Across the United States, the UK, France, and many others, millions of people starting to demand a society beyond capitalism.
Yes. Out of the people who understand what that means, literally dozens of people have come to that conclusion.
Then, out of the rest of the less educated, there are perhaps a good 5% of the population who wish to abandon capitalism. Just like what happened in the early part of the 20th century when the elites fell in love with communism, and then two decades later, when so many corporatists fell in love with Hitler.
The anti-capitalism movement is colorful, if nothing else, eh? Especially if you like the color red.
Taking for granted that liberal capitalism is a failed system
Well, in order to take that for granted, we first have to define what “failed” means, and who might think that. Critical thinking, y’all. :-)
Obviously, anyone who is prospering in the system won’t think it’s “failed”. So, who would think it’s “failed”?
Well, clearly, anyone in the lower income bracket might think that. Unfortunately, the lower income bracket is characterized by people living with some sort of self-penalty. Almost all in that classification have in their backgrounds either (a) a felony conviction, (b) substance abuse, (c ) have dropped out of high school, or (d) are the support of a child out of wedlock.
Others who would think “failed” is the right definition include people who have pursued studies and skills in a nonmarketable field, who are lazy, and those who are unable to see the difference between challenged system (e.g. capitalism) which can always use some evolutionary reform, and a system that needs to be tossed out for something that sounds better but never is.
The most immediate answer is social democracy. This is typically the model people suggest when they say they want an economy like that of Denmark or Sweden.
News flash: A social democracy is still capitalism. In fact, in many ways, it’s even MORE capitalistic than the US is.
Social democracy is characterized by a robust welfare state, strong unions, progressive taxation, and a strongly interventionist government, while maintaining the basic structures of capitalism.
Key points here:
- Robust welfare state: True
- Strong unions: Not a universal feature of a social democracy. Where strong unions exist in social democracies, they do NOT take the form of adversarial confrontation as they do in the US.
- Progressive taxation: The US already has the most progressive taxation system in the developed world, according to the OECD. Good to keep in mind.
- Strongly interventionist government. Also true. It was this sort of strongly interventionist government that led to the stagflations of the 70’s, requiring the interventions of Thatcher and Reagan to overcome.
Firstly, it fails to address the undemocratic structures of the workplace, and usually maintains private ownership of utilities and rented housing, probably the most overtly parasitic elements of the capitalist economy.
Let’s translate that through:
- Undemocratic structures: Generally, this means that workers want more control of the business environment. That’s fine — Germany does a good job of this — but ultimately, workers still don’t make business decisions for the corporation. In cases where the ownership/worker balance HAS allowed workers to make business decisions, the results have not been good, which is unsurprising: business management is a skill that not everyone has.
- Private ownership of utilities and rented housing. Utility co-ops are not uncommon in the US, so let’s leave that one aside and agree that it is something that can work, but still must be paid for. Public ownership of housing, OTOH, has been a disaster. There is no incentive to care for the tenant to care for property nor for the government to maintain it.
Additionally, retaining an owning class typically leads to the rollback of concessions. In Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, there has been a continual degradation of union power and the social safety net, as the owning class and the wealthy still exert an disproportionate amount of control over the state because of their role in the economy.
There has indeed been a degradation of those social safety nets, but not for the reason you cite. Taxes are extremely high in the Scandanavian nations, and it’s been observed for decades that they’ve had to scale back on tax rates in order to keep their corporations globally competitive, AND to prevent wealthy residents from simply leaving.
It’s simple, really. If people and corporations are to be free, then they must have the ability to relocate as they see fit. If you do not permit them this freedom, then you’re not a social democrat, you’re a fascist. If they cannot prosper in their home country (due to overregulation or taxes), then they leave, you have fewer taxpayers funding your social system, and you must cut back on benefits, because you’re ratio of beneficiaries/payers has been upended.
So what is the solution? I think it would be rather silly to act like I have the answer.
True, that. Because we already have the answer, which is indeed capitalism with a reduced level of corporatism. And there was a social movement for this in the US a decade ago, but you laughed at the Tea Party, which was at its essence a populist capitalist movement which at the same time demanded less corporatism.
Bad move, that. I guess all those middle aged people in their recreational vehicles becoming politically active scared you. :-)
Beyond social democracy, and towards a world without billionaires. The new democratic socialists strive for a society wherein worker owned cooperatives replace stockholder owned companies, where housing cooperatives and municipally owned housing replace the landlords of today, and where communities take ownership over the privately owned monopolies that control our water, electricity, internet, gas and the like, giving everyone a say over how they are operated, the services they provide, and the prices they charge.
Sure. IOW, you have precisely the same goals that Lenin had, but you’re going to do it better. :-)
I’ll pass. Seen both the movie and its sequels. Doesn’t end well.
Workers will take the reigns over private industry. The future for the post-capitalist left is not in planning, and it is not (beyond a certain point) in social welfare, but in worker ownership and control over all aspects of the economy.
Chuckles. Yea, that’s always how all this gets started.
In Italy, when a company goes bankrupt the workers are offered the option of taking complete ownership of the firm, turning it into a worker owned cooperative.
Let’s cut to the chase, dude. You’re a communist. :-) That is PRECISELY the vision of communism that you’re stating.
What happens when General Motors, Amazon, or IBM looks at you and says “OK, we see that you want us to be a worker-owned co-operative…..but….no thanks, we’d rather have our stock publically traded like always.“
That’s when the idea of “democracy” gets thrown out the window, and the guns come out, like they always do.
Here’s an interesting feature of socialism-styled governments: they all require consensus n order to function. Basically, ALL of your population has to buy into the socialized system, because any elements that do not create a black market that would underprice the socialized elements, and the entire system comes tumbling down.
Hence, the guns.
However, in the “failed” capitalist US, no such consensus is necessary. You want to form a commune? Fine. You want to start a corporation as worker-co-op? Fine. No problem. Happens every day all across the country.
Capitalism isn’t threatened by socialized entities existing within it. However, the reverse is not true.
Further, what you’re envisioning cannot occur in the US without revolution and a new Constitution; there are parts of this that you’re envisioning that simply cannot occur under the US Constitution. If revolution happens, the world economy goes into a decades long Great Depression, meaning that your medicine is worse than what you perceive as the disease.
Count me out.