Following the success of my recent article, The Truth Behind Capitalism, and the overwhelming number of people who watched my documentary short, I decided to decode the premise of the article by looking at the many comments left by you, the CE readers.
Both the article and the documentary criticized the capitalist system from Karl Marx’s perspective, and suggested that a more communal, or ‘communist’ approach to the way we live would be more moral, ethical, and better for people and planet. Unsurprisingly, not everyone agreed with this standpoint, but the fact that so many people commented on the article is very telling in and of itself.
In 2008, the economic system as we knew it literally collapsed, and it seems that this may well be one big reason why so many people are questioning the validity of the system we have today and fervently debating its many alternatives.
So before I decode The Truth Behind Capitalism, here are some of the ideological alternatives to the current capitalist system that were expressed by CE readers:
Socialism is commonly misunderstood as government control of everything; in actual fact, advocates of socialism seek worker control of everything, not state control. Socialists believe the people should make decisions as a collective through workplace co-operatives.
Karl Marx coined the term ‘socialism’ as a reaction to the exploitation by factory workers of the working class, especially through child labor, purely to yield more profit.
As Harvard, Stanford, and Yale educated economist, Richard D Wolff, explains here, advocates of socialism see the free-market motive for profit as a problem with capitalism, not the state itself.
Whereas socialism promotes an alternative economic system that is democratically planned by the workers (democratic socialism), advocates of social democracy support the current mixed economy, and want to keep the private sector.
However, they believe that the state needs to heavily regulate the actions of capitalists to avoid ‘corporatism’ or ‘crony capitalism,’ which is when out-of-control business practices allow for corporations to lobby, influence, and sue the government.
Examples of such regulations could include using the proposals set out by the non-profit organisation Positive Money as a way to regulate the market economy with better ethics and morals, or the framework of planetary boundaries developed by Earth system and environmental scientists, which suggests preconditions for businesses to ensure sustainable development.
Advocates of capitalist libertarianism argue that true capitalism is nothing but the free and voluntary trade of goods and services and the private ownership of the means of production. The profit motive is seen as a beneficial consequence of free trade because profit can only be realized when something is produced that other people want.
Libertarians believe that the inequality we are experiencing today has grown not because of capitalism, but because of government involvement, since political rulers not only grant monopoly privileges to a small few, but also decide who succeeds and who fails.
Advocates of libertarianism therefore see a stateless free-market society as a motivator to be creative and productive; instead of government imposing rules from above, people trade and interact freely with each other for the benefit of all. In this model, the profit motive exists alongside a non-aggression principle.
Whereas libertarians emphasize individual decision-making and the market economy, advocates of communism seek to move beyond money as a form of trade to a society in which people work together as a community, and make communal decisions on the best way to benefit all people in society.
Communist societies past and present have only been communist in name. Communism has never existed, because in a truly communist society there is no more state, everything is owned by everyone, and there is no more scarcity.
Marx believed that communism is the natural progression after socialism; advocates of communism see the ideology as a goal to aim for as the people build a fair and equal society.
Resource-Based Economy (RBE)
Resource-Based Economy is a relatively new term that many CE readers are excited about. The idea was developed by Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project and is now also being developed by The Zeitgeist Movement. RBE advocates argue we must view the world systemically as one organism, and focus on technology as a means to manage the world’s limited resources and provide for the needs of all.
Like communism, it is a belief in a post-scarcity economy where there is no longer need for money, and like libertarianism, there is also complete individual freedom. In order to eradicate scarcity, however, the world’s resources would be managed by a central computer, which could therefore be seen as a kind of central state entity. The principles behind the RBE are set out in The Free World Charter.
CE readers also left comments about one other social structure. The Ubuntu Liberation Movement proposes a society free from money with abundance for all, but as founder Michael Tellinger explains here, this system turns to ancient knowledge rather than modern technologies for its societal blueprint.
I knew nothing about this movement, and that is perhaps ultimately the point. If we recognize that no one person can know everything about all things, then it follows that no one person can have all the answers.
At the same time, all the reader comments on alternative systems show that the truth behind capitalism is that actually everyone wants the same – a new, fairer, happier, more equal and more sustainable system than the one we have now – the only disagreement is on the best way to achieve this.
The first step to social transformation must therefore be to actively reject the system as it stands. We can move our money out of the big banks and into credit unions, and we can join any movement for positive societal change that resonates with us.
For the transformation will not come from the system itself. The transformation will come when we all work in collaboration for a common goal despite our differences. Because ultimately, we are all far more alike than different.
My goal is to inspire positive change through raising public awareness of important issues not covered in mainstream media; please share the video with others, support my work by subscribing to my channel, and I would love to hear your thoughts below!
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