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Reports of Capitalism’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated


Reports of Capitalism’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Kate Aronoff

Late last week, economic journalist Paul Mason, whose Channel 4 blog has been one of the best English-language sources for making sense of the ongoing Greek crisis, published an excerpt from his forthcoming book in The Guardian. It announces that the end of capitalism has begun and that (spoiler) it doesn’t look how we thought it might.


What capitalism?


More technodrivel that presumes we are still in some kind of growth paradigm. We are not. Growth is over. Rare metals are scarce, so all this cellular smartphone nonsense is coming to an end.

Capitalism may indeed be over, but we are hardly upon the precipice of some golden dawn. The capitalists are losing their life blood - consumers - however capital will continue to accrue to those at the top. Feudalism is your most likely ‘ism’


When it comes to the Golden Calf of sacrifice for money,
the plutocrats have no equal.

They have the most money, the most control over
the propaganda machine, the most dedicated and
effective leadership, the most loyal following
of unknowing voters, military and law enforcement
officers, and they don’t really care about
our planet, nature, or other humans.

So the cancer of predatory capitalism is the
creation of humans from their survival instinct
taken to levels far beyond that used by our
hunter-gatherer ancestors to survive.

The genie is out of the bottle,
the Titanic is sinking
and those at the levers of power
have no concept of how to avoid the final
disaster awaiting us.

And of course we know that the rest of nature
will be better off without our existence
on this lovely planet.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…


You have a point 1950. What has evolved in this country is so ugly, so perverted, so bile, there is no word for it. Two things: think creatively. Act collectively. That’s how you build a house, right? Creatively design, collectively pound the nails. There are SO many creative ways to COLLECTIVELY through a wrench in the machine and cause it to stall while we make repairs. Problem is: the interconnectedness of information and how hard it is to find a people’s network…isn’t that what Snowden suggested? But then…a suggestion like that coming from him gives me shivers.


Watched a new PBS special, “Earth From Space” last night. I think it ranks with the worst of PBS.

I expected something about saving the planet by raising people’s awareness with actual photos from space. It was not. It would have been more accurately titled, “The Wonders of Capitalism and the Glory of Technology and the Fossil Fuel Industry”.

While it did spend a few moments toward the end mentioning climate change and rising oceans, it didn’t really address all the horrors that those things bring. Virtually nothing about industrial pollution and the other downsides to technology and international trade (which along with economic exploitation gave us the spread of infectious disease). Virtually nothing at all about how technology allows us to destroy the environment and destroy life (including humans), - the ability to kill at a rate unimaginable two centuries ago.

It was full of clever graphics to sell the audience on the idea that capitalist science can save us all…it even glorified the courage and benign work of C. Columbus. In essence it was largely an ode to expansion and the fossil fuel industry.


Interesting post but: “Any and every concept that the Universe ever ‘allowed’ to unfold”?
Concepts are all and only in the mind. Capitalism is just another abstract concept roughly designating greed for money. The greed is likely rooted mostly in our fears of the mad world we humans have now created and must inhabit.
So by deconstruction, we are frightened animals and that is the problem.
Forget capitalism. End the fear.


What is called capitalism is simply a natural historical evolution of human society under present technological conditions. Marx’s analysis of how it works is still valid, in particular its inevitable drive toward increasing consolidation and social inequity. For much of the 20th century, attempts to create a more rational system depended on his analysis, but the Soviet and Maoist tyrannies, and their eventual collapse, pretty much discredited old Karl. Without the threat posed by the communist alternative, capitalists no longer feel any need to placate the masses of people at the bottom of the pyramid, and we return to 19th century conditions of ever increasing inequity, as described so well by Thomas Piketty. He is one of the few who offers plausible steps toward reversing the trend, and I am hopeful that some of his ideas may eventually be put into practice - if only because increasing disorder will be seen by the elites as a threat equal to that once posed by communism. The .001 per cent may seem all-powerful but the sight of millions in the streets will always remind them of how few they are, and how many people detest them.


I share your views on the Green Party. In the recent NEw York state gubernatorial election, the Greens won 10 per cent here in an upstate, rural county.


Now, who would take you seriously if you tried to discuss the fact that international corporate powers today have power over the world’s governments? Shrink this down to corporate power over the US government, therefore over the country, itself. This didn’t need to rely on military force, but was a gradual process of re-educating the public, esp. about wealth and poverty. Today, even US liberals so strongly believe in the success of the corporate state that they think everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. Americans now (unlike the past) so strongly believe in the corporate philosophy – deregulated capitalism – that they no longer regard those who are left out (our jobless poor, and many of our unemployable) as human at all, deserving of the basic human rights (per the UDHR) of food and shelter. We are 100% dependent on capitalism, and we currently celebrate capitalism by ignoring its many failures (including our poverty crisis) and heavily promoting middle class elitism.


From FDR to Reagan, the US had implemented a range of policies and programs that took the country to its height of wealth and productivity – very imperfect, but far better than what we now have. We began reversing course with Reagan. Bill Clinton brought the “war on the poor” to fruition, after which the media specifically marketed to liberals began an era of middle class elitism while ignoring the growing impact of US poverty. Results: When Reagan was first elected, launching the campaign against the poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. By the time Obama was elected, we had already plunged to #43, and we can no longer adequately compete in the modern world market. The US is sinking. Yet, there is virtually no discussion about the role that our war on the poor has played in the nation’s overall deterioration, much less about reversing the policy decisions that have so profoundly harmed this country.
I don’t think “rational” sells today.


Propaganda Broadcasting System. Very, very sad to see it become a gasping supplicant, a dark shadow of its former self.


Capitalism = Belief in the Power of Money

That’s why we’ve had TARP, QE, and Austerity.

This belief may have survived many a bubble, including the subprime crash.

But in the end, nothing beats food on the table.