A New Birth of Freedom

Rw005g

Rw005g
Location
Somewhere on the way to the sea, South Carolina, United States of America
Birthday
December 31
Title
Major General
Company
Military Division of the Mississippi (Army of the Ohio, Army of the Cumberland, Army of the Tennessee)
Bio
I root out and destroy secession, wherever it is found.

MY RECENT POSTS

OCTOBER 2, 2011 11:01AM

Is Capitalism Working?

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CAPITALISM
 I found this online and thought I would share it with you.
 
Is there a global imbalance in terms of food distribution?
 
Should we do more to redistribute the global supply of food?
 
 
 
BAAL
 
 
I also found this online. 
Metaphorical.
Its always been a tad sinful to worship Bulls, no?
Baal is back, but now he lives on Wall Street...
 
 
SUPPORT THE WALL STREET PROTESTS!!!!!!!!!!
 
 

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Capitalism is functioning excellently for a small very wealthy minority. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? If not, perhaps something else would be better.
"Is Capitalism Working?"

It is working for those with capital; for the rest of us, not so much. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Jan and Nanatehay: You're right. It is working for those who benefit from it. Yet the vast majority, it seems, are not really benefiting from it these days, it seems. There are really no jobs in America these days. Why? Because we sent them all to China.

What's the use of having cheap goods to buy, if you have no money to purchase said goods with, because your job was off-shored to China or India? It is turning into a vicious, downward spiral...
Yeah, I saw that on Facebook. Very telling.
Are the protests illegal? I thought they had a permit for the protests?
Seems to me that capitalism is doing quite well, at least for the capital laden. We are faced with a problem that has no precedent. There was a time when to opportunities were evenly spread and in order for anyone to get wealthier some one else must surrender a bit of their wealth. We now face a nation (in the U.S. anyway) that sees the major holders not satisfied to be wealthier than most they actively seek an advantage in holding that wealth even though they have more than they will ever spend. They will keep it at the cost of sickness and starving children, they will keep it by any means they can use. We have gone form a classless society to a society of barons and chattel.
Capitalism is a failure. It became so when unions were busted, and monopolies allowed to dominate. Consolation is the root of all evil. The fact that five major corporations control all the media makes it nearly impossible to get changes. Huxley was right--he predicted that the mass of people would be controlled by distractions and repeated myths. Buckle up! You ain't seen nothing yet. When the Neo-Cons take the Senate, (a near certainty) control the House, the Federal and Supreme Courts and possibly the presidency-- watch them go then. They are going after the national forests and parks next....
Thinkin' am I, 'Wish you had given data and not these horrific and tantalizing picture "duos".'
Capitalism worked during the industrial revolution.

Post industrial revolution? If less that 1% of the American citizens continue to control 99% of America's wealth, that's a recipe for disaster.
Rw, that first picture blew me straight to that old familiar place,
Understanding.
Thank u.

Holy damn shit, is all I gotta say to that 2nd picture.
I knew about bull markets and whatnot, and baal of course, but never twained the two together.

Again, thank u.
A juxtaposition we all need to understand is happening right now. Thank you for sharing this with us.
yep. more in my blog
I remember your post about the debt jubilee and I was going to send this to you in a PM but I will post it here for other people who might be interested. Webster Tarpley astutely points out that the only chance the pigs on Wall street have now is to sidetrack this like they did the original tea party movement. If we develop cohesive points that are non negotiable like he recommends on the bottom of his piece this will be impossible for them to do, take it for what its worth. I also posted it on vz's piece he has some great links there:

http://tarpley.net/2011/09/29/emergency-program-for-anti-wall-street-protestors/
Excellent article Jack. And I agree with him about Soros. Soros is a rich guy who wants to co-opt the left and neutralize its radicalism and water-down his demands. Napoleon III did the same thing in France.
http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81885090/

Look at these examples of police brutality from the recent Wall Street protests...
I hate to say this, but Jesus said the poor will always be with us. We should do what we can to help. Our number one priority is to stop the conservative wealthy power base from completing our conversion to a third-rate country.
I believe he just said “foundation-funded operatives on the left wing of the Democratic Party” but you are right of course he was talking about Georgie boy. It was Moveon.org who did first organize this whole thing. I remember being solicited by email to take part in this thing a while back by them. I told them I had less use for George Soros than I did for Goldman Sachs but perhaps I was being hasty everyone has a good idea now and then even Nazi war criminals that are sworn to destroy this country. If all this country is about now is making a profit for Goldman Sachs by keeping NAFTA intact and corporate purchases of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the Citizens United “decision” then its time for those who have heavily donated with family blood to its memorial cemetery's to take their stand besides its enemies. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If it keeps going on (the police brutality) then I will be going there myself and I do not believe in nonviolent revolution.
If you don't think Capitalism is working how about you move someplace that doesn't have it like, Cuba? Or the old Soviet Bloc countries. There has to be someplace where the government starved millions of their own people to death or out right killed them. How many did Mao kill?

How about we make our poor live like those in countries that don't have capitalism. Maybe they would like to give up their TV, A/C, and everything else that capitalism allows the people here.
The kid on the left might already be dead....the kids on the right will probably die early in life with all the modern day diseases

That people on the left will not cost us anything (monetarily), just some , a nanosecond long, twinges of guilt and hypocritical piety; the kids on the right will cost the community (labor lost, increasing health cost) plenty........some of course cash in on it

All in all that's capitalism at work.........
Capitalism isn't working....it just seems to be working. Capitalism is in the position of the man who has fallen off the Empire State Building. He knows he's going to buy the farm, but if you ask him how he's doing at the 85th floor, he would say, "So far, so good."

The harvesting of wealth going on right now is simply the last gasp of a dying system. Sooner or later, and I think sooner rather than later, the decimation of the middle class - what David Brin calls the flattening of the diamond pattern - will result in the collapse of corporate capitalism when the consuming class no longer has the liquidity to consume the products that the producing class produces. Then, beware, because the shit will well and truly hit the fan then.
Occupation of certai n nexuses of capitalist energy are fine and good,
But we planners know the extent of the need for occupation of the soul
Of the nation, ours, the land of the Free and Brave.
These are easily words made trite by endless froth from the mouth.
The soul of America is kidnapped by pirates,
The ship that slaughtered Moby dick’s sister and enraged the great
White whale to take on his nemesis, ahab’s code:
“if the sun offends me, I shal l smite it”
Meanwhile scarlett women from the hawthorne mansion eat the grain
Meant for small children
And the small children are fed Nietzsche in the schools by misdirection.

Lies, all lies…

The nihilism, the last man of Nietzsche, is alive and well and capitalizing
On misery and miserable in his hedonistic ennui.

Tv is the balm.


It is the baby crawling to the death chamber, said Ginsberg.

And we have sweet euthanasia for toddlers now.

Eat the soma. It is soy.
Capitalism is working exactly the way it's supposed to. It has taken awhile for it to arrive at its end-game, but that's where we are right now. It isn't that capitalism is immoral. It's amoral, kind of like a hurricane. It will do what it does until it can't do it anymore.

Damn, catnlion, do you ever have anything new to say? Those of us living in the confines of the system are allowed to criticize. Get it?
No........and people don't understand it either apparently. Hang 'em all..........o/e
Amen. Also, write or call your police commissioners and local sheriffs around the country, and tell them that they are being watched, as protests are going on around the country as you read this. If the police start using a heavy hand, on Wall Street or Main Street, it should be news. I have heard they are going to use provisions in the Patriot Act to calm a lot of protests or large demonstrations. If they do, violence may be met with violence. Just saying....,
It seems the country is in the opening moves towards gradually more violent protests. The financial elite is using every means at its disposal to coerce and defeat the basic counterforces of liberty and citizen's rights in controlling the larcenous motivations of the wealthy class. The police reflexively utilize exaggerated violence against any objection to police brutality and I assume they feel this demonstration of violent over-reaction would quell the protests. No sensible person readily accepts being beaten up but when the nation reaches the point of no alternative to violence, violence will result until somebody backs down. It seems to me things are about to get much worse and it is open as to whether they will improve in the near future. This may be the big push into final totalitarianism of the country. I hope not but I see little if any organized push back.
i don't like protests, for they change nothing fundamental, and are often counter-productive.

you are living under rich men's law. until you change it, you lose.
I like Juergen Habermas' idea that the “colonization” of society by “turbo-capitalism” has created a cultural crisis and has undermined the solidarity without which democratic rationality cannot function.
Even John Stewart has commented on the NYPD's abusive tactics. Look at this clip from the Daily Show:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-september-29-2011/democracy-on-the-lurch---wall-street-pepper-spray-incident
I am very shaken by the photo on the left top. And just as shaken by the one on the right. But in an entirely different way. I haven't felt this much revulsion for a photographer since the picture of the starving child with the vulture next to it. I am concerned, is he/she giving the money made from the photo to help that poor soul? If he/she is still alive that is. And if not, to awarenes of obesity in children?

The Girl in the Cafe brought this to the surface when she said "people are starving, and could survive on the bits of food left on our plates every day"

Sigh

Thankyou...again, well written.
The people at the top of our unholy food chain believe they are better and stronger, a phony version of might makes right. I wonder how they'd feel meeting a more real, far stronger version of might making right.

Whatever happens to the protestors I hold Wall Street, the government and law enforcement FULLY responsible. It will be their doing if they try to incite trouble by roughing them up so they're forced to defend themselves, and defenseless people are harmed.

It would be hard to hurt one of the huge corporations in this modern era but I sure miss the power of the boycott. It would be fun to strip away a little profit from some, maybe one oil company, one bank and so on. Watch them quiver and twist trying to appease the peons to keep themselves from losing their much adored money. Even thinking of giving a small bruising to their share price titillates me. Sigh, now I've given you a glimpse of my secret fantasies. They aren't capable of shame or empathy, it would be so gratifying to hit the one thing they love.
Look at the way that chubby kid on the right is imperiously pointing his finger and demanding more french fries from across the table, like he's some sort of over-fed, red, white and blue Roman Emperor wannabe, indulged by his overweight, mu-mu wearing parents...
we seem to have a consensus here. Capitalism works for the Capitalists. unfortunately Capitalists probably number in the 1%.
see also occupy wall street, my speech to the masses
ps sometimes called Crony Capitalism.
or my new term for it....
CRAPitalism....!!
I don't mind the idea of competition, but unchecked capitalism just ain't working when a wealthy minority are able to reap so many benefits while the poor majority suffer.

It was an interesting experiment. I'm ready to try a new economic system.
Capitalism in its current form isn't working. What I find strange, and it's something Sagemerlin alluded to, is that the rich need middle class customers or many of them won't be able to stay rich, so what's happening now is economic suicide on the part of the rich.

Catnlion has a legitimate question, though:
What do we replace it with?
I've asked Boko the same question. The alternatives also suck, so where to?
Nah, nothing is working anymore. If I lived in NYC I'd probably be locked up by now for joining the protest. I am thrilled to see those folks out there representing you and me and the rest of the have-nots, RW.

Lezlie
The people with wealth and power have always used the rest of humanity as a farmer uses his cattle and if the cattle get restive and uncontrollable they are butchered for meat. But it might be possible for ill fed and ill cared for cattle to revolt en masse and kill the farmer although many cattle will die in the process. Then the cattle will have to decide how to care for themselves. Perhaps a few cattle can learn how to be farmers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQMbXvn2RNI

Jan----see this video. "Cows with Guns."
@koshersalaami

What you imply is that there is no solution to humanity providing decently for itself. I am quite a pessimist but not that bad.
It's worked better lately, although it is like nana says always the case that it works for those with capital better on average than for those without capital. Times pass too. One more year, things settle out.
Jan,
I'm not implying that. This is a real question.

At the moment, we're on a sinking ship. I don't know whether to look for another ship or bail like hell.

The ship can be bailed, but only if enough of its passengers understand that we're sinking. A few passengers are in possession of a monster pump but, thus far, they don't see it as in their interests to turn it on. They think the ship will continue to sail if the bottom deck floods completely.

So far, the rhetoric aimed at this group of passengers takes two forms:
1. It's irresponsible to let the lowest deck flood. (Most of them either don't agree or don't care.)
2. The passengers on the lower decks will get violent if this continues. (They think they can protect themselves from lower deck passengers. They're probably right.)

What I don't see is enough people making the point that is most likely to reach them:

3. The whole ship is sinking. The ship needs the bottom deck in order to stay afloat.

The strongest cases are cases about self-interest. My issue has been from the beginning has been and continues to be:

Businesses need customers to keep their doors open. If customers go to hell, business goes to hell, and if business goes to hell, the rich won't be as rich as they used to be because a lot of their investments are in businesses.

Right now this is a comment. Maybe I should turn it into a post.
Yeap, it's working, too good actually!
@koshersalaami

That businesses need customers has been recognized in quite a few places. And customers need money or credit to be customers. Therefore firing people and cutting wages and not loaning money prevents people from being customers. This is all very obvious. and yet it's not being incorporated in policies. Go figure.
Catnlion:
There are different groups of people on the left in OS. Some have always believed that capitalism is a bad system. Some of us, however, come from a very different place, and I'm pretty sure Rw is one of these. I certainly am.

I'm in business. Personally, I believe that the most efficient and moral system I've yet seen is what I might call highly regulated capitalism. I could expand on that but I've posted on this subject enough times that it would be simpler to help you find the right posts if you're curious. The point here is that I'm not a communist or a socialist; I'm a capitalist.

I'm worried. The current system has turned really disfunctional and I'm afraid it won't be able to sustain itself. How money is distributed is changing pretty quickly, and how it's changing is that those at the very top of the ladder are sucking more and more of the money out of the rest of the economy. They have most of it now, but the sucking continues.

How and why is this happening? The best answer I can think of is that, because of what sort of media coverage it takes to get elected to major office, running for office got really expensive. It's much more efficient to get a lot of money from a few people than a little money at a time from a whole lot of people and, as more and more money is required, going to the few people with a lot of money becomes more and more necessary. That gives those people influence, and what most of them do with it is push an agenda that puts more and more money in their hands.

I know what the problems are with this from a liberal standpoint but there's a massive problem coming from a business standpoint: The redistribution of money is so extreme that the national customer base is getting killed. Profits don't come from capital or investment - capital and investment is all borrowed money, money placed there to get more out than what was put in. That's true even if you self-invest. Profits come from sales. Income comes from sales. If we don't nurture the customer base in a hurry, sales will dry up, which will reduce the worth of corporations and those who invest in them. We are starving the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Is this reversible? I ardently hope so. If it isn't, we will quite literally need another alternative because this one is heading toward collapse. I don't want it to - I really, really want it not to - but I don't see a serious force countering the momentum heading for the cliff.

This isn't about ideology.
I agree with Kosh. Mind you, Catnlion, it wasn't ethically responsible or regulated capitalism that gave birth to the evils of Soviet Communism or Maoism. It was the evils of unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism. Avoiding the excesses of both systems is what responsible moderates want.

On the other hand, if capitalism refuses to reform itself, it may make itself so weak, and so susceptible to total systemic failure, that it may be unable to resist the onslaught and anarchic upheaval that it inevitably gives birth to.
"Is Capitalism Working?"

Nope, not in this extreme version although if there was some balance there might be some aspects worth keeping.

"Is there a global imbalance in terms of food distribution?"

Yep

"Should we do more to redistribute the global supply of food?"

Yep, but more importantly we should change the way it is automatically distributed in an corrupt manner under the current circumstances.

_____________

But you already knew that; you just wanted to stir up the debate and hear it from others and perhaps spur some action. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

R

;-)
I agree w Jan. (Note the date.)

r.
There are two fundamental aspects to doing business. The are not necessarily in conflict but overemphasis on one or the other can have deleterious effects on the total operation.

One aspect is involved with spotting a viable need in society and fulfilling that need in an excellent and economical manner. If the logic of the operation is on target the business will prosper and be of benefit to society in general, to the managers who oversee the operation and conduct it efficiently, and to the workers who utilize their skills to gain financial and psychological security for the use of their time and efforts.

The second aspect of the business is involved in maximizing the financial gains of the business and seeing to it that the business not only succeeds but grows to produce the maximum financial gain regardless of the quality of the final product, the benefit to the community in general or to the workers who fabricate the product.

It is in this second aspect that great problems arise. There is no doubt that production at the behest of the technologists and others to produce the finest output can damage the ability of the firm to survive in a competitive environment and this involves not only the quality of the engineering and design but the cost of materials and labor and distributive costs involved. This is where the bean counters enter and they can no doubt be a positive influence to force clever technology and search out economies in the other aspects of production to make the firm more competitive and successful.
But there is a very dark side to these managerial ploys that can and, as current experience demonstrates, most frequently do destroy a very large portion of the benefits of good business to a community. These are the guys who, in their eagerness to maximize profits at all costs to other aspects of business, substitute inferior engineering, material qualities, and financial rewards to the work force in order that the managerial class make huge financial gains to the deterioration of the usefulness of the operation to society and even to the point of making their operations destructive to society.
They over ride genius in film making to produce crap, they innovate new medicines not anymore useful than previous ones in order to take advantage of monopoly status for high prices, they rape the environment and through political corruption escape payments for their damages and pollution, they over-economize on safety to produce Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima, and corrupt politicians to encourage more horrors, they evade regulation and scam the public to sell worthless financial goods, they persuade legislatures with bribes and technical nonsense to produce outrageously overpriced and useless military gear with no end in anything but personal financial gain, and they destroy the basic fundamental relationship between labor and markets and production for social vandalism, they corrupt the inherent necessity of society to see to the basic welfare of its members in order to benefit by overpricing food, health, education, and all other activities that can be milked for profit and they become immensely illegal if they can get away with it to their own benefit. Their morality in no way differs from that of the mafia and force and violence will be utilized if they can manage it without retribution. They are destroying society and the only possible counterforce, the regulatory functions of good government, are pretty much totally undermined.
OK. Maybe not Chernobyl.
RW: "It was the evils of unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism that gave birth to the evils of Soviet Communism or Maoism" ???? It was feudalism, not capitalism.

Pre-revolutionary Russia is better defined as an autocracy than a capitalist society. The ownership patterns were just barely changed from feudalism, where the serf were practically slaves.

Mao mobilized peasants, also to overthrow feudal landlords.

Despite what Marx predicted, neither the Russian nor the Chinese communist revolutions were mainly inspired by capitalism.
No doubt the Russian and the Chinese revolutions came out of a primitive society. But they were inspired by oppression. And that seems to be the vital inspiration today as well.
What are you going to replace capitalism with?

Socialism is merely a label applied to capitalist systems that have more social programs. It is a variant of capitalism.

Communism puts business and property under the control of the "people," which means the state, which means the politicians. I strongly believe it is easier for government to regulate businesses if they are not running them. Certainly, I haven't seen any evidence that workers are better off under any communist systems ever implemented.

Please name one "workers' paradise" where the average worker wouldn't emigrate to capitalist America in a heartbeat.

If we can't make the system we've got work well, what makes you think we can make a new system work any better, particularly when no one else has?
I'm not trying to sell totalitarian communism. But what makes you think it's impossible to make a good working system where all can live decent lives and be productive? Is it your lack of imagination or merely a sense of total despair over any possibility at all?
Malusinka: you are right about the internal sociological conditions in China and Russia. That said, the conditions that fueled the birth of Marxist ideology in Western Europe were caused by Laissez Faire capitalism. For example, the conditions in Industrial Revolution Britain, which inspired Engels in his work on the condition of the working classes in Britain, or the various works by Marx on the condition of the working class movements in France and Germany. These were all about class-politics in a laissez-faire economic environment in Europe and the chaos caused by the newly emerging industrial revolution.

These ideas would later take root in Russia and China, albeit in totally different historical circumstances, which was odd, and not what Marx predicted. He thought socialism would first come about in the West, in a capitalist society, naturally, without recourse to revolution.

Leninism was odd, because it used a Revolutionary Vanguard to artificially force socialism onto feudalistic countries that had never naturally reached a capitalistic stage of economic development, at least according to Marxist economic theory. Hence all the 5 year plans, great leaps forward, etc...

Although I espouse no particular ideology, aside from Catholicism and Liberation Theology, and a strong dose of Western Humanism, I do think its interesting, academically at least, to inquire whether the natural surplus that develops in a pure capitalist nation can be captured by the state and reinvested for social purposes, by way of a highly progressive income and wealth and property based tax system. This would avoid all the evils of the systems you mention and bring us back to the New Deal, a system I love and admire.

But you are right about China and Russia being feudal. Good call.

That said, the "ideology" that fueled them was born in a laissez-faire industrial revolution environment. Marxism didn't come from Russia or China. It came from Germany and it was strongly informed by events in Britain, France and Germany, as per the specific essays of Marx and Engels.
And Malusinka: my ideal system would be akin to those which we see in Scandinavia.
Jan:
I think the political system and its values create the environment where people do or do not rape the environment, make second rate products, and pay workers peanuts. As for film making, I wasn't the slightest bit impressed with the Brit's film council, which was trying to rescue British creative film making from the need to compete with crassly commercial American films. For the most part, they funded dreck no one wanted to watch. A decent percentage didn't manage to get one showing in a theatre, because needing Gov't funding was a clue that no one with money thought the movie was worth making.
@Malusinka
Nevertheless I have read many times of film financiers insisting upon changes in the films of very talented directors that did terrible things to the films.
Take a peek at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2008/feb/20/toomanyproducersspoilthes
Who said Satan has a Synagogue?
rwnutjob, you got anything other than alliteration on your mind??

JanSand,
I feel the same way about bean counters that you do, though with an additional twist:
I think they are sometimes bad for business. Here's why:

Most of these guys rely on models. Models are only approximations of reality. The trouble comes when models and reality differ and these MBA types trust their models more.

Models suggest you should reduce costs, period. That means nickel-and-diming your employees, cutting benefits wherever you can, etc. The trouble is that most models, if any, have no way to allow for the financial consequences of pissing employees off. What happens when:

People who were putting in overtime without bothering with the time clock now punch in every minute?

Employees don't work as hard?

Absenteeism rises?

Pilferage rises because employees feel that the company owes them?

Vandalism rises?

Customers aren't taken care of as well?

The facility in general isn't taken care of as well, nor are various processes (like keeping track of stock)?

Employees who were effective ambassadors for the company are now critical of it in front of its customers?

None of these factors is likely to show up in a model. All of these factors are likely to cost the company money. So, if you institute policies to save a few bucks and these are the consequences, did you actually save money?

The weird truth about business is that the famous Leo Derocher quote "Nice guys finish last" is often not true. Being ethical and kind has its financial rewards. You have fewer problems. People watch your back more and you have to watch your own back less. Watching your back takes energy, time, and money. Does anyone in their right mind think that trouble with a union is free to a company?

My point, Jan, is that the second option in the dichotomy you talk about doesn't necessarily even work, particularly long-term. Short term, probably. That, of course, is another issue in and of itself.
I'll surprise you, I'll say that in fact capitalism is still working...

Look, there's still an enormous productivity of food (definitely unequally distributed) and industrial goods; medical improvements and medical and other professional knowledge that is applied (again unequally) for the good of people; there is hi-technology, new means of communication, new adaptations to the environment, new energy and research techniques--even new ways of examining the origins of life and the universe itself. One of my favorite videos online right now is the CarPool video with CERN scientist Brian Cox who also talks about how government and corporations limit and de-prioritize science.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I12pQE-MzQA

The problem, then, is not that capital is completely defunct. The problem is that capitalism--the obsolete, dysfunctional, pre-19th century logic of exploitation and profit--controls all this. The question for those who want to radically alter things has never been how to stop all the modes of knowledge and material production brought into existence by capital, but rather how to free them now that the engine of capital is exhausted. The question is how best to go on, not to go back. In this sense, I don't believe in any of the nostalgic forms of socialism, and for that matter neither did Marx. What we want is to SURPASS CAPITAL because its priorities are so skewed, so limiting, and so dreadfully, murderously inadequate--as the pictures show. It's difficult to grasp, but something that is extremely useful and productive at one point can eventually trip itself up and become an obstacle and a curse to humanity...this is the essence of understanding dialectic, and the future of capital, one way or another.
There may be a difference as to whether capitalism should be viewed as an economic system or a political system. The main current problem as I see it is that capitalism has corrupted the political system so badly.

From an economic standpoint, exploitation is the path to capitalist obsolescence. Adversarial relationships with labor are bad for production for the reasons I listed in my response to Jan a few comments up; adversarial relationships with labor are bad for consumption because fewer resources in the hands of consumers means less business for those enterprises competing for it. This is sort of a case of the famous quote about how if you want to hang capitalism you can get a capitalist to sell you the rope.

Maybe another system is in order but I haven't figured out what system. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is great from a moral standpoint but lousy from a motivational standpoint. Self (or one's own immediate group) advancement and competition are both good motivators. When it comes to production, the major communist experiments used capitalism when they really needed to produce. During the late days of the Soviet Union, they increased agricultural production by essentially privatizing agriculture; about China I assume no examples are necessary.

This is not to say that I don't want communism to work, it's that aside from the small scale used on the kibbutzim it hasn't thus far. Actually owning the means of production is a good motivator, not just because of exploitation but because that kind of ownership can be inversely proportional to alienation from that which is produced. The ideal is universal ownership. For a while, American business looked like it was headed in that direction with the beginnings of the employee-owned corporation, which is theoretically a great idea. What happened in the communist block nations is exactly the opposite: Instead of everyone owning the means of production, nobody did, the result being that nobody really cared about any aspect of most businesses. The USSR in particular suffered from what was pretty close to universal alienation and, quite frankly, from a production and distribution standpoint, that's how it looked.

Maybe the model is fixable. I don't know. I'm listening, though, because the current model has problems that have gone past dire and I don't see anyone I trust to really tackle them while, on the other hand, I see all sorts of people opposing the realistic tackling of them.
There is an interesting article at http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/04/occupy-wall-street-vs-kingian-methods/ which points out that mass protest is only one aspect to effective confrontation with oppression and it is useless unless specific requests for change are not made. And these specific requests indicate positive action on other fronts as auxiliary and necessary dynamics to push some sort of definite program forward. There must be economic reactions like boycotts and strikes and shutdowns to show the objections to maltreatment has real teeth. There should be specific indications that people suffering should have access to credit and jobs so that the machinery of the market can be set into positive motion and the financial resources are not toys to be played with on Wall Street but are the life blood of the economy that must be fed back for employment and investment and production. Banks that insist on illegal foreclosures must be made to financially suffer and the outrageous recent demand for charges on debit cards should be countered by boycott of those bans that are out for a major screwing of the public. Those greedy bastards who were involved in the recent financial havoc should be prosecuted and punished. These are real solid demands and they and similar corrective demands should be shouted out to a government that cringes in corruption. Without solid complaint and real economic reaction nothing can be accomplished and chaotic violence merely encourages further police brutality and worse oppression.
Mostly what I am trying to convey is that all this theoretical baloney being tossed around in this discussion about ideal utopian systems is airy nonsense. We have to work with the tools we readily have available and we are now immersed in a system that is falling apart. There are still handles to grasp and mistakes that can be corrected and real battles to be fought. We have discovered that the current political system is way out of whack and probably something can be done to hammer out the worst dents and getting it to work again. I don't know how but chaotic violence seems not the answer and Apisa's solution of swallowing the shit and declaring it the best of all possible worlds is just as bad. Something has to be done and perhaps it can be. Good practical minds must be able to work it out.
Jan,
These last two comments represent some of your better analysis. They alone are worth a post.
Some say the current laissez faire system is to blame, and things would be better if we only went back to the Keynesian system of the post WW2 years. Yet, this system had its problems, too. The balance of trade issue under Eisenhower, caused by Bretton Woods and Cold War Trade treaties (that promised unfair trade deals with Japan and Germany in exchange for bases, held up by the US Supreme Court, as all lawyers learn in civil procedure in law school), the balance of payment issue later under Nixon which resulted in the US taking itself off of the Gold Standard. And then the OPEC embargo, which caused the US to ally with Saudi Arabia like never before, ripping it out of the traditional Arab block, and forcing it to denominate oil in US$.

All these economic shocks to the system, met with tiny little, short-term band-aid solution. But the problems remain.

Some Dems say that if we only go back to 1978/1979, and allow the Social Welfare State to be recreated as it existed then, albeit with certain tweaks, taking the waste, productivity, efficiency, micromanagement, and worker motivation/incentives to work arguments of the GOP into consideration (rather than throwing the whole baby out with the bathwater, which is what the GOP did, rather than just tweaking and fixing the specific problems they identified with the system), we would be better off.

Is this a viable solution? Or are the problems more fundamental than this?

I was reading about the fundamental problems with US commercial banks from the 1950s up through the late 1970s and there were major, growing solvency issues, with every passing year. The debt/equity ratio was growing rapidly and this was the major reason why the banks pushed Nixon to have Detente with the Soviet Union, because they wanted to lend more money out, and keep it in circulation longer and gain more capital, to cover their debt. Western commercial banks also wanted to acquire Russian natural resources, and sell them, it seems, at least according to Naomi Klein, so as to acquire hard capital, with which to pay down the Western commercial bank debt, which again, was growing constantly during these Keynesian years.

So, in all honesty, the GOP had a point about the inefficiency and corruption of State Capitalism under Keynesianism. But they replaced it with something far worse. So the question is, what specifically do we want?

The agricultural systems of the past were not this anarchic and caused far less dislocation and misery, believe it or not, than the current economy. We all hear talk about how "horrible" feudalism was. But the horrors have more to do with primitive medicine. I talk to family farmers, like the Amish. And although they have problems, a majority of them don't have the sense of anxiety that many other Americans have about work and having a place, living, stability, etc...a decent standard of living, enjoying FDR's FOUR FREEDOMS, etc...

This is really, at the end of the day, what people want. If we can have a system that does this, then it is a good system.
Of course, I am only using the Amish as an example. I don't think we should all be like the Amish. I, for one, wouldn't last a week living such a way.
And I am not advocating the horrors of feudalism, either. Serfdom, as we all know, did not exist in England or France, after the 1200s/1300s and the majority of the peasants in those countries were "free peasants" and owned their land, albeit not in Fee Simple Absolute, they did own it in some form of defeasible fee, at least in England. This changed later, but for the longest time, Peasants owned their own land and crops and had a reciprocal obligation to the Lord of the Manor House, but they had ownership rights to the land, too. The Lord couldn't evict them. They "ran with the land." I took a course on Medieval and Ecclesiastical Law in Law School and learned much about this, particularly from the property side.

Much of what we think of being the case during Medieval Europe comes from movies and childrens books. Not from fact. British Peasants actually had more rights and a higher standard of living under feudalism during the High Middle Ages than they did during the 19th century. This is an absolute fact.
Just because MSM won't tell us, four boring but oft cited goals of the Wall Street protest are:
1.) reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act
2.) audit the Federal Reserve
3.) Reverse 08-205 (corporate personhood) by amendment
4.) overhaul the corporate tax code
Than the EARLY 19th century. The late 19th century the British were trying to make serious headway against injustice, thanks to the birth of Left Wing political movements...
Shameful, just shameful.
Yes, there is a global imbalance in agriculture and food distirbutions. Read "Food First, Beyond the Myth of Scarcity" by Lappe and Collins. It's from 1981 or so, but it will help you understand the issues better.
The likelihood of what is suggested at http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/04/alternative-ways-out-of-the-debt-crisis/ happening in the US is zero considering that the country has a puppet president, a puppet Congress and a puppet Supreme Court with the financial sector pulling the strings. But it's an interesting thought.
Wow, I've never seen an image that makes the point so powerfully and clearly as that. It's absolutely sickening, but it really says it all.
Wish I can be there ... but I support the cause from here... hugs and hopes high
Rated
How´s it possible to use both ways of ruling society socialism-capitalism united... can that be possible? Ruling under some equiality for the people and democracy for the Government....
Great topic.. always learn a lot with you
Rated with hugs