This week in our reading we’ve been learning about capitalism and the ebbs and flows of our current market economy state. In ‘Capitalism- a Brief Introduction’, it was defined as “essentially the investment of money in the expectation of making a profit”. Harmless, right? What else do we know but people entering the business world with some assets like time and skill, some capital, and investing what they have to build upon that? There’s much more to our economic state that has come from this structure, and as Forbes reported in 2016 in an article claiming ‘Unless it Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity by 2050’, the global population projected to grow to 10 Billion will not be supported by capitalism considering our current rate of poverty.
The primary motive of entering business in the market is to make a profit, and with the technology, transportation, and manufacturing changes that have happened since colonization, making money isn’t based on offering scarce goods any more but competing with other businesses in production costs. This moves companies to exploit wage laborers, employing those in developing countries instead of established countries where cost of living and therefore legal wages are much higher (Anti-Capitalism).
Not only is our economy entirely dependent on making a profit, therefore built around companies and employees that all act in their own interest instead of for the greater good of our society, but the influence of privately owned market participants lobby for the favor of our democratic influencers in our government, so the regulation that would have hope of being able to move and change the way our market functions and is run is unfortunately also bought out and influenced by the same companies that should be under the rules and regulations.
Capitalism in itself, especially alongside this state of democracy, is unsustainable. Anti-Capitalism discusses the alternatives in the future that would look more like “interdependence and transnationalism of capitalism, corporate consolidation, economic globalization, and financialization”. This means facing all the intricate problems we’ve created, which “How Will Capitalism End?” delves into, like our broken social contract that asks us for higher productivity without increasing the average household income, the problem with democracy lacking unanimity to effect change and the influence of the market with lobbying, and tariffs that are globally used to monopolize markets.
Personally, I had a pretty simple time understanding all the broken fractals of capitalism, especially in the United States. What I’m having more trouble with is casting a vision for how we currently can move and affect change, what the plan is for alternatives to capitalism, and how we can muster national influence when the globe largely functions in intense competition and private ownership of means of manufacturing. How much time can we afford to transition through changes, and what problems have we not foreseen? We can say that our system is sick, but how realistic is the expectation that we can make it healthy again?