Monday, October 19, 2015

Alternatives to capitalism

The world moves a lot by inertia. The status quo stays like that for very long and changes to a new regime required in the past big revolutions. Today we got capitalism and democracy and many argue that one or the two have failed to deliver to the majority of people. I am not that negative on them and somehow, I believe that people have the system that they deserve. Somebody may argue that even this being truth, it doesn't make it right and with a social gap still growing it will eventually break the system.

Even if those were not big enough challenges, the world keeps evolving and I wonder if the current system will survive some of the big changes ahead. For instance, what happens in a society where machines can do any job better than humans? Or where people can live well beyond 100 years, becoming "de facto" immortals as science improves faster than they age? Those look like far fetched scenarios but I would argue quite the opposite. Many experts talk about the so call "singularities" happening in the next 50-100 years, worst case.

So, the question becomes if capitalism can gradually adapt to these or on the contrary, violent shifts will shake the system or even destroy it, and with it, maybe even civilization. That's of course, not even taking into account other background phenomena like climate change... Another concern is what I perceive as a bigger than ever polarization of the society, with less middle ground. Folks become cheerleaders and then fanatics of ideas, seldom questioning them.

Although this may sound like the typical negative post, I am actually quite positive. Never before so many people has been thinking on these topics and the information has been so easy to flow. The most recent crisis have acted a bit as a vaccination too. But we need new ideas and what is as important as that, we need ways to implement them hopefully encouraging a gradual transition... I got, for instance, a personal one... Say machines take more and more of humans jobs, who is going to consume the goods from those machines if no one can pay for them because they do not work? It seems that contrary to a doomsday scenario the system would regulate towards either the goods being cheaper and/or humans getting paid the same for less work hours, and sharing between them whatever tasks are left. None of the two may be good from a green perspective, but economically may work.

I have to expand on this in a different post... For the time being, with these issues in mind I did a small search. I'll update here what I find. Just typing "Alternatives to capitalism" I got:
  1. Workers self-directed enterprises (WSDEs). I agree with the intro of the article but I honestly feel it fails in the solution. WSDEs may work in some particular case but I doubt they can compete with the traditional company. If you feel that democracy has yielded so far mediocre states, why it would be any different for companies... And anyhow, I think they are far from addressing the problems above.
  2. There Are Good Alternatives to US Capitalism, But No Way to Get There 

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