Our world is chock full of examples why capitalism cannot be sustained. From climate change, to the pandemic, to the much more basic problems like food insecurity, a world designed so that an elite few can appease their greed is ill equipped to deal with any of the serious problems we face. Only a world which doesn’t demand that everything be profitable can do that.
Don’t believe people who talk about the problems capitalism actually can fix, either. Those problems were almost always manufactured by capitalism itself.
@InvaderXan Before giving up on capitalism, we need to invent something that works better.
Several variations of socialism have been tested at national scale, and produced other problems. You could argue that those problems were minor and society was overall better off with socialism... but that was true, then why did people keep fleeing from socialist countries and not the other way around?
@InvaderXan To be clear: I'm not pro-capitalist and anti-socialist. I just want to live in a well functioning society. I'd be happy to vote for a new order that's been shown to work in the real world. Of course it has to deal with human irrationality, corrupted politicians, international trade, and so on.
I don't think there's anything concrete right now, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.
@codewiz Several versions of socialism have not been tested at national scale. Most democratically elected socialist governments throughout the 20th century were immediately deposed by the USA, sometimes by direct military intervention, and replaced by totalitarian dictators.
The principle reason for this was to fool people into believing that "before giving up on capitalism, we need to invent something that works better."
@InvaderXan Yes, the US totally had a phobia of socialism until the end of the cold war. Not so much nowadays...
Socialism has also evolved to coexist with free market economics:
In my previous post, I was referring to pure Socialism, the version which aims to plan the entirety of the productive economy. I don't believe it would be feasible here in Japan, where Abe's administration struggled to produce 2 masks per household, and after 2 months distributed this product:
@codewiz No, in your previous post you explicitly referred to "several variations"
@InvaderXan touché 😅
@codewiz @InvaderXan “Yes, the US totally had a phobia of socialism until the end of the cold war. Not so much nowadays...” -> Huh? Have you heard about the situation in Bolivia? The US took an active part in trying to destroy non-capitalist systems in the last years… In each case, the US was not necessarily the biggest event that lead to these situations, but they helped a lot of coups to prevent non-capitalists to get into power 😕 This is especially noticeable in South America, where the precense of the US is quite palpable.
@InvaderXan Nah, c’mon, money is totally useful! Sure it’s only useful for the sale of one time use disposable commodities, and an engine of ruin in every other economic transaction, but hey, that’s something!
@cy Oh, money itself genuinely is useful, and I unironically have no issue with it.
The thing that's nonsensical is currency. Things like inflation, interest, price hikes, deficit, exchange rates. The value of this one type of currency could fall tomorrow, and I could have less than I did today, despite not doing anything myself. It's clearly absurd. And yet, we've all been taught this is normal.
@varve @InvaderXan Except you can’t make change for a goat, since you don’t know how much more milk that goat’s gonna give before going belly up. How would you know how much money that goat is worth to you?
Not that people haven’t just blindly hoped that nothing bad would happen, but selling livestock with issues at a high markup is one of the oldest scams.
@cy @InvaderXan And yet people traded goats (and other livestock, and food items, and made items) for things they didn't have before there was money. Trading happens and always has. The goat isn't the point in that example, except as an example of a relatively higher value thing that might be traded.
@cy Oh, your authoritative source is a youtube video. What a surprise.
@InvaderXan No, it’s an anthropologist named David Graeber. You’re free to enlighten me with other authoritative sources on all this trading that happened before the existence of money. Far as I know it was either a gift economy, or intertribal conflict, until money made impartial trading slightly less than ludicrous.
@InvaderXan I wasn't sure where to start either... Like, assuming that *all* pre-money societies had a tribal sharing structure. Assuming that trade between regions didn't exist. Assuming that people would invent money for no reason, then discover it can be used for trade, instead of struggling with trade in items of unequal value or between someone who wanted to exchange things the other party wasn't interested in, and coming to an agreement that this token indicated value.
@InvaderXan @cy Saying hi from Turkey where we went from TRY 1= USD ~1.5 worst to < .15 today, in less than 10yrs. Meanwhile minwage went from ~TRY800 to ~2.3k and prices went up more than 10x for many essentials. It's been a sublime experience, like TRY50 would suffice for a week excluding utilities, but now you can't buy a decent single course meal outside with that money. All thanks to politics. Thanks to a party that I didn't vote for.
@InvaderXan Well, without interest, the only thing money’s good for is selling stuff. And once you sell something, all transactions are final. So you make more money by making what you sell less reusable, and you can lose money buying a bad product unaware. So for reusable non-disposable commodities you still have to get the law involved to make up for money’s shortcomings. The only time money doesn’t fail is in buying single use disposable commodities, or buying other forms of money.
@InvaderXan this is already one of my frustrations with a sustainability course I just started. There is such an intrinsic and unexamined assumption that capitalism is the natural way the world works, and it's even built into the "three pillars" definition of sustainability - people, planet, profit.
@varve It's really insidious in this particular context. The idea that all things must involve profit, when the fairytale of neverending growth and ever increasing profits is the problem at the heart of all of this.
As you say, it's just taken for granted that this is the only way things can be. As if it's somehow possible to keep doing the same thing and get a different result.
It frustrates me.
@InvaderXan I mean I said right in my introduction in the course forums that I was likely to be found complaining about how the reduce and reuse parts of reduce-reuse-recycle were ignored because they aren't profitable, when they're more important than recycle... I hope to have many chances to engage with the other students about what assumptions are underlying the questions in the course.
To get it, we need to stop demanding that a company always be increasing in profits. You can only sell everyone a toaster once... unless they are designed to break and are cheeper to buy new than repair.
How? I do not know, this is way outside my expertises. My first thought is get rid of the stock market, but I’ve no idea.
@InvaderXan @varve your discussion reminds me of 'local exchange trading system' (LETS) - a locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using locally created currency. LETS allow people to negotiate the value of their own hours or services, and to keep wealth in the locality where it is created.
Capitalism when spoken of in its mythical (as in doesnt exist) form of purely an economic system and not also a political system of enslavement and theft is about valuing things for how quickly they grow and consume resources and that is in DIRECT conflict with both the well being of humans and the planet.
I think most USans REALLY struggle with thinking about the world when they can't sort it into things that grow quickly and are valuable and things that dont.
@Alonealastalovedalongthe @InvaderXan I think I discovered at least a part of the basis for the US mythology of "if you work hard you'll get ahead". Back when there was more land than colonists to farm it and land was close to free for the taking (if you were white) it truly was a case of working harder = having more. Break more land, plant more seed, harvest more crop, have more surplus. That was a time and place where capitalism didn't have a strong grip.
Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.