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“American Capitalism” No Longer Serves Society

Consumption

One hundred years ago European civilization, as it had been known, was ending its life in the Great War, later renamed World War I. Millions of soldiers ordered by mindless generals into the hostile arms of barbed wire and machine gun fire had left the armies stalemated in trenches. A reasonable peace could have been reached, but US President Woodrow Wilson kept the carnage going by sending fresh American soldiers to try to turn the tide against Germany in favor of the English and French.

The fresh Amerian machine gun and barbed wire fodder weakened the German position, and an armistance was agreed. The Germans were promised no territorial losses and no reparations if they laid down their arms, which they did only to be betrayed at Versailles. The injustice and stupidity of the Versailles Treaty produced the German hyperinflation, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Hitler.

Hitler’s demands that Germany be put back together from the pieces handed out to France, Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, comprising 13 percent of Germany’s European territory and one-tenth of her population, and a repeat of French and British stupidity that had sired the Great War finished off the remnants of European civilization in World War II.

The United States benefitted greatly from this death. The economy of the United States was left untouched by both world wars, but economies elsewhere were destroyed. This left Washington and the New York banks the arbiters of the world economy. The US dollar replaced British sterling as the world reserve currency and became the foundation of US domination in the second half of the 20th century, a domination limited in its reach only by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet collapse in 1991 removed this constraint from Washington. The result was a burst of American arrogance and hubris that wiped away in over-reach the leadership power that had been handed to the United States. Since the Clinton regime, Washington’s wars have eroded American leadership and replaced stability in the Middle East and North Africa with chaos.

Washington moved in the wrong direction both in the economic and political arenas. In place of diplomacy, Washington used threats and coercion. “Do as you are told or we will bomb you into the stone age,” as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told President Musharraf of Pakistan. Not content to bully weak countries, Washington threatens poweful countries such as Russia, China, and Iran with economic sanctions and military actions. Consequently, much of the non-Western world is abandoning the US dollar as world currency, and a number of countries are organizing a payments system, World Bank, and IMF of their own. Some NATO members are rethinking their membership in an organization that Washington is herding into conflict with Russia.

China’s unexpectedly rapid rise to power owes much to the greed of American capitalism. Pushed by Wall Street and the lure of “performance bonuses,” US corporate executives brought a halt to rising US living standards by sending high productivity, high value-added jobs abroad where comparable work is paid less. With the jobs went the technology and business knowhow. American capability was given to China. Apple Computer, for example, has not only offshored the jobs but also outsourced its production. Apple does not own the Chinese factories that produce its products.

The savings in US labor costs became corporate profits, executive renumeration, and shareholder capital gains. One consequence was the worsening of the US income distribution and the concentration of income and wealth in few hands. A middle class democracy was transformed into an oligarchy. As former President Jimmy Carter recently said, the US is no longer a democracy; it is an oligarchy.

In exchange for short-term profits and in order to avoid Wall Street threats of takeovers, capitalists gave away the American economy. As manufacturing and tradeable professional skill jobs flowed out of America, real family incomes ceased to grow and declined. The US labor force participation rate fell even as economic recovery was proclaimed. Job gains were limited to lowly paid domestic services, such as retail clerks, waitresses, and bartenders, and part-time jobs replaced full-time jobs. Young people entering the work force find it increasingly difficult to establish an independent existance, with 50 percent of 25-year old Americans living at home with parents.

In an economy driven by consumer and investment spending, the absence of growth in real consumer income means an economy without economic growth. Led by Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve in the first years of the 21st century substituted a growth in consumer debt for the missing growth in consumer income in order to keep the economy moving. This could only be a short-term palliative, because the growth of consumer debt is limited by the growth of consumer income.

Another serious mistake was the repeal of financial regulation that had made capitalism functional. The New York Banks were behind this egregious error, and they used their bought-and-paid-for Texas US Senator, whom they rewarded with a 7-figure salary and bank vice chairmanship to open the floodgates to amazing debt leverage and financial fraud with the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall destroyed the separation of commercial from investment banking. One result was the concentration of banking. Five mega-banks now dominate the American financial scene. Another result was the power that the mega-banks gained over the government of the United States. Today the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve serve only the interests of the mega-banks.

In the United States savers have had no interest on their savings in eight years. Those who saved for their retirement in order to make paltry Social Security benefits liveable have had to draw down their capital, leaving less inheritance for hard-pressed sons, grandsons, daughters and granddaughters.

Washington’s financial policy is forcing families to gradually extinguish themselves. This is “freedom and democracy “ America today.

Among the capitalist themselves and their shills among the libertarian ideologues, who are correct about the abuse of government power but less concerned with the abuse of private power, the capitalist greed that is destroying families and the economy is regarded as the road to progress. By distrusting government regulators of private misbehavior, libertarians provided the cover for the repeal of the financial regulation that made American capitalism functional. Today dysfunctional capitalism rules, thanks to greed and libertarian ideology.

With the demise of the American middle class, which becomes more obvious each day as another ladder of upward mobility is dismantled, the United States becomes a bipolar country consisting of the rich and the poor. The most obvious conclusion is that the failure of American political ledership means instability, leading to a conflict between the haves—the one percent—and the dispossessed—the 99 percent.

The failure of leadership in the United States is not limited to the political arena but is across the board. The time horizon operating in American institutions is very short term. Just as US manufacturers have harmed US demand for their products by moving abroad American jobs and the consumer income associated with the jobs, university administrations are destroying universities. As much as 75 percent of university budgets is devoted to administration. There is a proliferation of provosts, assistant provosts, deans, assistant deans, and czars for every designated infraction of political correctness.

Tenure-track jobs, the bedrock of academic freedom, are disappearing as university administrators turn to adjuncts to teach courses for a few thousand dollars. The decline in tenure-track jobs heralds a decline in enrollments in Ph.D. programs. University enrollments overall are likely to decline. The university experience is eroding at the same time that the financial return to a university education is eroding. Increasingly students graduate into an employment environment that does not produce sufficient income to service their student loans or to form independent households.

Increasingly university research is funded by the Defense Department and by commercial interests and serves those interests. Universities are losing their role as sources of societal critics and reformers. Truth itself is becoming commercialized.

The banking system, which formerly financed business, is increasingly focused on converting as much of the economy as possible into leveraged debt instruments. Even consumer spending is reduced with high credit card interest rate charges. Indebtedness is rising faster than the real production in the economy.

Historically, capitalism was justified on the grounds that it guaranteed the efficient use of society’s resources. Profits were a sign that resources were being used to maximize social welfare, and losses were a sign of inefficient resource use, which was corrected by the firm going out of business. This is no longer the case when the economic policy of a counry serves to protect financial institutions that are “too big to fail” and when profits reflect the relocation abroad of US GDP as a result of jobs offshoring. Clearly, American capitalism no longer serves society, and the worsening distribution of income and wealth prove it.

None of these serious problems will be addressed by the presidential candidates, and no party’s platform will consist of a rescue plan for America. Unbridled greed, short-term in nature, will continue to drive America into the ground.

Paul Craig Roberts



36 Comments on "“American Capitalism” No Longer Serves Society"

  1. Drfeltzer on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 6:33 am 

    Yeah, America sucks! The most prosperous, freest, least war-torn country in the history of the world really deserves to be spat on. If only she had provided safety and security for her people in a harsh, brutal, uncivilized world, they could have put a man on the moon, invented rock and roll, and created the circumstances for the best chance at a long, normal life that humanity’s ever seen. Oh no wait, that’s exactly what happened.

  2. JuanP on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 6:42 am 

    I wish I could disagree with some part of this article, but I agree with it 100%. American capitalism never ever served human society or life on this planet. Maybe it served American society in the past, but definitely not since I came here in 1989. The USA has been getting worse since before then. I clearly remember noticing the constant deterioration of America from the first day I lived here. I have never believed in American capitalism and American democracy, I have always considered them stupid, ignorant, and arrogant ideas, just like communism and monarchies. Any person who thinks one of those is better than the other is a brainwashed ignorant fool in my book.

    The way I feel about Americans is the same way I feel about Uruguayans and humans in general. We are all incredibly stupid, primitive, ignorant, completely fucked up, and mostly mentally ill individuals, and we deserve what is happening to us.

  3. makati1 on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 7:04 am 

    Drfeltzer, your sarcasm missed it’s target, I think. Or were you serious?

    German engineers captured in WW2 put man on the moon. Rock and roll? A joke they called music. That long, normal life was a very short lived fiction as those of us over 60 know. The US is now nothing more than the biggest terrorist organization in history, bringing chaos and death to the rest of the world. It deserves to die, and soon.

  4. onlooker on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 8:32 am 

    Got to agree with the article and with Juan. Capitalism as practiced in the real world has never truly served the interests of the common man. Even the so called prosperity period paved the way for groups like the Robber Barons, Wall street tycoons, the unbridled stock market, a predatory banking industry and a bought and bribed political class. In fact capitalism is one of the fundamental reasons we are in this predicament, for it encourages wanton greed. This greed has been like a gigantic monster destroying and devouring the world. So now what do we have to show for this period of hyper-capitalism? A damaged and degraded Earth, unabated poverty, inequality and injustice. A upper class oblivious to the true needs of the masses and steering the world to further wars and further trashing of our planet. Capitalism has been the most epic and misguided path humanity could have ever taken.

  5. markisha on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 8:38 am 

    Capitalism is self destructive system . But unfortunately the only viable left

  6. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 8:40 am 

    Man on moon was fifty years ago. What that got to do with now? Fat people on welfare in trailer parks did not put man on moon. It was Von Braun.

  7. Truth Has A Liberal Bias on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 8:48 am 

    “The most prosperous, freest, least war-torn country in the history of the world”

    I guess you’ve never heard of Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Canada?

  8. paulo1 on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 8:54 am 

    Don’t confuse Capitalism with Corporatism.
    Don’t confuse Democracy with the US Political system.
    Don’t confuse the corrupt American political/corporation control system with the American People.

    When I buy some lumber from my friend who owns a sawmill, that is Capitalism. When I refuse to shop at WalMart that is informed capitalism.

    At least in the United States (and Canada) we have the freedom of choice and dissent. We are very lucky, indeed, despite obvious flaws and misrepresentations.

    Have a good 2016, folks.

  9. ghung on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 9:11 am 

    Two facts that were ignored or glazed over;

    The US started neither war.

    To the victors go the spoils. Such has it always been.

    That said, capitalism is the snake that eats its own tail.

  10. sugarseam on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 9:34 am 

    Paul Craig Roberts pretty much moves some words around and rehashes the same blog each and every day. That said, he’s generally spot on with his thesis.

  11. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 10:04 am 

    Yeah the article is correct. Not serving society? That sounds kinda socialist minded. So let’s get more pointed. Capitalism no longer serves its own customers. The MBA’s don’t care about customers at all. They figure no matter how schitty their product, the customer is forced to buy it, so they don’t have to improve it. They take customers for granted, like the rolls of toilet paper stacked on the shelf. They figure no competitors will appear, cause nobody with ambition has money to start a new business.

  12. Apneaman on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 2:55 pm 

    There have been plenty of periods of peace and prosperity throughout the ages in different civilizations. Of course one would actually have to read something other than home team cheerleading to know this. Wasn’t Paul Craig Roberts one of the cunts who helped Reagan rubber stamp the neoliberal, trickle down, revolution?

    America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm

  13. Apneaman on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 2:59 pm 

    The Church of Economism And Its Discontents

    “In this essay, I will build upon the past usages of the word to argue that today’s uncritical economic thinking operates as a modern secular religion.”

    “Economists themselves have acknowledged the ultimately religious nature of their discipline. In 1932, Frank Knight, the most scholarly and broad-thinking of the founders of the influential market-oriented Chicago school of economics, literally argued that economics, at a fundamental level, had to be a religion, the basic tenets of which must be hidden from all but a few:…”

    http://www.countercurrents.org/norgaard301215.htm

  14. dohboi on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 3:31 pm 

    If Capitalism were intended to serve SOCIety, it would have been called SOCIalism. It is functioning as it is supposed to function–to the benefit of those who already have nearly all the money, that is, the CAPITAL.

  15. Apneaman on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 4:41 pm 

    Capitalism is simply the most efficient way mindless apes came up with to degrade energy and metastasize.

    MEGACANCER ~ Exploring the pathology of industrial civilization

    Zero-Sum Competition

    “Humans arrived at their current condition, technological civilization, without any planning or forethought. It evolved. Novel tools and combinations come, profit happens, growth occurs and technologies remain stationary, recede or transform. The most economical, effective means of obtaining resources and distributing product overcomes lesser ones and one type of infrastructure defeats others. The technological organism takes form and grows. Humans, the RNA part of the technological equation, believe that the entire “economy” is about them. The entire economy is there to serve their needs, to keep them busy building newer and more structures and product. Is it true? ”

    http://megacancer.com/2015/12/31/zero-sum-competition/

  16. onlooker on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 4:53 pm 

    Fascinating and so true. We are pawns of our own primitive subconscious desires and proclivities and the cumulative and time spanning human constructs have served to satisfy our primitive desires. All the while gaining greater momentum with the advent of fossil fuels and industrialization. Mixed in with mindless population growth. In that sense we are no different than yeast in a petri dish just a little bit more clever. Thanks AP

  17. makati1 on Thu, 31st Dec 2015 7:23 pm 

    We are the only species that has both the ability and the means to cause our own extinction, and we are well on the path to that end. We took a big step closer last year and will likely take an even bigger step in that direction this year. Or maybe just the last step. We shall see.

  18. BC on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 7:12 pm 

    What is generally perceived to be “capitalism” has evolved into what I have for a couple of decades now described as militarist-imperialist, rentier-socialist corporate-statism (descriptive for clarity, not necessarily disparaging), which has now become the normative global system with cultural and geographical variations in the EZ, Russia, China, Singapore, and elsewhere.

    Should it continue on its long-term progression, I anticipate an Elysium-like system or a private corporate-state in which only the top 0.001-1% have any wealth and political power, and the rest will be subject to corporate-statist and police-state income distribution and rules and enforcement.

    “Rule of law” will be based on private contracts enforced by hired lawmakers, magistrates, and private paramilitary forces loyal to the highest bidders.

    Beyond that, lawlessness, lack of property rights (unless one has the firepower to secure and defend, which will eliminate 99% as “property owners”), and physical, financial, and psycho-emotional insecurity will be the normative condition for the bottom 90-99%.

    The most “intelligent” and “educated” among us are utterly incapable of surviving for a few weeks or months under these conditions; therefore, they will acquiesce to the imposition of nothing short of unspeakably brutal reaction when they are existentially threatened by the seething rabble peasant masses.

  19. BC on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 7:19 pm 

    apnea, et al., what if the “megacancer”, parasitic sociopathy is Nature’s self-selected evolutionary fitness for human apes?

    That is, what if the rentier-parasitic, winner-take-all system that has evolved with the Oil Age and population overshoot is nothing more than a predictable self-selecting evolutionary adaptation that is the inherently necessary human ape attribute that ultimately checks population growth and its resulting overshoot and mitigates its effects on the remnant human ape population in the very long run?

    IOW, what if the rentier-parasitic sociopath top 0.001% (or top 0.000001%) are the saviors of the human ape species over the next 2-3 generations?

    😀

  20. makati1 on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 7:51 pm 

    BC, While the point zeros 1% may be at the top of the heap at the moment, I doubt that nature selected for them to be the saviors of the species. Look at who they are and what they are. They may seem like the Alpha’s but they cannot live without the rest. None would survive a year without their money. Most will die, one way or another, when the SHTF.

    Perhaps the ‘saviors’ will be the strongest humans now in the 3rd world, like Africa, Asia or South America? The ability to survive what is coming will determine the seed/genes for the next ecology and all that will be a part of it. Natural selection has always been for the strongest genes, not the most greedy/parasitic. Even Alpha baboons know that they need the tribe’s support.

    That is my take on the subject, IF we do not nuke all of it to death before then.

  21. Apneaman on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 9:27 pm 

    BC, 2-3 generations is generous IMO. Every biome on this planet is dying/being killed. We have radically altered the nutrient cycle, the hydrological cycle, the carbon cycle and all for the worse. AGW is the icing on the cake. Even without it I’d guess we would for a couple more centuries anyway. It’s all happened 14 times before. The only thing that will be different this time is the radiation from power plants and waste facilities. If the super elite have any designs on surviving they would need to get it all shut down ans buried before TSHTF. That’s not happening. Some of those elite are the owners of the nuclear industry and they trying to squeeze every penny out of it while they can. Plenty of corner cutting on the maintenance. The coastal plants a particularly vulnerable with higher sea levels and more powerful storms and hurricanes. The floods and infrastructure damage in South Carolina in Oct was caused by a hurricane 600 miles out to sea. Let em build their high tech bunker/tombs.

    Photographs of Sellafield nuclear plant prompt fears over radioactive risk
    Nuclear safety expert claims there is ‘significant risk’ due to poor condition of storage ponds containing highly radioactive fuel rods

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/29/sellafield-nuclear-radioactive-risk-storage-ponds-fears

    Kitty Litter to Blame for Nuclear Waste Leak

    Kitty Litter to Blame for Nuclear Waste Leak

  22. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 11:12 pm 

    Let me get this straight, if I work at a nuclear power plant, I can have unlimited free cat litter?

    When the cat uses the litter box, I always thought it stinks worse than a nuclear dump, but I did not want them to take me literally.

    I see it will cost Half A Billion dollars to clean it up. Fortunately if you are the rich republican who owns the facility, it is just more revenue fo the books.

  23. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 1:26 am 

    Nuclear Power — Unlimited abundant cheap free kitty litter.

    Nuclear Power— Kitty Litter too cheap to meter.

  24. makati1 on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 1:31 am 

    Related:

    “…But the Western media lead the world in silencing one ultimate issue confronting all peoples on Earth – the despoliation of the world’s life support systems by transnational corporate globalization. They talk only of climate warming’, not destabilization of planetary life cycles at every level. They promote only market-growth solutions which are known not to work.

    No-one talks of US-led ‘globalization’ itself as the underlying disorder. No science or story defines the common cause of the spasmic extinctions everywhere, the oceanic pollutions, the fish stock collapses across all waters, and the ever larger-scale looting of resources across borders. It is a deeper causal mechanism than even US empire. Transnational money tides increasingly devour and poison all that exists with even Communist-Party China destroying its own air to breathe and grounds of a human life.

    Western media are the lead PR vehicles for this limitlessly life destructive invasion and growth – the nature of fascism in all forms. Financial fascism is never named in the media, and so its world floods of private money sequences, commodities and public waste grow and multiply beneath detection. Throughout the corporate media present only isolated problems, competitive spectacles and ads for the system. Humanity`s common life ground and universal needs are screened out. ‘Reforms’ are only more corporate marketizations and bank-driven dispossessions…”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/global-crises-2016-western-media-the-public-interest-corrupting-youth-the-real-terrorism-collective-consciousness/5498764

    And the beat goes on…

  25. Davy on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 5:42 am 

    Global research should focus more on the Asian destruction of the earth. If they did they would be a really good source of anti-status quo. Instead they are just as misplaced with an agenda of hate towards the other guy we see so commonly today in main stream media.

    It is useless to finger point at this point because the whole system is wrong. If you want to only blame the west then you create a minefield of inconsistencies. This board is replete with dedicated complain and blame agendist. They are full of facts and information that is vital to uncovering the lies of the west that is at all levels but that is where they stop. In fact, what is worse they are promoters of the other side in praise.

    Where they error is being narrowly focused with personal messages of hate and contempt for one variable in the equation. Their solutions are only in diminishing and discrediting the other side.

    Our predicament is a multi-level reality that can be explored in ascending levels of abstraction. Where we get lost is applying linear thought to a nonlinear macro reality. Choosing sides takes this intellectual drift further by requiring the suppression of the truth to achieve a narrow message. The truth has no sides it “IS”.

    If I appear biased against the rest of the world it is because on this site and board 80% of the topics and discussion are anti-west. I am guilty of biase. I quit trying to be accepted with these folks because my criticism of the west was not enough hence I was labeled.

    Historically our current predicament was a western construct and continues to be western issues of overconsumption. The full story now includes the rest of the world with population overshoot coupled with consumption growth. I won’t even touch the geopolitical which is like talking religion here.

    I hope we as a group can moderate because extremism is not an effective message. The silent majority is turned off to it. That is who we should want to reach. Why try to convince extremist with extremism. They are already extreme. Extremism is the status quo game on all sides in hyper competitive deadly race.

    In a time of deadly tools and profound challenges we must chose moderation. Moderation may appear lame but the fire of extremism will consume us.

  26. Marty on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 1:56 pm 

    Did the Japanese attack the U.S. at Pearl Harbor because the U.S. had earlier in 1941 embargoed and blockaded Japan’s oil supply from Indonesia ?

  27. Apneaman on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 3:10 pm 

    Davy, I love Global research and they “should” do whatever they want. I love em so much that I’m going to donate a double sawbuck to their worthy agenda. I fucking love agendas, but I dislike groups and I am not part of any group/we thingy, nor do I wish to be. I just doom here and there. Alas, no group hug for me.

  28. JuanP on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 3:40 pm 

    Marty, That is what I believe.

  29. Davy on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 3:54 pm 

    Ape, great to know somewhere in that dark rotten soul there is some love.

  30. Apneaman on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 4:34 pm 

    No souls – just another terrified ape story.

  31. JuanP on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 4:42 pm 

    Ap, I am with you on this one, too. I don’t believe in the existence of such thing as a soul. I have never been a group person either, I am too much of a prick for that! 😉

  32. BillC on Sat, 2nd Jan 2016 10:30 pm 

    Mr. Roberts hits the nail on the head. Capitalism did us well until recently. I hope the final blow was when the cheaters took trillions of dollars from us. We cannot be duped into another bailout or in a war that benefits the top 1%.

  33. Davy on Sun, 3rd Jan 2016 5:29 am 

    Capitalism did us well until recently is like saying the drug pusher did well getting his deal done as we mainline that last big overdose hit.

    Capitalism did us well in regards to morphing into globalism and from there peak everything. In its current form it is no longer capitalism. It is a economic system that is out of control with command and control elements making dysfunctional damaging decisions based on irrational expectations.

    We are global with trillions of daily decisions that cannot be managed. Human nature at this level can only be steered widely. There is no micro management at these levels although we want to think someone is at the wheel.

    Capitalism is our Russian roulette with each growth stage putting another round in the chamber. If we could go back in time and stopped one event then it would have been the industrial revolution. That sealed our long term fate.

    Man cannot trust himself. He struggles with control issues because of his knowledge and technology. He has fantasy and dreams. Mix this up and you get optimism that manifests in an unrealistic exceptionalism. Mix in a stable climate and fossil fuels and you have a destroyed civilization and world.

    We eliminated the check valves that kept man within a rough carrying capacity. Capitalism was the ultimate tool of systematic destruction. Growth is central to capitalism and uncontrolled growth in a world of limits is a handmaiden of global collapse.

    Capitalism itself at its most basic level is fine between semi-nomadic hunter gathers in an ecosystem confinement. Once you leave that level the ability to consume and populate is lost.

    We went into overshoot territory in the beginnings of the 19th century. We are cooked now it just comes down to time frame. None of us know how this will end but it can’t be good.

  34. JuanP on Sun, 3rd Jan 2016 6:05 am 

    Capitalism has always sucked. It is an economic system designed and built by the rich for the rich. Democracy always was a stupid idea because it assumes that the majority of people can make intelligent, well informed decisions. That might have worked in a small tribe when deciding how to share a deer, but the vast majority of human beings lack the intelligence and education necessary to understand the complexities of our modern world and couldn’r possibly make the rght decisions. I think we need no further evidence of this than the world’s present condition. It is mostly the capitalist and democratic societies of the world that are responsible for the terrible damage done to the biosphere.

  35. onlooker on Sun, 3rd Jan 2016 6:33 am 

    Great analysis of Capitalism guys. But I will go one further and say that two factors were catalysts for Capitalism and thereby the wanton rapacious consumerism it fueled. That is the tier-hierarchical form of governance and decision making. This type of governing-managing mode facilitated an abusive exploitative upper class or elites. Witness the Pharaohs , Kings, Emperors, Ceasars etc. If one examines the American Indians they did not seem to evolve that way they were more characterized by a sharing of decision making and nobody attained tyrannical power as even the so called chiefs were held in check. This form of governance in turn became more likely with the widespread adoption of agriculture. Thus stationary societies with excess food could produce excess income and this then made the adoption of a monetary system practically necessary. The stationary societies with added wealth produced more food which fueled population growth and this growth became assimilated via creation of different occupations exacerbating class differences. Of course these societies quickly became competitive within themselves and with other societies as they grew and expanded precipitating warfare and conflicts of interest. These characteristics creating an Imperialistic system hell bent on power and wealth totally in tune with the nature of capitalism. So I will stop there haha.

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