Capitalism and Economics in the USA
It is widely held in the United States that capitalism is our economic system and that it is good for us. I would first like to discuss capitalism in the words of James Maynard Keynes,
“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. ”
An astounding belief indeed when considering it requires a system of infinite growth and an infinite trashcan within a finite system called the planet Earth. Right there, at the first step in the economic principle, we see that capitalism has a severe disconnect from reality. Such a scheme doesn’t even work on paper let alone when applied in the real world. This system of perpetual growth also relies heavily on private ownership of everything in your community. This is what led to the privatization of all water in Bolivia in the 1990’s. Rain, river, or from the faucet water was owned by a single corporation, Bechtel. Collecting rain, spring, or well water became stealing. This resulted in terrible conditions that impoverished and incarcerated much of the population. This was the wet dream of capitalism.
As many people have pointed out in academia and elsewhere, the USA is not really a capitalist society. In fact, we’re a command economy in which the vast majority of economic activity is under the direct control of very few hands by virtue of private ownership in corporate conglomerates. If institutional analysis is taken to the next level it becomes clear that the United States is in fact a fascist economic and political structure. Fascism is a system in which privately owned economic power and political power to control government are no longer distinguishable (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism). Since private power is authoritarian by design, the government is effectively authoritarian even though democratic institutions are technically in place. This is evident by the revolving door that exists between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and those they regulate (corporate media), weapons manufacturers (e.g. Lockheed Martin) and those in national defense, and the list goes on, seemingly without end.
This drive to fascism is a logical consequence of unchecked capitalist values: profit and private ownership. Given enough time, a capitalist institution will put a price on everything and literally own the country. Any democratic system that does not put sufficient safeguards in place to combat this behavior will no longer have effective control. This has happened in the United States and is pervasive at all levels of our society. While isolated groups, such as intentional communities, are able to operate without much outside interference they will never be allowed to effect the hierarchy of power on the state or national stage.
For these reasons and more, capitalism needs to be abolished. It has never been a viable system and will continue to degrade human rights throughout the world. The profit incentive is a sick system in which the goal is to rip people off. For example, if you work for me and it’s worth 100 dollars I must pay you 90 dollars and convince you that’s fair. That is how you make a profit. You can also sell something more than what it’s worth, that’s called “value added” by economists. Every time I take advantage of your situation, I’m adding value. A failed world view. A more viable choice is ecological economics. Look it up, a leading figure is Josh Farley.