January 4, 2012
Capitalism is Collapsing:
11 Reasons Why it’s About Time
In a lengthy Facebook debate recently, I was told that I was using capitalism as a ‘strawman’ to boost my anarchic Venus Project ideas. I replied that I didn’t make capitalism a strawman, it simply is a strawman – easy to destroy.
As the masses shake off their shackles of financial oppression, capitalists such as former IMF chief economist, Kenneth Rogoff, try to spin the epidemic by agreeing that: sure there are some problems but no real imminent revolution, trying to minimize the international uprising. But the Occupy movement is part of the slow waking up of human consciousness – people are finally realizing that they’re being used.
In this post, I’m going to break down why capitalism is inherently flawed by listing its false premises.
1) Capitalism is Not Barter
Barter implies the exchange of commodities of EQUAL value. Capitalism often tries to ride the coattails of barter as ‘a free market exchange system’, but while barter aims for a trade that equally benefits both parties, capitalism is based on profit, which means that one party must always exploit the other party in some way to get ahead, whether it’s an employer exploiting their employees by paying them just enough to get them to stay, or a merchant charging a customer as much as they possibly can without the customer spending their money elsewhere. Capitalism strives not for sustainability, but for gaining the ‘little bit more’ than the other party, ie. profit. Capitalism ensures that there will always be a winner, and as a result, not only the other half, but 99% loses.
Should we also talk about how capitalism has morphed beyond goods and services to trading abstract concepts such as derivatives that most people don’t even understand? I would, if I understood more about it.
2) Capitalism Breeds Sociopathy
Some argue that capitalism, while not ‘fair’, does reward those who work the hardest. But by now we know that those who come out on top of the capitalist game not necessarily those who work the hardest, but are actually:
a) those who are most interested in financial gain
Excelling at financial gain is just one strength of many other equal strengths – those who excel at science, math, writing, raising children, etc. are just as important to the quality of life of our society.
b) those who are already in a position of financial privilege
Should businesses necessarily be started only by those who have the funds? This just leads to more financial imbalance of the rich getting richer.
Or what about growing up in a wealthy family? This leads to segregation among classes, elitism, and resentment. And politicians like Newt Gingrich suggesting that poor kids work as janitors at lunch to make money.
c) those who are most physically and/or mentally endowed
Many financially successful people feel as though they deserve their monetary gain because they have worked hard for it. But what other traits led them to their financial gain? Many people don’t realize how brilliant they actually are and how many other people don’t have the same intellectual or physical capability. Sure, a businessman who works 8-5 for 40 years has worked hard, but hasn’t a person with physical or mental disabilities perhaps worked just as hard at tackling their own obstacles?
What we essentially live in is a meritocracy. When we are not born equal, capitalism only exacerbates our individual weaknesses.
e) those who are the most ruthless
Capitalism is the economic system of ‘survival of the fittest’. This is a vicious and often violent mindset, when ‘fittest’ becomes interchangeable with ‘most ruthless’.
Going further down this mental mindset could lead all the way to eugenics – a valid concept to explore, but loaded with potential for genocide and other types of oppression.
3) Capitalism Trumps Community
Capitalism is in direct competition with community, which is why it’s illegal to have a bake sale on the streets of Vancouver, it’s illegal for homeless people to congregate in tent cities, and it’s illegal to exercise free speech in many places unless that space has already been determined a ‘free speech zone’ or unless one purchases a permit.
Canada’s media is among the most consolidated in the world – why? Because a few individuals managed to purchase it. So the community does not talk amongst itself in mainstream media, it is talked to by the voices of its paying customers. How is Canwest owning the media any different from Monsanto purchasing patents on organic life?
Instead of having places of true ‘free space’, capitalism dictates what activities can be held in what zones. For example: in Wal*Mart – you shop. You don’t sit and relax, or play cards with friends. Wal*Mart owns that space and while you’re there Wal*Mart tells you what to do, the same as in any private property.
When we go out to socialize, we rent a portion of space and are expected to get in and get out, buying enough to justify our presence there. Capitalism frowns upon simply giving things away because then it’s more difficult to control what’s being exchanged. Capitalism wants to track, measure, rate, evaluate, classify… which brings me to my next point.
*(To digress, non-profits such as Liberation BC can’t be considered charities because they actually strive to change laws. This is how charities can get tax breaks while activist groups can’t – a blatant policy to stifle activism or anything that opposes capitalist reign.)
4) Capitalism is a Control Freak
Capitalism aims to dissect and package what we have to work with until everything has been claimed and assigned a dollar value in a bloody race to the finish. It is so fearful of scarcity that it mutates into a complex knot of rules and regulations until they make no sense anymore and can be interpreted about as clearly as the bible.
Capitalism has so much fine print that entire sectors must be devoted to defining its rules and policing the rules. These sectors are made up of anal people policing each other. I’ve worked with them. They are so pressured to ‘fit in’, that they will call you out if you don’t fit in to ease their own pressure, the corps. don’t even need to get involved – it’s a self-cleaning system.
And have you heard the one about the fat cop spraying the cross legged activists like an exterminator? (Don’t worry he was
fired reprimanded.) What exactly do you think he’s trying to protect? I doubt he knows, but his heavy-handed training taught him to protect the current dominant economic system that employs him.
In the U.S., anyone who upsets business trade can now be labeled a terrorist, and (even more recently) detained and tortured (some articles say assassinated) on the grounds of suspicion without legal process (!)
When we have demonstrations against fur stores in Vancouver, which side do the cops stand on? The side of the store, of course.
Now… what makes people become control freaks?
Oh, right. Insecurity.
5) Capitalism has Nothing to do with Democracy
Those who wave the flag of capitalism believe that it provides them with the freedom to prosper. By now we know that 1% of the people own 99% of the world’s wealth. So ok, let’s lower our expectations of financial prosperity to simply the freedom to have guaranteed income and a home. Not so easy – inflation soars, interest rates waver at the hands of the major banks, minimum wage drags its feet to keep up, social programs are snipped to pay off national debts, and your worth as an employee declines as technology leaves your skills behind. Sorry, pal.
So what does this leave us with? Freedom to choose. How we want to spend our 8 hour work days, sort of. Consumer freedom – well, based on the declining selection of monopolized corps. And freedom of our small slices of free time. As long as you stay leashed to your designated areas of habitation and employment and don’t break any laws or get caught looking bad on Facebook or make your co-workers feel uncomfortable by being too different from them or….
This is a rather vast point to explore, but for me, true freedom comes with knowing that as I flourish, others do not suffer. Capitalism creates a world of winners and losers, employers and employees. For one to win, others must lose.
6) Capitalism is Drama
Capitalism has us chasing our tails to fill arbitrary 8 hour days, celebrating and grieving stock market crashes and bail outs – such unnecessary drama. Wouldn’t it be nice if the busy work was automated and those who wanted to play the money game could in some virtual reality scenario? And those who didn’t want to play wouldn’t starve their families because of that?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create our own drama instead of being a slave to the hormonal capitalist outbursts?
In Tim Ferris’s book 4 Hour Work Week, he describes the perfect job as ‘one that takes the least amount of time.’ Most people would rather be doing something else rather than what they’re doing. Do people have the insight to imagine what that might be after being indoctrinated by the media and public education their entire lives? Perhaps not. They have forgotten how to imagine a more satisfying life. Could these people learn to live by their gifts and not their jobs? Sure, quickly.
People spend so much energy simply surviving. Shouldn’t we be past worrying about survival by now? We’re not cavemen – it’s 2012. There are more than enough resources to ensure that every single person on this planet could prosper. So, as Foster Gamble points out: why aren’t we thriving?
How much time do we waste re-writing the rules, translating the rules, establishing bureaucracy around the rules, enforcing the rules, punishing people for not adhering to the rules? How much free time and resources would we have without all this excess?
Sure, transitions can be messy, but once new systems are established, how many redundant, boring jobs could be eliminated? How many wasted lives could be resurrected?
8) Capitalism is Addictive
Or rather, capital is. Money is and always be a virus in the human mind because we can never get enough. Money is (well, really it’s debt) but in our society it represents potential power and potential power is never something that you can achieve and put aside – its obtainment is a lifestyle. Two words: dangling carrot.
In Zeitgeist III when I saw pictures of people throwing away their money, I wanted to go and pick it up. I have the addiction, too. We place all our power in this external structure of money, and therefore the worth of humanity lessens. This is why factories and factory farms exist. Sentient beings becomes products. Human welfare becomes secondary.
Those who are the closest to the money will always have a Gollum type relationship to it, which calls for surveillance, which calls for a need for surveillance of those who are surveilling, etc. (See 7)
9) Capitalism Disempowers Personal Will
The world is in debt to itself. When we are born into countries in debt, it creates a mindset as though we owe something, even if it’s not personally us who’s acquired the debt. When we owe, we are indentured to work. When we are indentured to work, we have less time to think for ourselves.
Profit incentives in social experiments have only been shown to raise productivity level with tasks such as factory line assembly, or other mindless work. However, people are more innovative in creative ingenuity when left to their own devices with the reward of freedom instead of money. The natural human state radiates genius and if we rid ourselves of the stress of needless competition, human potential would flourish exponentially.
Technological breakthroughs exist not because of capitalism but despite capitalism. The internet exists not because a corporation forced it into existence, but because of the human need for global inter-communication. Inevitable human expansion at its finest. It is not regulated and taxed to its fullest capacity only because of the non-physical nature of intellectual property.
10) Capitalism Promises Uniformity
In other words – booo-ring. How many times have you gone on vacation only to see the same effing KenTacoHut franchises littering the landscape? How many times have you gone out shopping for something unique… and found every store to carry the same knock off fashions? How many times have you tried something new at work and been told to: just stick to the protocol?
Sure, the world’s financial crisis has become exacerbated since WW1, since the derivatives spiraled out of control, etc. But going back even as far as the industrial revolution, people were made to involuntarily witness a transformation of their landscapes and lifestyles as mass production turned them into machines (I recommend reading the American classic: The Jungle), and even when gold was the currency fractional reserve lending was being practiced. Capitalism turns people into consumers, but worse it turns people into products. We are so much more complex than this.
Ok, so on the plus side, it’s nice sometimes that Starbucks has your favourite drink at every location on the planet. But are we willing to sacrifice variety, adventure, selection, and creativity for consistency? Maybe we are until we see the repercussions.
11) Capitalism is Delusional
Capitalism is not based on reality because it never started from a place of assessing our collective resources in total. It is based on ideas, not solid resources. Might we prosper from the resources of other planets one day? Yes, but not yet.
How does a capitalist system measure the total of its resources if it’s measuring with old systems? Capitalism measures energy in money – a concept. A resource based economy relinquishes the game tokens and aims to preserve and equally distribute resources, releasing human innovation from the confines of lifetime enslavement so that we can function to our fullest capacity (a resource that capitalism does not even perceive and so therefore has not been able to exploit).
Capitalism does not see the world as an inseparable entity, it divides and conquers: and this is why it creates a war machine. War is the use of force, which is why capitalism and constant struggle are lovers.
So, can we reform capitalism? Tweak it into something more functional. Absolutely not. There is no from of renovation that can make capitalism habitable because it was never intended as a long term sustainable system, and therefore we must lay a new foundation.
The point of a resource based economic system is abundance, where people don’t have to steal because they do not lack. It is not lack of resources that prevent widespread wealth – it is closed minds. Only when we diminish the power of money to zero will it be impossible for a small group of people to gain control over it. Only when we eliminate poverty will people no longer feel compelled to fearfully hoard and preemptively strike each other down for land and wealth. Only when we distribute widespread elective education can people become mentally sound enough to make better decisions.
When asked on a university exam which was more important: the needs of the individual or the needs of the collective, I argued that the needs of the individual ARE the needs of the collective. The systems ARE the people. When the people are secure, the systems will be, too.
July 29, 2010
Capitalism and Playerism – 7 Links
- This is Simon Rex, AKA Dirt Nasty.
He’ll be our model for this post
He’ll be our model for this post
(This is disgusting!
…and yet kind of hot…)
*Men – if the following doesn’t apply to you then don’t take offense . I’m discussing a type – that type being The Player, and to this type some of these correlations may ring true.
Capitalism is based on scarcity. The more scarce a product is, the more it’s generally worth because of the fear that it will soon be unavailable. Humans live in constant fear of things running out – of not being able to obtain a product that’s in low supply. This fear creates an emotional parallel, making some men believe they only have so much love to give – a finite supply, if you will. They only have so many years of youth and a player doesn’t have time to let a female mess with his game. The tight capitalist grip on not only material goods but intellectual property runs deep – stockpiling assets a practice very similar to emotional hoarding.
Anyone who watched The Corporation knows that a corporation has all the same traits of a sociopathic person. This sociopathic behavior has a way of transcending those special pieces of paper that bind together the corporate world and becoming an intrinsic part of the player’s personality. NML’s Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl discusses a breed of ambivalent, ambiguous, non-committal men who get off on the unconditional love of confused, masochistic (and also non-committal) women. The behavioral patterns of these relationships are on par to that of corporate functioning – the man asserts his autonomic need for monopoly and dominance at the expense of those who “believe” they are emotionally dependent upon him. Sociopathy is all about using people rather than sharing with them. It’s about gain – what does this woman have to give me? What is she trying to take from me?
3. Variety as Freedom
In this capitalistic world, we’re chained to our 9 to 5 jobs like dogs on leashes. Our reward, we tell ourselves, is consumer freedom – we get to choose what brand of cereal to buy, what brand of clothing. (Though the larger the corporate spread, the less choice, hmmm…) This what-color-do-you-want-to-paint-your-cell? lifestyle forces us to cling to choice as the main thing that defines us. We are what we buy, and to some – who we date. This mindset of feeling powerful primarily through choice elicits a deep-seeded indecisiveness in the player accompanied by a greedy first world entitlement that he should have it all. “If I choose her, what if someone better comes along? How do I know she’s the best one? How do I just pick one? Do I have to? Isn’t that limiting myself?”
As Napolean Hill states: “The most powerful people in the world makes decisions quickly and undo them slowly.”
A million dates with random hos does not a satisfying connection make.
With all the gloss and glitz of the media, modern men live in a world of images. They are constantly taunted by Maxim magazine wherever they buy their food/toiletries/literature and kept in a state of perpetual arousal. Poor things. So naturally their “pickers” are off (lingo courtesy of Patti from Millionaire Matchmaker). They want pretty, they want shiny, and they want boobalicious, because this is what they’re told to want. They associate these attributes with symbols of status and these shiny pretty images cause a discord between what they’re seeing in the media and what they see in front of them, fostering an unreasonable perfectionism within their imperfect minds based on false standards. Just as Dirt Nasty bases his image on bitches and bling (at least he’s tongue and cheek about it), the modern day player follows suit to establish what he believes is a powerful role for himself in society.
In the subtle manipulation of the capitalist world images are constantly flashed in front our eyes before we can even identify their meaning. Advertising is meant to trigger our subconscious before we even realize what reaction we’re having. Having been raised in front of their televisions, players are trained according to a see-it-must-have-it mentality. If it’s not in their hot little hands ASAP, if they’re not mentally stimulated 24/7, they can feel like they’re missing out and will look to said female in their lives to provide them with the satisfaction previously provided by multi-million dollar television networks and their PlayStations. As detached from reality as this viewpoint is, it’s the secret broken childhood of many players that causes them to act on impulse and break hearts. See it, must do it, did it – NEXT!
Capitalism breeds a spectator culture in which we’re supposed to watch the world go by, a technique to keep us in our place and keep our participation at a low lest we stir up some genuine trouble. The modern player doesn’t have to do much to rake in women if he has even the slightest bit of sex appeal. With a bit of flattery and an ass grab, women will flock to him like Dirt Nasty to a pile of coke. Way back when, a proper caveman had to go out and drag a woman to his cave and then ensure that she stayed with him to raise his offspring (I’m sure there was a lot of rape and abuse that came from this practice, but nonetheless…) Now, women everywhere are well-trained by the media to look perfect and doubt their self-confidence. The player only needs to prey on these female weaknesses to get laid. And operating from this position of apathy, he will score a lot of p**** without undue strain on his brain from the exceptional few females that could put him in his place. The autopilot player takes ‘er easy, and if she’s easy – takes ‘er twice, BUT! he misses out on the best lay of all – the infinitely orgasmic mindfuck that only a truly intelligent, self-assured woman can give him.
Capitalism creates an eat or be eaten world. It sparks an insatiable hunger in the player to a) acquire the newest and best, b) keep up with their homeboys, and c) keep their inner worlds more secure than yours – U Can’t Touch This! (There are passwords, ladies…Christian Carter is your friend.) The player is stuck on the treadmill of lust competing for: a) the latest greatest female version (which conveniently means that those old ones who know their issues won’t be bugging them anymore), b) the SUPREME playa status (he’s a wild stallion – no one can hold him down), and c) a bulletproof heart with armed forces strong enough to blow yours out of the water to maintain the high priced premium insurance of the platinum upper hand.
The player at play…