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Capitalism

edited December 2014
Can't wait to get my mitts on some of this new Coca-Coca milk:
http://www.oregonlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2014/12/coca-cola_to_release_a_premium.html#incart_m-rpt-1

"Fairlife"

"It's basically the premiumisation of milk...and we'll charge twice as much for it as the milk we (sic) used to buying in a jug." Douglas said.

The company plans to invest in the "milk business" for the next several years and says Fairlife will eventually "rain money."
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Comments

  • At Thanksgiving dinner, there was an older guy (not too distant relative) who has been CEO of a large cable company and an executive at another large business. He's retired now. I was talking to him and he was talking about how happiness is what's important in life, not stuff.

    I agreed with him, but pointed out that the engine of capitalism demands that we convince people they aren't happy so that we can sell them things. I asked him how we can even hope to dismantle such an entrenched system.

    He just said something about how it's "up the individual" to "make it."

    Oh well.
  • I think you're mistaking capitalism for "sales and marketing".

    Capitalism can exist without tricking people!
  • Capitalism seems to require growth to make stockholders happy, which means more sales, which means (usually) making more junk and convincing people they need it. I'm open to hearing about a more optimistic capitalism.
  • edited December 2014
    I agree capitalism requires growth. Once "capital" is a value worth accruing, it automatically follows that people will try to accrue it. There is no "enough" when it comes to capital.

    As Piketty has completely proven using hard data, capitalism can not exist without creating inequality.

    As Silvia Federici has demonstrated, the inequality that capitalism can not exist without is primarily created by disenfranchising enormous percentages of specific types of population (women (who reproduce the laborers of the world without being paid for it) and ethnic "others" who live in countries capitalists exploit for natural resources and labor (first as slaves, during the transition to capitalism in the 15th-16th centuries; and now as euphemisms like "migrant workers").

    There's a reason that Marx calls the capitalist class "parasitic." A parasite lives off the labor of somebody else, and produces nothing itself. Its only reason for existing is to siphon off the life energy of somebody who actually worked to create that energy. And it carries diseases, which are inequality, patriarchy, racism, police brutality, etc.

    Because in order for there to BE "capital" (as opposed to just goods and products that people use) there has to be surplus abstract "value" skimmed by the few off the labor of the many. Value detached from use-value is really disturbing. Numbers instead of things. Once we live in a world of pure number, there is no rationale for anything but growth (i.e. raping and pillaging the earth and all its peoples until there is nothing left but a smoking ruin and one old white man with eleventy zillion dollars, who has now "won")




  • I'm reading so much about capitalism and just feeling pretty much bad all the time

  • It's just really hard to think of a viable alternative.
  • I know. we're all too entrenched to see our way out of it. It's like if you ask a flashlight to tell you which things in a room have light on them, it'll say "everything"
  • If value is never detached from use-value then we stay in mud huts forever and no one makes the internet. That seems less fun to me.
  • Right, that's truly the only other option, I think. Living "in tune with nature," which sounds kinda groovy but is pretty horrible on a lot of levels. The advantage is that there would be no barrels of nuclear waste generated or Texas-sized garbage patches in the middle of the ocean.
  • @Major_Briggs can you suggest a few books?
  • edited December 2014
    I wrote a lot and then I erased it.

    DavidHarvey.org
  • edited December 2014
    I also just wrote a lot and then erased it

    yeah, just read David Harvey, "A Brief History of Neoliberalism"
    and then I suggest Silvia Federici's incredible "Caliban and the Witch," about slavery and misogyny and the transition to capitalism (helpfully summarized here: http://urbanhonking.com/regarding/2014/03/29/magic-and-witches-and-capitalisms-destruction-of-the-world/). And I just got her book of essays, "Revolution at Point Zero," about feminism and capitalism. It's great.

  • But what's the point of getting even more upset about it if there's nothing we can do? It just seems totally awful and hopeless.
  • edited December 2014
    i don't know

    we all make the system; conceivably we all could change it

    i don't think apathy or mute acceptance is ever a good or correct choice. Even when our struggle is hopeless shouldn't we still struggle? Or at the VERY least, be aware and critical and self-educating about what is happening, and trying to find small ways of making change...
  • I just don't think we could change it to something else and still live in a "modern" world.
  • We could go democratic socialist/capitalist fusion like the Scandinavian countries (seems like the most reasonable modern system and would be my preferred system of governance/economics) but America could never pull it off because of FREEDOM.

    FREE CASCADIA
  • Capitalism is making the animals smarter. That seems like a plan where NOTHING WILL GO WRONG EVER.

    http://2020.tumblr.com/post/104261425613/intelligent-mice-created-with-half-human-brains
  • @Bob yeah we could do minor tweaks to capitalism, but Nordic people still use fossil fuels, still wear clothing made in sweatshops, still buy plastic crap... It's still doing harm to the ecosystem we rely on.
  • I'm not buying what you're selling Diane. I've seen shit happen. Shit can happen.

    Don't give up the shit!
  • But does the shit that happens do anything to avoid us eventually using up all the resources and filling the planet with garbage?

    I think we have made tremendous strides in the realm of human rights, so please understand that isn't what I'm talking about. We could improve the system to take better care of minorities and the underprivileged and we could create a more equitable system that distributes wealth more evenly, but I don't think any of that will keep us from driving the entire species into the ground.

    Sorry I'm so pessimistic, y'all!
  • edited December 2014
    equal distribution of wealth can't happen under capitalism! See Piketty, again. Just not how the system can function.

    If capitalism ended then I think we'd have a shot. But, it's true that it's hard to envision it ending without 99% of us dying, basically. It's really hard to imagine us deciding not to have capitalism. What would that even look like/how could that kind of consensus possibly be reached?

    Some people think a true revolution could accomplish it but I'm really not so sure. It'd have to be the most global unified revolution in history and somehow all thugs would have to be prevented from inserting themselves into the revolutionary new order and I just don't know how that could all go down. I feel like we have to come to the end of capitalism via apocalypse, like capitalism has to actually play itself out to its logical extension, which is the destruction of most life on earth and certainly of most human life via starvation and deprivation and not having anywhere to live.

    Then again, I don't really know what I'm talking about. Maybe it could happen through less dire means, I don't know!

    I also wonder about peak oil. It's possible that peak oil could cause the kind of epic disruption that could bring an end to capitalism, and force us to live in smaller communities that could actually function ethically. But again, that seems like it would involve major cataclysm/mass death.

    GOD I JUST DON'T KNOW
  • "I feel like we have to come to the end of capitalism via apocalypse, like capitalism has to actually play itself out to its logical extension, which is the destruction of most life on earth and certainly of most human life via starvation and deprivation and not having anywhere to live."

    Yeah, this is where I'm at, unfortunately :(
  • haha ha using frowny emoticon to talk about the extinction of life on earth
  • In a group talk about politics, planet, etc there were discussions of Marxist views and other ways of approaching life/people/the world- I was just like uhhhhh I guess I'm a nihilist because the only thing I see happening is THE END.
    Thumbs up!
  • time for a large wine
  • edited December 2014
    Yup, the end of capitalism would look a lot more like present-day Russia than Star Trek.

    I disagree that even a 99% extinction event would do it. It would just knock us back to medieval style capitalism --and given enough time we'd make the same progression from bags of silver to flash trading and credit derivative swaps.

    EDIT: And I don't see peak oil as any sort of limiting factor to capitalism. The Hubbert curve has turned out to be false as we are continuing to increase production while demand slows, and besides we have enough natural gas deposits in the US to generate electricity for another 500+ years.
  • Probably the only life out there that has a similar or greater intelligence and hasn't destroyed its planet is some type of hive-mind organism.
  • or maybe a planet of whales and dolphins
  • Our current form of economics is based on unlimited growth. I was doing some research on steady state economics, for like when we completely fill up the planet. My college had "steady state economics" indexed under "economic stagnation". http://steadystate.org/ is where people think about this. I enjoy the talks by Paul Gilding on the end of material growth, and the book Spent:Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior, which gets into a post mass consumption economy towards the end.

    I think it is all tied up in Americans' attractions to absolutes and perfect models. Capitalism and markets have been held up as an ideal for so long they are unquestioned., including by the Supreme Court.

    To paraphrase the Dalai Lama: Markets are instrumental, not intrinsic, for human flourishing. As with any tool, wielding capitalism for good requires deep moral awareness. Only activities motivated by a concern for others’ well-being can be truly constructive. The new Pope has been kicking out some good quotes too.

    Of course we could all just say it's the end of days, and we will be beamed up before it gets bad, or we are just going to let the next generations figure it out. (http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/11/believers-sympathizers-skeptics-americans-conflicted-climate-change-environmental-policy-science/)
  • edited December 2014
    Some folks in the policy wonk community are arguing now for a restoration of the mid-century 90% income tax bracket for the topmost income earners. Science shows that this is actually better for productivity than a tiny market of oligarchs. A "transactions tax" on stock trades has traction in several countries around the world (European Parliament?) I'm confident Washington State will get a Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax proposal on the ballot in 2016. Similar to the scheme in British Columbia and provinces in Australia, this will shift the tax base from current sources (we have a regressive sales tax) to a tax on carbon distribution and consumption. (There are provisions for relief of auto-dependent low income earners and other cool stuff with how the money is handled.The initiative is backed by both progressive and fiscally conservative policy wonks.)

    People dread the way it is. Leftover shit for brains shit from centuries ago. A lot of people want to hear a better plan.

    People like Elizabeth Warren. Americans kept the leftiest Senators through the last election. Obama came from nowhere and beat Hillary (and then hired her team, but that's another story...). A Socialist beat a corporate backed liberal to get on our city council. Conventional pundits said it would never happen. Now her centerpiece position, $15/ hour min. wage is going national. I bet the grand jury system gets an overhaul out of the current reaction to police violence.

    Long-term Climate Security is a Human Right, Diane. The 'Keep Carbon in the Ground' movement is gaining traction. Young folks naturally resist eating old folks' bullshit. The heat is on. The rent is too damn high. The world is a country. Shit moves fast. Pessimism is a crummy religious practice.
  • edited December 2014
    The Socialist Alternative: Sanders in Sixteen. :)
  • How will you stop people from buying televisions, "this year's fashions," plastic fairy wands for children, sports team branded nacho platters, on and on and on?
  • New iPhones every couple years. Food packaging.
  • Make plastic out of hemp....
  • Make really tasty soy steaks..
  • Basically... do better chemistry.. make better laws..take better care of people .. have more fun. What's the problem?.
  • diane's doing her part for the climate/overpopulation for sure tho. #childfree
  • Yeah, no hypocrisy from me on that front. #snipped
  • #snippedandclipped
  • edited December 2014
    Someone on this web board owns this:

    image
  • Fighting an ideology that is so pervasive and powerful feels doomed to failure. I'm just not that motivated to work really hard on something that has no chance of success. That feels like a waste of time.

    If it's going to exist no matter what I do then I see two options:

    a) work really hard to get that money

    or

    b) play around with it and have fun

    I'd rather fuck around with it and see what it does and how it works. That's not likely to make change and improve much for anyone, which I suppose is pretty selfish. But neither is my goal to just make money. I'm Chaotic Neutral.
  • Aw, I hope you don't take all our nega-capitalism personally - we all like you!
  • Not at all. I'm an optimist.

    I'm trying to cheer you up! You can't win, so why fight? Let's just play until we die instead. :)
  • edited December 2014
    The lesson of history, as I read it, is that the people can, in fact, win. It's never a perfect victory. Wins are always incremental, They're never "enough." But these wins matter.

    You don't have to beat capitalism, for example, to win a higher minimum wage or knock the gini coefficient down a bit. You don't have to beat capitalism to stop a telecom merger, or get health insurance companies to cover transgender people's health needs. You don't have to beat capitalism to rein in some of its most egregious evils.

    I like what Dr Hayward says about absolutes and perfect models. I think this plays out in how we evaluate political outcomes. We aren't really trained to see it as a win unless the bad guys get taken down in spectacular fashion like the end of a Lord Of The Rings movie. The impact of this is that we're all tricked into thinking we have less power and agency than we really do.
  • I don't know where that thread about Uber went where I said I was going to keep using Uber, but since then they have done more shitty stuff, so now I'm with the anti-Uber crowd.
  • kdawg and Leland, I think you're both focused on human rights, which I agree have been improved and can be improved. But you're still talking about making improvements within the current system of existence, which is unsustainable. If you win better healthcare for more people, more people stay alive and use more resources. If you win a better wage for more people, more people buy more consumer crap. You're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
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