HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » In Cowboy Capitalism, Hig...

Fri May 6, 2016, 08:39 AM

In Cowboy Capitalism, High Technology Worsens Economic Inequities


In Cowboy Capitalism, High Technology Worsens Economic Inequities

Thursday, 05 May 2016 00:00
By Robert McChesney and John Nichols, Nation Books | Book Excerpt


The following is an excerpt from People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizens Democracy:


The growth in the economy's capacity to produce since the 1930s, or even the 1960s, has been extraordinary, much as these economists anticipated. If the experts we used as counsel for this chapter are anywhere near accurate, the next four or five decades could make the twentieth century look like the twelfth century.

In popular economic theory, such revolutionary increases in productive capacity are supposed to translate into higher living standards, much shorter workweeks, richer public infrastructure, and a greater overall social security. Society should have the resources to tackle vexing environmental problems with the least amount of pain possible. In fact, however, nothing on the horizon suggests that this is in the offing. As automation and computerization take productive capacity to undreamed-of heights, jobs grow more scarce and are de-skilled, many people are poorer, and all the talk is of austerity and seemingly endless cutbacks in social services. There is growing wealth for the few combined with greater insecurity for the many. Washington, we've got a problem.

The false assumptions, of course, are that the benefits of the technology accrue to more than the owners of the firms deploying the technologies. And also that capitalists have incentive to produce far more than they do to satisfy the needs of people worldwide. In fact, Veblen had it right: capitalists produce as much as they do only as long as it remains profitable to do so. Producing more than that lowers prices and lessens profits. In short, to follow Keynes's logic to a place he did not go, capitalism would seem to have little or no reason to exist if the "economic problem" is solved, so it is imperative that the economic problem remain. For business and wealthy investors to continue to win, everyone else has to lose.

In our view, the evidence points in one direction: the economy needs to be fundamentally reformed, if not replaced. Capitalism as we know it is the wrong economic system for the material world that is emerging. This is a radical conclusion, but it is not made merely by radicals. The number of true believers who think leaving firms and wealthy investors alone to do as they wish will ultimately solve the employment problem and give us a great economy that can be the foundation for a vibrant democracy is shrinking, primarily because it is a faith-based position. There are also some who have a similar faith that technology is innately progressive and all-powerful, so it can and will solve capitalism's problems for us. They tell us that all we have to do is get out of the way, make some fresh popcorn, and grab a front-row seat as the future unfolds. .................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35917-in-cowboy-capitalism-high-technology-worsens-economic-inequities




2 replies, 756 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply In Cowboy Capitalism, High Technology Worsens Economic Inequities (Original post)
marmar May 2016 OP
bemildred May 2016 #1
malthaussen May 2016 #2

Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri May 6, 2016, 08:45 AM

1. "In short, to follow Keynes's logic to a place he did not go, capitalism would seem to have little

or no reason to exist if the "economic problem" is solved, so it is imperative that the economic problem remain."

And that is why you still have to have a job to eat, because without the need, you will not have to listen to the blowhards anymore. And they just HATE being ignored.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marmar (Original post)

Fri May 6, 2016, 04:26 PM

2. The Hand is not just Invisible, it is insubstantial.

Yeah, it seems to me that our economic system is chugging along exactly as one might have predicted if he didn't have a vested interest in perpetuating myth.

I am, however, slowly coming to the conclusion that the whole discussion will be rendered moot by Mother Nature.

-- Mal

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread