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sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #650 on: June 24, 2018, 12:57:51 AM »
I posted a link to an interview with Wolin in another thread, as well as a link to the transcript. The whole thing is rather good, but there is a great deal of discussion of capitalism, in fact the title of the interview is "Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist ?"

http://www.activatingdemocracy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Sheldon-Wolin-interviewed-by-Chris-Hedges.pdf

and



Some excerpts:

"Weber's critique of capitalism is even broader. I think he views it as quintessentially destructive not only of democracy, but also, of course, of the sort of feudal aristocratic system which had preceded it. Capitalism is destructive because it has to eliminate the kind of custom /ˈmɔːreɪz/, political values, even institutions that present any kind of credible threat to the autonomy of the economy. And it's that--that's where the
battle lies. Capitalism wants an autonomous economy. They want a political order subservient to the needs of the economy."

" ... the ruling groups, the capitalist groups, were very conscious of what they had and what was needed to keep it going. And that's why figures like Alexander Hamilton are so important, because they understood this, they understood it from the beginning, that what capitalism required in the way not only of so-called free enterprise--but remember, Hamilton believed very, very strongly in the kind of camaraderie between capitalism and strong central government, that strong central government was not the enemy of capitalism, but rather its tool, and that what had to be constantly kind of revitalized was that kind of relationship, because it was always being threatened by populist democracy, which wanted to break that link and cause government to be returned to some kind of responsive relationship to the people."

"we go through these periods of sleepwalking where we have to relearn lessons that have been known almost since the birth of the republic, or at least since the birth of Jeffersonian democracy, that capitalism has its virtues, but it has to be carefully, carefully watched, observed, and often controlled."

"inverted totalitarianism, certainly a species of totalitarianism, can often be the product of a strong democracy.

WOLIN: It can, in the sense that that strong democracy can do what its name implies. In the pursuit of popular ends, it develops inevitably powerful institutions to promote those ends. And very often they lend themselves to being taken over and utilized, that--for example, that popular means of communication and news information and so on can become very easily propaganda means for corporate capitalism, which understands that if you gain control of newspapers, radio, television, that you're in a position to really shape the political atmosphere."

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #651 on: June 24, 2018, 02:06:30 AM »
Quote
"Weber's critique of capitalism is even broader. I think he views it as quintessentially destructive not only of democracy, but also, of course, of the sort of feudal aristocratic system which had preceded it. Capitalism is destructive because it has to eliminate the kind of custom /ˈmɔːreɪz/, political values, even institutions that present any kind of credible threat to the autonomy of the economy. And it's that--that's where the
battle lies. Capitalism wants an autonomous economy. They want a political order subservient to the needs of the economy."

Horse apples.

Capitalism is a description of how people operate.

Democracies have the potential to control the greediest and most unethical members of the society. 

Aristocratic and dictatorial systems generally operate in ways that create monopolies or concentrate capital into only a few hands.  Those systems are generally controlled by the greediest.

All the people complaining about capitalism are really complaining about inadequately controlled economic systems where a few have been able to grab the most.

Right now, in the US, we've allowed the greediest to grab too large a share.  We evened things out somewhat with labor organizations starting in the 1930s and dropped our guard largely during and following the Reagan administration.  We've got a chance to start turning things the other way in November and then again two years later.  We have the power, the question is whether we will use it.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #652 on: June 24, 2018, 05:42:20 AM »
Disagreed that "Capitalism is a description of how people operate"

That is, as Varoufakis has pointed out, one school of thought. That sets all against all, leading to the famous Thatcher argument: There are only individuals and families acting in their own best interests, there is no society.



Perhaps some of us only know people who act in their own self interests. That is a very sad world they live in.

sidd



Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #653 on: June 24, 2018, 06:35:19 AM »
Quote
There are only individuals and families acting in their own best interests, there is no society.

There are only individual organisms acting in their best interest (plus some offspring rearing which is sometimes required for a species to exist).

In order to serve our best interests we form societies ranging from a partnership with one other organism to small groups of "family", to communities, to countries and in some cases the entire planet.

Or at least we attempt to create entire planet societies.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #654 on: June 24, 2018, 07:42:11 AM »
Great conversation between Chomsky and Varoufakis from the new york public library from a couple years ago: 1 hour 43 minutes.



transcript at

https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2016/06/28/full-transcript-of-the-yanis-varoufakis-noam-chomsky-nypl-discussion/

"Remember, Roosevelt made sure that in the Bretton Woods Conference, which designed the postwar—the first postwar phase between the 1940s and 1971, 1973. He had stipulated that one kind of person should not be allowed into the Bretton Woods conference. You know who these people were. Bankers. Not one banker attended the Bretton Woods Conference and that was at the explicit order of FDR."

"So you had boring banks between 1944 and 1971, but after 1971 and we can discuss why that is, suddenly banking was unleashed and their capacity effectively to mint private money became unlimited and essential to the second postwar phase of global capitalism, of American capitalism, of American hegemony. "

" “You’re right, it can’t work. What we are trying to impose on your nation [Greece] can’t work. But, Yanis, you must understand we have invested so much political capital in this program, we can’t go back, and your credibility,” my credibility, “depends on accepting it.” I think that answers your question. "

"NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, how do they—how do the participants in the troika deliberations react to the technical papers that are coming out from the IMF economists saying, their own economists, Blanchard, others, saying, these policies of austerity under recession are just destructive.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s very simple. They ignore them. "

" Varoufakis: “Would you sign this?” And he[Schauble] turned around and said, “As a patriot, I wouldn’t.”  "

"Schauble: We have discipline to look after, and I want to take the troika to Paris. "

" his [Greenspan] testimony to Congress where explained how magnificent the economy was that he was administering. He said it was based on growing worker insecurity."

"Alan Greenspan and the Fed under Alan Greenspan indulged in autolobotomy regarding these structural aspects of global capitalism"

"I[Varoufakis] grew up in the dictatorship that the CIA managed to create before the Pentagon had its own coup with the generals."

Re: Marshall plan:

"Europe would be dollarized, so that Europeans could buy the gleaming cars and the gleaming aircraft and washing machines from Westinghouse and so on and so forth that America would not be able to absorb on American soil. Europeans were in ashes after the war, so they needed to be dollarized. So they would be allowed to recreate all their own currencies, but their currencies would be pegged to the dollar, effectively they would have the dollar in different form. And that was a fixed-exchange-rate regime."

"The Greek economy is fading, all business plans are going haywire, in a sense remember “liquidate, liquidate, liquidate” under President Hoover, Mellon, I think was the name of the U.S. treasury secretary that said that. That is what’s happening. Complete liquidation of Greek business, the Greek state, and the Greek people. And all that is happening in the context of the nineteenth-century gunboat diplomacy, the purpose of which is not so much Greece, it is how to keep France, Spain, Portugal."

"You are going to have the liquidation of households with foreclosures and foreclosures in Greece are worse than here, because here you can take the keys to your house and go to the bank and say, “Take it. Bye.” In Greece, you can’t do that. Even if you lose your house, you still have the debt, you carry it with you, like Mephistopheles walking around with hell around him, you are walking around the world with that same debt, even though you no longer have the house."

"For the same very simple reason, I think we are in a 1930 moment. Shortly after the collapse of Wall Street, the great financial crisis, and just before the slide into a postmodern abyss of xenophobia, misanthropy, failed economic policies, austerity, debt deflation that will become a major source of uncertainty, of misanthropy, of pain and unnecessary not just for Europe but for the rest of the world. "

Schauble: "“Elections cannot be allowed to change the economic policies of any country.”

"The notion that Europe is split between north and south and that north is populated by all the ants whereas the grasshoppers have congregated to the south and to Ireland is a very strange idea. There are ants and there are grasshoppers everywhere. What happened before 2008 was the grasshoppers of the south and the grasshoppers of the north got together into a splendid alliance of debt-driven frenzy. They were the bankers. They were the spivs, they were those who predicated their growth on transfers from the European Union budget to create motorways that went to nowhere, Olympic Game sites in Greece, and so on and so forth, and they became fabulously rich. This was the alliance of the grasshoppers. The ants were working very hard and were finding it very hard to make ends meet during the good times. And then when the grasshoppers’ empire collapsed, it was the ants of the north and the ants of the south that had to bail them out, and it’s time for the ants of the north and the ants of the south to unite in Europe to change that crazy regime."

Watch the whole thing. And then, read the transcript carefully.

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #655 on: June 24, 2018, 08:12:32 AM »
All these high-winded arguments/discussions come down to how much should capitalism be controlled and how.

Or how much should human greed be controlled and how.

Control too little and we get monopolies.  Control too much and we stiffle individual effort and innovation.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #656 on: June 24, 2018, 05:29:51 PM »
ASL - it's called "first principles".  If you understand what is happening at the most basic level then it's possible to cut through the verbiage.


SteveMDFP

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #657 on: June 24, 2018, 11:44:58 PM »


Capitalism is a description of how people operate.
 

It certainly *seems* so, when one is born into a capitalist society, and then lives as a consumer and worker.  All actors are simply acting to maximize wealth and income, with apparent freedom as to who to work for and what to purchase.

Except that capitalism has grown to be a powerful behemoth courtesy of a highly artificial legal construct--the corporation.  More precisely, the "limited liability" company.  It's not a natural grouping of investors who share in the risks and liabilities of the joint venture.  The owners are insulated from the natural consequences of their actions.  If  the venture sustains catastrophic losses, the owners are only out the money they've put in.  If the corporation commits murder (and corporations have certainly been found guilty of murder and other crimes), the owners face no risk of prosecution.

It's a massive and extremely lucrative grant that society gives to the shareholders, without sufficient compensation or regulation.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #658 on: June 25, 2018, 12:09:36 AM »
Quote
It certainly *seems* so, when one is born into a capitalist society, and then lives as a consumer and worker.  All actors are simply acting to maximize wealth and income, with apparent freedom as to who to work for and what to purchase.

Having spent some time in socialistic countries (China a few years after Mao's death and others) I can assure you that people worked to maximum "stuff".  It was just very hard to do.

It is certainly not the case that all people who live in more free economies are actors who work to maximize wealth and income.  Many are quite happy to live more modest lives once they've reached a position of reasonable comfort.  Heck, I retired at 44 because I had enough.  Had I continued and did not run into a major disruptive event my net worth would be at least in the tens of millions of dollars.  And I have multiple friends who have made the same "enough" decision.

Quote
capitalism has grown to be a powerful behemoth courtesy of a highly artificial legal construct--the corporation.  More precisely, the "limited liability" company.

Were it not for limited liability for investors almost no large projects would be started.  You wouldn't be using a computer or driving a car/riding a bus.

In order for Tesla to revolutionize transportation they needed money.  No one would invest if their few thousands invested in a company could end up costing them everything they had. 
 
Quote
The owners are insulated from the natural consequences of their actions.  If  the venture sustains catastrophic losses, the owners are only out the money they've put in.  If the corporation commits murder (and corporations have certainly been found guilty of murder and other crimes), the owners face no risk of prosecution.

The owners are somewhat insulated from the behavior of those actually running and working for the company.  They stand to lose their investment so they are not totally risk free.

If a corporation commits murder then the employees involved that murder are the ones who should be held responsible.  We don't line up everyone working in a business and shoot them if one or a portion of the employee force runs off the rails.

The problem is not corporations.  The problem is that in some cases we need to tighten and enforce regulations.  And, I  think, we need to see more of what we've seen with a VW exec convicted and sentenced to time in prison. 

We've gone through a period of losing controls over businesses and not taxing upper level earners enough.  It's time to move in the other direction.

SteveMDFP

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #659 on: June 25, 2018, 12:18:35 AM »

The problem is not corporations.  The problem is that in some cases we need to tighten and enforce regulations.  And, I  think, we need to see more of what we've seen with a VW exec convicted and sentenced to time in prison. 

We've gone through a period of losing controls over businesses and not taxing upper level earners enough.  It's time to move in the other direction.

Well, yes, we're largely in agreement.  As I said "It's a massive and extremely lucrative grant that society gives to the shareholders, without sufficient compensation or regulation."

Outlawing corporations wouldn't be my preferred solution.  But the public gives this grant of limited liability without currently getting just and fair compensation.  What's really needed is a steep increase in corporate income tax globally (for the same sort of reasons we need a *global* carbon tax/price).  And tighter regulation to prohibit political meddling.  Yes, higher taxes on the wealthy are needed, though I think stronger estate taxes could suffice.  Let the "winners" play with their toys while they're alive.  No financial dynasties.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #660 on: June 25, 2018, 12:24:41 AM »
I don't disagree with any of that. 

In general, it should be easier to earn one's first million than second and all subsequent millions should be harder to earn.  Progressive tax that keeps on rolling up.

Probably the main thing we need to do in the US is to get private money out of campaigns.  Public financing would probably pay for itself many times over.

Susan Anderson

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #661 on: June 25, 2018, 12:40:35 AM »
@miki: thank you for reminding me of Truthout. One of the best! I'll take a look again.

zizek

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #662 on: June 25, 2018, 02:45:36 AM »

It is certainly not the case that all people who live in more free economies are actors who work to maximize wealth and income.  Many are quite happy to live more modest lives once they've reached a position of reasonable comfort.  Heck, I retired at 44 because I had enough.  Had I continued and did not run into a major disruptive event my net worth would be at least in the tens of millions of dollars.  And I have multiple friends who have made the same "enough" decision.


Apparently accumulating so much capital that you can comfortably retire at the age of 44 is a sign of modesty.

no wonder your views on capitalism are so distorted.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #663 on: June 25, 2018, 05:14:04 AM »
 France, Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and Australia are countries where individuals are allowed to work for their own profit.  They all have laws permitting corporations and private ownership of property.

In those countries, and the US, citizens have agreed to own some services in common as that is sometimes a way to obtain a service otherwise unaffordable for most.  Some common examples are fire protection, postal services, care for the disabled, health care, child protection services.  Countries may differ in how many of these agreements they'be entered into but all have some. 

Mao's China did not permit private ownership of property (unless you were one of the "more equal").  Service in restaurants where foreigners were allowed to eat was generally crummy.  One waiter explained to me that no one bothered to work hard or do anything extra because everyone made the same.  Any tips left by foreigners had to be turned over to the government.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #664 on: June 25, 2018, 05:36:08 AM »
Here's a definition of socialism that fits my use of the term.

Quote
a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

In none of the countries listed are the means of production, distribution, and exchange owned by the community as a whole. 

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #665 on: June 25, 2018, 05:11:49 PM »
Paying everyone a little bit does not serve the premise of a Universal Basic Income.

Finland’s Basic Income Test Wasn’t Ambitious Enough
The payments encouraged beneficiaries to take work that doesn’t pay a living wage.
Quote
The UBI idea is not dead. It’s still worth watching other experiments, especially the ones that actually provide a living income.
https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/view/articles/2018-04-26/finland-s-basic-income-experiment-was-doomed-from-the-start
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #666 on: June 27, 2018, 05:01:52 AM »
Not sure where to post this, and apologies if it has already been posted here or if there's some other more appropriate thread for it somewhere:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old socialist, topples powerful incumbent Joe Crowley

https://thinkprogress.org/crowley-loses-primary-b7f702972f1c/

Quote
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) became the first Democratic incumbent to lose his primary election Tuesday. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old socialist, ran an insurgent campaign focused on Medicare for all, abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and tuition-free higher education.

She has now taken down a man widely considered a candidate for the next Speaker should Democrats retake the House.

Crowley first took office in 1999, and Ocasio-Cortez marked his first challenger in 14 years. She garnered national attention as she has waged war against the congressman’s corporate donations and centrist policy record.

Despite the hype, Crowley, who represented New York’s 14th district, was widely considered a heavy favorite in the race.

Ocasio-Cortez consistently hit Crowley for not accurately representing the district, saying in a campaign ad — without naming him — that it’s “time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same.”

...“What the Bronx and Queens needs is Medicare for all, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform. We can do it now.”
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #667 on: June 27, 2018, 05:35:02 AM »
I posted similarly over in the thread entitled "The problem of Corporate Democrats and how to kick them out"

an included a link to your post

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1937.msg160957.html#msg160957

sidd

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #668 on: July 02, 2018, 09:04:36 PM »
Gates:  "The purpose of humanity is not just to sit behind a counter and sell things. More free time is not a terrible thing."

Branson:  “I think with artificial intelligence coming along, there needs to be a basic income.”

Billionaire Richard Branson: America should give out free cash to fix income inequality
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/02/virgin-groups-richard-branson-on-universal-basic-income.html
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sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #669 on: July 13, 2018, 02:33:27 AM »
From 2014, an analysis of capitalism and its discontents, arguing that capitalism's victory over regulation has led to the seeds of its own demise.

"At present, I claim, we are already in a position to observe capitalism passing away as a result of having destroyed its opposition—dying, as it were, from an overdose of itself. "

"Under oligarchic redistribution, the Keynesian bond which tied the profits of the rich to the wages of the poor is severed, cutting the fate of economic elites loose from that of the masses. [37] This was anticipated in the infamous ‘plutonomy’ memorandums distributed by Citibank in 2005 and 2006 to a select circle of its richest clients, to assure them that their prosperity no longer depended on that of wage earners. [38] "

"In summary, capitalism, as a social order held together by a promise of boundless collective progress, is in critical condition. Growth is giving way to secular stagnation; what economic progress remains is less and less shared; and confidence in the capitalist money economy is leveraged on a rising mountain of promises that are ever less likely to be kept. "

"Step by step, capitalism’s shotgun marriage with democracy since 1945 is breaking up."

The list of references is very good. For example, the "Plutonomy" memos by Citigroup.

https://newleftreview.org/II/87/wolfgang-streeck-how-will-capitalism-end

sidd


johnm33

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #670 on: July 13, 2018, 10:04:03 AM »
Pretty much in the same vein as above, https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly18/USA-3rd-world7-18.html This illustrates the state that all 'mature' political bodies, ungoverned by an overiding ethical framework achieve, before collapse. They all resemble the hierarchical set up that social insects have gamed, it's not a good fit for primates. With the insidious penetration of digital oversight I'm not at all sure that the complete breakdown, with all the social chaos that implies, will be any worse than the clearly unplanned, but totally necessary to maintain the status quo, accelerating tyranny ahead.

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #671 on: August 12, 2018, 05:51:46 PM »
This Bloomberg author is worried.

Americans Own Less Stuff, and That’s Reason to Be Nervous
What happens when a nation built on the concept of individual property ownership starts to give that up?
Quote
Some social problems are blatantly obvious in daily life, while others are longer-term, more corrosive and perhaps mostly invisible. Lately I’ve been worrying about a problem of the latter kind: the erosion of personal ownership and what that will mean for our loyalties to traditional American concepts of capitalism and private property.

The main culprits for the change are software and the internet. For instance, Amazon’s Kindle and other methods of online reading have revolutionized how Americans consume text. Fifteen years ago, people typically owned the books and magazines they were reading. Much less so now. If you look at the fine print, it turns out that you do not own the books on your Kindle. Amazon.com Inc. does.

I do not consider this much of a practical problem. Although Amazon could obliterate the books on my Kindle, this has happened only in a very small number of cases, typically involving account abuse. Still, this licensing of e-books, instead of stacking books on a shelf, has altered our psychological sense of how we connect to what we read – it is no longer truly “ours.”

The change in our relationship with physical objects does not stop there. We used to buy DVDs or video cassettes; now viewers stream movies or TV shows with Netflix. Even the company’s disc-mailing service is falling out of favor. Music lovers used to buy compact discs; now Spotify and YouTube are more commonly used to hear our favorite tunes.

The great American teenage dream used to be to own your own car. That is dwindling in favor of urban living, greater reliance on mass transit, cycling, walking and, of course, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.

Each of these changes is beneficial, yet I worry that Americans are, slowly but surely, losing their connection to the idea of private ownership. The nation was based on the notion that property ownership gives individuals a stake in the system. It set Americans apart from feudal peasants, taught us how property rights and incentives operate, and was a kind of training for future entrepreneurship. Do we not, as parents, often give our children pets or other valuable possessions to teach them basic lessons of life and stewardship?

We’re hardly at a point where American property has been abolished, but I am still nervous that we are finding ownership to be so inconvenient. The notion of “possessive individualism” is sometimes mocked, but in fact it is a significant source of autonomy and initiative. Perhaps we are becoming more communal and caring in positive ways, but it also seems to be more conformist and to generate fewer empire builders and entrepreneurs.

What about your iPhone, that all-essential life device? Surely you own that? Well, sort of. When Apple Inc. decides to change the operating software, sooner or later you have to go along with what they have selected. Gmail is due to change its overall look and functionality, maybe for the better, but again eventually this choice will not be yours either: It’s Google’s. The very economics of software encourage standardization, and changes over time, so de facto you rent much of what you use rather than owning it. I typed the draft of this column using Microsoft Word, and sooner or later my contract to use it will expire and I will have to renew.

Imagine the “internet of things” penetrating our homes more and more, through services like Amazon’s Alexa. We’ll have ovens and thermostats that  you set with your voice, and a toilet and bathroom that periodically give you the equivalent of a medical check-up. Yes, you will still own the title to your physical house, but most of the value in that home you will in essence rent from outside companies or, in the case of municipal utilities, the government.

As for that iPhone, it is already clear that you do not have a full legal right to repair it, and indeed more and more devices are sold to consumers without giving them corresponding rights to fix or alter those goods and services. John Deere tractors are sold to farmers with plenty of software, and farmers have to hack into the tractor if they wish to fix it themselves. There is now a small but burgeoning “right to repair” political movement.

Does that sound like something our largely agrarian Founding Fathers might have been happy about? The libertarian political theorist might tell you that arrangement is simply freedom of contract in action. But the more commonsensical, broad libertarian intuitions of the American public encapsulate a more brutish and direct sense that some things we simply own and hold the rights to.

Those are intuitions which are growing increasingly disconnected from reality, and no one knows what lies on the other side of this social experiment.
https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/view/articles/2018-08-12/american-ownership-society-is-changing-thanks-to-technology
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sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #672 on: August 12, 2018, 10:29:10 PM »
"Do we not, as parents, often give our children pets or other valuable possessions to teach them basic lessons of life and stewardship?"

That sentence tells you all about the author right there.

sidd

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #673 on: August 13, 2018, 01:39:57 AM »
"Do we not, as parents, often give our children pets or other valuable possessions to teach them basic lessons of life and stewardship?"

That sentence tells you all about the author right there.

sidd

Of course, Bloomberg opinions are very likely to espouse conspicuous consumption — it’s why they exist.  But I was heartened by the examples of where we are moving away from accumulating physical things. 

I recall the story of a family preparing to evacuate their home due to wildfire.  The teenager said, “I’m ready.  I have my phone.  Everything I need is in the cloud.”
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #674 on: August 20, 2018, 08:07:17 AM »
Banksy on Capitalism, image attached.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #675 on: August 20, 2018, 10:43:50 AM »
One can argue that things are SO Bad and the time so short that nothing short of a streamlined militaristic structure will do... Think of it in reverse... If there was only one survival spaceship or Mars outpost to get away to, would we really be arguing about what BRAND of moon buggy to buy?... How to 'OUTCLASS' the jones' with a more showy hut??  Probably far better examples of how we'd really seek a very streamlined system when everything is at stake but the only choice these days is what works best, how to make it better and be thankful we have it when we need it... Only the general concept of the military or NASA or the command on a maritime ship embodies the degree of efficiency needed.  One could ask how do people at the Antarctic outpost decide what to do... isn't it also a structured streamlined system?  You get the same dam bed everyone else has, do your critical work and be happy for what time you have to share with each other. PERIOD... Oh and btw... healthcare and education are also free in the military so its also a system with more benefits than silly/meaninglyess choices!
Self-sufficiency and Durability to disasters are the absolute keys to nearly any disaster you can think of such as War, economic collapse, pandemics, Global warming, quakes, volcanoes, Hurricanes... all of which put solar farms etc. and power grids at risk!

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #676 on: August 20, 2018, 11:38:24 AM »

sidd
That may win the Chart of the Decade award!!!
Terry

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #677 on: September 09, 2018, 03:40:56 PM »
Redistribution of wealth.

Giving Pledge signed by Bill Gates, Elon Musk may reach $600 billion
Quote
• At least 175 people committed to donating a majority of their fortunes through the Giving Pledge, which could be worth as much as $600 billion by 2022, according to a Wealth-X report.
• The pledge has drawn some criticism because it allows donors to name their own charities in their wills.
• Education was the top philanthropic cause in 2017, with about 62% of billionaires donating at least part of their fortunes to higher education funding, scholarships and more....
https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-elon-musk-giving-pledge-may-reach-600-billion-2018-7
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sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #678 on: September 16, 2018, 08:06:25 PM »
Taibbi at Rolling Stone on lessons unlearned from the crisis of a decade ago:

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/financial-crisis-ten-year-anniversary-723798/

sidd

GoSouthYoungins

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #679 on: September 16, 2018, 08:36:18 PM »
nothing wrong with capitalism. we just have to make sure we are accounting for externalities like pollution. capitalism is just the absence of restrictions by authorities. free individuals interacting as they choose is called capitalism. having a free monetary system would be crucial as well.
big time oops

etienne

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #680 on: September 19, 2018, 09:06:29 PM »
Capitalism is a concept, and like for all concept, you have the therory, and the way it is implemented. I would say that most important flaws are :
  • when you start to accumulate money, it gives you a power that makes it possible for you to sale whaterver you want, saying that it is whatever the customer think he needs, a power that even has an impact on democracy.
  • it requires growth because everybody wants more money, but prices can't be increased so easily, so efficiency gains are required, this is mainly achieved through growth. Most of the time, when somebody grows, there is somebody else loosing market share
  • mens are not just a brain, but they have feelings, so they don't buy products just with a rational thinking and markets law don't apply so well as expected (this is valid for trendy product that cost too much, for having your friends as supplier/customer, for not checking regularely what other suppliers offer, for corruption...)
But I guess that this is valid for most economical systems.


johnm33

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #682 on: September 20, 2018, 09:27:44 PM »
This could go in must reads or money, taking back the power to create money into public control, for the common good.
"Central bankers are now aggressively playing the stock market. To say they are buying up the planet may be an exaggeration, but they could. They can create money at will, and they have declared their “independence” from government. They have become rogue players in a game of their own. "
Ellen Brown, https://ellenbrown.com/2018/09/14/central-banks-have-gone-rogue-putting-us-all-at-risk/

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #683 on: September 27, 2018, 12:42:24 AM »
Elliott at the Guardian on perils of capitalist globalization: sees the re-emergence of state managed capitalism:

"Now the most powerful man on the planet is saying something different: that the only way to remedy the economic and social ills caused by globalisation is through the nation state ... he’s not a lone voice."

"China – has never given up on the nation state."

"It was the way most western countries operated in the decades after the second world war ... "

"while the nation state is far from perfect, it is where an alternative to the current failed model will inevitably begin. Increasingly, voters are looking to the one form of government where they do have a say to provide economic security. And if the mainstream parties are not prepared to offer what these voters want – a decently paid job, properly funded public services and controls on immigration – then they will look elsewhere for parties or movements that will."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/26/donald-trump-globalisation-nation-state

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #684 on: September 27, 2018, 04:31:18 AM »
The decades following WWII were great years in North America. A high school education and a union job bought a home in the 'burbs, a new car every two years, and a stay home mom to raise Bobbie and Betty.


The American Dream writ large for white, straight, males who didn't think it would ever end. Didn't think about South East Asia, didn't think about lily white suburbs, didn't think about much at all.
They never questioned why the Koreans needed to be separated, or why the Vietnamese cost us the gold standard.
Jack, then Martin and Bobby were murdered - but there was never a coup - We knew that because those still in power told us so. Why would they lie?
Crazy lone gunmen. Crazy!


Kids in the street with long hair smoked dope, popped pills, screwed everything that moved, and accused the Powers that Be of immorality. If they'd been accustomed to thinking, they might have commented on the hypocrisy. Instead they sent them to Vietnam or jail. Jail was safer, but the dope was better in Vietnam.


A washed up movie star utilized his acting experience, and the perfidy of his "followers" to win a presidential election. The short age of the semi literate American Dreamer crashed to an end.
Terry

Sleepy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #685 on: September 27, 2018, 09:25:34 AM »
We’re getting there, aren’t we? We’re making the transition towards an all-electric future. We can now leave fossil fuels in the ground and thwart climate breakdown. Or so you might imagine, if you follow the technology news.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/26/economic-growth-fossil-fuels-habit-oil-industry
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etienne

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #686 on: September 27, 2018, 11:27:37 PM »
My wife has been reading a lot about "voluntary simplicity" lately, there are many good ideas around that concept. I wonder if sometimes people are not confused between self sufficiency through simplicity and through solar panels (+ diesel generator for the cloudy days).

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #687 on: September 28, 2018, 12:11:31 AM »
etienne, I think of solar as part of an exit from fossil fuels. Even with the best of intentions it is difficult to live both a simple life and live within any current civilization. Fresh water, irrigation water and sanitation are all energy drains we are totally dependent upon , civilization wise.  Computer use ,food , recreation and transportation can be simplified from and individual standpoint but there are limits to what cities can do ... to collectively simplify. I guess I am trying yo say there is plenty of opportunities to simplify but something like hard limits to simplify civilization. Solar can ,I believe ,power some of those necessities but we collectively need to walk back our expectations for how much it can power.
IMO
 

Sleepy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #688 on: September 28, 2018, 12:51:07 PM »
Voluntary simplicity got me thinking about Joan Pick, again. Posted another link about her in the Hyperloop thread (weird huh) a while back, note the symbol on her cap...
https://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/news/croydon-news/croydon-running-lady-died-following-531606
Quote
"We know we're using too much energy," she said. "We have to live within the planet's means.

"There is no alternative to a fundamental change in the way we live."

Miss Pick's decision to boycott planes, trains and automobiles came as a scientist in 1973 while working for a Croydon firm of consultants advising the energy industry.

She decided the world's mass-consumption approach to energy was wrong and began setting an example for everyone to follow.

Since then she only travelled as far as her legs would take her, which meant she had gone decades without a holiday.

"I'm a minimal energy user," she explained. "I don't expect anybody else to be as resolute as me, but I have to experiment with the energy-efficient lifestyle to prove it's survivable."

The Morris Minor Millennium she drove had been mothballed in her garage since 1972.

Her pact with herself meant that, in the 16 years before 2008, she had been no further than Tower Bridge to the north, Tolworth to the west, Reigate and Godstone to the south or Sidcup to the east.

"It's the easiest, cheapest method of keeping fit," she said, explaining why she ran everywhere.

"People shout at me 'keep on running'.

"I'm usually stopped and people ask me if I'm the lady who runs everywhere and they ask me why I'm doing it, so I give them a little seminar.

"They say I'm an inspiration but they're still in their cars."
Yeah, We are.  :-[
Omnia mirari, etiam tritissima.
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Science is a jealous mistress and takes little account of a man's feelings.

etienne

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #689 on: September 28, 2018, 06:31:51 PM »
etienne, I think of solar as part of an exit from fossil fuels. Even with the best of intentions it is difficult to live both a simple life and live within any current civilization. Fresh water, irrigation water and sanitation are all energy drains we are totally dependent upon , civilization wise.  Computer use ,food , recreation and transportation can be simplified from and individual standpoint but there are limits to what cities can do ... to collectively simplify. I guess I am trying yo say there is plenty of opportunities to simplify but something like hard limits to simplify civilization. Solar can ,I believe ,power some of those necessities but we collectively need to walk back our expectations for how much it can power.
IMO

I agree, but there are people who live with all the modern comfort, 100% renewable, and I don't believe that this is the way to go. Somehow when reading about voluntary simplicity, I found similar patterns, but which clearly cover a different context.
Voluntary simplicity, as far as I understood, doesn't mean refusing technology, but mainly reducing needs in order have more time and freedom. Reducing your debts and needs are things that gives you the most freedom, I have been during almost 9 years working part time without any debt, this was a great time (I'm still working part time but bought another house). Just reducing your carbon footprint doesn't bring any freedom, it just provides a good feeling.

Sleepy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #690 on: September 28, 2018, 08:52:26 PM »
but there are people who live with all the modern comfort, 100% renewable
Not if you account for how their "100% renewable" lifestyle was built, but that's not the real issue either. The social cost of carbon and sustainability on one planet, is.
Omnia mirari, etiam tritissima.
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Sleepy

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Science is a jealous mistress and takes little account of a man's feelings.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #692 on: October 02, 2018, 10:31:34 PM »
Beam at wsws has an analysis of Tooze's book about the 2008 crisis, damns with faint praise:

"[Tooze] makes an important analysis of the operations of the global financial system"

but

"as a liberal, whose outlook does not go beyond the framework of the capitalist order, he regards the free market and the profit system as the only possible form of society"

"the incessant mantra of the spokespeople of the financial industry had been free markets and light touch regulation, what they were now demanding was the mobilization of all the resources of the state to save society’s financial infrastructure" [Tooze]

"contrary to the assumption of 2012–2013, the crisis was not in fact over. What we face now is not repetition but mutation and metastasis … the financial and economic crisis of 2007–2012 morphed between 2013 and 2017 into a comprehensive and geopolitical crisis of the post-cold war order." [Tooze]

" when another financial crisis erupts ... it will take place in conditions where geopolitical tensions and conflicts are far more intense"

"Though it is hardly a secret that we inhabit a world dominated by business oligopolies, during the crisis and its aftermath this reality and its implications for the priority of government stood nakedly exposed. It is an unpalatable and explosive truth that democratic politics on both sides of the Atlantic has choked on." [Tooze]

"elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy." [Schauble]

"the future of America’s dominance as the financial centre of the world" [Schumer re Glass-Steagall repeal]

"the questions that we have asked about 1914 ... their analogues are also the questions we ask about 2008 and its aftermath" [Tooze]

Beam replies with Trotsky:

"The War of 1914 is the most colossal breakdown in history of an economic system destroyed by its own inherent contradictions."

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/22/tooz-s22.html

sidd

oren

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #693 on: October 02, 2018, 11:40:18 PM »
The 2008 crisis never really ended. It was all loaded into central banks balance sheets who bailed out the banks, large corporations and the wealthy and monetized the national debt.

zizek

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #694 on: October 10, 2018, 12:02:11 AM »
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-09/security-that-triggered-a-recession-reworked-to-green-the-earth?utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_medium=social&utm_content=business&utm_source=twitter&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business


What an excellent pathway. I'm excited that in a couple decades I'll be reading about the misappropriation and abuse of climate change securities. billions of dollars once again going into the pockets of wall street.  The good news is that the situation will be dire enough that the bankers will actually be punished, but not from the government.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #695 on: October 10, 2018, 07:29:04 AM »
Neven in another thread

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1974.msg176325.html#msg176325

which i shall parafrase a little:

"But if we don't break the vicious cycle of misery for wealth and power, everything is meaningless and a waste of time."

Gluttony for food or sensual pleasure is excoriated, but gluttony for wealth and power is revered in this strange and terrible world view. Here is Hamilton Nolan echoing Hunter Thompson on a conference for the ubermensch in Vegas:

"Rich people go to Vegas to spend money. Really rich people go to Vegas to learn how to make money."

"where the hedge fund industry gathers to talk about money and politics, all while voraciously sucking its own dick. If you have ever wondered whether there really is a cabal of elites plotting in private to rule the world, wonder no more. Here they are. "

" younger hedge fund worker ants were assigned to sit at coffee tables and pitch their ideas to potential investors, like an awful version of speed dating in which the only thing you could discuss is “structured credit.” All of the younger men looked like Jared Kushner, and all the younger women looked like Ivanka Trump might look if she had to work 14-hour days"

"Just steps away was the official SALT Conference/ BDO Shoe Shine area, where you could gaze at that Mclaren and browse Bloomberg on your phone without making eye contact with the two women and one black man who were there shining shoes. "

"Television is for poor people. With the average net worth in this building, the television shows come to them. "

"There is good reason to be suspicious of the Democrats and other allegedly righteous types who appear at a hedge fund conference. "

"But anyone can understand these people if you can grasp one thing: When the money gets big enough, finance and economics and politics are all the same thing. They are ways to measure risk. When you run five or ten or a hundred billion dollars, your overriding concern in life is that pile of money—growing it, yes, but, more fundamentally, preserving it. Geopolitics therefore become just another business risk to be measured alongside interest rates and consumer trends, and judged based on the threat it poses to your money. Climate change? A risk. War in North Korea? A risk. Donald Trump’s insanity? A risk. What normal people think of in moral or ideological terms, those who control all the world’s wealth think of simply in terms of risk. Almost anything can be tolerated, if it allows them to make more money with less risk. This is the logic of capitalism. "

"you find a governing philosophy that cares nothing for humanity. "

“The rich people in this room—you don’t wanna live in a barbed wire enclosure in your McMansion like they do in Latin America. So we gotta fix this problem.”

"What they cannot stand to give up is power. "

"What they are not capable of is admitting that in order for the public as a whole to win, the hedge fund class may have to sacrifice more than just the checks they write at the annual Hamptons charity balls. They may have to sacrifice power. That, I’m afraid, is unthinkable. To be very rich is to have the luxury of constructing a plausible theory of morality that allows you to hold on to everything you have."

https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/hell-is-empty-and-all-the-hedge-fund-managers-are-at-th-1795429824

sidd

etienne

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #696 on: October 10, 2018, 07:31:02 AM »
ROFL

The problem is the solution: Politically impossible? Change the political structure. Change to sustainable governance. Can’t be done? Too bad. You have no choice.

Choose: sustainability or ELE/collapse. And please do note Mollison’s words:
While the problems are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/01/unforced-variations-jan-2013/comment-page-4/#comment-314611
There is a joke that says that if housing is too expensive in your area, you should ask the governement to increase profit taxes applied on private companies. Easy solutions are often what political extreems suggest.

Sleepy

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #697 on: October 11, 2018, 11:21:05 AM »
A snippet from this interview with George Monbiot from last year:
https://youtu.be/13FRO2hNt70?t=1

Edit; also adding his own explanation from yesterday:
4 reasons for using climate breakdown, not climate change:
1. It better conveys the extent of the problem
2. People don't say "So what? The climate's always breaking down"
3. It makes an implicit connection with the impact on our minds
4. It suggests that we can fix it.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 11:32:04 AM by Sleepy »
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sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #698 on: October 12, 2018, 06:55:29 AM »
The Finance Curse: How the City of London screws the nation and the world:

"once a financial sector grows above an optimal size and beyond its useful roles, it begins to harm the country that hosts it"

"City of London has inflicted a cumulative £4.5tn hit on the British economy from 1995-2015. That is worth around two-and-a-half years’ economic output, "

"Managers often found that the best way to maximise the owners’ wealth was not to make better widgets and sprockets or to find new cures for malaria, but to indulge in the sugar rush of financial engineering, to tease out more profits from businesses that are already doing well. Social purpose be damned. As all this happened, inequality rose, financial crises became more common and economic growth fell "

"Our open arms to the world’s dirty money is corrupting our politics, and it is puffing up our housing markets, penalising the young, the poor and the weak. It is all deepening the finance curse."

Article at :

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/oct/05/the-finance-curse-how-the-outsized-power-of-the-city-of-london-makes-britain-poorer

paper at:

http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/SPERI-The-UKs-Finance-Curse-Costs-and-Processes.pdf

The paper has numbers on corresponding costs to the USA:

"The data reports a much more pronounced effect than the earlier application of this
method to the United States (Epstein and Montecino, 2016), which identified costs
of $22,300 billion between 1990 and 2023, or slightly more than one year’s worth of
2018 US GDP."

sidd

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #699 on: October 21, 2018, 06:00:00 PM »
Here’s a fun game.

Crypts Diggin’ (@KrisLigman) 10/19/18, 7:59 PM
Hey I just published my new game, You Are Jeff Bezos. It is a game where you are Jeff Bezos and your only goal is to spend all his f**king money
https://twitter.com/krisligman/status/1053435599581933568

You Are Jeff Bezos by Kris Ligman
https://direkris.itch.io/you-are-jeff-bezos
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.