Modern Day Quasi-Feudal System?
Any successful capitalist will tell you that capitalism is still the Holy Grail of modern economics. Without a doubt, capitalism has done more to advance certain aspects of humanity than any other economic system to date. But, something is happening. As capitalism’s limitations become more and more apparent, economists, professional and otherwise, are attempting to mitigate its inherent flaws by calling for a return to ethical or “conscious” capitalism. If capitalism is the end-all economic system, why would we need to do that?
Bypassing formal qualitative analysis, one might assume the problem is transparent enough—greed. Within a system in which markets and financial speculation operate with dwindling oversight thanks to corporate lobbyists, income is propelled upward leading to rising income inequality. Profit is privatized while loss is socialized, allowing a few the benefit of exploding wealth while the incomes of the majority working class stagnate or even collapse. This ongoing debasement could be labeled a modern day quasi-feudal system.
Though, we increasingly have the data to verify the ongoing degradation of working class wealth that’s been occurring over many generations within capitalism, we need not look any further than capitalism’s three main elements to discover where the in-built limitations lie.
The three central elements of capitalism are capital accumulation, competition and a price system. There is a fourth element that is required as a derivative of the first three to sustain capitalism—growth.
Let’s take a look at the most flawed component first, competition. Capitalism requires a loser is for every winner. We see this as the true trickle-down effect as (more than) half the world continues to be mired in ridiculous man-made poverty. Though capitalism is not the economic system for the entire planet, it interacts with other economic systems, participating in poverty wages and deplorable working conditions. We also see that competition is a short-sighted “survival of the fittest” mechanism.
Even in the animal kingdom, what has mistakenly been called, “survival of the fittest,” is holistically, “the un-survival of the un-fittest.” If Nature were truly survival of the fittest, it would create parasitic-type conditions in which the parasite would end up destroying the “host,” or its environment.
Yet, man’s belief that Nature acts out of survival of the fittest has led man to act out likewise toward each other. Do you see how man has become Earth’s destructive environmental parasite and that we are compromising our home planet and our future?
Capital that is hoarded without being put back into circulation is a great threat to the long-term viability of capitalism. The playing field is far from level when 85 people control half the world’s wealth.
A Means To An End?
When capital becomes the end game rather than a means to an end and the pricing systems built for trade are manipulated, then add in the creation of cartels… should there be wonder at the current social ills in the world, artificially created by man.
And what happens when policy-driven bubbles burst and there is no growth? Capitalism’s kryptonite is growth. The problem with dependency on growth is that it “consumes” all in its path like a wildfire out of control. Add the dynamic of competition to the tinderbox and a firestorm is created, resulting in the amassing of fortunes for the sake of amassing fortunes, a means to an insatiable end and what Plato’s student, Aristotle, scorned—the making of money through means of monopoly. Monopolies mean more imbalance.
Growth as yang run amok without complementary yin conservation in equal measure is not sustainable as a disparate planet, also a living organism, utilizes energetic processes to right itself, which could include dramatic changes to human habitation.
Also, it’s important to be aware that more than half the world’s population lives in countries where human population has peaked, meaning that the fertility rate is below replacement level. Many European countries are even offering incentives to boost birthrates. Isn’t this counterintuitive in an overpopulated world? Should we be increasing birth rates for the sole purpose of consumption?
A final issue worth mentioning is capitalists entering smaller markets around the globe, supplanting self-sustainable local community business, to dominate and/or seek to control natural resources in the name of progress and jobs, but then actually disrupt a viable, cooperative community or strip it of its resources.
We must recognize capitalism’s shortfalls and begin the inquiry into higher consciousness economics that include social responsibility, making it easy for humanity to thrive, rather than through unnecessary struggle.
Nature shows us that holistically, symbiosis means working together cooperatively for the collective good. What does not co-exist for mutual benefit brings its own death, the un-survival of the un-fittest. As competition means there are one or more losers to every winner, we immediately see that: Capitalism is a limited, bi-polar construct, borne out of separation consciousness, consuming itself toward its own demise.
Thank you to those in business with the maturity, wisdom, and integrity, to be of true service of the global community.
So, how do we develop sustainable social systems that truly do serve the good of all, thriving even amidst conservation and declining populations as we evolve as a species?
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