A new Netflix film, The Social Dilemma, would have us believe that increasing social division and polarized political rhetoric is the product of Facebook and Twitter, and not the fact that income inequality has returned to pre–Great Depression levels.Don’t Blame Social Media. Blame Capitalism.
The problem isn’t only that Elon Musk has a net worth of about $100 billion when tens of millions of Americans are barely getting by. It’s that he’s made this money while treating his workers so badly. His wealth quadrupled during the 4 months Tesla forced all workers to take a 10 percent pay cut.Citizen Musk | The Smirking Chimp
Trump’s doing nothing but scapegoating 1) the Chinese, 2) Impeachment,3) the States (ODT)
WIthout federal intervention, states and hospitals may only become more vulnerable to the demands of brokers and speculators outside the normal supply chain, said Chaun Powell, vice president for strategic supplier engagement at the national health care consultant Premier Inc., which helps negotiate contracts for hospitals and health systems.
State data shows that New York is paying enormous markups for vital supplies, including almost $250,000 for an X-ray machine. Laws against price gouging usually don’t apply.
Price Gouging the States (ODT)
Fighting Fake News with REAL 17/3/20; Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It, Scott Morrison & Hillsong;
This crisis — like earlier ones — could well be the catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to the most workers, wiping out small family savings and shuttering small businesses. But as this video shows, many are already pushing back — and that story hasn’t been written yet.
While making decisions about migration people should not just follow the superficial perceptive reality. They should try to understand higher and deeper levels of reality. The intellectuals have a moral duty in helping the people to understand the deeper and the higher reality of capitalism.
Unless, of course, government and regulators decide to take an active interest. On the current outlook, any such move will not be led by Australia, a country still trying to figure out an electric power policy and how to hook up a national broadband.
Unfortunately, here in the land of the Luddites, we are still struggling with the problems of the last century while Big Tech invisibly decides how we will live in the next. Alexa might know the answer, but “she’s” not telling.
Recent highlight interviews on capitalism.
Corey Pein examines work, death and disruption in the digital economy. [01:19]
Julie Wilson views life within, and beyond, the neoliberal frame. [47:38]
Nomi Prins explains how central banks became a global superpower. [1:32:46]
Pavo Jarvensivu and Terre Vaden explore near future economics of a world in climate crisis. [2:19:14]
Helena Norberg-Hodge looks towards localization, worldwide. [2:57:47]
Jeff Dorchen imagines a world that can no longer afford itself [3:44:13]
Writer Maximillian Alvarez explores the sanctity of waste and ownership in the digital age. [50:36]
Policy researcher Stacy Mitchell examines the rise and risk of Amazon’s ascendant monopoly. [1:37:40]
Writer Adam Kotsko explains why we are all trapped in the moral logic of neoliberalism. [2:15:05]
Writer Pavlos Roufos dives deep into eight years of managed disaster for the Greek people under Europe’s austerity regime. [2:56:25]
In a moment of truth, Jeff Dorchen bites the invisible hand that feeds. [3:50:27]
Ten years after the behavior of over-leveraged and fraudulent banks created a global financial disaster that resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses; a multi-trillion bailout using public money; and millions of people losing their homes to foreclosure, but saw not one high-level financial executive go to jail, a man in Florida has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes from a local convenience store.
Prince’s idea, which first surfaced last year during the president’s Afghanistan strategy review, envisions replacing troops with private military contractors who would work for a special U.S. envoy for the war who would report directly to the president.
Capitalism never fights for fairness or equality of opportunity, only for what it can wring out of those who have not, in order to make richer those who have.
Sports people no longer play for the sheer joy of it. In local competitions they demand to be paid for their unexceptional talents.
Large companies screw down wages and ask their suppliers to supply for less than a fair price then try to pay as little tax as possible, if any at all.
In Australia, a similar situation is developing. Wages growth is at an all-time low and the government seems intent on keeping them so. The problem though is that without wages growth consumers don’t have expendable income sufficient to meet consumer demand for goods and services. America has found that out. Conservatives don’t seem to comprehend that you may be able to obtain growth on the back of low wages but if the low wages prevent people from buying what you produce, you have defeated your purpose.
Of course inequality is not just confined to the United States. It is truly universal. The two countries with the highest populations have chosen to improve the quality of life of their citizens with greedy economic capitalism, which is the same system that has caused inequality in the advanced economies. The advances in China, particularly over the past forty years have been spectacular. And at the same time, it is breeding billionaires like confetti. And all on the back of a low wage work force. In 50 years or so, if they continue on the same path, they will face the same problems that the west faces now.
Robert Reich outlines a plan to resolve the issue which is sound in economic rationale.
In the absence of another economic system, capitalism is what we have. The problem with it is its inherent greed and misuse. It is a system that could be moulded and shaped for good. However, the conservative forces of the right of politics seem determined to enshrine the existing hungry evil greed of unregulated capitalism on us.
Revolutionised morally regulated capitalism could if legislated and controlled enable everyone an equitable opportunity for economic success. With equality of opportunity being the benchmark of all economic aspiration and legislation.
“It really does require a sentence to be imposed that will provide adequate deterrence to ensure that investors, who these days often are retired people who have no other means of earning a livelihood except for their investments … are adequately protected,” McLennan told a gobsmacked court.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand the consequences for democracy if we lose investigative reporters to an army of Perez Hiltons. Should we consider public funding?
By Dr Tristan Ewins Capitalism and its benefits “Restoring ‘a traditional social democratic mixed economy’ is part of the solution to current economic maladies ; but at the same time it is only the beginning of the journey…” 1) Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, exploitation…
In an interview with the grass-roots media portal Actvism, Wolff discusses methods of economic organization.
Most of Australia’s richest got there in industries subject to political favours, hardly any by inventing something new.
According to Business Insider, the bottled water industry “grossed a total of $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons [of water] in 2012…” equivalent to 2,000 times the cost of tap water per gallon and the regular cost of gasoline. PepsiCo’s Aquafina brand was discovered to …
Retail franchise 7-Eleven launched an exciting new addition to its range of Slurpee flavours today – made from the distilled perspiration of hundreds of underpaid, overworked foreign employees.
“The harder they work, the more they sweat, the more Slurpees we can produce, and the more money we make,” a spokesperson for the company said.
He said each employee had targets for how much sweat they needed to produce each day. “If they don’t meet the target we’ll report them to authorities and suggest their visas are confiscated. Just telling them that can increase sweat levels by 20%. Genius!”
The new Slurpees will cost $3 for a ‘small’, $4 for a ‘medium’, or $5.50 for a ‘large’, often just referred to in the business as an ‘hour’s wages’.
We live in a world dominated by capitalism — yet capitalism itself is quite clearly not working well in its current form; Herman Royce suggests using its innate proclivities and talents to design its own replacement.
IT’S QUITE AN UNDERACHIEVEMENT. It hasn’t just been happening recently, though, it’s been going on for at least decades in one form or another. The Budget still being fought over with tenacity and ill-feeling, months after its announcement, and despite military distractions, is just a recent glaring example. But given the game rules, the dominance of monetary concerns should hardly be surprising.
I explained previously why an economic system built around the notion of profit guarantees instability, because for someone to profit now, someone else must lose — now or later.
A side effect, however, is that game players inevitably find endless reasons for territorial disputes over entitlements, imagined or otherwise. Indeed, with the possibility of profit urging us on, with enough no longer ever enough and even more barely sufficient, the prospect of less – for whatever reason, whether justified or not – can only be highly objectionable.
Of course, the starting point for threats of less is always the claim that there’s not enough to go round, so we need to tighten our belts, cut back, pull our weight, and a host of other hoary clichés. Mind you, too often, the most cliché-ridden exhorters place little or no demand for sacrifice on themselves, only on those doing less well. But surely this is exactly what a competition of unequals must unleash, with some players more suited to the game by disposition, inheritance, luck, lack of empathy, and/or much else. Competition for profits, after all, is supported and motivated by the pursuit of self-interest, which is sanctified by the game rules.
So, no wonder winners expect losers to pay — or, to use an example frequently reported by Independent Australia, why too much of the media often pedals interests and opinions as news and tries to influence the public and even elections (by shamelessly barracking for one candidate or party and deriding others), as to do otherwise would be to not pursue self-interest.
The net result of our game rules must be perpetual battling, periodic swapping of austerity with expansion for its own sake, endless ebbing and flowing. And as long as we accept the game rules and look at it always from the same basic perspective ‒ the same givens ‒ the longer it will all go on, the more entrenched will be the instability and the ebbing and flowing, and the more extreme and hard fought will be the disputes.
Redecorating the shop window won’t be enough.
The only way to avoid the consequences of game rules as flawed as those of our economic system is to change them, but that is not under discussion except by aberrant types like myself. You certainly won’t hear talk of it in circles of authority or prestige — I doubt it even enters their heads. But it is, above all else, what we need to start thinking about. And to do that properly, we need to take a long view, not one of the self-interested short views currently dominant.
My long view is that nothing lasts.
Civilisation as we know it will not stay forever as it is. Everything has a successor of some sort, even if only entropy. But if capitalism will sooner or later be replaced, then it at least has the choice of determining to help or hinder its successor and the transition to it.
Why waste capitalism’s innate proclivities and talents?
Why not have capitalism design its own replacement, one meant to preserve and enhance the best of what it has produced, yet go further and do better? Why not a competition between corporations (they can afford it) — feasibility studies, design and development, prototypes? It might even be good for the economy. You can still call it capitalism if you want – if you must, if you can’t accept it has moved on – or you can even treat it as the last gift of capitalism.
Whatever, just get over it. It’s had its day.
The basis of any decent replacement for capitalist competition for profits, I suggest, would have to be cooperation for mutual benefit. A lot of what we take almost for granted in modern times would work really well, if only we could trust it to work (and the people behind it). We don’t really trust anyone if we’re in competition with them and that’s what we all are, economically at least. We’d have to cooperate to really change anything — and vice versa. And for that to ever happen, we need to clearly envisage the sorts of social and economic and political systems that would foster and support cooperation.
The good news is that there are plenty of ideas out there already, including participatory economics, inclusive democracy, and a free lunch. But hardly anyone knows about them. Many people – especially those most committed to the status quo or preoccupied with self-interested quibbling and power struggles – would undoubtedly dismiss the ideas without properly considering them, would treat them as impossible by default. But if change is really wanted, true alternatives have to be properly considered, with open minds.
It’s not like the alternatives aren’t attractive. To give one example, the free lunch ideas I’ve previously explained offer not just a one-day working week, but free home ownership without mortgages.
In contrast, the current arrangement forces most people to spend much of their lives slaving away to repay mortgages to banks, a process that funnels money to those who clearly have more than they need, on their terms, from those who actually earn it. And because interest functions like profit, it adds to the system’s innate instability.
Instead, and prevented only by vested interests and lack of imagination, we could all have the equivalent of interest-free credit cards to use for spending as we need, and repaying as we can manage.
Undoubtedly, account balances would shift back and forth between credit and debit as circumstances change, but only in a competitive economy might we expect the arrangement to be abused. In a system based on cooperation, and freed from financial stress by this very method of accounting and other innovations, the vast majority of people would surely act responsibly to stay in credit most of the time. And then, society might finally start working properly, more to its capacities.
Until attention is given to these sorts of possibilities, ideas for genuine change, we will keep quibbling, and repeating history.
It’s the world we live in.