comment that "a United States Congressional committee concluded in 1941, 'The principal instrument of the concentration of economic power and wealth has been the corporate charter with unlimited power....'" It amazes me that so much which seems like new ideas are just old ideas that have been forgotten.


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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #24
39. Nevertheless, there was probably an even a greater concentration...
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 10:40 PM by Telly Savalas
of economic power in that era than now. (e.g. all the robber barons and what not)

Edited to add: even if it wasn't worse than now, there was still a huge concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #24
42. I think that this is key
Large corporations have gotten too large and they are in the position where they demand preferrential treatment from the government. This has lead to the situation that we are in today. Returning to these restrictions will help much more than any other regulations that we place on corporations, which are now done under their influence.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #23
31. I think a mix of solutions is needed.
We can support the alternatives to corporations -- like independent businesses and collectives -- whenever possible.

I don't know if an elaborate safety net NEEDS to be part of it. I'm open to many options -- ranging from a system like Sweden on the one hand, to systems that are more community-based or collective-based. The Zapatistas began by rejecting help from the central government because of political repression and deciding that they were going to do everything themselves as a community. I love Sweden, but I no longer have enough trust in government -- can we rely on it without also being enslaved by it? The government provides schools -- but now here come the RFID chips and Tasers to track and control students, and the schools have been corporatized, and the history lessons have been whitewashed and glorified. Social programs in this country come with a lot of strings attached -- personal lives are dissected, and people end up trapped in no-win situations. Publicly funded media sounds great -- like PBS and NPR -- but NPR is used as a tool to sell the dominant worldview on certain critical issues (like the war) and PBS has its pressures too. Once government funding is involved, the government gets power over the individuals and institutions that rely on it.

I often think that if we didn't have a huge burden of wasteful corporate subsidies, excessive military spending, and burgeoning prison populations, people would be in better shape to support their families and to contribute to their communities.

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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. Sure.
I'm open to the idea of different approaches being tested and implemented. Nevertheless, government can and should be an active agent in promoting social justice. This is the foundation of the Democratic New Deal philosophy. However, a democratic government is only as good as the people who choose to participate in the political process. Sure there are strings attached when the government gets involved in something, but if people are active in the politcal process and the government responds to the people in a democratic fashion, these strings are no more than guidelines that ensure high quality in the services being rendered.

They're not using RFID chips and tasers to track students in Sweden, are they? So it's no really fair to say that the problems in our schools today a result of the fact that they are run by the government.

NPR may have touted the war, but the CBC does an excellent job of offering insightful coverage of events and presents many perspectives on the issues. Publicly funded media can be high quality if the citizens demand it.

In Quebec people pay $7 a day for child care. Is there any other place in the world that offers such affordable and comprehensive child care coverage without the involvement of the government?

Even the guy in your avatar supports a government run single payer health care system.




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Megawatt Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
35. Venture capitalist are attracted in part
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 06:35 PM by Megawatt
because there is a secondary market for securities. Many start ups won't pay dividends for years even if they are profitable - at the growth stage of the business they need recycle earnings back into the busniess. Who's going to invest if they are told you can't resell your stock and have to wait 5 to 10 years to maybe or maybe not get a $2 dividend
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #35
43. I didn't say you can't resell your stock
Right now the equation is that the stockholders have the right to all net earnings now and forever. This is regardless of whether it's a capital-intensive business like steel manufacturer or a capital-lite business like dot-coms.

People will look for ways to make their money grow even if the stock market is less appealing. Startup companies don't always need venture capital, they can also obtain bank loans if they have a good business plan. If the stock market became less appealing, people would tend to seek fixed rate investments, then banks would be searching for companies that want loans.

If an investment in a startup gave you the rights to a percentage of the earnings over 20 years, for example, people would still be interested in investing. And people could still buy and sell that ownership, the value might go up or down depending on forecasted earnings but eventually it would dwindle down to nothing. Eventually it SHOULD dwindle down to nothing. Labor doesn't get a return on its investment for decades. Capital has been romanticized as "the entrepreneur" with the big idea..There DOES need to be major payoffs to those people who take the big risks and have the big ideas, and make them work; but it doesn't necessarily mean that the payoffs must continue (to successive "owners") forever.

Were corporations in existence in the Stone Age, we would probably still be paying royalty fees to The Company that invented the wheel. ;) (I know, patent laws don't last that long.)

What is the relative worth of capital to labor? It varies, or it should vary. In some respects capital is like 'overhead' -- think about the differences between Linux and Microsoft operating systems. With Linux, a person might write new code of Linux for a specific application and get paid -- by the person or company that needed the application-- for writing the code. Likewise with Microsoft. But in the latter case, The Microsoft Corporation must get paid over and over and over again. You can think of the money paid to Microsoft as 'dues'.

Ownership of intellectual properties in the hands of corporations is a good example of something that has gotten out of control. There is a company that has bought the rights to The Happy Birthday Song, and requires payment if such a song is performed for profit such as played in a movie or on TV. DNA code is owned by corporations. Copyright laws have been extended to accommodate Disney -- not the man, but the corporation -- and are now up around 80 years.

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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. How about an economy that embraces a little socialism?
Our current form of Capitalism (Corporatism) may very well lead to a social revolution. Perhaps if we throw a little dose of socialism into the mix, the masses will be kept at bay.

The Bush* plan in all things: PRIVATIZE the profits and SOCIALIZE the costs.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Why the need to keep people or "the masses" at bay?
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 01:51 AM by JanMichael
Was that just a venacular statement?
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Just being sardonic
I was stating it from my perception of what the power brokers might have said. It's been a long week! :)
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. Radical adjustment is underway
Its not capitalism that is the problem. It's the monetary system.

Once we created a system where value could be compartmentalized and transported separately from actual wealth, such as cows or gold, we also had a secondary leeching economic layer based on the erosion that occurs in the transfer of that value from one place or person to another. Interest, inflation, deflation, conversion, Jesus' money changers. Most great accumulation of wealth is based on manipulation of value inconsistent with substance. The side effect of currency is the ability to enrich oneself without comparable participation.

But our information age is reducing the necessity of currency. Cash has given way to credit cards, credit cards are giving way to debit cards. Internet commerce will soon will connect shoppers directly to manufacturers. Extraneous fees and surcharges are slowly being curtailed thorough the process of true cost.

That is one of the reasons so much of the old rich back Bush's policies to eliminate the middle class and return the days of servitude to the company store.
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InvisibleBallots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
20. The problem with Capitalism is that it's too much like Communism
It think the problem with Capitalism is that it's too much like Communism - instead of one big bureacracy controlling a bunch of smaller bureacracies that control the economy, you have a handful of big bureacracies controlling smaller bureacracies that control the economy.

In both capitalism and communism, it's an authoritarian heirarchy - a few people at the top make all the decisions and everyone else has little choice but to obey orders.

What's the old saying? When the monkey at the top of the tree looks down, all he sees are smiling faces. When the monkeys at the bottom of the tree looks up, all they see are assholes. Quick - is that saying about private corporations or a government bureacracy? It's all the same.

Capitalism, like Communism, sounds great on paper. It would be nice if everyone competed fairly, let the most efficient competitors win. But for Capitalism to work, you have to change human nature, and that obviously won't happen.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #1
36. How about a melding of the two systems? As it stands, our system is FAR
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 06:44 PM by HypnoToad
from even remotely best. In fact, it seemed as if it was better before Reagan started deregulating everything. And even before Reagan there were problems...

We need a society that encourages quality build products.

We need a society that encourages people to help each other and not be mean-spirited.

We need a society that allows people to get ahead, without exploiting other people viciously in order TO get ahead. There must be a balance.

We need a society that is honorable and just.

Currently, we have none of these things.
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FlemingsGhost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. What's next? ... Revolution. (n/t)
FG
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
15. Not until you pull the Video Drug.
People will NOT revolt as long as you give them their "Must-See Teeee-Veeee"...
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. It's certainly the opiate.
It constantly sells get rich, be rich, admire the rich, shit to people who will never be that way, yet they're lulled to sleep by heiresses of hotel chains.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #21
37. Leona Helmsley?
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 07:13 PM by BiggJawn
Oh...you mean Paris "I'm a Good Fuck because I'm young, rich, and I DID show up, didn't I?" Hilton....

Don't forget Big Jugs the Lip-Syncer, too! What's her name? Ashy Simpleton?
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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
3. Check out
"America Beyond Capitalism", by Gar Alperovitz.

There is actually a chapter from it published in this month's (or maybe last) Dollars and Sense magazine.

He describes what a post capitalist economic/political system might look like. I believe it's called a Pluralist Commonwealth.

It's interesting stuff.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:39 AM
Response to Original message
5. People need to realize capitalism
and democracy do not have o be symbiotic.
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magellan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 03:34 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. They can co-exist, though
It just requires keeping capitalism under control and out of government processes, otherwise it leads to the rampant political and corporate corruption/cronyism we see today. We're flying down the other side of the hill without brakes or headlights now.
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 03:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. Yes, there is an awakening that will require the most heartfelt and even
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 03:39 AM by shance
competitive souls in the healthiest sense. We have not seen authentic, raw capitalism since perhaps the 1700'S. Industrialization, monopolization, imbalanced wealth, and corruption have seen to that. They ruined what is essential about this country long ago. I find it pretty amazing we have continued to this point!

We must at the root invite both barterism and authentic capitalism back to America if we are truly to be the great country we "claim" to be.

Now is the time to put our money where our mouth is. The truth will tell.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
16. I just might be there.
If you define "After a while" as about 3 weeks.
What a country! Less than 2 paychecks away from homelessness!
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
17. Nope. I still believe in regulated capitalism a la the 1945-1983

post WW II Height of the Old American Republic

Unfourtunately, the Old American Republic is irrevocably gone, I think, and the BOOM you speak of will be a great boon to the Imperial Aristocracy.

Recruitment will shoot up and they can begin instuting harsher, morer draconian measures without passing a single solitary law now.

But academically, outside the constraints of the reality that a return to a Strong Democratic-Republic is virtually now impossible in Imperial Amerika (1-2% chance to turn it around at this point, I think), I would still favor that.

Hi Michael :hi:

I am glad to hear things are still good for you and Steph in this quiet moment in 1940, during the Sitzkrieg...
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cmd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Regulation is the key
Without it, greed controls the economy - and it's doing it now.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. It is a creepy "quiet moment".
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 10:22 AM by JanMichael
I see so many people walking around as if all is well in kingdom when all indicators say it's not.

The 1945-1983 period was the acme (perhaps the 70's) of our development into a cooperative social democracy. Sadly though we never really broke away from the clutched of the MIC and the Plutocracy. Sure we "middle class" white folks were told how great things were, and to a degree that was true, but it was on the backs of the people of other nations, the poor, and ultimatly each other. Our relative affuence was predicated on economic exploitation at home and abroad, every bed we slept on, shoe that we wore, car that we drove, the whole thing.

So now we find ourselves feeling the crunch of the top 1% insatiable greed.

"1-2% chance to turn it around at this point, I think" I think you're probably right about that. The iron heel will likely be the near future since a "boot stomping on a human face forever" seems to be their attainable goal.

Oh well. The quiet can't last forever.



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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
22. Electronic feudalism. nt
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Calanus Donating Member (119 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
25. Actually, it's the LOVE of money that supposed to the root of all evil
Not money itself.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. "Sat Jan-08-05 02:22 AM"
You're correct. However I was blocked when I typed that last night...
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
27. Capitalism works. IF regulated.
What they want is unregulated. Every time the regulations go off, abuse happens.
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InvisibleBallots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Capitalism looks good on paper, doesn't work in the real world
All of the powerhouse economies - the USA, EU, China, Japan, the Asian Tigers - are all half Socialist.

Capitalism is great in theory, but it doesn't work in the real world because it's an idealistic fantasy that goes against human nature.
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ngant17 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
29. petro-economies are dying, not just capitalism
If you subscribe to the idea that Peak Oil is a reality, then it is a no-brainer that petro-economies are doomed, which will of course tend to take capitalism down with it, like someone who is drowning and desperately grabs onto the would-be rescuer to keep afloat.

Can you show me a capitalist industrial society that is not dependent upon a petroleum economy?

Agrarian-based societies, which (not coincidentally) tend to be more primitive, less industrial and more communistic, will have a better chance of survival.

I recommend that you do what I did and go to Cuba and do your own research. Never mind the fact that they've found major offshore oil deposit(s) recently. It's not enough to make a difference for us, anyway. Even if Bush decides to invade the island. It won't help our ailing economy. Cuba is proof that people can live in completely self-contained environments with minimum needs for gasoline and petro by-products. And an embargo/boycott to boot.

I fail to see how you can compare communism/socialism (in Cuba, Vietnam, Korea) with captialism here. Doesn't make sense to me.

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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. I agree with you.
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 05:19 PM by JanMichael
The point of the thread was to see if people could figure these issues out sans me giving the answers.

Not that I necessairly have all the answers, just different ones, similar to your post.

"I fail to see how you can compare communism/socialism (in Cuba, Vietnam, Korea) with captialism here. Doesn't make sense to me."

I haven't done that. However I've seen what you mean.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. People like to talk about diversifying our fuel sources
and getting off of oil, but no one wants to talk about cutting back consumption and having a little discipline with what we have instead of blowing it off. Sure, we could probably have an infrastructure powered by hydrogen fuel cells, solar power, hydroelectric power, and wind power, etc., but it's not going to work if we continue to consume the ridiculous amounts of energy we are currently doing today. We've got to cut back to save ourselves.

But back the the point, I think at best right now a well-regulated mixed economy. Social programs that help to redistribute wealth and help the needy can and do exist side-by-side with capitalism in the market place; however, it is not going to work if we allow corporatists to not only influence elections and politics but also own the news media. It's an invitation to tyranny.

At heart though, I'm an anarcho-syndicalist. Concentrations of wealth and power in the marketplace as well as government are dangerous to the wellbeing of the people precisely because it is in the hands of a relative few who may or may not have the people's interests at heart. It doesn't matter if they gained it by buying in or by being voted in. That power, in the wrong hands, can be truly destructive. If the world came crashing down and I had to start over, I'd start an economy built on anarcho-syndicalism. Industries and economies should be owned as well as managed by workers, not owned by the financial elite at the top and worked by everyone else at the bottom.
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bobweaver Donating Member (953 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
32. We've gone back to 100 years ago, with virtually unregulated capitalism
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InvisibleBallots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Crapitalism
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
38. World Ideologies (if you have a cow)
http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/faculty/rau/funny/world_...

Feudalism
You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Pure Socialism
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you all the milk you need.

Bureaucratic Socialism
Your cows are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs the regulations say you should need.

Fascism
You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

Pure Communism
You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

Real World Communism
You share two cows with your neighbors. You and your neighbors bicker about who has the most "ability" and who has the most "need". Meanwhile, no one works, no one gets any milk, and the cows drop dead of starvation.

Russian Communism
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the black market.

Perestroika
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the Mafia takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the "free" market.

Cambodian Communism
You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

Militarianism
You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

Totalitarianism
You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.
Pure Democracy
You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

Representative Democracy
You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

British Democracy
You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.
Bureaucracy
You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

Pure Anarchy
You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

Pure Capitalism
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Capitalism
You don't have any cows. The bank will not lend you money to buy cows, because you don't have any cows to put up as collateral.

Enviromentalism
You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.
Political Correctness
You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallo centric, war mongering, intolerant past) two differently - aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.
Surrealism
You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

Enronism
You have two cows. You borrow 80% of the forward value of the two cows from your bank, then buy another cow with 5% down and the rest financed by the seller on a note callable if your market cap goes below $20B at a rate 2 times prime. You sell the three cows to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so you get four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. This transaction process is upheld by your independent auditor with no negative balance sheet implications, followed by a press release that announces that Enron, as a major owner of cows may begin trading cows via a new internet site.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
40. Quite a loaded question, "What Next?"
There are several problems, and possible solutions to those problems that need to be addressed.

First, our Capitalist system is based on the idea of unlimited growth, and considering that it is based on fossil fuels, that means that once they are out, it collapses. Just switching to alternative sources will not be enough, simply because, even with the most renewable of sources, such as the Sun, there will be a ceiling to hit on Earth as to how much of it can be usefully utilized. I don't think everyone is willing to put solar panels over ever sqare inch of the planet for electicity.

The problem is that without growth, especially sustained growth, capitalism cannot function. Capitalism is by nature, extremely short term, usually breaking down growth into fiscal quarters, and the profit motive, while good for some instances, are bad here. Profit encourages growth, and while that sounds good, the problem is where the growth is supposed to come from? There is no economist on the planet that will claim that we can have sustained growth on LESS energy usage than the past. We are beginning to hit the ceiling on the idea of sustained economic growth, because soon, we will have less energy to use than in the past. Unfortunately, capitalism, as a system, may not work in that enviroment at all, at least on a large scale.

So what is the solution? Sustainablity is possibly the answer, but the question is, what form is that supposed to take? This may sound crazy, but we need to think about not only zero, or hopefully, negative, population growth, but also zero economic growth as well. This problem comes up again with the profit motive, no company on the planet will agree to put a ceiling on profits, nor would they plan to operate at a loss for the good of humanity. As far as I can tell, we are heading into a brick wall in a Mack truck, and the brakes are failing, so how do we put the breaks on the truck to prevent a crash? I fear we are at the point of no return right now, and the crash will happen, whether we hit the brakes now, or in a year, the question is, will we slow it down enough to survive, or will we all die from our blindness?
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Thtwudbeme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #40
44. I was "loaded" when I posted the "loaded" question.
Edited on Sun Jan-09-05 10:37 AM by Thtwudbeme
So I can imagine that I wasn't thinking in awfully subtle terms.

You're right that it's a consumption and sustainability problem. They don't calculate.

Personally I don't believe that that the systems we have now will survive the energy crunch.

EDIT: Whoops! This is Jan Michael forgetting to post under my own username. What's funny is that Steph posts under my username all of the time...

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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #44
46. LOL, that must be confusing!!!
One thing I didn't really present is what to do about it, and it is all related, the system of commerce we use, and the energy crunch. I would think that the best we can do, now, is to gear down our economy and industrial base, this could possibly buy time, put the foot on the brake so to speak. This could reduce energy consumption, but the cost will be greater, individually, than the profit. To gear down as I said, we will have to reinvest in old infrastructure, such as the railroads, because they are less energy dependent than high energy jet airplanes or cars and trucks. Others things to do, is to reclaim old farmland that is now suburban sprawl, reorganize cities around people, not cars, and to reinvest in local sustainable economies that are not inexorably tied to a global economy. This can mean sacrifices for us, like trading in our cars for bikes, or trading in our homes with a yard for European style flats and homes closer to the center of cities. These could be things done in the short term that will help alleviate much of the suffering that will occur when Peak Oil hits.

Those are only the short term solutions that should be done now, while we have time. So that instead of destroying our way of life entirely, rebuild a new one, with new hope for us all. Long-term solutions would be to invest in new infrastructure for alternative sources of energy, but make no mistake, our current way of life will not be sustained using any of these technologies, it will have to change.
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Nimrod Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
45. Been there for awhile
I hate money. I hate it with a screaming passion. I completely disconnected my television because I couldn't stand one more person telling me to fork it over. I spend as little as humanly possible, although that still amounts to 100% of my paycheck each month so I'm still enslaved to it.

It's going to take something big before we can do anything more than throw another coat of paint on something that should be demolished. We'll have to have a Black Tuesday that makes the last one look like a tiny recession. The dollar is going to have to simply vanish and return everyone, and I mean everyone to square one. That's the only thing that will do it, because we have given ALL power to money and those who hold it and we can't just take it back now.

Money rules us. Period. End of sentence.
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