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Is capitalism actually dying, despite appearances?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by AlpsStranger, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    I consider myself a reluctant capitalist. I don't believe any other system is a great idea; I think there is too much chance for abuse, for squabbling, centralization of power. However, I won't deny that capitalism is no perfect system either.

    I'm forced to admit, though, as I see the more outlandish and strident and oafish defenses of capitalism, it seems like it's desperately ill.

    It's hard to put my finger on why; I'm sure some of you on here could explain it in more concrete terms. I feel like its defenders are desperate and running on bluster and inertia. I feel like one day, relatively soon and relatively quickly, it will more or less die in the night and we'll notice it passing only after the fact.

    It won't be a big blunt revolution, but it'll be years and years from now when we have the over-over-reaction to Trump and we end up with single payer and a really high minimum wage. Sure, we'll still have private companies and jobs and such, but larger and larger parts of our economic life will be tightly managed and regulated and "smoothed out" and sheltered from the free market.

    Right now, right after Trump and Brexit, I'm sure I sound crazy. But I'm thinking in larger, longer blocks of time.

    I'm willing to reluctantly admit it's probably for the best. I don't think it's going to really work much longer. Too much inequality, too much fear, too much decline. You can only play people off against minorities and "welfare queens" for so long before even the dumbest of them realize what's going on.
     
  2. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    As always these questions depend how we see capitalism. I define "capitalism" as "the unfair advantages capitalists have within the market system".

    By that metric, capitalism ain't dying at all - and it will only become more powerful under Trump.
     
    SS-18 ICBM and Aleksey_aka_al like this.
  3. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    I feel like it's The Empire Strikes Back and the Emperor is feeling really good right BEFORE he gets tossed right off the edge.
     
    VicRatlhead5199 likes this.
  4. Old Hippy

    Old Hippy Chieftain

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    like when the market loses its invisible hand ....
     
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  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    RotJ you mean?

    The market has always been guided by visible hands. "Laissez-faire was planned," in Polanyi's terms.
     
  6. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Plastic is eating humans
     
  7. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Crony capitalism is alive and well.

    What we need is more like The Hunger Games, run for corporations by the government.

    I assume, I've never read/seen The Hunger Games.
     
  8. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Chieftain

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    I'm interested to see what happens in Raul Castro's Cuba. He's now allowing private ownership of property and free enterprise. The twist is that companies must be run by their owners, that is no corporations....only mom & pop places.
     
  9. innonimatu

    innonimatu Chieftain

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    In some ways it's similar to the soviet union of the 80s. The old institutions have lost their credibility, cynicism is dominant. But, like the soviet union also, there is a huge inertia still: if it is about to fall down, it'll be destroyed by a mix of nativity and stupidity (from some) and opportunism (from others) among people on the top of the hierarchy.

    Trump as the american Gorbachev? Perhaps. It'd make great material for historians and politicians in the future, comparing the "falls". . If the manages to destroy the traditional media and its networks of influence, and in the meanwhile split and weaken the so-called "IC", that'll be a kind of Glasnost american version... And perhaps it'll end better that it did for the soviets. I don't know, but I do know that keeping in place systems that no longer command credibility is no way to be governed.

    still, this seems fat-fetched as of now.
     
  10. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Then maybe you should watch or read it? The movie series is on Netflix. I just have the last one to watch, to be caught up.

    This movie series is like a combination of 18th-century France just before the revolution, 1984, reality TV tempered by fake news, and probably some more dystopian things I'm blanking on at the moment.
     
  11. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Who is the Jedi then?
     
  12. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald nIGHTMARE

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    It's actually pretty horrible in that regard.

    I think capitalism is slowly "dying", because by its nature it can't sustain itself, but the most likely thing to follow I think is going to be like some authoritarian thing
     
  13. Hehehe

    Hehehe Chieftain

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    This is an interesting question. Is capitalism dying? While personally I think that capitalism is the best system we have, I admit that it does have it's flaws. Two things to consider, which probably are relevant to the discussion:

    In his book, Capital in the 21st century, Piketty argues that wealth tends to concentrate. Rich get richer, poor get poorer. According to him, this is a trend that holds true for as far as there is data available. And, according to Piketty, there are only two exceptions to this trend: the first and the second world war. A lot of wealth was destroyed in those wars. And the ones who had the most wealth, also lost the most wealth. So while everybody was worse off, it also lead to wealth being distributed more equally.

    Second point is that the economy tends to operate in cycles. According to one theory, economy is a sum of productivity, short term debt cycle and long term debt cycle. (31 minute introductory video here: )
    I believe we are at the end of a long term debt cycle. In other words, I don't think that capitalism is doomed forever, I just think that we are in a bad phase of the economic cycle.

    Economics is complicated, and I don't pretend to be an expert at it, but that's my two cents.
     
  14. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I mean, in the U.S. a lot of the economy just isn't regulated properly. In other countries too, but in the U.S. especially there is an accepted philosophy of "let the free market do what it does". That will always lead to problems.

    Capitalism can work just fine, you just need to regulate it properly. And have other policies in place that ensure a strong middle class. Which America also isn't doing.
     
  15. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    I feel like this is what I mean. I mean the American style of Wild West capitalism. Becoming a universal healthcare high minimum wage sort of economy would be "death of capitalism" by my meaning.
     
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  16. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    I guess I don't see this as some kind of triumph for the American right. This isn't Reagan.

    This is a petulant tantrum by a frustrated system of ideas that has to create bubbles and actual fake news just to stay alive.

    It has many emotional fans but few intellectual defenses. The problem is, fundamentally, that emotional and tradition-based defenses weaken over time at a rather rapid rate. The die-hard Christian conservatives of my youth, for instance, all invariably got softer and more tolerant as they aged. Also, the grave itself swallows this sort of inertia as something that is based on nostalgia and emotional investment transfers weakly, if at all, across generational lines.

    It's a big scary tiger fighting like a demon right now, but its ferocity is so intense because of the poison arrows sticking out of its flank.

    The next Bernie Sanders might very well win, frankly.
     
  17. Bootstoots

    Bootstoots Chieftain Super Moderator

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    I've definitely been getting the same late Brezhnev/Andropov/Chernenko feeling about the US. Very few people believe in the ostensible core beliefs of the society anymore, or in its institutions.

    That said, though, lots of dysfunctional systems just kind of keep going for decades despite nobody really believing in them. For instance, Mexico has had the same political system since the 1920s. It did open up from a one-party system to a three-party one in the late 1990s, but that had practically no effect on the actual responsiveness of the government to people's needs. The government remains corrupt and distrusted by most people. And yet, despite the corruption, poor economy, high inequality, rampant crime, state human rights violations, and so on, it still keeps clunking along with no sign of either becoming better or falling apart. The same sort of thing is true of many other developing-world governments.

    But like the USSR, the US government derives much of its legitimacy from certain ideological principles that are collapsing. I suspect that rapid loss of faith in national institutions is more conducive to institutional failure than if the faith was never there in the first place. But that may not be the case; we could just be in for decades of dysfunction without either collapse or improvement.

    edit: As for capitalism, it seems reasonably healthy to me. I mean, it's facing a long-term slowdown in its growth rate, stagnating demand due to higher inequality reducing the society's propensity to spend, an ongoing crisis in which automation and outsourcing (mostly the former) strip away meaningful work from the majority of the population, and an increase in negative externalities like climate change. So it definitely has some problems, but the outlook for the next few decades is probably just more capitalism, with growing problems but no actual collapse.
     
  18. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    That's an odd definition of capitalism though, isn't it? It sort of means that most western countries aren't capitalist.

    Maybe I misunderstand what you mean though, and you are saying that it would be the death of that type of capitalism, or I suppose the death of a certain type of America. Not to put words in your mouth, but I wanted to jump ahead in case I misinterpreted what you are saying
     
  19. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Chieftain

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    A brilliant analogy:

    Brezhnev:= George Bush II
    Andropov:= Barack Obama
    Chernenko:= Donald Trump
     
  20. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald nIGHTMARE

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    What do you mean?
    Not trying to be confrontive, I'm curious
     

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