The end of capitalism

November 23, 2009

Hard to imagine with financial markets still buoyant and newspapers full of tales of bonus greed, but there is still the possibility that captialism will end.  At least there is according to prestigious investment consultants Watson Wyatt in their latest study called “Extreme Risks“.

The firm listed the demise of the system of private ownership as one of 15 threats to investors and the global economy that probably won’t happen but which it reckons are worth worrying about anyway. The idea behind the report is that such things as climate change, the break up of the euro zone and war are always worth being included in an investment risk management process.

As for the future of capitalism:

In our view, the most likely scenario is moving along from one end of a spectrum where market is king (minimum regulation) towards the other end, where we could see more onerous regulations and government intervention in, and control of, the economy. The extreme risk, however, is the demise of the capitalist system and the end of the market as the primary means of resource allocation.

And the impact:

The economy would be likely to run a higher risk of failure and economic growth would be sluggish in the long run due to lower productivity.  Centrally controlled economies tend to be characterised by shortages, which are inherently inflationary. Private investment activities would collapse or even be terminated. The end of capitalism is simply the ultimate extreme risk. The economy is likely to be associated with extreme uncertainty and a large amount of wealth destruction during the transition period.

Watson Wyatt does try to give its free market clients some hope, suggesting that buying gold may be one way to hedge against the propect of capitalism’s demise. But it admitted that in such a circumstance investors would probably be more concerned about the return of their investments rather that the return on them.

(Illustration called The Communist Party, from Threadless)

Related Blog: Slavoj Zizek on resurrecting the Left


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I’m probably wrong but, hasn’t true capitalism been dead for nearly 100 years now if not more?

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

“The economy would be likely to run a higher risk of failure and economic growth would be sluggish in the long run due to lower productivity.”That depends one what one defines as growth. Capitalism is myopic in its vision. Productivity is defined as the churning out of “widgets”. “Growth” is nothing more than increase in profits over time. It does not address quality of life for the citizen. Rather it binds the citizen into having to qualify for basic human needs based on the ability to pay.The nature of profit is that it ends up in private hands and out of circulation in the system. This is why we have so much debt now.The financial sector invented a variety of ways to siphon profits out of the market by cooking the books. So money that should have been there for the honoring of contracts was stolen and kept in the pockets of the thieves.With that money gone we now have a “crisis”, the architects of which are now engineering a “solution”. Capitalism is doomed to fail because it is powered by the most base human qualities of greed and self gratification. It does not take into account the responsibilities that go along with having so much of a much needed recourse like money or raw material.So those that own, lord it over those that don’t. Capitalism works under the “why should I help you if there isn’t anything in it for me?” philosophy.Just look at the attempts to “fix” health care. It’s all about the money. Who will profit and who will pay. There is not actual discussion about health care. There is no discussion about ensuring that the human being is made the top priority regardless of systemic difficulties.Socialism recognizes the central role of the human element. But rather than direct government control of assets, it would be much simpler to remove corporate citizen status, and special interest groups. All citizens have the rights of life liberty and pursuit of happiness. Government simply has the job of keeping the law, and making sure that law serves the interests of the citizenry without partiality towards any one group or another.Our constitution gives us the right to live as we will as long as we harm no one. That’s all we need.Also the constitution is not tied directly to capitalism or socialism or anything like that. Any society can be a free society as long as the rule of law which guarantees that freedom is left in tact. And as far as I know, the only people who want to change the constitution are the career politicians. Capitalism prioritizes money over human beings. Hence the name: capital-ism.Socialism prioritizes the human being over money. Hence social (society)-ism.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Ya can’t be serious, Benny. Try on these equations:Socialism = Political Power Over EverythingPolitical Power Over Everything = TyrannyTyranny = No Freedom, nohow.If you want proof, crack open any history book on the 20th century and look under USSR, or Warsaw Pact, or Iron Curtain. My my, how quickly people forget.

Posted by gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

Gotthardbahn,Your equations are what we have right now.Socialism = Political Power Over EverythingWe have socialized military, fire protection, and police protection because we recognize that these things are important for the protection of all citizens. I don’t see anyone wielding political power over the nation because of it.Political Power Over Everything = TyrannyTyranny is what we currently enjoy under the rule of our free market merchant princes. Consider the fact that all social issues currently discussed are discussed in terms of profit and loss. Education, health care, housing, etc…All are discussed according to profit and loss.What is the argument against socialized health care?1. It will hurt the insurance business.2. It amounts to government control of the system.Our health care system is currently controlled by for profit companies. And this is why we have a push to overhaul it. It doesn’t work as it is. And it doesn’t work because your health and the quality of your life are not commodities to be bought and sold. You are a human being not an animal to be parsed out to different entities to be sucked financially dry.Tyranny = No Freedom, nohow.You are quite correct. You have no freedom now. The only real “freedom” you have is to either become a wage slave, or live in destitution.The fact that you are a human being is not enough to qualify you for even the most basic of human needs.Your equations are simplistic at best and misleading. All systems require people of conscience to run and participate in them.The USSR only used the ideas of communism in order to establish power in a nation of suffering people. Those figures you named are like fundamentalists that use religion as the vehicle for their poison. They never cared about the people. They cared about their own power.As I said before. Only people of conscience can make things work. It’s true that people forget quickly. They especially like to forget that we have responsibilities towards each other. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. That particular responsibility comes with a grocery list of excuses for why we don’t hold to that responsibility.We also forget wise teachings like the admonition against lending money at interest. Our whole economy is based on this huge mistake. Those lessons are thousands of years old.How quickly we forget indeed.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Hard to imagine indeed: “financial markets still buoyant and newspapers full of tales of bonus greed.”Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s not forget how the government has to rush in every so often and flood the banking system with taxpayers’ money. Thus ensuring financial markets stay “buoyant” and its greedy moneymongers keep padding their bonuses ever fatter.Is this the capitalism that’s doomed? “Welfare for the rich?”Is this demise what you’re talking about?Then bring it on ….

Posted by Samdog | Report as abusive

It is always the same…The stock markets crash, the government deficits increase. And people start screaming and running around in the streets that capitalism is flawed and will soon be dead.We have seen it all before. In fact, we see the same show every recession. Sometimes by the same stupid old people, and sometimes by different stupid young people.We didn’t listen to them during the boom. Or the recession. Or the recovery. Or the next boom. Or the next recession. So why listen to them now?Capitalism is a vampire. And it will be still jumping in and out of the coffin long after all of us have gone to ours.As long as there are resources to use and markets to run, capitalism will be the only show in town. And if the day ever comes when there is no resources or markets, then capitalism will be the last show we see.If a person has even a passing understanding of economics, they would have figured it out by now.If you want a society with infinite resources for all, you can find it in the nation called ‘shangra-la’. I hear it is in Tibet somewhere, right next to the Big Rock Candy Mountain. If you happen to find it, be sure to let us know.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Anon,These stupid young people you talk about are beginning to understand the truth that money is not as valuable as human life. And as long as there are people out there who try to convince the masses that they are nothing but cattle to be bought and sold by those with means, there will always be “stupid” old people and young people with vision enough to understand and compassion enough to share the truth.If you wish to keep considering human beings as cattle that’s your right. These cycles of boom and bust are increasing in intensity. Now they are global. And things will only get worse.Even a passing understanding of economics shows that capitalism actually requires that a percentage of the population live in abject poverty. If this is acceptable to you then so be it.That doesn’t mean that it’s right or that everyone should accept it. Capitalism is doomed because human beings are selfish greedy creatures. And this system is powered by those ugly human qualities. Such qualities lead to suffering and death.We are steeped in war, poverty, and ignorance in the present day. You can defend that if you wish. But that is a foolish stand to take. You admit that capitalism is a vampire. But you support it any way. So who is the real fool?

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

The nature of profit is that it ends up in private hands and out of circulation in the system. This is why we have so much debt now.

Posted by christliche singlebörse | Report as abusive

I’m not an economist, but it is apparent to me capitalist market economies operate a lot like functional alcoholics.As these hangovers from latest night’s round of partying become too severe to bear, even if they make it to work on time and do their job acceptably, they will eventually have to reform or live in misery until they die.

Posted by J | Report as abusive

[…] MacroScope » Blog Archive » The end of capitalism | Blogs |. […]

Posted by Investment management firm suggests planning for The End – Coldstreams Business and Economy | Report as abusive

Who is the real fool?The person who lives with the system now? Who understands its limitations and strengths, and accepts them for what they are?Or the person who hates the system, wants it changed, but can’t figure out how he will change it, or what it will change into, or how he will make it work when he does?Come up with a better system, Benny. And tell us how we will convert the current system to the new one. It will be an easy feat for one with such vision as yourself.Is it socialism, Benny? Because plenty of people in Europe have bad memories from less then twenty years ago. And no matter how much you seem to think you have lost your freedom and liberty to capitalism, take it from me that you can lose a lot more then what capitalism takes.Is it government control? Is your plan to tell the corporations ‘my way or the highway’. And then to look surprised when you watch them take the highway and leave America in the dust?And how are the corporations going to go along with your plans? And assuming they don’t want to, how are you going to make them? A national strike during record unemployment? State control of private property? Crypto-facism?So please, give us your solution.Otherwise, your words are empty idealism. And the truth of the matter is that it isn’t just me living with capitalism. Unless you can figure out how to change it, you live with it too.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

The ownership over means of production determines the relationships between members of society. The difference between capitalism and socialism stands in the ownership over means of production. In socialism, almost all means of production belongs to the state. In capitalism, almost all means of production are in private hands.Consequently, in socialism, everybody is worry free, since they have nothing, while in capitalism some have everything, and everybody worry.Forgive me for I had a good laugh, thinking of a socialist America. We are no closer to socialism then we were 100 years ago.The fact that the government uses its levers to prop the economic system does not mean socialism. Contrary to that, is propping up a capitalist system that faltered. I cannot see any transfer of means of production from private hands to the state, unless one calls billions thrown at GM nationalization.However, not the system faltered. Our brilliant executives, product of Harvard and Yale and Princeton and alike, they faltered us. Cut alike, know-it-all, cunning and arrogant, they defied the common sense and any shadow of civic morals. They are out of this world, a foreign species for the rest of us.I wonder when the cohorts of the business and economics professors are going to be investigated for their poised teachings on how to tremendously enrich some by defrauding all the others.

Posted by M | Report as abusive

Capitalism is equal to economic anarchy. Power comes from wealth and a self-regulated market only corrects itself when everybody plays within rules of the game. When one day all “AAA” bonds fail, we query the issuer, the rating agency and even the government. If I live under socialism, I wouldn’t worry about waking up penniless tomorrow.

Posted by George | Report as abusive

If you work for a living these days (I know this doesn’t apply to many people) you already work for at least a third of the year for the government. That’s four months of forced labour – sounds very much like socialism to me.If you burgle an off-licence, it’s very unlikely that you will get more than a community service order – maximum 200 hours or, say, five weeks’ forced labour. Only just over a third of the sentence the rest of us get – every year for life. Think about it.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

The end of capitalism themes always brings out all the reds from under the bed and doomsday doozies!OK, let’s assume there’s a 2% change that socialism creeps into the EU, the U.S., and everywhere else. Do you really think the global citizens would lie back and forget their impulse to better their sitution by seeking reward and profit from their unique hard work?Also, many Wall St vipers are a bunch of thieves in suits, but so is the local car mechanic if you let him have it over you, and so is the trade union officials ‘representing’ the workers and filling their own bellies.Great risk assesment!

Posted by Simon Drake | Report as abusive

One only has to read “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” to realise that capitalism is, basically, human beings’ default setting. If it can flourish in the Gulag, it will flourish anywhere. Though, of course, the mechanisms by which it operates may differ from time to time and place to place, becoming more or less formal.The times and places where it has been temporarily eradicated have all had to pass through a “Year Zero” first, and it’s not at all clear to me that such a thing would be possible on the universal scale required in a globalised economy.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

I am repeating what Benny Acosta has already said.Any system is good or bad depending on its use or misuse.

Posted by sadasivan | Report as abusive

Dear,Mr.Jeremy Gaunt,Your writing on !The End Of Capitalism! is worth to read and for further debates.As per my intensive readings on day today economic structure by global views, Capitalism is not end in itself.Still is in operation on many counts by many capitalist countries.Take examples of America,Germany,Japan,Brazil,Iran ,Doha and other countries by their day today!s economic functions.What is happening in China and in Russia.Communism is only on paper.Whereas, in real life, now a days, Chinese and Russians are getting,producing and spreading their earnings,savings,knowledge,wisdom,techni cal inputs to other undeveloped and to developing nations.They have started amazing wealth in larger ways,that is, buying houses,buying latest technical gadgets,new cars and visiting to many countries on tourists and for acquiring more and more knowledges on many interesting fields for their individual and for nations progress.These above writings of mine speaks reality.In India, Mixed economy system is in operation.At the time of elections, demonstration against price rise, factory strikes etc., Indian politicians used to coin the words of socialism and many words of evils of capitalism and stressing the importances of equal distribution of wealth.Once elections are over,the above socialistic pattern of thinking, words and phrases from great works of Marx,Lenin and Nehru will be put to storage for next elections prepared works.Day by day, new industries, new foreign tie up are happening in every nook and corner of the world.Because of recent world wide recession, less job opportunities, banks closure, financial mis matches,loss shown by many noted industries had made us to think that,capitalism is a failure system.The same news medias who wrote about serious stories on recession had started writing on revival of profits,good business results, currencies are strong,exports had shown some positive signals and so on.For those who have less education,joint family system,senior citizens with less support from government,neighbors and from their children ,and from some educated jobless youth may think on capitalism .These unfortunate people may think that, the rays of hope on capitalism is fading day by day.In reality, capitalism is not dying.May be temporary set back due to some wrong policies,implementations and careless attitudes to real issues.Due to more good education,awareness on day today issues, emancipation of women, more womenfolk on jobs, open trade and commerce, more jobs on foreign soils, excellent medias coverages on politics, womens problems, latest science and technology applications, family dramas,latest films on many interesting subjects,more publicity on products and services by government and by private bodies,more social networks,broadband connectivity, amazing growth on mobile phones and its uses by top to bottom segments are in some spirits on modern capitalism.Unless and until, like world war situations, then only, people will think for alternative to capitalism.So, we can sum up like that-!Capitalism is sick.Needed for immediate surgery for survival.!

Posted by krishnamurthi ramachandran | Report as abusive

Benny,Maybe one day we in the west can look forward to the day when our governments “address quality of life for the citizen” and we can look forward to the comforts of those lucky Cubans and Chinese or perhaps even those enjoyed in those heady days of 1970/1980s Russia?Socialists seem to fail to appreciate that without private enterprise there would be no running water, electricity, energy, food etc (nor would they be able to sit at home playing on an X-box or watching daytime TV). Socialism is an excuse for a large number of lazy or incompetent people to claim they are hard done by. If the millions of career unemployed were forced to accept that it is morally wrong to consume more than you produce we would achieve greater wealth all round. The greatest problem with the capitalist system is socialists!”money that should have been there for the honoring of contracts was stolen and kept in the pockets of the thieves” – I assume you are referring to the sub-prime borrowers who have simply failed to repay what they owe to the banks. Whilst I don’t condemn the actions of the banks, the pressure to lend to those who were otherwise unable to buy their own home was of a socialist origin – why is their pressure for people to own their own home even if they can’t afford it. Socialism seems to condemn owners of private property and enterprises, except in the case of people who haven’t actually earned it, then it is alright.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

The pink cloudwalkers, political demagogues and “economists” who have proven over the past 2 years that they don’t even know what’s going to happen next week can chatter all they like.For the truth we need only look at the real lessons of recent history from the USSR, Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam, Cambodia (to name only a few). All examples of countries with dogmatic governments that tried to control markets and brought misery and death to millions before returning to free market capitalism as the only means of creating prosperity for their people.It’s not perfect, but it’s been the way of the world since men fell out of the trees and all attempts to change it have led to disaster. What we are seeing now is not a failure of capitalism but a mild periodic correction of human excess.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

Capitalism will not end. It’s in human nature to love money and enjoy spending money.People may control the urge to spend money uncontrollably, but that is not the same as end of free market. They definitely will want tighter control on greed and risk taking in financial world, at least for the time being.

Posted by scheng1 | Report as abusive

The argument against a socialistic style economy is that people tend towards capitalism by default.That’s actually not true. Greed is a common human quality, this is true. I’ve read books on “compassionate capitalism”. This too is a myth. We in the US already have socialized, police, fire protection, and military branches. And yet I don’t see the country falling apart because of it.The reason these systems are socialized is because one cannot get away from the truth that these things are important for the safety and protection of all citizens.Health care is also just as important. And so it should be socialized. Housing is just as important and so it should be socialized. Same with education.capitalism is a very useful system in areas of the market place that do not affect human development, health, and well being. For the buying of goods and services capitalism is fine.We see by way of our socialized services that a mixed type of economy provides more benefit than straight capitalism.The idea is to recognize where the boundaries are and to keep capitalism in its place.If we each had to pay individually for police protection for example, crime would return to medieval conditions where those with means would be forced to hire protection leaving the rest of society to fend for itself.I do not advocate blanket socialism. Rather I advocate socialism in areas of the market place that provide goods and services that are essential for quality life, health and development. These things include, health care, education, housing, police, fire protection, and military protection.When the needs of a human being are met, they are able to do great things with their lives. That’s why the rich are usually the ones doing “great things”. Even the poor who accomplish great things can only do so after they have gotten the resources they need together.So socializing those things essential to human life, health, and development only makes sense. However, these are the very things that capitalism makes its biggest profits on.Think pharmaceuticals and health insurance companies. Your suffering is very profitable. And this is the curse of capitalism. Put it in it’s place and things will get better.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Gentlemen!It’s no use bandying about big words and poorly defined concepts like “capitalism” and “socialism”. We all must be aware of the differences arising from different definitions. Stick to the definition in its simplest form and there will be more agreements than differences.The proof of the pudding is in the eating, that is, in the application of a concept.The best education I got on the nature and substance of “capitalism” was from my own experience on the private “black”-market in a communist country, but not everybody can do it my way. Please read Senor Hernando DeSoto’s book, The Mystery of Capital. It’s cheap and the best one could ask for.He explains his own quest for the truth about capitalism, and the causes of the huge differences between various so-called capitalist countries. What he found was that it is the prevailing legal system in any country that either gives rise to or denies the people the right to, and the chance to form and use capital. Of course legal systems are always infiltrated by the corrupt and the greedy, depending on the local culture.It is not enough for success and good quality of life to have laws and lawyers, there must be – and here it comes – ACCOUNTABILITY! If the application of laws is not honest, hence ACCOUNTABLE, there will be no good result of the best laws on the bookshelves.The difference can be seen in practice, while eating our pudding. An honest politician or businessman can apply both socialist and capitalist principles, and benefit both himself and the community. Conversely a crooked politico or banker can ruin the best legal/business system by subverting the legal side of it. He may benefit while society loses, if there is no accountability!The problem with failing economic systems is that the crooks are not prosecuted, and like in the States, failing banks and businesses are not allowed to go through the proper bankruptcy procedure.THAT is not proper capitalism as it’s supposed to work! That’s why an honest capitalist as Jim Rogers advised in the media that those “Too Big To Fail” should go bankrupt. He said: Let Them Fail! That way the remnant assets could be honestly valued, sold to the highest bidder from a healthy company who should make the best of a bad situation.That’s logical, honest, legal, therefore most desirable.In the US it was not capitalism or the market that failed but the so-called Justice Department. There are perfectly good laws against insider trading, front-running, naked short-selling, but they were and are still not applied. Hence the System is failing, but friends of government are not allowed to fail or go to jail!Properly applied bankruptcy laws would clean out the rot so the economy could function and prosper. As it is, forgetaboutit! The use of fiat currency fraud practically guarantees abuse and eventual failure.Read and Heed!

Posted by Lester | Report as abusive

Gotthardbahn, Perhaps you are the one who should open some more history books and some non fiction.The fish were so plentiful in the Americas at the time of Columbus it was said one could stick a frying pan in the water and come up with dinner. Herring fished in the Potomac were harvested in the millions annually in the 17th century. Animal skins and meat were consumed to the extreme as well. More of the wild catch was sent over seas to satisfy Europe’s demand for salt fish, meats and fur as her wild resources were in collapse. By the 19th century most of the natural fisheries and hunting grounds in the Americas were in collapse. All of this was done in the pursuit of a dollar. What Europe accomplished in 1000 years we accomplished in two centuries.The advent of the industrial age brought similar destruction. The Rocky Mountain West was exploited for it’s mineral wealth, Mining for these minerals left a wake of ecological destruction that will reach well into the next several centuries. The mines are now empty and the waste left behind 20,000 hazardous waste sites. Many underground water supplies in Montana and Idaho are now unfit for human consumption.Those were the days of unfettered capitalism. Kudos to free market efficiency. We all now pay the price of wanton excess and callous disregard for everything but profit. We are now left with dwindling resources in the face of an ever growing world population. China, India and the rest of the world want cars, electricity, heated and air conditioned homes. There aren’t enough resources based on current consumption practices to meet such a demand. Coal reserves (our most plentiful energy resource) begins to run out sooner as demand for electricity increases. The climate will only change more rapidly if such consumption could be sustained.Capitalism has run it’s course as did the Greco-Roman slave system and subsequent feudalistic systems. The only question is what will it be replaced with? Nothing is written in stone. Change may be gradual or may not. Nothing short of a global collapse of the human population(50- 80% decline) could possibly save the present economic system. The Black Death ultimately had such an effect on Europe and Asia creating strengthened guilds, working classes and small businesses. I am not holding my breath.In conclusion the fate of all societies rests upon it’s ability to manage natural resources. Clearly capitalism as it has been practiced cannot. I urge all to purchase and read Jarred Diamond’s book “Collapse”.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Lester is quite correct. Thank you Lester.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Capitalism has its end due to double standard policies and greediness of the Capitalists.This is at the expense of other nations that are ruled by dictators or rogue leaders and they suvived as they are puppets of the Captalists.

Posted by Siva | Report as abusive

Capitalism may not end and it is moving from the West to the East.China, Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil will replace the current captitalist nations and dictate the policies that are practiced at present.

Posted by Siva | Report as abusive

People aren’t even addicted to money they are addicted to the endorphins that translate themselves into pleasure. Money is just a facilitator to access these powerful drugs. We would be better off looking at systems where we trade skills and then the bankers would soon sit back on their bums in total amazement, and discover what they are really worth to society… I have decided not to have children, not because I wouldn’t have enjoyed bringing up children or would have loved them but because they don’t have a future. I have been an environmentalist since the age of 11 (a long time ago), and like a sad Cassandra saw it all coming – but nobody listened. So if you really care for your children – don’t put them into the hellish place this world is going to be.

Posted by Esther Phillips | Report as abusive

“The ultimate cause, therefore, of the phenomenon of wave after wave of economic ups and downs is ideological in character. The cycles will not disappear so long as people believe that the rate of interest may be reduced, not through the accumulation of capital, but by banking policy.”“The cyclical fluctuations of business are not an occurrence originating in the sphere of the unhampered market, but a product of government interference with business conditions designed to lower the rate of interest below the height at which the free market would have fixed it.”“There is simply no other choice than this: either to abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way.”Ludwig von Mises

Posted by juergentyrol | Report as abusive

We are nearing the end of economic growth, at least, not sure what that means for capitalism. We are depleting our renewable and non-renewable resources faster than ever, while at the same time destroying our environment, and our economic base. In other words, we’re burning through our principal, not living off the interest. 2009/11/end-of-economic-growth.html

Posted by Canada Guy | Report as abusive

Watson Wyatt is a joke drunk on his own hype.The US busted itself on its own brand of capitalism. It only confirms capitalism works like a charm.America deregulated just about everything over 2 decades and watch its capitalist private economy allocated vast resources to a small sector most efficiently. The fact that these resources are wasted, in today’s light, is not the fault of capitalism. Capitalism allows one to make investments most efficiently, take profits most efficient, and suffer losses most efficiently, under whatever rules and regulations in place.The US yanked out the regulations and wasted trillions on financial investments. Therefore its brand of capitalism works like a charm as designed. Crying over something you designed to happen is so cry-baby.

Posted by The Real Deal | Report as abusive

i don’t believe the west did not see this rebalancing act coming. You have been trying for decades to prevent the east from advancing economically because you knew you would have to give up your luxuries when the time comes. Its here now: get rid of that second car, settle to a second rate education, welcome in poverty. OK look at the most improvised trouble countires in the east. Lets say bangladesh: that where you are heading. now hold that in your mind for a second and try and see how that feels. did you think the last century of empire to build your pretty terraced houses, your 2 holidays a year standard of living, while the other half staved was not going to catch up with you. You know what you should blame China: the day they decided to be like you, was the first of your last day. I think you should go and blitz the hell of them like you did Iraq, so you can have a little more time in the lap of luxury. But the last day will eventually arrive.

Posted by boludo | Report as abusive

Currently fear mongering is at an all time high. America is a nation of many cultures, peoples and ideas, and is and will always be a great innovator and leader. With the current economic situation of many countries including the US, one defining principal will always prevail…. capitalism !! Continue to seek opportunity and you will find it and depending on the amount of time and effort you invest, you will be rewarded justly….. in fact now more than ever abundant opportunity exists! Carpe diem !

Posted by CapitalOink !!! | Report as abusive

Here is the stucture of western capitalist model:By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world’s population,[1] and covered more than 13,000,000 square miles (33,670,000 km2): approximately a quarter of the Earth’s total land area.[wikipedia).

Posted by boluding | Report as abusive

Capitalism is a human concept. It is created by human and hence can be destroyed by human. There is no need to worship capitalism as a religion. As in other form of human culture like various form of freudalism, the replacement is usually a better one. If Capitalism ever were to die, we should celebrate and welcome its replacement. For the time being, I do not see capitalism to go away any time sure.

Posted by Lee Siu Hoi | Report as abusive

don’t ever understimate ur openent

Posted by peter | Report as abusive

It is a great mistake to believe that humans invented economics.Economics is merely the study of human behavior in a market economy. Economics is not a choice, it is the mirror by which we see what we are as economic beings in a community.You can choose to follow left-wing socialism, or free market capitalism, or perhaps a regulation controlled economy somewhere in the middle. But the rules of economics will always apply. Whether you live in a tribal village, an American city, or medieval London.Socialism failed not because it was flawed as a system, but because the followers of that system believed they could defy the rules of economics. And in the end, economics buried them.The current global recession is simply the rules of economics. Each boom leads to overheated economies. And with the right event (for example, thousands of defaulting American homeowners) it is natural that the next stock market crash and recession will result.Yes, the source of the crash, subprime loans, was a semi surprise. The first pebble in the avalanche is always a surprise. But the avalanche itself is always half expected. And quite frankly, anyone who wasn’t expecting a recession after such a massive boom needed their head examined. Or a basic children’s textbook on economic theory.And from that point on, everything else was just standard economic theory. The fact there was a stockmarket crash after the subprime crisis began is proof that millions of people saw the writing on the wall and left while the going was good.In time, we will see perhaps a strengthening of regulation in the banking sector if anything. And in time, the confidence of businesses will return and the next recovery will result.But those who believe in ending the bust-boom cycle are not just anti-capitalist, but anti-economic. You can argue with capitalism, but not with economic theory.People who believe in removing the bust-boom cycle are just as foolish as those who believe they can make a boom last forever. Defy the rules of economics, and it will bury you.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Capitalism works on greed. Everyone acknowledges this. Greed was the reason for deregulation. And it is the reason for our economic situation.Socialism of essential human sectors is like putting a lock on a door. A lock won’t stop a thief. But it does keep people honest who are already basically honest.Any system created by human beings must take human nature into account. There will always be abuse of some sort. So you have to have some tolerance for that built into the system. Right now we don’t have anything being done about the abuses in our current system. The only way capitalism will survive is if honor returns to the community. That will only happen when we learn to value each other over the profit that makes business work.Individuals might abuse a socialistic economy to a point. But that is far easier and less expensive to deal with than the abuses currently taking place which have all but bankrupt western cultures around the world.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Re: the comment to not underestimate your opponent.Wars are not only won on a battlefield. Your opponents, previous or current, can win from within.

Posted by karen | Report as abusive

It appears there are many who in Shakespeare’s words are “pulling at the branches of evil”. For those who aspire to chop the roots there doesn’t seem to be any rest. It’s a long learning curve, and these books are great to start with: for insight into human (and non-human) psychology, Chelsea Yarbro’s Messages From Michael.History buffs will enjoy Laura Knight has a few extra books but they come from Europe, priced in euros. Brace yourselves for the unexpected.Political economy by von Mises, Hayek, etc.Pleasant reading!

Posted by Lester | Report as abusive


Posted by Lester | Report as abusive

One aspect of Capitalism that is often conveniently ignored by it’s opponents, is it’s extremely close relationship with Democracy and freedom. If the government can control our finances in the name f the better good, then why not control other aspects of our lives for the better good? Are there problems when we allow individuals to make their own decisions? Sure. But Thomas Jefferson noted long ago that Democracy was a great experiment- an experiment who’s success would ultimately lie in the hands of those entrusted with it: the people.

Posted by jay f | Report as abusive

Anon, all systems of governance and trade are man made. They are organized to bring maximum benefit to a certain group. Religion has in the past aligned itself with specific members of monarchies. Political parties have aligned themselves with specific schools of thought promoted by celebrated economists. Emperors invoke the gods to bring victory in battle and subsequent treasure. Economic, political and religious systems are inseparable.It has been argued that religious or spiritual practice is a deep seated need in the human psyche. In that regard you are right, a study in human behavior. None the less, why do some societies burn up all there resources and hence themselves and others do not? As capitalism is a new construct there have not been any examples but the current ones. All have lead to environmental destruction and subsequent societal collapse. Capitalism is not the only political-economic-religious system to suffer this fate.Perhaps greed, blind faith or ignorance are to blame?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Everywhere you look, Casino Capitalism’s all the rage these days.So capitalism can’t be dead. It just smells funny.

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive

“One aspect of Capitalism that is often conveniently ignored by it’s opponents, is it’s extremely close relationship with Democracy and freedom”This is a fictitious connection. Capitalism as we know it is a brutal system. It is tied closely to greed. The movie “Wall Street” was not far off the mark at all with “Greed is good”.It is in fact greed that has powered our system. Greed is not tied to freedom. Greed is tied to bondage. Greed is an addiction like any other addiction. Greed is the addiction of possession. There is no such thing as “enough” when it comes to greedy people. Every waking moment is spent on trying to acquire for the self at the expense of others.This ultimately leads to suffering and death. It leads to death because greed blinds a person to the dangers of recklessly pursuing what they’re after. Vision becomes myopic. You don’t see anything but the object of your desire. And it will lead you into a pit from which there is no escape. We are headed in that direction now.If the economy “improves” people like us will simply be ignored until the suffering becomes unbearable. Then instead of reasoned arguments for sensible change there will be a panicked flight to safety lead by those who most violently oppose the current system.That’s what happened to the USSR. That fear was used against the people. Stalin and Lenin secured power for themselves at the expense of their own countrymen. And look at what happened.The time for reasoned sensible change is now. Waiting until the suffering of the people becomes unbearable will lead to a very ugly end.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Positive cash flows are good in any system or society, which now has become blurred through globalization, it just depends on the moral source, where, why and how it is plowed back into the local ethics.

Posted by Casper | Report as abusive

A new kind of capitalism is emerging. Call it web age capitalism or webitalism. It represents a paradigm shift from a product economy to a knowledge economy based on collective intellgence. Not labor against capital, the poor against the rich or the more I own, the more I am worth. Individuals increasingly find meaning and recognition in learning, teaching, sharing, collaboration and creativity. In a way it is back to farming. This time we will farm our brain, connected to a global mind pool. The new paradigm is knowledge versus capital. Knowledge workers against those who structure, package and market that knowledge. No fear, capitalism will continue to thrive.

Posted by Armand Bogaarts | Report as abusive

Contrary to the media hype of a “new” financial order, the recent financial crisis created by the Federal Reserve keeps the “old” financial order in power that has governed since the reign of Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865).In two years the “old” financial order has bankrupt, bought, or gained control of much of their banking competition, which they label by their media as “the shadow banking system”.It should be no surprise that the largest monopoly banks left in power are Citibank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.All, except Bank of America, are part of the “old” financial order and mushroomed into power about 150 years ago during and after Lincoln’s Tax War, which he started solely to collect a 40% import tax on Southerners under the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861.With the passage of his National Bank Act of 1863, Abraham Lincoln, a puppet of Northern banks and industries, re-established Alexander Hamilton’s Centralist banking system in the United States, which set the foundation for the present day Federal Reserve System.Under his First Legal Tender Act of 1862, Lincoln printed worthless paper money displaying images of Alexander Hamilton and Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase (as in Chase Bank), which ultimately destroyed State banking.Today, using their own created banking club, i.e. the Federal Reserve, these same monopoly banks, have so far crushed the likes of Lehman Brothers, Country Wide Financial, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, CIT and have even gained control of Bank of America, whose leadership was not part of the “old” financial order that governs the United States.This “old” financial order is founded on the principles of Alexander Hamilton, designer of the first U.S. Central Bank, who advocated that the public should be governed by an intellectual aristocracy maintained by the enlightened self-interest of the wealthy, rather than a government of the people, by the people and for the people.Hamilton maintained, “That power that holds the purse-strings absolutely must rule.”Today, most of the economic advisors to President Obama are Hamiltonians, such as, Robert Rubin, Paul Volker and Lawrence Summers, all previously employed by the “old” financial order and also members of the Hamilton Project think tank.As these monopoly banks increase their control by eliminating competition, consumers and small businesses will have even more difficulty borrowing money at reasonable rates, because of less competition in lending. Witness their recent destruction of CIT, the largest lender to small businesses.Consumers and small businesses will have to lick the boots of the few elitist banks of the “old” financial order to obtain a loan.Right now these monopoly banks are borrowing from the Federal Reserve at 1% and lending to consumers, via credit cards, at up to 30%. Price gouging is always the result of establishing monopolies.Reminds one of J.P. Morgan’s government contract with Abraham Lincoln, where Morgan bought Federal rifles from the U.S. government for $3.50 and then sold them back to the U.S. Army for $22. Morgan’s rifles were notorious for blowing off the thumbs of the soldiers.

Posted by Roger Broxton | Report as abusive

Roger BroxtonThese are the kinds of things people need to know. I hope that you and more people like you keep posting this kind of information.Most Americans don’t know these things. I myself had no idea about this. Bless you for bringing these things to light and encourage others to come forward and educate those of us that are ignorant of these very important facts.If you would also give reference to material that citizens can look up and see for themselves that would be even better.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Thanks everyone for some really interesting comments. One thing that seems to come through from some of them is that were Capitalism to end it would not necessarily have to be replaced with its historic nemesis, Communism (despite Threadless’s wonderful tee-shirt)So imagine for a moment that Capitalism did end. What kind of thing would replace it?

Posted by Jeremy Gaunt | Report as abusive


Posted by sadasivan | Report as abusive

It really is getting to a point in history where we need to move beyond systems. It’s really a simple lesson. I taught it to my son not too long ago.You do something good because it’s good. Not because you want something for doing it. That’s it. Not hard at all.But profit motive disciples call this idea weak, childish, foolish, etc…And yet they give lip service to the idea of one day achieving an enlightened society based on the very idea they scoff at now.So really we all need to be a bit more childish in our thinking. We need to stop being so self absorbed and self important. That leads to pride and greed and all manner of suffering.Do what is good because it’s good. And for no other reason. How about THAT for a great experiment?

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

This blog should’ve ended at the first comment, we haven’t had real capitalism in america for over 100 years.Irregardless of political party government has taken in about 40% of people’s income in the 24 years i’ve been alive. Take any basic economics course and you’ll capitalism only works under low taxes, which we’ve never had in any of our lifetimes, and we never will have.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

While the hypothetical topic, was thought-provoking, the reality,is that Oligarchy in the USA and Europe has got firmly entrenched,though the recent effort of Obama to discourage Lobbyists, is a step in the right direction,and very much needed.In India also, Oligarchy is being surreptitiously introduced,and this is a cause for alarm for the ordinary people of,not only the USA,Europe and India,but the World,also.

Posted by sadasivan | Report as abusive

Jeremy, capitalism is already evolving into something new. Not as a result of the financial crisis.Marshall McLuhan, the media philosopher, had an interesting argument. The “medium is the message”, he said. This means that people change with the media they use. In a TV age, they become self-absorbed, narcissistic as they emulate examples on the little screen. There is no feed-back which leads to self-absorbtion.Now we are using the web and social media. This makes us more self-reflective. We do receive feedback. There is a trend towards more authenticity and a search for meaning.A recent survey in Europe showed that young people prefer to lose their car or other material objects over their access to the internet. They are less materialistic.One of the excesses of the capitalist system is the poverty trap. Some poor can´t afford or don´t know how to educate their children. They stay poor. This is similar to the greed trap that many lament here. The rich compare themselves to other rich and feel poor. They are trapped into trying to get more.I believe that the new media are changing attitudes. The “global brain” will condition its users. This will change capitalism….for the better.

Posted by Armand Bogaarts | Report as abusive

Exiting times, these.I do not believe Capitalism “Ends” as such. It may take a different shape, colour or scent.Assuming politicians and economists are learning from the events over the last few years I guess new ideas will emerge from consensus, synergies and new political systems.The problem for some will be the required political change. That may hurt, rather than new economical trends.Have a look at the emerging economies and especially the political systems behind them.Then take a look at the failed economies. USSR communism included.I’m still looking for something new to emerge. Maybe we are actually seeing the shapes of something in the eastern and southern horizons?

Posted by John Anders | Report as abusive

After 1930 so-called markets of capitalist systemget volcanic shake-up. It shows inheritance weakness/defect of the system. Government regulationscan save it otherwise doomsday day is not so far.

Posted by D.S.chatha | Report as abusive

Benny: Greed may be an addiction to the collection of possesions and result in “bondage”, but it seems more organic and less evil than you suggest. In pursuit of money and power is the “game” element, someone just trying to win. The consequences aren’t likely to be a concern in the very long term. I think, too, that any great entrepreneur or capitalist who accumulates great power or wealth will ultimately have the empire eroded away – by subsequent generations or social upheaval. Like a colony of insects, empires grow until they reach some point of excess, then recede a bit until they reach a level of equilibrium. Or they become extinct. We’re all dead in the end. I’m not suggesting that there’s a “moral” foundation for capitalism, although the Ayn Rand groupies try hard to materialize one. I think the golden rule is about as good as it can get, and that’s something my mother taught me, out of thin air.

Posted by Howard Perry | Report as abusive

Capitalism ended when FDR became president. Since then we’ve had a failed combination of capitalism ,socialism and here recently, corporatism. Even before FDR we never had a purely capitalist economic system. The economy had always been tinkered with by outside forces, either the government or special interest groups. It’s just that since FDR the government has meddled in the economy to the extent that the capitalism of today no longer resembles the capitalism of yesterday. True capitalism will eventually go underground, just as it did in Communist Russia. It was true capitalism that destroyed the Soviet Union

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

The first step in defining a new economic paradigm is coming up with the proper terms…new words to define a new economic environment.As words, “capitalism”, “communism”, “socialism” may now be inadequate to describe the emerging economic reality.We need new nomenclature. Any thoughts?

Posted by Anthony Conforti | Report as abusive

What many of you refer to as “capitalism” is a mismomer. The economic system over the past 100 years (and more) has been a state regulated and controlled economy. You can call it whatever you like, but a state controlled and state regulated economy-especially when the government has the sole authority and power to print money and over the banks, etc., is not “capitalism”. So the demise of the system you call “capitalism” is no demise at all … But you need to discover this for yourself to understand. Begin with reading Ayn Rand’s book of essays: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

Posted by Stephen Watson | Report as abusive

@Benny Acosta: the problem with your “let’s all do good for good’s sake,” admonition is that it’s naive and it fails to take account of 10,000 years of human nature (and animal nature long before that.) All animals, humans included will always act in their own self interest. People will never act against self-interest unless they are insane. Your theory of doing good because it’s good is deficient because, first, one must decide what IS good. Secondly, you have to assume that everyone else agrees with you. I for instance, think human-caused global warming is a big scam, so “good” in my view might contradict “good” in Al Gore’s view. Finally, without a market, one has to have someone making decisions on scarce resource allocation. Who shall that be? The Soviet system was built on your theory, “doing good for the people.” Of course, it will never work because some people are always more equal than others. The free market is the best system there can ever be because, unless humans (and animals) suddenly become programmable robots, people will always act in their own self interest. Any fundamental reading of Adam Smith should explain the concept of selfish actors more clearly. ..and we are ALL selfish. Even if you are acting for the “greater good” you are being selfish because you WANT to do that because you feel it will provide you with profit (either fiscal, moral or otherwise.) Nice try though, but Polly Anna is not reality. There is no such thing as pure selflessness. The Soviet experiment ought to put to sleep any illusions of a society’s ability to “do good because it’s good.” Free market capitalism is the most efficient (and equitable) means by which to distribute finite resources.

Posted by Brian Dear | Report as abusive

To Roger Broxton – The war (Civil) is over. You lost. Get over it.Capitalism is a brutal system. I’m sure the globalists will impose some form of it as long as possible — you know, ‘all the kings horses and all the king’s men’. I see barter becoming relevant again although I’m sure the capitalists will outlaw it and when that fails tax it to death.Not a pretty picture.

Posted by RichardinPass | Report as abusive

amen, _k

Posted by suzukiman | Report as abusive

The great dismantling of 1980-2008 is coming to a spectacularly disastrous end. Either the American investor class re-accepts a certain level of regulation and revised forms of taxation (i.e. a VAT tax) in order to preserve social saftey nets (i.e. social order) and let’s face it, basic consumer demand, or, they can invest in para-military forces to protect themselves. There is absolutely nothing inherently small “d” democratic about capitalism. Trade in medieval Europe ran just fine without the messy notion of voting.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

All the globalization ever was, was a way for a few greedy ones to make money. This was the same as the timber companies, the coal mine operators, big plantation owners, and the gold mining companies. Rape the land, take out the resource, pay the workers as little as possible and leave when the resource runs out. I look forward to the end of capitalism and the better way of life. In the article I see many comments out of classic text books, but classic economic text books never did look at the effect on the peoples lives.

Posted by f belz | Report as abusive

Jacque Fresco’s venus project is the way to go…Somewhat idealistic but if the world would get on board with this way of thinking, we would all be better off. We would all be much happier and the world would be a better place to live.

Posted by D.BELLE | Report as abusive

Show me a better system than capitalism…do anyone who has an ounce of grit really think that politicians and government bureaucrats have good judgment or can be trusted?

Posted by rauchfuss | Report as abusive

Benny,Often I come across thoughts so painful, it almost makes me weep. I am not quite sure what you mean when you write about moving beyond “systems”. Are you positing that logical frameworks are useless? Discourse is not needed?What is good? We can make basic moral conclusions, specifically, dealing with violence and theft. However, if we use a basic paradigm, the slaughter of animals for consumption is something that could be labeled as bad. Is your philosophy of good— capable of solving such a dilemma? No. This is because you have adopted what you refer to as a childlike conception of action. Children secure moral clarity by means of their handlers i.e. parents. Therein is the problem, who is supposed to define good for you? Which handler or leader is appropriate in making such a decision? History has answered this question with its free market experiment. Men always have more prosperity when there is no king, no emperor, and no master. People will only voluntarily collaborate through capitalism, that is, property controlled by individuals.Unfortunately, you take the stance of a child who has never taken the time to understand any system, including grammar (your post consisted of a sentence fragment). If you are going to be so fixed in your purpose against “systems” maybe a free republic isn’t for you.Cordially,Abbot M

Posted by Abbot M | Report as abusive

It is just a shame that capitalism already won the cold war.Back in the day, the best cure for socialist ideals was a vacation to the Soviet Union. A trip guaranteed to be nothing but a sad, bitter, disappointing dose of reality to an idealist.Now, you just have to take capitalism’s word that it is the best system available.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

AbbotMoving beyond systems is needed.We as a human beings are not creatures of logic and reason, even though we do employ these things. We are actually creatures of desire. When ever we do something, we do it because we have a desire to achieve something. Whether that be to scratch an itch or build an empire. Everything we do, we do out of desire. The mind obeys the desire of the heart. And through its operations the desires of man are made manifest in the material world.Every nation on earth was once an idea about how people could get together. Every marvel of modern technology was once an idea in the mind of a human being. And every idea that ever entered the human mind was born of desire.The heart then, and NOT the mind, is the key to the good. Good has many names. Light, life, love, God. These are all the same thing.Everyone knows how to love their friends and their family. But we are quite content to allow our enemies to suffer. We don’t realize that if ALL of us were to give the kind of love to each other that we give to those who have a special place in our hearts, there would be no desperation. There would be no fighting over things. We would instead work towards making sure that everyone was able to enjoy the very best that our love can provide.If the heart is filled only with love for everyone. Then the mind will use its powers of logic and reason to establish relationships and find the pathways that allow us to achieve results based on love. Results aimed at the benefit of all without exception.This is a tall order for many people. Most people are simply incapable of understanding love in this way because their spirits are not mature enough.I stressed being more child like because children do not know how to hate. They do not have any biases against anyone that make it okay for them to allow another person to simply suffer.So in this way children are more mature than we are. Doing good is what you do when you act from love. Doing what is good is nothing more than giving out of love. Forget about “what’s in it for me?”. When human beings learn to act in love, all needs will be met and no one will need be concerned with their own needs because they will be provided.By nature we are social animals. We have a drive to be together and work together. But when the mind disobeys the heart’s desire for what is good, it goes off on tangents creating alternatives to love centered actions, that require “reasonable justification”. But all justifications revolve around peripheral concerns unless the justification is love itself.I might be making it more difficult for you than it needs to be. Simply put, acting out of love for another is the highest and purest form of action there is. And even though we might make mistakes along the way, if our actions are based in pure love, everything will only get better as we get better at loving.I’m not saying anything new here. These lessons are thousands of years old. And are at the very core of an enlightened society. We have the capacity to do this. But most human beings are still far to spiritually immature to accept it.Living in love is true freedom. All else is bondage to transient pleasures.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

For the people that think that the “I do it because its good” is a naive or childish. Think about a family, a sane one, how does the father (asussimg is the one getting income) distribute that wealth and resources? He does it in accordance to the needs of the family members, he does not want to profit from it, he really want to cover all the material needs of his family so they can leave peacefully and happy.If he would behave in a self interest way he would take all the money for himself, but we people, when sane, need the others, we cant live for ourselves, that would leave us to madness (which happens and its common). In a certain way we could say he is behaving selfish, he doesnt want to be alone and thus share. But its not selfish beacuse his needs are now considering the needs of the others, the market doesnt.

Posted by José Manuel Salgado | Report as abusive

I find idealism to be immature.If you are going to complain about a seemingly flawed system, then come up with an alternative. One that works.A system like capitalism is not flawed. It is self propagating. Where there are negative consequences from it, it is intentional. When attempts are made to change it, it is too entrenched.None of these attributes are ones possessed by a ‘flawed’ system, or one that is nearing an end. Rather, it is a sign that the system is the norm. A balance which cannot be changed without changing the nature of society itself.If you are going to propose socialism, then that is bad solution. Because socialism has already been shown to be a worse alternative to capitalism. Both socially and economically.But failing to provide an alternative system at all? That is even worse. Having no solution is even worse then having a bad solution.When you see a child complaining about something they don’t understand, and they have no means of changing, do you listen to them?For the person complaining about capitalism, there are three solutions:1. Change the system themselves, if they can.2. Complain to their parent (God or Government) and ask them to change the system.3. Realise that whether they like capitalism or not is irrelevant, and learn to live with it.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Anon,The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. You are correct in that what I suggest requires societal change. But if you believe me to be incorrect then prove me wrong.I defy you and anyone who thinks I’m being naive to develop the habit of acting out of love towards at least one person they don’t know every day. The action you take can be anything. But it must be rooted in love.Practice doing this and then tell me if the results aren’t worth the effort. You don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to. Just try it.I can point to example after example of how our system is failing. But these failures you call the normal functioning of the system. In a way you are correct. People living in poverty and complete destitution are a normal part of the system. And this is its failing.If human beings suffer to this degree due to their inclusion in the system, then the system is a failure plain and simple. The so called success we’ve had is marginal.We have many technological marvels to be sure. But still we kill each other. We see our fellows starving. We witness families being evicted from their homes. We witness increasing violence among our children. And all we do is blame.But if everyone were simply to do at least one kind and loving thing for another human being at least once every day, these problems would be quickly and powerfully resolved.Prove to me that I’m full of crap by doing it and seeing if it’s true. Our “great experiment” has been quite a technological success. Find out for yourselves what being loving towards your brothers and sisters in this place will produce.Naysayers can dismiss me all they want. But until they put my words to the test, there’s really no argument they can make. We all live in the current system now so we can all see for ourselves how well it’s working or not working. Hold love up to the same test and see what you get.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Those who believe me to be “full of it” or immature, or childish need only prove me wrong.I defy any of you to develop the habit of acting in love towards at least one person you don’t know, every day, for a month. Then you can tell me if the results of your experiment were worth the effort.Our system requires that some of us live in abject poverty. And this is a “normal” part of our system. This normality is the failing in our system. I can point to war. I can point to starvation. I can point to the stories of whole families going homeless. I can show you stories of CHILDREN committing murder.THAT is what our “system” has produced. I challenge ANY of you naysayers to show me the failings of acting out of love towardsanother human being. Try it for yourselves and then get back to me.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Assuming that in a democratic society systems are free to develop as outgrowth of the way of life, Capitalism reflects the people’s desire of how their economy should function. That system will survive and be modified to reflect the people’s wants and needs. It will evolve in an imperfect way — yet satisfying most of the needs and wants — because our society is imperfect due to diverse views of people.

Posted by Arthur Braun | Report as abusive

The onus is yours, Benny.If you believe the system is flawed, you need to come up with a workable alternative and figure out how the system is to be changed.As it stands, nothing you have said has any practical applications to changing or replacing capitalism. So even if the onus was on me to prove you wrong, it has already been met simply by your failure to provide a workable solution.It is no different to claiming that a car is flawed because it pollutes, and claiming the solution is to pour cooking oil into the fuel tank. The car doesn’t run on cooking oil and never did. And even if you were in a position to suddenly pour your ideal solution into the fuel tank, all you will achieve is grind the engine to a halt.Capitalism is the same, except the car is owned by someone else. And because the owner knows what will happen when you pour the cooking oil into the fuel tank, they won’t let you do it in the first place.You can speak in idealist terms if you please. The rest of us will stick to systems. Because unless you have a way of changing the current system, no amount of idealism will suffice.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Cheeky Annon,Why would I come up with another system? Are you saying you would implement it?Or are you just saying that it’s too difficult for you do one act of loving kindness for another human being once a day for a month?Is that too much work for you?You tell me to take on a monumental task of creating a new economic system but you aren’t even willing to be loving to another human being? I admit full well that I am not an economist. But I do have some ideas and have mentioned them repeatedly.I put it to you to do something that is well within your ability to do, and the best you’ve got is to tell me to “go first”? I practice what I preach to the best of my ability.Committing an act of love doesn’t have to be spectacular. Lend a listening ear. Lend a hand when help is needed. Give a word of encouragement when it’s needed most. Tell someone that you love them if you haven’t for a long time.Start off small. And as you get more comfortable your acts of kindness will get better. Are you telling me that this is too much for you to handle?So just to make sure I understand this, I’ve been telling folks that we are going in the wrong direction in terms of how we deal with each other. And your response is that unless I can tell you what direction to go in (which I have) that you may as well just accept things like they are regardless of suffering being created?The human being creates the system. If the human is flawed then the system is flawed. So my answer to everyone is to perfect yourself in love. Learn to love and learn to act in love. Then any system you create will be perfect. When all participants behave out of love for each other, what ever system is employed will work for everyone.I already know what being loving gets me. What will it get you?Or do you simply fear it that much?

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Well, Ive got solutions, alternatives. They have been there for a while, ever heared of the resource based economy? Its a great alternative that considers that the state of the resources is limited, and does not rely on the asumtion of capitalism that theres unlimited growth.Under this vision, oil, for example, is valuable because it allows you to fabricate things and fuel, not because you can sell it and make money.There are other ways of political economical organization, and no, they are not communism. You have to think that is possible that the systems evolve, in this way feudalism, and tribalism died. Not because it has not been proved yet means it can not happen, theres a great inertia that will continue for long years. Unemployment is getting higher and higher, displacement by machines.And those who think things are great will start thinking different when unemployment and social equilibrium get so bad that the peace of their lives will be profoundly threaten.Excuse my english, dont have time yet to redact properly.

Posted by José Manuel Salgado | Report as abusive

I am not afraid of the ‘love based economy’ which you seem to propose. Nor am I afraid of any solution which seems more based on idealism then practical reality.Because when idealism doesn’t account for reality, it isn’t a threat to anyone. Because without any practical considerations, it never even gets the chance to fail.Now by all means, If you want to complain about the system we have then that is your prerogative. We have a right, as human beings, to complain about things as long and as hard as we please.But unless you have a workable alternative and a means to get there, why should people listen?

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Anon,The message I bring is for those who understand. You aren’t one of them. You could be if you wanted to be but that would require that you open your heart.Try explaining what a banana tastes like to some one who has never eaten one and let me know how far you get.You want to understand by way of logic and reason alone. These things cannot communicate the truth of love. If you would understand you must taste and see for yourself.You just aren’t there yet. Be content in your knowledge and may it bring you comfort. No one will truly know love unless they first love.Those who understand will understand.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Its water under the bridge boys and girls, the money is gone ELVIS HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING! Many people still don’t know where all the money had gone? Let me give you a 7 letter word….BONUSES

Posted by emenot | Report as abusive

In my view, Government intervention doesn’t imply the end of capitalism.What it really means is that the Government, evidently the biggest capitalist as a collector of tax on virtually everything and the biggest socialist as using the same money for public welfare, is out full-scale to contain the chain reactions initiated by bankrupt organizations.Protectionism had been always a part of government plans as subsidies and import duties, and is just an extended form of “public welfare” i.e. Socialism. No single organization can claim to take over the status of “biggest capitalist” from Government either.There is no loss of image for capitalism, as it is better to take help even from an enemy ship than sink without traces.

Posted by eblogger | Report as abusive

Mufaso, you only tell part of the story. Banking failures and economic collapses plagued the U.S. for 100 years before FDR. President Jackson did not renew the Bank of America Charter. Subsequently the U.S. experienced the worst economic collapse to date. Every 20 years or so the economy went through similar catastrophes. Post Civil war, the 1890s, early 1900s, the late 1910s, early 1920s and the 1930s were all visited by recession and banking collapses. It is interesting to note that in 1913 the signed legislation to establish the Federal Reserve Board in order to address the very issue of banking collapses and the harm they bring.It is clear to me that the Federal Reserve Board is not capable of preventing these severe economic contractions. We are probably not much better off than if there was no FED. Engels and Marx were correct. Capitalism is subject to the cycle of bust and boom continually. It is a naturally occurring cycle. We would probably be better off preparing the citizenry to survive such cycles rather than trying to prevent them. This will probably offend some readers as this a socialist view.England and Europe were plagued with cyclical economic contractions and bank failures going back hundreds of years as well. What is mind boggling to me is that as a nation we have ignored these lessons and not developed a better strategy to deal with these cycles. Perhaps the real core of the problem is not which system is best but the failings of human nature, greed, resistance to change and our general lack of critical thinking.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Correction for typo error: President Woodrow Wilson signed the 1913 legislation that established the federal reserve board.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Like most systems, the economy is cyclical. Consider the old example of the rabbits and foxes. tive/v9n6/280_Rabbits_and_foxes_biolog.p hpThe economy grows to the point it can no longer sustain itself, leading to a bust. At that point, there is some reorganization and evolution and the process repeats itself. Each time, there is something learned from that evolution. It is innovation.Consider the dot com bust of the past decade. With the rise of the World Wide Web, there was money to be made in this new marketplace and the possibilities were limitless. This led to an oversaturation. Businesses failed where there was no market for the type of services being offered. Some succeeded, wildly. Google, an internet search engine did nothing innovative beyond what others were already doing, but tied directed advertising based on search queries to make a small profit on each click – This is the difference! Google saw the opportunity to do something in a novel way that made money in a down market. The market evolved, it expanded in ways few predicted. It is the entrepreneur that has the vision to evolve that succeeds.I will give another example. There is much fear and uncertainty in this country, today. Some citizens are fearful that Obama will “take their guns away”. As a result, firearms and ammunition are experiencing a boom market. Companies are running overtime & extra shifts to keep up. Manufacturers of large metal vaults cannot keep up with demand. The price of an ounce of gold is outrageous. You see, it is the innovator, the visionary entrepreneur that can thrive regardless of the overall economic. He can see the demand and the market, and moves in to capitalize.Capitalism allows for the entrepreneur to succeed based on his own work ethic and desire for success. You can achieve the status you desire through hard work and dedication, along with some vision. If one lacks the vision to evolve, or the will, they will fail. They should fail. This notion that the Government says a company is “too big to fail” is not Capitalism. It reeks of Fascism.If one buys a home he cannot possibly afford, then he deserved to lose it based solely on his poor planning. Yes, circumstances beyond one’s control occur. Jobs disappear, income is lost. Natural disasters are unpredictable. It sucks, I know. However, with proper planning these events can be less catastrophic. Buy a house that you can afford on 30-50% of your income. Don’t buy a brand-new luxury car. Live within your means and save. Invest. Budget. Those too irresponsible with their finances should not be buoyed by the responsible. Work hard and be successful. Pull yourself up. Pay your taxes. Succeed on your own merits. You are responsible to yourself. If you so desire, give all you have worked for away to charities and the poor. It is your choice. This is Capitalism.

Posted by Engineer | Report as abusive

Shock Horror! the US won’t be in the drivers seat when the changes take place, so a US centric view is simplistic.Capitalism will alter … has altered due to China a ‘hybrid derivative’ of capitalism.It will be adapt or suffer unknown consequences for post Breton Woods world.

Posted by Tonydd | Report as abusive

Capitalism and the market economy are dead? And they will be replaced by what? Who is going to stop me from working hard, saving my money, and investing my money?

I am going to buy an apartment building using my sweat equity and the bank’s money that comes from other savers. Then I am going to rent-out those apartments to others that need a roof over their head and a decent place to live. And I will collect those rents and use the money to repay the loan to the bank. In the meantime I will build-up equity in the building that is my profit on my capital and my labor.

And who is going to stop me? Price and rent controls? Completely possible. We were there in the 70s & 80s. Did it end capitalism and the market economy? No, it created amoung other things a housing shortage as well as a lucky few that got to live-in subsidized housing at a fraction of its market price.

Sure, if I make money either through rents or through capital gains the government will surely be there to take their cut of my profits. They always are. But unless they are prepared to take 100-percent from me, and everyone like me, I am still ahead of everyone that does not work hard, save their money and invest in revenue producing assets.

If you think the command and control economy changes anything then you are badly mistaken. All you change is who gets to live in the best apartments in the best locations. Instead of letting market rents decide based on the ability to pay maybe you give them to your party elite, their families, a few sports stars and other heroes of the people. But nothing changes. It just becomes more arbitrary based less on merit and more on dictat.

The fundamental failure people make is they do not understand the difference between ‘a market failure’ and ‘the failure of government interference in the market’. You can confiscate my wealth and re-distribute it if you like. But in a relatively free society or social democracy you cannot stop me from creating that wealth in the first place.

Posted by MrBill | Report as abusive

Capitalism has its good points like taking advantage of the less intellectually gifted. However in the end it uses up to many resources and even those who were haughty enough to think themselves beyond the consequences of their greed will suffer and if not them their children or their children’s children. You don’t have to believe in God it’s just the way things work.

Posted by methusealh | Report as abusive

Hey Anubis. I have a great way to eliminate the boom & bust cycles we endure in our capitalistic society. Legislation should be passed to connect all debt instruments and their interest rates to the Fed’s banking rate. Whenever the Fed lowers or raises interest rates to the central banks, all interest on all debt should be like-wise adjusted up or down. This way the Fed will be able to add or remove money from our economy without lag, without re-negotiations. Banks & other investment middlemen will be neutral players. Citizens will carry the cost or savings. Debt is the cause of all our excesses, it needs total controlling.

Posted by Workonthis | Report as abusive