Monday, July 20, 2015

Post-Capitalism to the Rescue.....

The income gap is getting wider and wider, at the same time deep red states continue to shift power and public resources into the private sector. But don't give up hope.

There's hope now and repressive political policies won't be an impediment, thanks to technology. Heck, many of us already work out of our homes.

Capitalism is fading...slowly...all it needs is a major push by Democrats to rush this thing along. The Guardian:
The end of capitalism has begun: Without us noticing, we are entering the post-capitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian.

First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. 

The 2008 crash: The solutions have been austerity plus monetary excess. But they are not working. In the worst-hit countries, the pension system has been destroyed, the retirement age is being hiked to 70, and education is being privatized so that graduates now face a lifetime of high debt. Services are being dismantled and infrastructure projects put on hold.

Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.

The power of imagination will become critical. In an information society, no thought, debate or dream is wasted … The main contradiction today is between the possibility of free, abundant goods and information; and a system of monopolies, banks and governments trying to keep things private, scarce and commercial. Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy: between old forms of society molded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next.


nonquixote said...

My first take on this piece (before reading the beginning of the Guardian link was WTF? Realizing sacrasm was your point I think, and then I went to the Guardian. There to find a number of less than fully flushed, (worthy though of literally being fully flushed) pointless "arguments," about an undefined concept, i.e. post capitalism.



Democurmudgeon said...

The concept intrigued me. I'm a dreamer like most liberals, but a realist as well. I'm hoping he's onto to something.

This comment sums it for me, from Frank Thomas:

Despite the hysterical denial BTL from the capitalist fanboys, it must be clear to any intelligent observer that we're entering the post-capitalist era. In truth, we have been since the post-war social democratic settlement ushered in mixed economies and the welfare state.

That post-war model was then itself usurped by neoliberalism over 30 years ago, since when capitalism has been enforced and propped up by the state machinery.

That being so, it is difficult to see how the market ideologues could possibly persuade themselves that classical capitalism still prevailed.

Now, as the neoliberal model is breaking down, as it inevitably must in the era of globalisation and the leaching of capital to tax havens and cheap labour economies, thus destroying the employment and tax bases of developed capitalist societies, it must be obvious that the West is moving towards a new model.

That model cannot be capitalist as we understand it because capitalism requires a population with sufficient disposable wealth to consume the goods that economy creates, and that is unsustainable as jobs are outsourced and wealth offshored.

To what extent the sharing of information can rescue the economic system is unclear, as Mason I think concedes.

But it's an interesting and thought-provoking piece.

And it's bitterly ironic that an article which extols the value of information-sharing should generate so many furious and vacuous responses from people who have little understanding of the issues and nothing in the way of ideas to share.

nonquixote said...

Hope that I did not appear to be critical of you for bringing the piece, I am intrigued with ideas from most points of view and I had not gotten through the entire Guardian piece, only skimmed the first couple of comments and intended to re-read when summer gives me a chance.

Little lunch break here and back to work/garden/child-care etc. Thanks for bringing something forcing me to exercise my mind. Not understanding the entire piece on the first go-round and then priorities rear their heads. All the best.

Democurmudgeon said...

It's always good to look at things like this critically, so no problem there. I value you're input so don't hold back. The piece is long, so I fine tuned the points I thought were most relevant. I with you, I really have to reread the whole thing again to perhaps absorb something else, since it's jam packed with ideas.