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Author Topic: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?  (Read 26589 times)

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #50 on: September 02, 2015, 10:20:11 PM »
Excellent 36 minute video interview with Bernie Sanders, discussing his ”Democratic Socialist” policies.
At minute 27, he brings up climate change, as a global issue.
Last minute or two, he speaks of his support for a universal income.

Bernie Sanders: The Vox conversation
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs&v=S5vOKKMipSA
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #51 on: September 26, 2015, 10:16:25 PM »
What If the Richest Person in Every Country Gave All Their Money to the Poor?
It'd mean more in Sweden and not much in India
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-22/what-if-the-richest-person-in-every-country-gave-all-his-money-to-the-poor-
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Neven

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2015, 10:40:48 AM »
What If the Richest Person in Every Country Gave All Their Money to the Poor?
It'd mean more in Sweden and not much in India
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-22/what-if-the-richest-person-in-every-country-gave-all-his-money-to-the-poor-


How silly is this? First they say 'what if the rich gave all their money to the poor', then they reduce that to just the richest person, after which they conclude it wouldn't amount to much, because some countries have a lot of inhabitants and others don't.

It would be much more interesting if they gave an example of the wealth of 1% richest people distributed over 15% of the neediest. But of course, it would be much better if that money wasn't given directly to the neediest (like winning the lottery and then spending everything), but used to improve houses and infrastructure, make it easier to provide for basic needs (efficient woodstoves, LED lighting, renewable energy, a garden for everyone), convert the armies in the world to peacekeeping/rebuilding organisations, education, preventive health care, sustainable agriculture, reforestation, etc, etc.

The idea of putting a cap on how much one person can own, is so anathema, that you'll see more and more of this speaking-to-power stuff in mainstream media as the crisis deepens.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #53 on: September 27, 2015, 02:22:01 PM »
How silly is this? First they say 'what if the rich gave all their money to the poor', then they reduce that to just the richest person, after which they conclude it wouldn't amount to much, because some countries have a lot of inhabitants and others don't.

I agree; I was disappointed they limited it to the easy math of the one richest person's wealth and their country's population number.  But it's not the type of math you see very often, so I hope it inspires others to total up the global 1% and suggest how and where it might do the most good.  Get people thinking.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #54 on: October 29, 2015, 03:49:36 AM »
Bill Gates: ‘The Private Sector Is Inept’, Only Socialism Can Save The Planet
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/10/27/bill-gates-the-private-sector-is-inept-only-socialism-can-save-the-planet-video/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2015, 05:39:19 PM »
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2015, 04:17:07 PM »
Not sure what kind of economic "-ism" this is.   ;)

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Cards Against Humanity, the popular and politically incorrect party game, offered a Black Friday deal like no other this year: you shell out $5 and get absolutely nothing in return.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/cards-against-humanity-makes-71-000-selling-absolutely-nothing-n470526
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #57 on: November 30, 2015, 06:10:40 PM »
PROSPERITY INDEX OR HAPPINESS INDEX?

On the BBC World Service bookclub, novelist Joseph Franzen said this (at 32:40)

American consumerism, which is all about maximum options, holds ridiculous conversations about private health insurance being superior to government health insurance  because you have many more choices.

It's all a big lie.

America really does have the best system of civil liberties in the world outside remote Amazonian tribes that can do whatever they want but Americans are not happy inspite of being so free.

It's a measureable fact.

It turns out that fairly highly regulated countries in Europe have the highest happiness and satisfaction levels. So another big lie about freedom is that it has even a correlation with happiness.

Obviously we are not talking about places where political freedoms are severely compromised.

Although even there, one of the things I discovered talking to people that had grown up in East Germany was that they don't remember the time as being that bad because with the repression came a whole body of things they did't have to worry about.

You didn't have to worry about having a place to live, having enough to eat, having  a place to go to school or health insurance. So paradoxally I suspect even a place like East Germany was less unhappy in toto than Texas is now because it's this constant stress: so many choices, so many things you have to take care of by yourself because we are free, free, free.

No one can stop you and let's not even get into the freedom to bear arms. Just look at the body count in America ...


HOW WILL CAPITALISM REACT TO THE AI REVOLUTION AND CLIMATE?

The combined effect on jobs of the AI revolution and a limit to economic growth that climate imposes means all kinds of jobs will be threatened. I have written a few things on this topic but have just condensed them into one piece  Jobs and climate change

The skilled will be losing jobs as computers replace them. Better education won't help.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #58 on: December 07, 2015, 02:55:19 AM »
Finland plans to pay everyone in the country $876 a month
Imagine this: as you're worried about how to pay bills and make your rent, you get a check from the government for $876. Every month.

That's what Finland is doing. The Nordic nation is getting closer this month to finalizing a solution to poverty: paying each of its 5.4 million people $876 tax-free a month — and in return, it will do away with welfare benefits, unemployment lines, and the other bureaucracy of its extensive social safety net.

The concept, called basic income, has been a popular source of debate among academics and economists for decades, though Finland would be the first nation in the European Union — and the first major nation anywhere — to actually implement the idea on a universal basis. The basic income was popularized by the economist Milton Friedman in the 1960s as a "negative income tax."

http://mashable.com/2015/12/06/finland-basic-income-800-euros/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #59 on: January 04, 2016, 05:06:21 PM »
Yellen's Job Puzzle: Why Are 20-Somethings Retiring?
Americans are increasingly foregoing paychecks due to disability, school or retirement
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-04/yellen-s-job-puzzle-why-are-20-somethings-retiring-


Is the traditional school->work->retirement model being rewritten, by society itself?
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sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #60 on: January 04, 2016, 10:01:55 PM »
Re: unemployment increase in the USA in in younger cohort

Perhaps the youngsters are opting out because they see that the game is rigged ?

AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #61 on: January 09, 2016, 02:45:44 PM »
The linked article states that key Republicans are calling for a "convention of the states" to reshape the US Constitution more to their likings.  It seems like it is time for less self-serving interests to step-up and legally change the US into a more sustainable system:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/08/politics/greg-abbott-texas-rubio-constitutional-convention/

Extract: "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday revealed his plans for a "convention of the states," the first in more than 200 years, as part of a larger effort to reshape the U.S. Constitution and expand states' rights.
"We are succumbing to the caprice of man that our Founders fought to escape," Abbott said in a statement followed by a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "The cure to these problems will not come from Washington, D.C. Instead, the states must lead the way."
Abbott, despite deep ties to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has yet to endorse a candidate in the GOP's 2016 presidential primary race, but he might now have some common cause with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who in scattered comments over the past month and then more explicitly in a USA Today op-ed on Wednesday, proposed a constitutional convention as a means of "reduc(ing) the size and scope of the federal government.""
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Shared Humanity

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #62 on: January 16, 2016, 08:55:00 PM »
I'm not clear on the "What and How" but the answer to WHEN? is Pretty Damn Soon!

From my economic perspective, I have consistently argued that this growth system (capitalism) which is constrained by a finite resource (earth) with feedback loops that have significant lags (AGW for example) under "Business as Usual" behavior is destined to collapse. I have often referenced or suggested the books of a researcher for whom I have a great deal of respect. Among  many other books, Donella Meadows authored "Limits to Growth" which was published in 1972 and "Thinking in Systems" which was posthumously published in 2008. I would encourage  everyone to read these. They are fascinating, accessible and entertaining. Donella was a research fellow at MIT when she published "Limits to Growth" and taught at Dartmouth College for 29 years, beginning in 1972 until her untimely death in 2001 at the age of 60.

If you want to get an understanding of the challenge humanity is facing, these two books are essential reading. Systems thinking allows a person to see the interconnectedness of trends and  events that seem totally unrelated.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne have recently completed research that set out to  evaluate the predictions that "Limits to Growth" made in 1972. The research is complete and "Limits to Growth", which predicts an overshoot and collapse before 2070, is remarkably accurate.  Current population, economic and environmental trends are frighteningly in line with the forecasts set out in the book.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 05:16:48 PM by Shared Humanity »

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #63 on: January 17, 2016, 03:47:17 PM »
Global capitalism seems to be undergoing a few 'bumps' right now.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 04:28:40 PM by wili »
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JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #64 on: January 17, 2016, 04:57:44 PM »
I'll 2nd SH's post.  I am a strong advocate of systemic thinking.  It is the only rational approach to problem solving.  I own the full set of the Limit's to Growth series of books (the most recent published in 2012) and they have proven to be by far the most accurate assessments of where we would end up if we followed BAU paths.  45 years after the original study we are dead on the track to have a substantial civilizational collapse mid century.  And this study did not take into account any aspects of climate change as it was essentially unknown at the time. The study was all about finite resources and global carrying capacity.  From the systemic point of analysis to add in the massive effects of climate change can only result in one eventual outcome if we continue to follow BAU approaches.  Catastrophic collapse.
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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #65 on: January 18, 2016, 04:29:47 AM »
In my opinion many of the ideas in the new Jeremy Rifkin book: "The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism", is an exampled of systemic thinking and offers a clear path to replacing our current system of crony capitalism with a sustainable economic system that can address the problems of climate change.  Collaborative Commons (as opposed to the tyranny of the commons), is in line with some of the later thinking of Karl Marx, which I cited in my Reply #39 in the Adapting to the Anthropocene thread at the following link:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1308.msg57468/topicseen.html#msg57468


With regards to collaborative commons, also see:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/nov/07/radical-new-economic-system-will-emerge-from-collapse-of-capitalism

Extract: "The creation of a new economic system, Rifkin argues, will help alleviate key sustainability challenges, such as climate change and resource scarcity, and take pressure off the natural world. That’s because it will need only a minimum amount of energy, materials, labour and capital.

He says few people are aware of the scale of danger the human race is facing, particularly the growing levels of precipitation in the atmosphere, which is leading to extreme weather.

“Ecosystems can’t catch up with the shift in the planet’s water cycle and we’re in the sixth extinction pattern,” he warns. “We could lose 70% of our species by the end of this century and may be imperilling our ability to survive on this planet.”"

Also see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Rifkin

Extract: "Rifkin's 1981 book Entropy: A New World View discusses how the physical concept of entropy applies to nuclear and solar energy, urban decay, military activity, education, agriculture, health, economics, and politics. It was called "A comprehensive worldview" and "an appropriate successor to ... Silent Spring, The Closing Circle, The Limits to Growth, and Small Is Beautiful""
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 04:36:59 AM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #66 on: January 19, 2016, 10:17:36 PM »
At Davos, the WEF is consider how to "Master the Fourth Industrial Revolution", including a circular economy:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/19/news/economy/davos-2016-industrial-revolution-old-problems/

Extract: "Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
Fourth industrial revolution? For me any mention of industrial revolution conjures up textile factories, soot-covered children up chimneys, and aggressive looking Luddites. Instead Schwab wants us to consider a fresh revolution, all about technology and how mankind can put it to the best possible use.
"We must have a comprehensive and globally shared understanding of how technology is changing our lives and that of future generations," says Schwab.
Given that Oxford University academics warned recently that robots threaten mankind's very existence, he surely has a point."



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-lacy-/the-circular-economy-is-a_b_9012234.html

Extract: "Little more than a month after many of us were at the Paris climate summit, there are several familiar faces in Davos. The Paris accord set a firm path that will allow commitments to become reality, even with its shortcomings. For business leaders that means investment decisions will become easier to make. And they know that meeting in Davos presents the best chance to get into specifics.
As Dominic Waughray wrote on these pages recently, the World Economic Forum has played a strong part in bringing together businesses, investors and policy makers, including forming an alliance of CEO Climate Leaders. Last night it put the circular economy at the forefront of delegates' minds by hosting the Circulars, the awards that recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to new business models and mindsets that decouple growth from the consumption of scarce natural resources.
In their second year, the Circulars seek to highlight how achieving the ambitious aims agreed in Paris does not require a trade off with growth. That's because circular business models drive growth. And they unlock the revenues we are otherwise throwing away by pursuing the traditional 'take, make, waste' model of doing business.
For forty years until the turn of the millennium, business got used to commodity prices decreasing as growth surged. But this pattern then reversed dramatically, as the rise of urbanization intensified shortages of many resources while putting others such as water and soil under great stress. In recent years, prices have skyrocketed and crashed dramatically. Prices for metals like copper, iron, tin and nickel, have nearly doubled between 2000 and 2015. The real price of oil in August 2015 was still 55 per cent higher than in August 2000.
We face a shortfall of 8 billion tons in constrained resources by 2030. That translates to $4.5 trillion of lost growth that year, or as much as the U.S. consumes annually today.



The circular economy is about more than recycling and managing landfill. We need to look at all four dimensions of waste as an opportunity. Find value in wasted resources that could become renewable, such as biofuel. Exploit the wasted capacity in property or assets that could find a market, such as the 60 percent of Europe's truck capacity that remains empty most of the time. Reduce the wasted lifecycles that currently see products discarded rather than refurbished, often because they are not built to last. Finally, secure the wasted embedded values by finding uses for otherwise rejected materials."

See also:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3055503/experts-agree-climate-change-is-the-most-serious-of-all-the-threats-facing-the-planet

Extract: "But that's not how it's seen by 750 experts from business, academia, civil society and the public sector. Surveyed by the World Economic Forum for its latest Global Risks report, the respondents rank climate change as the gravest threat facing the planet over the next decade. In its potential impact, it's a more serious problem than weapons of mass destruction, cyberwar, terrorism, interstate conflicts, and every other conceivable menace.

One reason climate change figures strongly is that it feeds into other problems. "Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security risks," says Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance, a major reinsurance group."
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 10:30:19 PM by AbruptSLR »
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2016, 03:11:47 PM »
After I Lived in Norway, America Felt Backward. Here’s Why.
A crash course in social democracy.
In the Nordic countries, on the other hand, democratically elected governments give their populations freedom from the market by using capitalism as a tool to benefit everyone. That liberates their people from the tyranny of the mighty profit motive that warps so many American lives, leaving them freer to follow their own dreams—to become poets or philosophers, bartenders or business owners, as they please.

Maybe our politicians don’t want to talk about the Nordic model because it shows so clearly that capitalism can be put to work for the many, not just the few.

http://www.thenation.com/article/after-i-lived-in-norway-america-felt-backward-heres-why/
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JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #68 on: January 30, 2016, 03:53:38 PM »
Extract: "The creation of a new economic system, Rifkin argues, will help alleviate key sustainability challenges, such as climate change and resource scarcity, and take pressure off the natural world. That’s because it will need only a minimum amount of energy, materials, labour and capital.

"We must have a comprehensive and globally shared understanding of how technology is changing our lives and that of future generations," says Schwab.
Given that Oxford University academics warned recently that robots threaten mankind's very existence, he surely has a point."

ASLR

Yes there is a lot of great talk out there...but no progress.   A lot of this talk addresses sustainability, waste, the problems with the profit motive, 'old' industries and the like.  But when you really look at what is going on it is pretty much falls into the talking about it to feel good category.  These types of statements are anything but new as they have been being made by environmentalists and political scientists as far back as the 1970's - in political science terms for a couple of hundred years.  And the sophistication of the talk is no more complex now either.  We have spent my entire life listening to talk like this.

But these same people are not out there beating the drum against over population and spending their money to help people stop it.  They are not out there refusing to participate in the global growth model nor spending their money fighting against it.  I could go on for some time on this talk and no action but we all know this situation. 

Adding billions of people to the planet absolutely requires the expenditure of vast amounts of resources to provide them with the minimal human requirements to live.  This growth model plays inevitably into the capitalistic growth paradigm and the wealth and power it generates flows to those who want to continue BAU.  And we know where that goes.

So the real question is not what we need to change as we know all the things we need to change and we have known them for decades.  The real question we need to answer is since we know we are out of time already how do we start this change and have it executed in no more than 20-25 years.  Which is probably a far too generous amount of time to avoid severe collapse problems.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #69 on: January 30, 2016, 04:19:14 PM »
After I Lived in Norway, America Felt Backward. Here’s Why.
A crash course in social democracy.
In the Nordic countries, on the other hand, democratically elected governments give their populations freedom from the market by using capitalism as a tool to benefit everyone. That liberates their people from the tyranny of the mighty profit motive that warps so many American lives, leaving them freer to follow their own dreams—to become poets or philosophers, bartenders or business owners, as they please.

Maybe our politicians don’t want to talk about the Nordic model because it shows so clearly that capitalism can be put to work for the many, not just the few.

http://www.thenation.com/article/after-i-lived-in-norway-america-felt-backward-heres-why/


Yes Norway lives a very rich lifestyle.  But how do they get away with it? 

https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/the-norwegian-welfare-model---prosperous/id709446/

This model is based upon some factors which are out of the reach of the vast majority of countries.  Just like the US uses its advantages to maintain its position in full knowledge that others could not hope to do the same.

Norway has vast fossil fuel wealth and this is the foundation of its current wealth.  That fossil fuel wealth has bought a lot of advantages.  It also has enormous amounts of hydro power which is also not available to most other countries.  Thirdly it generates  a lot of GDP from fishing, forests and mining.  A key factor in Norway being able to live as it does is it has one of the highest ratios of valuable resources to population of any place on Earth. 

Even then the link above states:

As you can see on the slide (slide 7), there are some countries with higher birth rates than Norway, but except for Iceland, these countries have low labour market participation among women. There are also countries with higher employment rates, but many of these are struggling with low fertility rates.

The unique combination of high labour force participation and high birth rates is crucial for sustaining Norway's good economic performance.


So it is essential for Norway to maintain a high birth rate to sustain its economic performance.  Need I point out this is a big ass problem and sort of contrary to the suggestion that there is something sustainable about the way Norwegians live?   Yeah Norway is a hell of a nice place to live but then so is NYC if you are rich.  But the world cannot all live like rich people do.  There is not enough to go around.  I am pretty much a socialist but the northern European version of socialism, while much more attractive than the neo-con mess we have in the US, is not anywhere near where we need to go in terms of our global problems - unless of course you have a slick way of eliminating about 5 billion people.  Then we might be fine.

If you want to read what conservatives say about Scandinavian political/economic structures chekc the below link out - it is very harsh.  And I disagree with a bunch of it, but there are some good points there as well.  But the real takeaway is that these countries are hybrid capitalist/socialist countries just like the US but with the emphasis placed somewhat differently.  But to a real socialist ..um not so much socialist at all.

http://thefederalist.com/2015/08/11/scandinavia-isnt-a-socialist-paradise/

For another critique:

To begin with, explains Swedish scholar Nima Sanandaji, the affluence and cultural norms upon which Scandinavia’s social-democratic policies rest are not the product of socialism. In “Scandinavian Unexceptionalism,” a penetrating new book published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, Sanandaji shows that the Nordic nations’ prosperity “developed during periods characterized by free-market policies, low or moderate taxes, and limited state involvement in the economy.


Sounds like what?....
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #70 on: January 30, 2016, 06:42:40 PM »

ASLR

Yes there is a lot of great talk out there...but no progress.   A lot of this talk addresses sustainability, waste, the problems with the profit motive, 'old' industries and the like.  But when you really look at what is going on it is pretty much falls into the talking about it to feel good category.  These types of statements are anything but new as they have been being made by environmentalists and political scientists as far back as the 1970's - in political science terms for a couple of hundred years.  And the sophistication of the talk is no more complex now either.  We have spent my entire life listening to talk like this.


JimD,

Thanks for your typically thoughtful response.  Perhaps a blog-forum is not a good format for discussing the points that I am trying to make, as mapping the road to a more sustainable world economy is part of a "wicked problem" with many chaotic aspects that can be difficult to follow/understand.  For example, I have repeatedly stated that I believe that following the most probable future pathways will result in hundreds of millions of people beginning to die circa 2050, with most likely billions of people dead circa 2100.  Nevertheless, that leaves several billion people left by 2100 who will be living a post- 4th Industrial Revolution existence with heavy emphasis on more sustainable information intense livelihoods such as those currently being developed today by such individuals as Zuckerberg, Musk, Page, etc..  As Alphabet/Google is about to pass Apple as the highest market valued company in the world, I provide the following linked article about what Alphabet/Google is actually doing and will likely achieve in the next few years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/technology/larry-page-google-founder-is-still-innovator-in-chief.html?_r=0

Extract: "He intends to push even further with Alphabet, a holding company that separates Google’s various cash-rich advertising businesses from the list of speculative projects like self-driving cars that capture the imagination but do not make much money. Alphabet companies and investments span disciplines from biotechnology to energy generation to space travel to artificial intelligence to urban planning.
Investors will get a good look at the scope of those ambitions on Feb. 1, when the company, in its fourth-quarter earnings report, will disclose for the first time the costs and income of the collection of projects outside of Google’s core business.

In the investor letter, he put it this way: “Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things.”"

See also the following article & associated Alphabet org chart image.
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/01/2016-google-tracker-everything-google-is-working-on-for-the-new-year/

Very best,
ASLR
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #71 on: January 30, 2016, 09:09:58 PM »
As to the how, Steve Keen one of the few eonomists who called the 2008 crisis has been advocating a helicopter drop of money for about 10 years. It looks like the Swiss may try it.
"With Citi's chief economist proclaiming "only helicopter money can save the world now," and the Bank of England pre-empting paradropping money concerns, it appears that Australia's largest investment bank's forecast that money-drops were 12-18 months away was too conservative. While The Finns consider a "basic monthly income" for the entire population, Swiss residents are to vote on a countrywide referendum about a radical plan to pay every single adult a guaranteed income of around $2500 per month, with authorities insisting that people will still want to find a job."  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-29/helicopter-money-arrives-switzerland-hand-out-2500-monthly-all-citizens
Personally I'd prefer it if every adult citizen had access to a limited amount of credit from their central bank, on the same terms as the bankers. In the UK £72,000 would do it, make that available at the rate of £12,000 a year, if you have debts you must use it to pay down part of those debts, if not you get it as credit at the beginning of the month. Same for those working and not, but if your not working you lose all other benefits.
http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/07/15/no-one-saw-this-coming-balderdash/
You rarely see poor bankers and it's largely because of their priviledged access to cheap credit, why should that be?

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #72 on: January 30, 2016, 10:04:44 PM »
a) The article cited from the Federalist (at http://thefederalist.com/2015/08/11/scandinavia-isnt-a-socialist-paradise/ )  is written by an undergraduate and it shows: no cites, no references, many assertions ...

b) Mr. Nima Sanandaji is a denier who is coauthor of "The Global Warming Scam" with Fred Goldberg.

sidd

James Lovejoy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #73 on: January 31, 2016, 12:24:30 AM »
Jim D January 30, 2016, 04:19:14 PM
 
So it is essential for Norway to maintain a high birth rate to sustain its economic performance.   Need I point out this is a big ass problem and sort of contrary to the suggestion that there is something sustainable about the way Norwegians live?

Norway's birth rate is high by 1st world standards, but most countries would benefit from the Norwegian fertility rate.

Replacement Level Fertility Rate  - 2.1 (in developed countries, 2.33 world  wide)
Norwegian Fertility Rate              - 1.9
Pakistanian Fertility Rate             - 3.7
Nigerian Fertility Rate                 - 5.7
Indian Fertility Rate                    - 2.5
Iraqi Fertility Rate                       - 4.0
Ethiopian Fertility Rate                - 4.5
Mexican Fertility Rate                  - 2.3
Egyptian Fertility Rate                 - 3.3
Indonesian Fertility Rate             - 2.5     
Philippino Fertility Rate                - 3.0

It's true that many European countries have fertility rates lower than Norway, down as low as 1.3, but if more countries reduced their fertility rates to that of Norway they'd be better off.

Shared Humanity

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #74 on: January 31, 2016, 01:40:54 AM »
As to the how, Steve Keen one of the few eonomists who called the 2008 crisis has been advocating a helicopter drop of money for about 10 years. It looks like the Swiss may try it.
"With Citi's chief economist proclaiming "only helicopter money can save the world now," and the Bank of England pre-empting paradropping money concerns, it appears that Australia's largest investment bank's forecast that money-drops were 12-18 months away was too conservative. While The Finns consider a "basic monthly income" for the entire population, Swiss residents are to vote on a countrywide referendum about a radical plan to pay every single adult a guaranteed income of around $2500 per month, with authorities insisting that people will still want to find a job."  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-29/helicopter-money-arrives-switzerland-hand-out-2500-monthly-all-citizens
Personally I'd prefer it if every adult citizen had access to a limited amount of credit from their central bank, on the same terms as the bankers. In the UK £72,000 would do it, make that available at the rate of £12,000 a year, if you have debts you must use it to pay down part of those debts, if not you get it as credit at the beginning of the month. Same for those working and not, but if your not working you lose all other benefits.
http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/07/15/no-one-saw-this-coming-balderdash/
You rarely see poor bankers and it's largely because of their priviledged access to cheap credit, why should that be?


Desperate acts by desperate people trying to keep an unsustainable system afloat. Modern capitalism, around for about 200 years, can only be characterized as a spectacular failure.

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #75 on: February 06, 2016, 08:53:18 PM »
Why young people in the U.S. love the presidential candidate who calls himself a "democratic socialist."

The sexist double standard behind why millennials love Bernie Sanders
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-double-standard-behind-why-millennials-love-bernie-sanders/2016/02/04/dce7b458-cb85-11e5-a7b2-5a2f824b02c9_story.html
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Chuck Yokota

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #76 on: February 07, 2016, 03:12:27 AM »
Naomi Klein: “There are no non-radical options left before us”
The famed author of "This Changes Everything" explains why markets cannot be relied on to solve global warming

http://www.salon.com/2016/02/04/naomi_klein_there_are_no_non_radical_options_left_before_us_partner/

. . .
Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity. I began with the most basic question:

This changes everything — how?


Naomi Klein: So the ‘this’ in This Changes Everything is climate change. And the argument that I make in the book is that we find ourselves in this moment where there are no non-radical options left before us. Change or be changed, right? And what we mean by that is that climate change, if we don’t change course, if we don’t change our political and economic system, is going to change everything about our physical world. And that is what climate scientists are telling us when they say business as usual leads to three to four degrees Celsius of warming. That’s the road we are on. We can get off that road, but we’re now so far along it, we’ve put off the crucial policies for so long, that now we can’t do it gradually. We have to swerve, right? And swerving requires such a radical departure from the kind of political and economic system we have right now that we pretty much have to change everything.

We have to change the kind of free trade deals we sign. We would have to change the absolutely central role of frenetic consumption in our culture. We would have to change the role of money in politics and our political system. We would have to change our attitude towards regulating corporations. We would have to change our guiding ideology.

You know, since the 1980s we’ve been living in this era, really, of corporate rule, based on this idea that the role of government is to liberate the power of capital so that they can have as much economic growth as quickly as possible and then all good things will flow from that. And that is what justifies privatization, deregulation, cuts to corporate taxes offset by cuts to public services — all of this is incompatible with what we need to do in the face of the climate crisis. We need to invest massively in the public sphere to have a renewable energy system, to have good public transit and rail. That money needs to come from somewhere, so it’s going to have to come from the people who have the money.

And I actually believe it’s deeper than that, that it’s about changing the paradigm of a culture that is based on separateness from nature, that is based on the idea that we can dominate nature, that we are the boss, that we are in charge. Climate change challenges all of that. It says, you know, all this time that you’ve been living in this bubble apart from nature, that has been fueled by a substance that all the while has been accumulating in the atmosphere, and you told yourself you were the boss, you told yourself you could have a one-way relationship with the natural world, but now comes the response: “You thought you were in charge? Think again.” And we can either mourn our status as boss of the world and see it as some cosmic demotion — which is why I think the extreme right is so freaked out by climate change that they have to deny it. It isn’t just that it is a threat to their profits. It’s a threat to a whole worldview that says you have dominion over all things, and that’s extremely threatening.
. . .

JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #77 on: February 07, 2016, 04:23:17 AM »
Yes, Naomi has it basically right.  The old ways of green and black bau will not work.

This naturally leads to a command economy which is oriented with its sole goal the survival of as much of civilization as can be managed.  No more capitalism, no more consumerism, dramatic downgrades in lifestyles, public transportation systems, local production, heavy taxes on the wealthy,  a strong focus on population reduction, junking much of the useless technology and infrastructure.  And so on.

Not much chance of this happening but it is what is required.  I'll sign up at the first appearance of it.  Until then I sit in full opposition to the bau camps.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Shared Humanity

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #78 on: February 07, 2016, 05:31:52 PM »
Naomi is spot on. Looking for market solutions to a problem that is being created by the proper functioning of the markets is going to be the death of us.

TerryM

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #79 on: February 18, 2016, 02:47:53 AM »

Not much chance of this happening but it is what is required.

No chance of this happening without violence at an unimaginable scale,
and violence at such a scale will kill us just as surely as AGW will.

Which nations will fight for their right to continue their usage and export of fossil fuel?
Which nations will fight for their right to halt everyone's use and exports of fossil fuel?
Which state leaves their resources untapped to please the Feds?
Which province leaves their tar in their sand to please the Feds?

Which country will be the first to deploy a bicycle battalion?
Which country will be the first to paddle or sail into the fray?

All wars are ecological disasters.
Major wars are won by the side that expends the most energy.

Peace & cooperation are the minimum required for ecological survival.
Huge military might will be required to enforce compliance.

We lost this one in 1980.
Terry

Shared Humanity

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #80 on: February 18, 2016, 03:31:28 AM »
Nearly 40 years ago.

AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #81 on: February 18, 2016, 05:12:18 AM »
Nearly 40 years ago.

The reason that we did not act adequately 40, or 20 years ago, or now, is because people cannot see beyond their own ignorance.  Which means that we must work diligently on reducing ignorance as much and as fast as practicable.  The "Adapting to the Anthropocence" has some ideas on this matter, including insight on how to see that by learning to cooperate we help ourselves.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #82 on: February 25, 2016, 08:03:10 PM »
Refugees in Jordan Are Using Their Eyes to Pay for Groceries
An iris-scanning system is helping them get the food they need in the most secure and efficient way possible.
The days of dealing with stolen food vouchers and prepaid electronic cards are gone for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. Instead, they can now pay for groceries with their eyes when checking out at the supermarket.

On Tuesday, those living in King Abdullah Park refugee camp started purchasing food simply by looking into a machine.

The technology, headed by the United Nations World Food Programme, is nothing new, considering the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees already uses iris-scanning technology to identify refugees when they first register with the agency; in March, the agency also partnered with Jordan-based banks so refugees could get cash from ATMs through the eye-scanning system. However, this is the first instance of it being implemented in select supermarkets.

“We are really capitalizing on technology that already exists,” Dina El-Kassaby, regional communications officer for WFP, told Mashable. “We are just giving this technology a retail spin.”

The system analyzes biometric registration data supplied by the UNHCR that can identify a refugee quite literally in the blink of an eye. Once a person is confirmed as a refugee in the UNHCR’s data bank, payment is deducted from the individual's monthly food allowance, and a receipt is printed.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/02/17/refugees-are-using-their-eyes-pay-groceries
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #83 on: March 30, 2016, 07:16:00 PM »
More on "The Circular Economy".  (See ASLR's reply #66 above.)

By Walter Stahel

... A 'circular economy' would turn goods that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, closing loops in industrial ecosystems and minimizing waste (see 'Closing loops'). It would change economic logic because it replaces production with sufficiency: reuse what you can, recycle what cannot be reused, repair what is broken, remanufacture what cannot be repaired. A study of seven European nations found that a shift to a circular economy would reduce each nation's greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 70% and grow its workforce by about 4% — the ultimate low-carbon economy (see go.nature.com/biecsc).
...
Circular-economy business models fall in two groups: those that foster reuse and extend service life through repair, remanufacture, upgrades and retrofits; and those that turn old goods into as-new resources by recycling the materials. People — of all ages and skills — are central to the model. Ownership gives way to stewardship; consumers become users and creators3. The remanufacturing and repair of old goods, buildings and infrastructure creates skilled jobs in local workshops. The experiences of workers from the past are instrumental.
...
A circular economy is like a lake. The reprocessing of goods and materials generates jobs and saves energy while reducing resource consumption and waste. Cleaning a glass bottle and using it again is faster and cheaper than recycling the glass or making a new bottle from minerals. Vehicle owners can decide whether to have their used tyres repaired or regrooved or whether to buy new or retreaded replacements — if such services exist. Rather than being dumped, used tyres are collected by waste managers and sold to the highest bidder.
...
Yet a lack of familiarity and fear of the unknown mean that the circular-economy idea has been slow to gain traction. As a holistic concept, it collides with the silo structures of academia, companies and administrations. For economists who work with gross domestic product (GDP), creating wealth by making things last is the opposite of what they learned in school. GDP measures a financial flow over a period of time; circular economy preserves physical stocks. But concerns over resource security, ethics and safety as well as greenhouse-gas reductions are shifting our approach to seeing materials as assets to be preserved, rather than continually consumed.

http://www.nature.com/news/the-circular-economy-1.19594#auth-1
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #84 on: April 29, 2016, 01:10:06 AM »
Have a parking fine?  In Lexington, Kentucky, you can pay it in canned food.

Lexington, Kentucky accepts food for homeless as parking ticket payment
Ten canned food items will give you a $15 credit on parking citations; most parking meter citations in the area are for that amount. And for tickets that are more than $15, you can bring in more cans!

http://www.today.com/kindness/lexington-kentucky-accepts-food-homeless-parking-ticket-payment-t57456


LexPark collects 10,000 canned food items in ‘food for fines’ program
The Lexington Parking Authority collected 10,000 canned goods and other food items as part of its five-week “food for fines” program.

The program — now in its second year — allowed people to pay traffic and parking fines with canned goods. All donations received by LexPark were given to God's Pantry Food Bank.

According to God’s Pantry, 10,211 pounds, or 5 tons, of food were received, which is the equivalent of 8,370 meals. The program started Nov. 16 and concluded Dec. 18. In 2014, only parking citations were eligible for the food for fines program. This year the program was expanded to include traffic citations. Last year, LexPark collected 6,200 food items.

http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article52957725.html
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #85 on: May 15, 2016, 03:52:32 PM »
Naomi Klein argues climate change is a battle between capitalism and the planet
The climate crisis, by presenting the species with an existential crisis and putting us on a firm and unyielding science-based deadline, might just be the catalyst we need to knit together the great many powerful movements bound together by the inherent worth and value of all people, and united by the rejection of the ‘sacrifice zone’ mentality.”

Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein made these remarks in London last week in a lecture (available online) commemorating Palestinian theorist Edward Said. She was inspired by his argument that many peoples have been classified by imperial powers as “the other” – less than fully human – and said the climate crisis was entrenching inequality across the globe.
...
Bellamy Foster says an “ecological civilisation” is a necessary transitional society beyond capitalism, defined by far more substantive equality of global resources and burden-sharing of cutbacks in consumption between rich and poor states and people.

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/naomi-klein-argues-climate-change-is-a-battle-between-capitalism-and-the-planet-1.2647166
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #86 on: June 06, 2016, 07:46:09 PM »
The Land Below Zero: Where Negative Interest Rates Are Normal
Denmark has been an upside-down world for longer than any other country. The sky hasn't fallen yet.
In Copenhagen, bicycles take undisputed priority over cars and even pedestrians. A sizzling restaurant scene has made foodie fetishes of moss, live ants, and sea cucumbers. Despite a minimum wage not far below $20 an hour and some of the world’s steepest taxes, unemployment is almost the lowest in Europe. Parents happily leave infants unattended in strollers on the sidewalk while they stop in to cafes.

Clearly the usual rules tend not to apply in Denmark. So it’s no surprise that the country in recent years has added a major new entry to its sprawling repertoire of eccentricities: Since 2012 it’s been a place where you can get paid to borrow money and charged to save it.

Scandinavia’s third-largest economy (the population is 5 million, and there are about as many bikes) is deep into an unprecedented experiment with negative interest rates, a monetary policy tool once viewed by mainstream economists as approaching apostasy, if not a virtual impossibility. Companies—though not yet individuals—are paying lenders for the privilege of keeping funds on deposit; homeowners, in some cases, are actually making money on mortgages.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-06/denmark-land-below-zero-where-negative-interest-rates-are-normal
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ralfy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #87 on: June 08, 2016, 08:36:16 AM »
Given limits to growth,

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

the only way out is a global state capitalist system, with resources used to meet basic needs of the most number of people. Any surplus will have to be kept and used for emergencies such as natural disasters. Wants can be met only when population, etc., stabilize.

Unfortunately, this will require widespread understanding of points concerning limits to growth, extensive cooperation between various groups, the removal of profit-making, higher degrees of empathy, etc.

anti-revisionism

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #88 on: June 09, 2016, 11:57:12 PM »
welp, I guess rapid climate change, the final crisis of capitalism, yet again demonstrates the superiority of the science of dialectical materialism and marxism-leninism  8)

ralfy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #89 on: June 10, 2016, 03:13:29 AM »
Or just science.

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #90 on: July 10, 2016, 05:09:23 PM »
What's in a name?

This Chinese Dynasty Needs a Name
The Communist Party of China, it is frequently asserted, is a misnamed organization. That's because, since the party began experimenting with private enterprise in the 1970s, it has shed much of the intellectual baggage associated with Marx, Lenin and that ilk.


...The dynasty model works like this: After a period of decline or even chaos, a new ruler takes power -- usually by military means -- and establishes a new dynasty. Some of these are short-lived -- the first imperial dynasty, the Qin, lasted just 15 years -- while others bring centuries of peace and prosperity.

From a Chinese historical perspective, then, the American republic at age 240 looks like a quite successful dynasty that's been showing signs of age lately, not necessarily the "end of history."

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-08/this-chinese-dynasty-needs-a-name
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #91 on: July 10, 2016, 05:59:55 PM »
Perhaps we should take a lesson from the "father of capitalism", Adam Smith

Adam Smith’s Critique of International Trading Companies…

Such companies, in Smith’s view, had corrupted and captured many European and non-European governments and undermined their societies’ ability to engage in peaceful transnational affairs and equitable self-rule. In contrast with Smith’s well-known concerns about the rise of commerce in modern Europe in his four-stage account of social development— which were outweighed, in his view, by the many material benefits and personal liberties brought about by the eclipse of feudalism—his narrative of globalization offers a trenchantly critical appraisal of commercial practices that ultimately undermine many of the gains that the initial rise of modern commerce once made possible…
Adam Smith, Timothy Worstall and large international companies

BP and Shell
The United Kingdom government held talks with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc to ensure British energy companies were “well-placed to pick up contracts in the aftermath” of the Iraq invasion in 2003.
Chilcot report: oil groups lobbied UK government ahead of Iraq war

I have heard others say they didn't actually lobby for the war. Must do some more searches.

We haven't  time to change capitalism completely but we could control it better.

Taxing CO2 emissions $1000 a tonne would help.
Il faut cultiver notre cité-jardin
The Sustainable Plotlands Association

JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #92 on: July 12, 2016, 02:15:20 AM »
Given limits to growth,

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

the only way out is a global state capitalist system, with resources used to meet basic needs of the most number of people. Any surplus will have to be kept and used for emergencies such as natural disasters. Wants can be met only when population, etc., stabilize.

Unfortunately, this will require widespread understanding of points concerning limits to growth, extensive cooperation between various groups, the removal of profit-making, higher degrees of empathy, etc.


I presume this is a typo.  Did you mean to write 'socialist' in place of capitalist?  There are some extremely strong arguments out there which come to the conclusion that there is no solution possible in a capitalist system...whether global or national in scale.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #93 on: July 12, 2016, 04:59:48 AM »
Perhaps we should consider the insights of Karl Marx about what comes next.  To this end I re-post the following extracts about Paul Mason's vision for a utopian postcapitalistic global socio-economic system.  In the following linked article Mason makes it clear that Marx has been mis-understood for over a century (see the last link to an open access copy of: "The Fragment on Machines" by Karl Marx); in much the same way that Charles Darwin has frequently been misinterpreted (i.e. Darwin proposed "natural selection", not "survival of the fittest"):

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun

Extract: "Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this postcapitalism.
As with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.

New forms of ownership, new forms of lending, new legal contracts: a whole business subculture has emerged over the past 10 years, which the media has dubbed the “sharing economy”. Buzzwords such as the “commons” and “peer-production” are thrown around, but few have bothered to ask what this development means for capitalism itself.

I believe it offers an escape route – but only if these micro-level projects are nurtured, promoted and protected by a fundamental change in what governments do. And this must be driven by a change in our thinking – about technology, ownership and work. So that, when we create the elements of the new system, we can say to ourselves, and to others: “This is no longer simply my survival mechanism, my bolt hole from the neoliberal world; this is a new way of living in the process of formation.”

Even now many people fail to grasp the true meaning of the word “austerity”. Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.

Innovation is happening but it has not, so far, triggered the fifth long upswing for capitalism that long-cycle theory would expect. The reasons lie in the specific nature of information technology.
...
We’re surrounded not just by intelligent machines but by a new layer of reality centred on information.

There is, alongside the world of monopolised information and surveillance created by corporations and governments, a different dynamic growing up around information: information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced. I’ve surveyed the attempts by economists and business gurus to build a framework to understand the dynamics of an economy based on abundant, socially-held information. But it was actually imagined by one 19th-century economist in the era of the telegraph and the steam engine. His name? Karl Marx.

In the “Fragment” Marx imagines an economy in which the main role of machines is to produce, and the main role of people is to supervise them. He was clear that, in such an economy, the main productive force would be information. The productive power of such machines as the automated cotton-spinning machine, the telegraph and the steam locomotive did not depend on the amount of labour it took to produce them but on the state of social knowledge. Organisation and knowledge, in other words, made a bigger contribution to productive power than the work of making and running the machines.
Given what Marxism was to become – a theory of exploitation based on the theft of labour time – this is a revolutionary statement. It suggests that, once knowledge becomes a productive force in its own right, outweighing the actual labour spent creating a machine, the big question becomes not one of “wages versus profits” but who controls what Marx called the “power of knowledge”.

In these musings, not published until the mid-20th century, Marx imagined information coming to be stored and shared in something called a “general intellect” – which was the mind of everybody on Earth connected by social knowledge, in which every upgrade benefits everybody. In short, he had imagined something close to the information economy in which we live. And, he wrote, its existence would “blow capitalism sky high”.
...
With the terrain changed, the old path beyond capitalism imagined by the left of the 20th century is lost.
But a different path has opened up. Collaborative production, using network technology to produce goods and services that only work when they are free, or shared, defines the route beyond the market system. It will need the state to create the framework – just as it created the framework for factory labour, sound currencies and free trade in the early 19th century. The postcapitalist sector is likely to coexist with the market sector for decades, but major change is happening.

By creating millions of networked people, financially exploited but with the whole of human intelligence one thumb-swipe away, info-capitalism has created a new agent of change in history: the educated and connected human being.
This will be more than just an economic transition. There are, of course, the parallel and urgent tasks of decarbonising the world and dealing with demographic and fiscal timebombs. But I’m concentrating on the economic transition triggered by information because, up to now, it has been sidelined. Peer-to-peer has become pigeonholed as a niche obsession for visionaries, while the “big boys” of leftwing economics get on with critiquing austerity.

So how do we visualise the transition ahead? The only coherent parallel we have is the replacement of feudalism by capitalism – and thanks to the work of epidemiologists, geneticists and data analysts, we know a lot more about that transition than we did 50 years ago when it was “owned” by social science. The first thing we have to recognise is: different modes of production are structured around different things. Feudalism was an economic system structured by customs and laws about “obligation”. Capitalism was structured by something purely economic: the market. We can predict, from this, that postcapitalism – whose precondition is abundance – will not simply be a modified form of a complex market society. But we can only begin to grasp at a positive vision of what it will be like.
I don’t mean this as a way to avoid the question: the general economic parameters of a postcapitalist society by, for example, the year 2075, can be outlined. But if such a society is structured around human liberation, not economics, unpredictable things will begin to shape it.

The feudal model of agriculture collided, first, with environmental limits and then with a massive external shock – the Black Death. After that, there was a demographic shock: too few workers for the land, which raised their wages and made the old feudal obligation system impossible to enforce. The labour shortage also forced technological innovation. The new technologies that underpinned the rise of merchant capitalism were the ones that stimulated commerce (printing and accountancy), the creation of tradeable wealth (mining, the compass and fast ships) and productivity (mathematics and the scientific method).
Present throughout the whole process was something that looks incidental to the old system – money and credit – but which was actually destined to become the basis of the new system. In feudalism, many laws and customs were actually shaped around ignoring money; credit was, in high feudalism, seen as sinful. So when money and credit burst through the boundaries to create a market system, it felt like a revolution. Then, what gave the new system its energy was the discovery of a virtually unlimited source of free wealth in the Americas.
A combination of all these factors took a set of people who had been marginalised under feudalism – humanists, scientists, craftsmen, lawyers, radical preachers and bohemian playwrights such as Shakespeare – and put them at the head of a social transformation. At key moments, though tentatively at first, the state switched from hindering the change to promoting it.
Today, the thing that is corroding capitalism, barely rationalised by mainstream economics, is information. Most laws concerning information define the right of corporations to hoard it and the right of states to access it, irrespective of the human rights of citizens. The equivalent of the printing press and the scientific method is information technology and its spillover into all other technologies, from genetics to healthcare to agriculture to the movies, where it is quickly reducing costs.
The modern equivalent of the long stagnation of late feudalism is the stalled take-off of the third industrial revolution, where instead of rapidly automating work out of existence, we are reduced to creating what David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs” on low pay. And many economies are stagnating.
The equivalent of the new source of free wealth? It’s not exactly wealth: it’s the “externalities” – the free stuff and wellbeing generated by networked interaction. It is the rise of non-market production, of unownable information, of peer networks and unmanaged enterprises. The internet, French economist Yann Moulier-Boutang says, is “both the ship and the ocean” when it comes to the modern equivalent of the discovery of the new world. In fact, it is the ship, the compass, the ocean and the gold.
The modern day external shocks are clear: energy depletion, climate change, ageing populations and migration. They are altering the dynamics of capitalism and making it unworkable in the long term. They have not yet had the same impact as the Black Death – but as we saw in New Orleans in 2005, it does not take the bubonic plague to destroy social order and functional infrastructure in a financially complex and impoverished society.
Once you understand the transition in this way, the need is not for a supercomputed Five Year Plan – but a project, the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for work and push the economy towards abundance. I call it Project Zero – because its aims are a zero-carbon-energy system; the production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; and the reduction of necessary work time as close as possible to zero.

The main contradiction today is between the possibility of free, abundant goods and information; and a system of monopolies, banks and governments trying to keep things private, scarce and commercial. Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy: between old forms of society moulded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next.

We need more than just a bunch of utopian dreams and small-scale horizontal projects. We need a project based on reason, evidence and testable designs, that cuts with the grain of history and is sustainable by the planet. And we need to get on with it.
•   Postcapitalism is published by Allen Lane on 30 July."

For an open access copy of: "The Fragment on Machines" by Karl Marx see:

http://thenewobjectivity.com/pdf/marx.pdf

Also see Reply #70 regarding current pathways to a new reality centered on information.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Shared Humanity

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #94 on: July 12, 2016, 03:04:30 PM »
welp, I guess rapid climate change, the final crisis of capitalism, yet again demonstrates the superiority of the science of dialectical materialism and marxism-leninism  8)

Nope. We tend to view Karl Marx and his philosophy as somehow entirely distinct from capitalism when, in fact, his philosophy sprang from grappling with the issue of an emerging capitalism. He did not argue against capitalism but merely posited that the worker should control the capital and this solution is a uniquely western view of the world and equally unsustainable. In western democracies, this view resulted in union movements which agitated and bargained for a greater share of the created capital which fueled a dramatic increase in the middle class and the well being of ordinary citizens. While beneficial, this burgeoning middle class was the engine behind the dramatic growth of the 20th century.

In Russia, lacking any tradition of democracy, the effort to ensure that workers controlled capital quickly devolved into despotism.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 03:13:29 PM by Shared Humanity »

JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #95 on: July 12, 2016, 05:28:40 PM »
From ALSR's post #93.

...Even now many people fail to grasp the true meaning of the word “austerity”. Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.....

I think I have mentioned here before that about 30 years ago I was having a heated discussion with my brother, who was one of the architects of what we now call 'globalization' in his job as chief of North American operations for one of the Fortune 500 corporations, about this very point.  He stated to me that one of the goals of the free trade agreements they were lobbying for was to reach  a point where they had created a global arbitrage of labor ...where all labor was competing for work from the various corporations.  And thus labor just became another commodity.   I found this goal highly repulsive.  They have, however, come close to succeeding. 

Capitalism requires growth to exist.  Regardless of who controls the capital.  Growth in the world we live in today is a recipe for extinction.  Degrowth is our only viable option.

The world must reach a 'sustainable state' (far less people and far less consumption) and run itself via some form of an quasi sustainable economic system which is structured with the goal of promoting a way forward which does the least damage to the Earth as possible.  Civilization by basic definition cannot be truly sustainable...but we can stretch the time span out to failure a significant distance into the future.  And perhaps think our way through to achieve long term existence.  Otherwise what is the point.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #96 on: July 12, 2016, 06:20:45 PM »
Jim,

First, there are many different types of capitalism (see wiki-link) and some of them are not dependent on continual growth (as our current international crony capitalistic system is).

Second, de-growth will occur progressively as we reach the limits of the various different carrying systems.

Third, when the de-growth is complete (say sometime between 2075 & 2100), what we transition to will likely be closer to information intensive private companies (like GoogleX) operating within capitalistic frameworks controlled by government; rather than to feudalism.

Best,
ASLR

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
Extract: "Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment is determined by the owners of the factors of production in financial and capital markets, and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in the market.
Economists, political economists, and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, welfare capitalism, and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition, and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism; the extent to which different markets are free, as well as the rules defining private property, are matters of politics and of policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention, and in some cases, with economic planning.
Capitalism has existed under many forms of government, in many different times, places, and cultures. Following the decline of mercantilism, mixed capitalist systems became dominant in the Western world and continue to spread."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Paladiea

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #97 on: July 12, 2016, 11:13:21 PM »
We could always go back to hunter-gathering. That has been by far our most successful and long-lived economic system.

(Half) joking aside, there are a few alternatives I think are interesting:
Gift Economy
Post-scarcity abundance
On demand production

Capitalism as it stands is unviable, and economics as it is is a fairy tale, is not a science, and has no predictive or self-correction abilities.
The most enjoyable way to think about heat transfer through radiation is to picture a Star Wars laser battle, where every atom and molecule is constantly firing at every other atom and molecule.

JimD

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #98 on: July 13, 2016, 12:20:57 AM »
ASLR

Re 1:  This is not at all certain and is very dependent on how one is defining terms I think.  Capitalism does not last in the absence of 'profit'...and one can define profit as growth. 

Re 2:  "Collapse" occurs as we pass the limits of the various different carrying systems.  "Degrowth" is a deliberate strategy to 'reverse' or create the opposite of growth with the goal of not actually crossing a boundary (or quickly getting back on the correct side of one)...its corollary in economics might be considered deflation (the great enemy of our current economic system). Thus deliberately lowering ones standard of living and level of consumption is degrowth, whereas getting laid off and having no income to house or feed oneself is collapse.

Re 3:  Hmmm...  I guess I would respond that if we managed 'degrowth' successfully there is a possibility that what you describe could happen.  It is not what I would think all that likely but who knows.  However, if we undergo collapse in between now and the end of the century (almost certain in MHO) I think where we will end up is likely to be pretty hard to describe using these terms as we do now.  For the non-ruling classes the economic structure seems very likely to be a form of feudalism.  For the ruling class I would expect that they will still have access to high levels of some technologies (some of which do not exist today even) and very different lifestyles than the rest of the population.  I would also expect that we will have returned to social immobility as used to be standard in human society.  But the world will also be a vastly poorer place where there are constant shortages of resources and hard limits to what can be done due to the restrictions of climate change and the results of our having so severely damaged too many global systems.  We will not be able to live lifestyles similar to the ones we have now, again, for a very long time.    We have to find the bottom before we can climb back up and the bottom is much further out than the end of this century.  The house we live in now is not suitable for the future...we can tear it down now and salvage some of the parts to use on the new design...or we can just burn it down in a few years and try to start over from scratch.

You and I both seem to see some form of collapse as inevitable but then have very different perceptions about where we might end up.  But then I am not really sure about that as there is a real possibility that both visions could exist at the same time depending on which class of people one ended up in.  One can have a very limited distribution of high and expensive technology for the ruling elite and almost nothing for everyone else who exist to support the new civilization at the same time.  That would not be dissimilar to what has existed in the past.  There are lots of writers trying to describe their version of this future world right now...maybe one will be similar to the above.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

AbruptSLR

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #99 on: July 13, 2016, 12:58:27 AM »
Jim,

This is a very difficult topic to address as per the linked study, there are now about a billion less people living in extreme poverty than in 1990; but will this trend just accelerate the number of people in the future who will live in extreme poverty?  Short of an extinction level event, why would all learning and information technology disappear?  Everyone has their opinions on what the future will bring, and on what is the best way to deal with both today and tomorrow.

http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/what-does-it-mean-eradicate-extreme-poverty-and-halve-national-poverty-2030

Extract: "Until 2015, progress against the MDG target of halving extreme poverty was measured by the share of people living under the international poverty line of $1.25 a day (using 2005 prices). SDG target 1.1 has also been defined as “By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.” The international poverty line, however, was updated in 2015 to $1.90 a day in 2011 prices, as new purchasing power parity data became available.

Extreme poverty rates have fallen so much that the number of people living in extreme poverty has also more than halved despite population growth. Between 1990 and 2015 the world’s population increased by about two-fifths, from 5.3 billion to 7.3 billion. The number of extreme poor, however, was estimated to have fallen from 1.9 billion to about 700 million. At the same time, the number of people living above the extreme poverty line doubled – from 3.3 billion to 6.6 billion."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson