Jon has accurately described the basis of the success of the "free" market -- why we have computers and smart phones and twitter and pharmaceuticals and just about everything people depend on and prize and have no intention of giving up. In fact they want more. Nowhere is the proof that it can't continue to expand, with its boundless reserve of labor and innovation. Economic contraction, btw, is the definition of a depression. And if you think that definition is just from the corporate perspective, tell that to families in Hoovervilles.
Personally, I preferred New York when it had completely contracted -- it went bankrupt -- when it was anarchic, when there were places of complete freedom where ownership had disappeared and the spaces belonged to the people who lived in them, not the absent slumlord, or the city or the developer or the bank. It had vitality. But the streets were also filled with poverty and desperation, especially for people of color, and where the underground economy was dangerous and violent and most of the victims were also people of color.
We are seeing a true labor revolution, a revolution in the service economy, where people are serving our raised living standard that has endorsed and supported corporate control -- the luxury economy has not been hurt in the recession. The 99% is 99% responsible for the 1%. And that support makes the 1% not only powerful, but also confident and arrogant. They believe they are invulnerable, and they have been.
If they are threatened with this new OWS revolution, they might reign themselves back and capitulate to assuage the 99% -- because they need us. But I'm not convinced that they are capable of seeing their own benefit. Rapacious thieves are blind and will destroy even each other. If people reject consumerism and undermine the economy, they'll see even more poverty and misery. That can lead to widespread social unrest, and not the good kind of unrest. Americans don't have the stomach for it.
The problem is not just that we can't change capitalism overnight, it's that it's not likely we will ever get that chance.
On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 1:24 AM, Jon Good <email@example.com>
Let's not forget, by the way, what capitalism is and what it isn't. Many non-capitalist systems have money, and even have profits. Capitalism specifically is a system where the rights to reap the profits of others' labor are for sale to the highest bidder. That's what owning stocks is: buying shares of a company's stock is buying a stake in the ownership of that company (this is called "equity"). Since a company is obligated to turn profits for its shareholders, it has to keep expanding or to increase its profit margin in its current market so its value (and thus the stock price) keeps going up.
Too many folks have the notion that capitalism is defined as everything America does, and socialism is everything we don't do.
On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 12:27 AM, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lauren, That's the best anti-capital argument I've heard yet, but try to go to the poorest parts of the world and take away their few pennies and they will fight to the death for them. Any good system redesign starts with the human relations that already exist and then makes many small changes that spread power out and down. The problem with many socialist experimants were that they were radical all or nothing experiments that ignored existing economic and power relationships and tried to replace the whole system at the same time. Its like trying to rip out the entire NYC subway on the same day and replace it with air tube cars the next. Air tube cars may be great but real change takes time.
On 11/08/11, Lauren<email@example.com> wrote:
What alternative has even been allowed to run unimpeded?
Socialism? Social-capitalism is merely a stopgap to make the european
and latin american working class shut up.
Communism? Communism in Russia died in 1921. Maoism is confucianism
with a coat of red paint.
Anarchism? Yes, I guess being beaten by the combined might of Hitler,
Stalin, Mussolini and Franco, despite there being a war between each
other, could count as an objective measurement of failure, assuming
that your ethical standards are those of a jackbooted thug.
Where is the success of capitalism in Africa? Why do we keep being
reminded about the kulaks, but never about the millions who died
during the rubber boom, never about the millions who died during the
dust bowl, never about the millions who died because of Britain's
laissez-mourir approach to famines in India, Ireland, Africa?
Capitalist wealth is the wealth of empire. It's the illusion brought
about by concentration, by homogenization of societies that used to be
heterogenous even there; wealthy countries with wealthy regions with
wealthy cities with wealthy neighborhoods. Hey, some of the country
doesn't have electricity and running water? It's okay, we have
billionaires in the capital who are really enjoying the success of
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Developmenthttp://savethelowereastside.blogspot.com/
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