Shout out to Anarchy Pony for the link. An ‘insider’s’ perspective on the flaws of our economic system.
Via Dissident Voice
Jerry Mander’s new book, The Capitalism Papers, has a promising subtitle: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System. None of the hedging of bets there that constrains much progressive social critique in the US. In liberal punditry, the acceptable spectrum of discourse does not even permit use of the word, and in the foundation-sponsored non-profit sector, such talk would be financial suicide. Nor are US trade unions, what’s left of them, anti-capitalist. (In fact their leaders explicitly claim their aim is to get capitalism to work better.) As he correctly points out, there is an unspoken consensus: “it is as if global capitalism” – a human creation – “occupies a virtually permanent existence, like a religion, a gift of God, infallible.”
This unmasking of the unspoken, invisible, assumed, is what Jerry Mander’s books do best, and it is a promising start. He outlines six intrinsic aspects of global corporate capitalism—which he takes pains to distinguish from a localized, petty bourgeois variety (more on that later) that make it fundamentally untenable if we are to avoid worldwide social and ecological collapse. They are:
Amorality – increase of individual and corporate wealth is the only core principle of capitalism. Recognition of any social concern or relationship to the natural world that transcends the goal of increasing capital accumulation is extrinsic to the system.
Dependence on growth – capitalism relies on limitless growth, but the natural resources essential to wealth production are finite. Super-exploitation is exhausting those resources and destroying the ecosystems of which they are a part, jeopardizing human survival as well as that of other species.
Propensity to war – since the only goal is to accumulate rather than distribute wealth, resources that produce wealth must be controlled; therefore war is inevitable.
Intrinsic inequity – without any constraining outside force or internalized principle of social equity, capital accumulation leads almost exclusively to more accumulation, and capital is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.
Anti-democratic – democracies are corruptible: wealth can purchase most of the representation it needs to get the laws necessary for further accumulation and concentration of wealth. This means that as the concentration of wealth increases, democracy is degraded and ultimately destroyed.
Unproductive of real happiness – human happiness and wellbeing are demonstrably tied to other factors besides capital accumulation. Extreme poverty is clearly unproductive of happiness, but so is wealth, past a relatively modest level. Happiness is most widespread where there are guarantees that basic needs will be met for all, wealth is more equitably distributed, and bonds between people and the natural environment are still stronger than the desire to accumulate wealth.
These are good arguments, although as Mander himself admits, they are neither new nor exhaustive. But really, he says, and the sympathetic reader agrees: aren’t they enough? His particular focus will be on the second, the paradigm of growth, because it is this, he says, that now risks obliterating the sources of human life itself.
Read More Here
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