Nothing developed by humans can withstand the test of time forever, and that includes capitalism. Via Jacobin Magazine, Pete Frase spins four possible scenarios, including the utopian, the distopian and the in-between, based on whether we run out of natural resources and whether machines take over all labor:
One thing we can be certain of is that capitalism will end. Maybe not soon, but probably before too long; humanity has never before managed to craft an eternal social system, after all, and capitalism is a notably more precarious and volatile order than most of those that preceded it.
The very existence of Occupy Wall Street suggests that the end of capitalism has become a bit easier to imagine of late. At first, this imagining took a mostly grim and dystopian form: at the height of the financial crisis, with the global economy seemingly in full collapse, the end of capitalism looked like it might be the beginning of a period of anarchic violence and misery. And still it might, with the Eurozone teetering on the edge of collapse as I write. But more recently, the spread of global protest from Cairo to Madrid to Madison to Wall Street has given the Left some reason to timidly raise its hopes for a better future after capitalism.
Rosa Luxemburg, reacting to the beginnings of World War I, cited a line from Engels: “Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.” In that spirit I offer a thought experiment, an attempt to make sense of our possible futures. These are a few of the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if we fail …
Read the rest at Jacobin