MacroScope

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

Comments
89 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

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.

 

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.

 

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?

 

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.

 

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
 

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!

 

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.

 

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.!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.http://www.watchinghistory.com/ 2009/11/end-of-economic-growth.html

 

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

 

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.

 

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 http://www.cassioaea.org. 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
 

Correction: http://www.cassiopaea.org

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.

 

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.

 

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
 

Oligarchy!

 

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