Pops wrote:I really am trying to find your argument Ralphy but you keep galloping around and winding up in the same place:
I am simply addressing every point that you've raised. If I am forced to "gallop around," it's because I have to follow you. In any event, I am still able to bring you back to the "same place," as you shall see below.
All those arguments boil down to: "capitalism requires growth because capitalism produces growth."
It's not just that. Rather, the profits are invested, which in turn lead to more production. That's it.
Come on Ralphy, how can consumption lead to increased production unless consumption increases?
Exactly! Consumption has been going up worldwide.
Either the same population becomes wealthier and is able to consume more, or because the population itself increases.
Exactly! And we are seeing both globally.
Food, clothes, F-150s, haircuts, appendectomies or whatever are consumed and need replacement. If I own the means and there is a market, I produce those things using my capital and property and I earn a profit, that's capitalism. I use the profit to replace the things that I consume, no accumulation, no increase in production required, still capitalism.
What happens if you have a competitor and he thinks of spending less and using his profits to increase production? Are you still going to hope that demand for goods won't go up or that people will still buy goods from you?
What do you do with any profit that you don't spend for replacement, etc? Do you put it in a bank? If so, then how do you think it will earn interest?
If my profits fall and I consume less it is still capitalism.
Of course, as others will still profit and consume more. In which case, the economy will still be growing.
It is capitalism because I profit from my right to ownership and access to markets - thats all. I realize that is the way it's been since fossil fuels and industry replaced manoralism but effects aren't requisites.
When you have a move from industrialization to manoralism, then that's not capitalism, as that would entail not profits but bankruptcies and economic collapse. You may have some people taking advantage of others, but that won't last.
I get the idea that you think I'm arguing that capitalism in all it's iPod-ian glory will lead us into some brave new world, but would be wrong. It is actually just the reverse, I think capitalists will profit all the way down, as I said initially:
Don't bet against the profit motive. At it's root, profit is the expression of the competitive drive of humans. The whole notion of equitability and sustainability are the outgrowth of the ridiculous surpluses afforded by fossil energy, industrialization and capitalism, not victims of it.
Again, you're referring only to a few who will profit while most will suffer. That's not capitalism. If most will "profit all the way down" then you're right, but that can't happen for obvious reasons.
From the original link
Without fuel to generate growth, catabolic capitalists stoke the profit engine by taking over troubled businesses, selling them off for parts, firing the workforce and pilfering their pensions. Scavengers, speculators and slumlords buy up distressed and abandoned properties - houses, schools, factories, office buildings and malls - strip them of valuable resources, sell them for scrap or rent them to people desperate for shelter. Illicit lending operations charge outrageous interest rates and hire thugs or private security firms to shake down desperate borrowers or force people into indentured servitude to repay loans. Instead of investing in struggling productive enterprises, catabolic financiers make windfall profits by betting against growth through hoarding and speculative short selling of securities, currencies and commodities.
So yeah, I think capitalism is going to do fine. The main reason I agitate around here for limits on capitalists is precisely because I don't hold out much hope for a Marxist type workers rebellion.
You are referring to some "catabolic capitalists" and not the system in which they used to thrive. For such things to happen the system has to fall apart. That's what I mean when I say that capitalism requires growth. Once that growth does not take place, then you end up what is essentially a "a self-cannibalizing economic system." That's not capitalism!
And after that:
"Cannibalistic profiteers can thrive in a growth-less environment for quite some time, but ultimately, an economy bent on devouring itself has a dismal, dead-end future. Nevertheless, changing course will be difficult because, as the catabolic sector expands at the expense of society, powerful cannibalistic capitalists are bound to forge influential alliances, poison and paralyze the political system and block all efforts to pull society out of its economic nosedive."
which means the "nosedive" will accelerate, making that "dismal, dead-end future" even closer.
I can think of a better metaphor: sharks in a tank. And we're the little fish.
We few, we happy few, we band of chipmunks....