Journal of Pinball Wizard (161942)
I hate nearly everything about capitalism. Unfortunately, its the best economic system going(at least the U.S.' bastardized version of capitalism, anyway). So you can infer that I hate all the other systems(communism, socialism, etc.) even more.
What irks me is when I see some pseudo libertarian going off on how wonderful everything would be if the government would just leave the market to its own devices and let the Invisible Hand of the economy take over. Why then, it really would be a workers paradise! Everybody would automatically reap the fair contribution he/she made to the system! NOT. What would happen is the biggest and strongest fish would take everything and make slaves out of you and me. Our Corporate Masters already have too much power and I already feel like too much of a slave.
Whats wrong with capitalism? Despite a capitalists claim otherwise, capitalism is extremely inefficient. Having 5 percent of the labor force unemployed at any given time is inefficient. Competition, the kind of competition we have in our country, is extremely inefficient. Competitors aren't friendly to their competition, they are at war with the competition, the goal being to drive their competitors out of business. Lets look at this here. Basically when you have a situation where two or more companies are fighting each other to the death, as occurs so many times here in our great country, you have a situation where all players are gutting their companies, laying off their workers, and flailing along in hopes the other guy will be driven out of business first. Nobody is profiting, stocks are tanking, unemployment is increasing. All until the competition is finally driven out of business, then the remaining survivor is now a monopoly, and can raise prices, lower wages, and basically tell everyone "go to hell, because we have you by the balls" in a nice way. Look at Kmart, or any number of small mom-and-pops that have been laid waste by Wal-mart. Once all of Wal-marts competition is gone, you think its still going to be such a great deal to shop there? Look at Microsoft, and how much they charge for Windows and Office. When a PC gets sold, twice as much profit goes to Microsoft as does to the manfacturer of the PC itself. Anywhere you have a monopoly things become expensive, leaving you with less money to do useful things like spending it to improve the economy.
This is the natural state when you allow unrestrained capitalism.
The government is the only thing we have to keep our corporations in line. Despite its faults, our government is democratic in nature where corporations are not. And despite people claiming that government is less efficient than business, in a lot of cases, its very efficient. Our very best technology is created not by corporations, but by our government. And look at our military. Thats one highly efficient organization if I ever saw one. So the claims of our government being inefficient don't wash.
I propose that we democratically depose capitalism and vote in a system that will really work. And I propose we each pitch in and build this new system. There are a few people out there like John Perry Barlow of the EFF who have already proposed such a system. Its based on the idea that you completely do away with scarcity. We are already well on the way of eliminating scarcity in the digital world. Once the values of open source make their way into the physical world we will finally have a chance to eliminate scarcity.
Now, how would you alter our economic system in such a way as to provide the elimination of scarcity? With technology, that's how. Get our brightest engineering and CS minds together and devise a solution that allows the majority of people to work 20 hours a week or less and efficiently produce the amount of goods to eliminate scarcity. Instead of a tax on our earnings, you would have a labor tax. Being such a system would be democratically based, it would be fair to everyone. You would still have the concept of private property. Only with this system everyone would have all the private property they could ever need(obviously there would have to be controls to prevent abuse).
And think of it really. If the majority of people thought that way, then the few that held on to their wealth from the old capitalist system might just come to realize their "wealth" doesn't really mean that much anyway. Its not buying them anymore happiness, education or opportunities that could be had by all. So why bother trying to be wealthier than the next guy, when if you eliminate scarcity, it doesn't mean a thing! Besides, wealth is just a figment of people's imagination anyway. What a companys stock or your house or car is worth is entirely subjective. What matters is that we are now developing the technology capable of producing the goods necessary to eliminate scarcity, and at the same time we could greatly reduce the hours we all need to work.
Our current capitalist system is antiquated and cannot make the world a better place for everyone to live in. It must be replaced with a system that eliminates scarcity. I must emphasize that I'm not advocating anything like communism. It is based on democracy and private property. Its a throwback to the days of our Founding Fathers, men who believed in the rule of the people and who distrusted corporations. Its far closer to the democratic ideals of our Constitution than capitalism could ever be. Whereas communism is just pure slavery and capitalism is both anachronistic and feudalistic, eliminating scarcity is inherently democratic.
The IBM 2250 is impressive ... if you compare it with a system selling for a tenth its price. -- D. Cohen