Is capitalism obsolete?

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, April 23rd, 2018 - 303 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Economy, Globalisation, Politics - Tags:

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has given a speech where he has stated that capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete.

From the Independent:

The former economics professor told an audience at University College London that the rise of giant technology corporations and artificial intelligence will cause the current economic system to undermine itself.

Mr Varoufakis, who took on EU institutions over Greek debt repayments in 2015, said companies such as Google and Facebook, for the first time ever, are having their capital bought and produced by consumers.

“Firstly the technologies were funded by some government grant; secondly every time you search for something on Google, you contribute to Google’s capital,” he said. “And who gets the returns from capital? Google, not you.

“So now there is no doubt capital is being socially produced, and the returns are being privatised. This with artificial intelligence is going to be the end of capitalism.”

Warning Karl Marx “will have his revenge”, the 56-year-old said for the first time since capitalism started, new technology “is going to destroy a lot more jobs than it creates”.

He added: “Capitalism is going to undermine capitalism, because they are producing all these technologies that will make corporations and the private means of production obsolete.

“And then what happens? I have no idea.”

Describing the present economic situation as “unsustainable” and fearing the rise of “toxic nationalism”, Mr Varoufakis said governments needed to prepare for post-capitalism by introducing redistributive wealth policies.

One of his suggestions, that 10 per cent of all future issue of shares to be put into a “common welfare fund” owned by the people deserves consideration.  A universal basic income will have to be paid somehow.

303 comments on “Is capitalism obsolete?”

  1. Tuppence Shrewsbury 1

    Not one single concrete example of a better option than capitalism. Just an assertion that capitalism has failed and a promise that THIS time socialism will work, because it’s not like the other times.

    • Ed 1.1

      Capitalism is killing life on this planet.
      A system built on the premise of infinite growth on a finite planet is clearly obsolete.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.1.1

        So you don’t have a system that’s better and will provide better outcomes for our planet. You only have a series of slogans that aren’t backed up with anything. I know monday’s are shit but at least try

        • In Vino 1.1.1.1

          I can’t think of anything much worse than the current system that is destroying our environment – or are you closing your eyes to that minor consideration?

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.1.1.1.1

            The current system can be utilised to protect our environment. it’s the most efficient system of distribution to date. Use it rather than destroy it and hope for something better.

            Or did you forget there is currently nothing better

            • In Vino 1.1.1.1.1.1

              According to the smug right-wingers, wishing makes it so. I’d say that countries like Denmark and Finland have already shown us something better than the rabid 80s New Right version that we suffer from. Commenters below have already quoted these countries, and your selective critiques do not convince.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.2

              If it could be used for that it already would be.

              Instead we have the capitalists complaining that they can’t make enough profit if they have to protect the environment as well.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2

          You only have a series of slogans that aren’t backed up with anything.

          That’s all you have as well. Unfortunately for you reality is showing that capitalism simply cannot work:

          1. Increased poverty
          2. Increased environmental damage
          3. Getting to the point that we can’t actually feed ourselves
          4. Increased inequality
          5. Decreasing democracy as oligarchy replaces it

          All the things that happen before capitalism destroys a society.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.1.1.2.1

            Real poverty has decreased. Fewer people live in absolute poverty than at any other time in world history

            Increased environmental damage is not the sole responsibility of capitalism. Advanced capitalism reduces environmental consumption as it moves to less resource heavy means of production through efficiency.

            Getting to the point where people are eating to much causing obesity epidemics worldwide

            inequality hasn’t increased. there are more people considered middle class, who live better than the upper class did 50 years ago, than ever. There are absolute extremes of wealth, but overall more people are experiencing better outcomes of life under capitalist societies than under any other

            Democracy is now available in many flavours around the world. America was never a democracy so you can’t point to it’s decline in individuals electoral power as being emblematic of any decline in democracy

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Fewer people live in absolute poverty than at any other time in world history

              Do they?
              Do you think that the people living in nomadic groups 10,000 years ago considered themselves to be in poverty? Or would even allow anyone in their group to be in poverty (Lacking any of the essentials for living)?

              Increased environmental damage is not the sole responsibility of capitalism.

              True to some degree. Māori had certainly done a hell of a lot of environmental damage before the Europeans arrived.

              Advanced capitalism reduces environmental consumption as it moves to less resource heavy means of production through efficiency.

              And that’s a load of bollocks.

              Capitalism must have increased use of resources to boost profits and so we get personal cars instead of trains and buses.

              Getting to the point where people are eating to much causing obesity epidemics worldwide

              Which conveniently ignores the damage done by capitalism as it pushes for more profits by damaging the soils.

              inequality hasn’t increased. there are more people considered middle class, who live better than the upper class did 50 years ago, than ever.

              On the first bloody page.

              And you actually can’t compare 50 years ago to today as far as living standards go. It’s comparing apples and oranges.

              And all indications are that the middles class is shrinking as the rich grab ever more of the wealth.

              There are absolute extremes of wealth, but overall more people are experiencing better outcomes of life under capitalist societies than under any other

              And indications are that if they didn’t have capitalism those capitalist countries would be doing even better. It was only socialism in the mid part of last century that improved things for the majority. In the 19th and early 20th century for the majority of people things were getting worse. Same as today.

              So, the evidence indicates that socialist countries do better.

              America was never a democracy so you can’t point to it’s decline in individuals electoral power as being emblematic of any decline in democracy

              While true that the US was never a democracy (Representative Democracy is never democratic) they do, as a matter of fact, tell everyone that they are. It was, of course, designed that way. But if you’re going that way then you have to admit that we’re not a democracy either:

              The Brit who asked this question views America as both a democracy and a republic and thus the phrase “America is a republic, not a democracy” is nonsensical to him. The few other Brits who answered it are clearly of the same opinion. Many (but not all) of the American respondents considered it an accurate statement.
              What became apparent from the answers is that
              (a) the Brits are using the most common current meaning of “democracy” as “representative democracy” whereas some of the Americans used the term in in its ancient Greek meaning of “direct democracy”; and
              (b), Brits use the modern meaning of “republic” as being a democracy led by an elected President but some Americans were using it to mean any government indirectly representative of the people.

              So, is NZ a democracy?

              Because if it is then so is the US and if the US isn’t then neither is NZ.

      • Baba Yaga 1.1.2

        Socialism/Communism killed 62 million Russians and 76 million Chinese alone.

        http://www.wnd.com/2012/08/socialisms-death-count/

        What was that about killing off life?

        • Ed 1.1.2.1

          This discussion has got nothing to do with communism.
          It is about how we mitigate the social and ecological crises we face as a result of capitalism.

          • Babayaga 1.1.2.1.1

            Actually I mentioned communism AND socialism, and yes it is relevant because socialism (or excuses for its variants) is most often touted here as a viable alternative. As for theses alleged ‘crises’ we face, perhaps you could take a trip to North Korea or Venezuela and report back how peachy things are there.

            • AB 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Ah – “Hugo’s Law”.
              A variation on Godwin, it goes like this:
              In any public discussion of Karl Marx’s economic theories, it takes on average 11 posts before a right wing sloganeer shouts ‘Venezuela

              • Baba Yaga

                I’m surprised its 11! After all it is classic example of how socialism fails. But I understand what you’re saying…there are so many other examples I could have given!

                • AB

                  It’s an example of how economies over-dependent on one commodity and with a corrupt elites fall apart under pressure.

        • Pat 1.1.2.2

          your sources are impeccable.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/WND

          • Baba Yaga 1.1.2.2.1

            Can you fault the content? Or would you like more sources?

            http://www.savageleft.com/poli/mbc.html

            Even better, I’ll give you some names:

            Stalin
            Mao
            Pol Pot
            ….

            • Pat 1.1.2.2.1.1

              “As of 2011, academic consensus has not been achieved on causes of large scale killings by states, including by states governed by communists. In particular, the number of comparative studies suggesting causes is limited. The highest death tolls that have been documented in communist states occurred in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, in the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong, and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. The estimates of the number of non-combatants killed by these three regimes alone range from a low of 21 million to a high of 70 million.[2][dubious – discuss] There have also been killings on a smaller scale in North Korea, Vietnam, and some Eastern European and African countries.”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_killings_under_Communist_regimes

              “Socialism/Communism killed 62 million Russians and 76 million Chinese alone.” Baba Yaga.

              Fundamentalist Christian headcases dont really qualify as credible sources Im afraid Baba.

              • Baba Yaga

                Your source appears to confirm the murderous intent of socialist/communist regimes. Was that your intention?

                • Pat

                  lol….my intention was accuracy as opposed to delusional hyperbole…Stalin and Mao are beyond defence but truth is not.

        • Stuart Munro 1.1.2.3

          More properly described as totalitarianism.

          • Baba Yaga 1.1.2.3.1

            Yes Socialist/Communist states do tend towards totalitarianism. Capitalist states less so.

            • Stuart Munro 1.1.2.3.1.1

              Nope.

              • Baba Yaga

                Yep. Most socialist regimes have been repressive, and that repression has been enforced via totalitarianism. Freedom of thought, worship, expression…socialist regimes have suppressed anything that may resemble a competing world view. Free market/capitalist economics most often fit alongside democratic governance. It makes sense that when a government wants to steal from it’s citizens and implement economic policies that penalise personal industry (as socialism does), then some form of repression will naturally result.

                • Stuart Munro

                  A totalitarian government is by nature corrupt and despotic – it may pretend to socialist or communist values, but that is all – much as Chinese states pretended to Confucian values but were never able to satisfy Confucius.

                  Of course, having no argument of your own that withstands even the most cursory scrutiny you need to confuse the issue, by dragging in states that have little relevance.

                  • Babayaga

                    S/C regimes tend towards totalitarianism because they need to repress the citizenry. They are by nature repressive regimes, with little tolerance for opposition.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      S/C – sociopathic capitalist?

                      Yes, these regimes have a very bad name, especially if they manage to militarize the police or politicize the armed forces.

                    • Babayaga

                      S/C = socialist/communist.

                      But then you always wriggle Stuart. It’s part of the fun of dialogue with you.

              • Wayne

                Socialist states (full or near full state ownership) have to be totalitarian. It is the only way they can remain socialist.

                As soon as people have a choice (regular free elections) they choose different governments from time to time. Some of these governments are capitalist free market governments. As a result the stable economic model in all modern democracies ends up being free market with mostly private ownership, with a varying degree of public spending and regulation according to who is the government.

                No fully functional democracy has chosen a socialist model, the most they do is social democracy, which is basically a free market private ownership model with extensive social spending and regulation. But over time these are pulled back because conservative governments get elected from time to time. So for instance the Scandinavian nations have become much more free market over the last 20 years.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Defining socialism by the degree of state ownership is a capitalist trope, capitalists are forever trying to steal public property. Socialism is much older and more widespread than the modern state, it naturally went hand in hand with the participatory democracies of band cultures, perhaps the oldest human political structure.

                  Parts of it survived in acts like the forest charter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_of_the_Forest or the Scandinavian allemansrätten, these being mere codifications of an ancient and enduring set of peoples’ rights that our peoples have upheld for millennia.

                  Of course the self-serving vermin who have made such a bollocks of governing NZ for the last few decades have no respect for anything that might hinder their misappropriation of public wealth. They have proven to be corrupt and inferior administrators, as kleptocrats invariably are, and do not constitute the go to authority on what is or is not socialism.

                • Zorb6

                  ‘No fully functional democracy has chosen a socialist model, ‘-if it ever does ,the Chile example shows what happens.

                  • Wayne

                    Chile had a long history of coups (both successful and unsuccessful) before 1973.

                    It is hard to imagine a coup in Chile now.

                    • Zorb6

                      Try the democratically elected govt in Iran then-
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

                    • KJT

                      A great many countries that tried to overthrow the dominance of US companies, for the benefit of their own population, have had a long history of unstable Government and coups.

                      I wonder why that was.

                      “Hard to imagine a coup in Chile now”.

                      Nothing to do with Pinochet and the Chicago school, aided by the CIA, of course.

                      The fact is, those with the money and power are determined that examples, of successful Democratic and Socialist countries, cannot be allowed to exist.

                      In the USA the political party funders, have shown they would rather destroy the country, than lose their power and wealth.

                      Capitalism does work, but only at the level of the corner store and tradesperson. History has shown that monopoly infrastructure had better be under democratic state control.

                • Pat

                  Disingenuous again Wayne….your description of social democracy as “basically a free market private ownership model with extensive social spending and regulation” would be more honestly ascribed to ‘third wayism’…there is no acceptance of free markets in social democracy, indeed the public and universal provision of adequate health, education and welfare and the control of capital are the basic tenets….you cannot have social democracy with the unfettered flow of capital….as the Scandinavian countries found in the 70s and 80s as the worlds powerful institutions and economies began to promote (demand) the liberalisation we now now endure, albeit they have adapted with a more egalitarian outcome than most.

                  We’ve had 4 decades of evidence to confirm that the return of laissez faire hasnt altered its flaws with the passage of time…..the only question is whether it will end in the same way …for end it will.

        • KJT 1.1.2.4

          Both countries were communist for all of five minutes, before totalitarian Government took over.

          “Communist” China, is now propping up Western capitalism, btw.

          • Babayaga 1.1.2.4.1

            Yes 5 minutes, because communist/socialist regimes seem incapable of functioning without totalitarian oversight. I’ve made that point here recently, thanks for the confirmation.

            • KJT 1.1.2.4.1.1

              Keep telling yourself that.

              Constantly repeating bullshit does not make it true, however.

              Real Socialist countries, like New deal USA and 60’s New Zealand, along with Scandinavia, until recently, did not need a dictatorship.

              Meanwhile. How are the capitalist paradises like Haiti, Chicago, Indonesia, Honduras, getting along again.

              • Baba Yaga

                You’re the one that said ‘Both countries were communist for all of five minutes, before totalitarian Government took over.’

                And would you like to name which Scandinavian country you are describing as ‘socialist’?

        • Incognito 1.1.2.5

          Utterly false dichotomy and thus a(nother) fallacious argument.

          Of course, you deny it but moving goal posts is a tell-tale sign that you cannot or don’t want to debate the topic as it stands. And it shows in all 18 of your comments (not posts) under this Post.

          Sadly, many other commenters here felt compelled to engage with you after you had moved the goal posts, which is not a mistake I want to make. And you know my weakness: my poor reading comprehension 😉

          • Babayaga 1.1.2.5.1

            I don’t move goal posts. Your rant is perhaps a sign of resignation?

            • Incognito 1.1.2.5.1.1

              I rest my case.

              • Baba Yaga

                And I stand by my original comment. Communism and Socialism are invariably demonstrably murderous ideologies, that are sustained by totalitarian regimes.

                • McFlock

                  Whereas capitalism is a demostrably murderous ideology that requires either a complicit government or a weak government in order to exist.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Capitalism is not at all murderous. Capitalism is empowering, which is why it has been so successful at reducing poverty globally.

                    • McFlock

                      Not at all murderous?

                      The transAtlantic slave trade.
                      the Dutch East India company.
                      The Opium Wars.
                      The Irish and the Indian famines in the 19th century.
                      General Dynamics.
                      Fossy-mouth.
                      Vickers.
                      Blackwater.

                      Not to mention all the major and minor murders committed over money.

                    • McFlock

                      And if you want closer examples, Pike River.

                    • Incognito

                      I’d like to add to the list:

                      Neglected tropical diseases
                      Orphan diseases

                    • Babayaga

                      None of which relate specifically to capitalism or to its enforcement. And most (perhaps all?) of which could have occurred in c/s states.

                    • Babayaga

                      Chernobyl?

                    • McFlock

                      What has Chernobyl got to do with how many NZ forestry workers have been killed in the last year?

                    • McFlock

                      None of which relate specifically to capitalism or to its enforcement.

                      They were all acts of capitalism, fucko. Whether or not communism is bad, or whether the self-described communist nations really were communist, is irrelevant to the fact that capitalism routinely kills. At best It needs a strong government enforcing strong safety and commercial regulations to simply kill less people. But capitalism is all about killing if it’s cheaper than keeping workers and consumers safe.

                      Tobacco companies, for example. Outright lying in order to make billions by killing more addicts. Asbestos miners. It’s all about the money. That’s capitalism.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “They were all acts of capitalism, fucko.”
                      No, they weren’t. Unless you want to add the deaths from every aberration of socialism to the hundreds of millions actually killed by socialist and communist governments. When you can evidence government sanctioned murder of hundreds of millions and suppression of opposition by capitalist governments then you might have some credibility. Fucko.

                    • McFlock

                      And what do you call regulation of slave markets south of the Mason-Dixon until 1865? What about government authorisation of arms sales? Was the US capitalist when it annexed Hawaii? What about the origin of the term “banana republic”? Is it not capitalism when Colt develops a better weapon for “home defense”? Is it not capitalism when Ford runs a CBA to decide on whether to improve the Pinto’s fuel tank? When BAT executives sell tobacco to addicts, is that not the very essence of capitalism?

                      Count all the people you want, the fact is that regardless of how bad Communism, Socialism or even fucking Feudalism might also be, capitalism is a demostrably murderous ideology that requires either a complicit government or a weak government in order to exist.

                      It is not “empowering”, it is alienating and lethal to its users. Like tobacco.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “And what do you call regulation of slave markets south of the Mason-Dixon until 1865?”
                      Not hundreds of millions of people murdered. Not suppression of an entire populations free speech. And not a natural consequence of capitalism.

                      “What about government authorisation of arms sales?”
                      Not hundreds of millions of people murdered. Not suppression of an entire populations free speech. And not a natural consequence of capitalism.

                      “Was the US capitalist when it annexed Hawaii?”
                      How is annexing another country murderous?

                      “What about the origin of the term “banana republic”?”
                      Murders?

                      “Is it not capitalism when Colt develops a better weapon for “home defense”?”
                      Murders by capitalism?

                      “Is it not capitalism when Ford runs a CBA to decide on whether to improve the Pinto’s fuel tank?”
                      Murders? Hundreds of millions?

                      “When BAT executives sell tobacco to addicts, is that not the very essence of capitalism?”
                      And no socialist countries sell cigarettes?

                      “capitalism is a demostrably murderous ideology”
                      So you say. Yet you cannot provide a single valid example of a capitalist regime that has actually set out to murder people to implement its economic and/or social agenda.

                    • McFlock

                      If that were true, you would have had a better response to the capitalist tobacco industry than (paraphrased) ‘commies did it too’.

                      But I especially loved the concept that slavery isn’t a suppression of an entire population’s free speech. You’re an arse.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “If that were true, you would have had a better response to the capitalist tobacco industry than (paraphrased) ‘commies did it too’.”
                      But that wasn’t my response. If you had thought about it a bit more you would have realised my point was that tobacco is not a ‘capitalist’ problem, it is a human problem. So you have nothing. Zero.

                      “But I especially loved the concept that slavery isn’t a suppression of an entire population’s free speech. You’re an arse.”
                      It isn’t. Slavery is the oppression of one group of a population, not an entire population. Did the slave owners enjoy free speech?
                      But the bigger point is slavery is not unique to capitalism. There was slavery in the soviet union, for example, in fact there were forced labour camps.

                      But the murder of hundreds of millions of citizens at the hands of communist/socialist regimes is very much an outcome of the repression that becomes necessary when an politico/economic system suppresses free speech and starves its citizens as it’s economic lunacy collapses.

                      (Mmmmm which epithet to close with? ‘Fucko’ or ‘Arse’. I’ll go with Arse).

                    • McFlock

                      Who the fuck said anything was “unique to capitalism”?

                      That’s your flailing around right there: you argue that because other things are bad, somehow that lets capitalism off the hook for its own flaws.

                      Capitalism has killed hundreds of millions. Not by government direction (although by government permission), but by market forces.

                      The idea that capitalism in a state “is empowering” because it only silences the half or third of the population who are slaves is fucking stupid, and you can’t admit it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Yet you cannot provide a single valid example of a capitalist regime that has actually set out to murder people to implement its economic and/or social agenda.

                      Chile under Pinochet. It was, after all, a US backed military coup.
                      1953 Iranian coup d’état which was backed by the US and the UK which was backed for capitalist purposes and with lots of bloodshed organised by the US. The Shah definitely murdered people to keep the economic system going.

                      Capitalism: Murderous as fuck

                    • Incognito

                      Q: Why are some tropical diseases called “neglected”?

                      A: The people who are most affected by these diseases are often the poorest populations, living in remote, rural areas, urban slums or conflict zones. Neglected tropical diseases persist under conditions of poverty and are concentrated almost exclusively in impoverished populations in the developing world.

                      http://www.who.int/features/qa/58/en/

                      Orphan disease: A disease that has not been ?adopted? by the pharmaceutical industry because it provides little financial incentive for the private sector to make and market new medications to treat or prevent it. An orphan disease may be a rare disease (according to US criteria, a disease that affects fewer than 200,000 people) or a common disease that has been ignored (such as tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, and malaria) because it is far more prevalent in developing countries than in the developed world.

                      https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11418

                      I rest my case but I have a bad feeling you’re going to argue anyway 😉

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Who the fuck said anything was “unique to capitalism”?”
                      If it isn’t unique to capitalism, you have no way of blaming capitalism for it.

                      “That’s your flailing around right there: you argue that because other things are bad, somehow that lets capitalism off the hook for its own flaws.”
                      No, never argued that. Capitalism hasn’t killed hundreds of millions of people.

                      “Capitalism has killed hundreds of millions.”
                      No, it hasn’t.

                      “Not by government direction (although by government permission), but by market forces.”
                      ‘Market forces’ is not capitalism. Do I really need to explain this to you.

                      “The idea that capitalism in a state “is empowering” because it only silences the half or third of the population who are slaves is fucking stupid, and you can’t admit it.”
                      I won’t admit it because I never said it. You have a habit of assigning comments to people who didn’t make them. Naughty fucko/arse.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Chile under Pinochet. It was, after all, a US backed military coup.
                      1953 Iranian coup d’état which was backed by the US and the UK which was backed for capitalist purposes and with lots of bloodshed organised by the US. ”
                      Ignoring the fact that Pinochet’s Chile was a military junta (did you not know that), how many died during that regime? (Clue: the number is not hundreds of millions. It is not millions. It is not hundreds of thousands. It is not tens of thousands).

                    • McFlock

                      If it isn’t unique to capitalism, you have no way of blaming capitalism for it.

                      The prisons are full of people for whom murder was not unique to them, yet they were still justly blamed for what they did.

                      Capitalism hasn’t killed hundreds of millions of people.

                      Oh yes it has

                      “Capitalism has killed hundreds of millions.”
                      No, it hasn’t.

                      OH yes it has! lol

                      ‘Market forces’ is not capitalism. Do I really need to explain this to you.

                      Capitalism doesn’t involve markets? Gosh.

                      You have a habit of assigning comments to people who didn’t make them. Naughty fucko/arse.

                      You have a habit of not reading what you wrote in the context of everything else in the thread, so suck my balls.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “The prisons are full of people for whom murder was not unique to them, yet they were still justly blamed for what they did.”
                      Because they committed the crime. No-one has murdered hundreds of millions of people in the name of Capitalism.

                      “Oh yes it has”
                      Yet you can’t name a single capitalist regime that has.

                      “Capitalism doesn’t involve markets?”
                      Yes, but that doesn’t mean the two are one and the same or interchangeable. Socialist/communist states, when they wake up to reality, sometimes implement market forces (eg China). You seem incapable of simple differentiations.

                      “so suck my balls.”
                      Oh goody…another to add to the list. You really have no argument do you?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      Soviet Union
                      Peoples Republic of China
                      Cambodia
                      Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
                      Democratic Republic of Vietnam
                      Bulgaria
                      East Germany
                      Romania
                      People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
                      Hungary
                      Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
                      Ethiopia

                      Shall I put numbers by each? Include famines brought on by state economic vandalism? What about those who died in Russian and Korean gulags?

                    • McFlock

                      “The prisons are full of people for whom murder was not unique to them, yet they were still justly blamed for what they did.”
                      Because they committed the crime. No-one has murdered hundreds of millions of people in the name of Capitalism.

                      Really? Which one killed “hundreds of millions” in the name of communism, then?
                      Because capitalism is still killing people. How many people have the tobacco corporates killed? Some estimates reckon tobacco alone has killed 100million. Does communism even reach that level?

                      “Oh yes it has”
                      Yet you can’t name a single capitalist regime that has.

                      Name a single communist regime that killed hundreds of millions of people. Hell, cite a list of regimes that add up to 100million dead, because after the soviet union and china, the numbers decrease pretty quickly…

                      “Capitalism doesn’t involve markets?”
                      Yes, but that doesn’t mean the two are one and the same or interchangeable. Socialist/communist states, when they wake up to reality, sometimes implement market forces (eg China). You seem incapable of simple differentiations.

                      And yet you conflate socialism and communism.

                      “so suck my balls.”
                      Oh goody…another to add to the list. You really have no argument do you?

                      See, I don’t regard a bit of swearing as obscene. I regard your position as obscene. But then tone arguments are lazy digressions, anyway.

                      edit: nice list. How many did they kill, mr “hundreds of millions”?

                    • Babayaga

                      There is no need to conflate communism and socialism. In the context of politico/economic systems they share many similarities, but most importantly they share failure and they share repression and murder. In the hundreds of millions.

                      As far as your language is concerned, I laugh at it, because it shows a lack of intellect.

                    • McFlock

                      Seriously, you’ve repeatedly made the claim “hundreds of millions”.
                      Cite pls.

                      edit: I mean, I can see your figuring on “tens of millions”, but capitalism can easily match that in you include half of tobacco mortality, slavery, and even leave out Vickers etc. But hundreds of millions is something I’d like to see your workings for.

                      Oh, and if there’s no need to conflate communism and socialism, why did you type “Socialist/communist states”?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      ‘Seriously, you’ve repeatedly made the claim “hundreds of millions”.
                      Cite pls.”

                      You’ve not been following.

                      http://www.savageleft.com/poli/mbc.html

                      There are numerous sources that quote over 100 million, many don’t include famines and wars that were often the result of the morally bankrupt ideologies of communism and socialism. But I know…Shall we just settle on one hundred million? Is that ok? Would that minimise the issue for you enough to accept that?

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, ok, so you think that counts as “hundreds of millions”.

                      Fair enough.

                      Let’s see – 100,000,000.

                      About the same as capitalism.

                      And that estimate omits capitalistic murders such as the roughly 30million more people killed by smoking in OECD than FSE since the 1950s when tobacco companies knew their product kills yet still chose to advertise them as safe, even testify as such under oath. And the various thousands killed here and there by shoddy workplace safety, unsafe products, and making basic healthcare unaffordable to some. Hell, some estimates for capitalism go to over a billion (but they include things before Marx, so that would be a little unfair).

                      If you want to criticise communism, try to find something that doesn’t equally condemn capitalism.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      From your source:

                      “The list includes certain death tolls from the two World Wars, colonial wars, anticommunist campaigns and repressions, ethnic conflicts, and victims of famines or malnutrition; bringing the incomplete total to a 100 million deaths attributed to capitalism in the 20th century.”

                      Seriously? Blaming capitalism for two world wars? For ‘ethnic conflicts’, and ‘malnutrition’? Capitalism has dramatically reduced poverty in recent decades. And you do know that the Nazi’s and the USSR were allies at the start of WW2? If anything it was socialism that started WW2.

                      As for smoking, are you suggesting cigarettes are not manufactured or consumed in communist or socialist countries? Perhaps you’ve never heard of “Apollo-Soyuz”.

                      You really have to be desperate to come up with the nonsense you’re trying to peddle.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, you can quibble about the numbers all you want, just as I can quibble about your list of deaths attributable to communism.

                      But to cut to the chase, is your position that capitalism has killed nobody in all of history, or merely that it’s a net benefit?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Oh, you can quibble about the numbers all you want,”
                      I’m not quibbling about the numbers. I’m calling bs on your rationale that includes cigarette smoking as a capitalist killer when cigarettes were manufactured in the soviet union.

                      ” just as I can quibble about your list of deaths attributable to communism. ”
                      Not really, you can’t.

                      “But to cut to the chase, is your position that capitalism has killed nobody in all of history, or merely that it’s a net benefit?”
                      That depends on how you define capitalism. But let me say this. Capitalism is a system that embraces democracy. Communism and Socialism are systems that eschew it. Capitalism embraces opposition and alternative thinking; Communism and Socialism drive them out by persecution and murder. Capitalism honours individual rights and freedoms; Communism and Socialism suppress and destroy them. That’s why Communism and Socialism are so murderous, simply because they are such rotten systems they have to be enforced on the people against their will over the long term. If you really want to keep defending these systems, go live somewhere where they are implemented.

                    • McFlock

                      Were communist tobacco executives publicly testifying that smoking didn’t cause cancer?

                      Millions of slaves know how closely capitalism embraces. Union leaders know just how accepting capitalism is of opposition and alternative thinking – quite a lot of them have been buried by that “embrace”. Industrialists and bankers supported H&co from their beginning, then made millions once the moustache got into power – some were tried after the war, but capital doesn’t pursue its own so much. Not to mention swiss bankers providing a safe haven for all that loot. Hell, ever wonder why the belligerent nations in WW1 had identical machine guns? Capitalists encouraging arms races for twenty years.

                      I’m no communist, but to argue that capitalism is somehow better is fucked in the head. Millions of dead in Vietnam because the US propped up dictatorships in the name of freedom. An intervention that paved the way for the khmer rouge – communists, yes, but also defeated by a united Communist Vietnam, not the US “embracing” them.

                      You know that Shkreli was jailed for defrauding investors, not pricing lifesaving medications beyond the reach of many patients? That’s capitalism right there: kill as many poor people as you want for a buck, but don’t fuck with the money. With all of your pretentions of nobility, capitalism is the mafia with nicer suits, and war, to use an old but wise book title, is a racket.

                      Nice look for a supposed defender of freedom to use the old ‘like it or leave’ persoective, too.

                      As it is, I like democratic socialism or social democracy, so I’ll go for them, here. And seeing as you got outvoted on that choice, the emigration ball is firmly in your court. I hear there’s a decently unregulated capitalist slave industry in southern Libya these days.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Were communist tobacco executives publicly testifying that smoking didn’t cause cancer?”
                      Do you have evidence they weren’t?

                      “Millions of slaves know how closely capitalism embraces.”
                      There were/are slaves under communism and socialism. Ever heard of the gulags? But worse, communism/socialism IS slavery. Slavery to a failed and murderous ideology. What is concerning is that you believe that is better than a democratically free and empowering system.

                    • McFlock

                      Do you have evidence they weren’t?

                      lol so you assume communists are guilty without any evidence because capitalists did it, and capitalism is fine because communists therefore did it too. Nice circular bias you have there.

                      “Millions of slaves know how closely capitalism embraces.”
                      There were/are slaves under communism and socialism. Ever heard of the gulags?

                      Ever hear of the prison-industrial complex? Slavery is alive and well in the USA.

                      But worse, communism/socialism IS slavery. Slavery to a failed and murderous ideology. What is concerning is that you believe that is better than a democratically free and empowering system

                      Capitalism is also slavery – people are commoditised and alienated and beholden to their overlords, just as much as in the nominally “communist” states that succeeded it and the feudal states that preceeded it. Capitalism is only “empowering” in exactly the same way as every other system – if you can lie, cheat, steal, intimidate, and get away with it, you’re empowered and even given a knighthood or some other gong. But if you get caught or lose, you’re a bad person.

                      you’re still going on with that conflation habit too, I see.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “lol so you assume communists are guilty without any evidence…”
                      I didn’t assume anything. You raised the issue of cigarette manufacture, clearly without knowing that cigarettes were manufactured in the Soviet Union.

                      “Ever hear of the prison-industrial complex? ”
                      You mean where prison inmates are expected to work for their keep? Yeah, its a great idea.

                      “Capitalism is only “empowering” in exactly the same way as every other system…”
                      Not really. Capitalism allows individuals to be rewarded for hard work. It encourages capital to be invested in enterprises that deliver goods and services that the market wants and needs, meaning an efficient allocation of resources. With capitalism people get to chose the type of work they do and who they work for. With communism/Socialism people are forced to comply with government dictates and still get to starve in the process.

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, if you’re not going to read the links, don’t make up what I do or do not know.

                      You mean where prison inmates are expected to work for their keep? Yeah, its a great idea.

                      Such a great idea it needs a specific exemption from the amendment that outlaws slavery.

                      “Capitalism is only “empowering” in exactly the same way as every other system…”
                      Not really. Capitalism allows individuals to be rewarded for hard work.

                      Bullshit. That’s another myth of capitalism. Some of the hardest workers I know are on minimum wage or close – hard work, shit hours, and dangerous. If hard work were rewarded, I wouldn’t be paid more than them.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Dude, if you’re not going to read the links, don’t make up what I do or do not know.”
                      Your last post didn’t have any links!

                      “Such a great idea it needs a specific exemption from the amendment that outlaws slavery.”
                      It’s getting inmates, you know criminals, to reduce the cost imposition of their life on the taxpayer. Great idea.

                      “Bullshit. That’s another myth of capitalism.”
                      Are you saying capitalism penalises hard work?

                      “Some of the hardest workers I know are on minimum wage or close – hard work, shit hours, and dangerous. If hard work were rewarded, I wouldn’t be paid more than them.”
                      Then they chose the wrong job. But at least they have a choice. Within a communist/capitalist state they would be told what to do and when to do it, and how much they’ll get paid for doing it.

                      Anyone who supports socialism/communism at a state level is a closet sadist IMHO.

                    • McFlock

                      Your last post didn’t have any links!

                      Maybe you should have judged it in the context of the thread, then. Turing fail.

                      “Such a great idea it needs a specific exemption from the amendment that outlaws slavery.”
                      It’s getting inmates, you know criminals, to reduce the cost imposition of their life on the taxpayer. Great idea.

                      It’s using slaves to undercut and alienate workers so that they break a law and become the next generation of slaves.

                      “Bullshit. That’s another myth of capitalism.”
                      Are you saying capitalism penalises hard work?

                      I’m saying that income is irrelevant to how hard working or smart someone is. That’s why there’s no relationship between CEO income and their companies’ performance.

                      “Some of the hardest workers I know are on minimum wage or close – hard work, shit hours, and dangerous. If hard work were rewarded, I wouldn’t be paid more than them.”
                      Then they chose the wrong job. But at least they have a choice. Within a communist/capitalist state they would be told what to do and when to do it, and how much they’ll get paid for doing it.

                      Chose? Who fucking chooses to be minimum wage or unemployed? You’re delusional.

                      Anyone who supports socialism/communism at a state level is a closet sadist IMHO.

                      Well, true communism is stateless, but never mind. As I said way up the top, the goal of communism is unifying and peaceful, so I’ll agree that the incarnations in the 20C were in the closet about their brutality.

                      Whereas you quite openly support slavery in prisons and claim people choose to be poor, which demonstrates the open division and alienation inherent in the capitalist system. You’re an out and proud sadist.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Maybe you should have judged it in the context of the thread, then.”
                      You used the word ‘links’. Perhaps you should say what you mean.

                      “It’s using slaves to undercut and alienate workers so that they break a law and become the next generation of slaves.”
                      Inmates are not slaves.

                      “I’m saying that income is irrelevant to how hard working or smart someone is.”
                      And I’m saying that that is more often than not bullshit.

                      “Chose? Who fucking chooses to be minimum wage or unemployed?”
                      People who chose the wrong qualification. Or no qualification.

                      “…the goal of communism is unifying and peaceful,”
                      The goal of communism is repression of the masses.

                      “Whereas you quite openly support slavery in prisons…”
                      No, I openly support criminals contributing to their keep.

                    • McFlock

                      “Maybe you should have judged it in the context of the thread, then.”
                      You used the word ‘links’. Perhaps you should say what you mean.

                      So look through the thread for the links then.

                      Inmates are not slaves.

                      They are if they’re forced to work. Which is why they need a specific exemption from the thirteenth amendment.

                      “I’m saying that income is irrelevant to how hard working or smart someone is.”
                      And I’m saying that that is more often than not bullshit.

                      So for some people it’s not bullshit. We don’t need to quibble over the ratios, we can agree that capitalism is an inherently unfair system.

                      “Chose? Who fucking chooses to be minimum wage or unemployed?”
                      People who chose the wrong qualification. Or no qualification.

                      Because it was labelled “this is the wrong qualification”? Bullshit. Most poor people did their best and had bad luck, in my experience.

                      “…the goal of communism is unifying and peaceful,”
                      The goal of communism is repression of the masses.

                      No, that’s just been the outcome of past attempts to achieve communism. The actual goal of communism is a peaceful, fair and free society. Whereas the goal of capitalism is to have winners and losers.

                      “Whereas you quite openly support slavery in prisons…”
                      No, I openly support criminals contributing to their keep.

                      When they are forced to do so, that’s slavery.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So look through the thread for the links then.”
                      There were no links in your post.
                      “They are if they’re forced to work.”
                      When I was a child I was forced to work with my father in his garden. Was I his slave?

                      “So for some people it’s not bullshit.”
                      I’m saying as a general rule if you make good decisions and work hard under capitalism you get rewarded. Under socialism you end up in a gulag.

                      “We don’t need to quibble over the ratios, we can agree that capitalism is an inherently unfair system.”
                      No, it is inherently fair. Unlike socialism which rewards nothing but compliance.

                      “Because it was labelled “this is the wrong qualification”?”
                      No, that would be socialism. In capitalism we get to make our own choices.

                      “No, that’s just been the outcome of past attempts to achieve communism.”
                      And socialism. And present attempts.

                      “The actual goal of communism is a peaceful, fair and free society.”
                      Then it has failed wherever it has been tried.

                      “Whereas the goal of capitalism is to have winners and losers.”
                      No, the goal of capitalism is to leave people to determine their own destiny.

                      “When they are forced to do so, that’s slavery.”
                      When I was a child I was forced to work with my father in his garden. Was I his slave?

                    • McFlock

                      “So look through the thread for the links then.”
                      There were no links in your post.

                      I didn’t write the post. I wrote comments in this thread, just like you. Some of those comments contain links.

                      “They are if they’re forced to work.”
                      When I was a child I was forced to work with my father in his garden. Was I his slave?

                      Were you rewarded for that work?

                      “So for some people it’s not bullshit.”
                      I’m saying as a general rule if you make good decisions and work hard under capitalism you get rewarded. Under socialism you end up in a gulag.

                      “as a general rule” is a weasel expression to ignore everyone who does work hard, makes the best decisions possible with the information available, and still lose.
                      I didn’t know Sweden had gulags, though. Good to know.

                      “We don’t need to quibble over the ratios, we can agree that capitalism is an inherently unfair system.”
                      No, it is inherently fair. Unlike socialism which rewards nothing but compliance.

                      Well, now you’re just making shit up. “inherently fair”? lolz

                      “Because it was labelled “this is the wrong qualification”?”
                      No, that would be socialism. In capitalism we get to make our own choices.

                      But if you make choices based on inaccurate or incomplete information, how much misfortune is your fault? If I said “open this door, there’s a million bucks for you” and you opened the door and was attacked by a lion, is that caused by your choices or the fact that the system was rigged against you?

                      “No, that’s just been the outcome of past attempts to achieve communism.”
                      And socialism. And present attempts.

                      The goal of the welfare state was repression of the masses? You have a thankfully unique perspective.

                      “The actual goal of communism is a peaceful, fair and free society.”
                      Then it has failed wherever it has been tried.

                      Yes. But so has capitalism if its goal is “to leave people to determine their own destiny”, because it requires them to “make choices” based on imperfect and incomplete information while competing against people with hereditary wealth.

                      You sound exactly like one or two actual communists I’ve met: as long as you don’t look at the actual harm caused by your system of choice in all the attempts that have been made to implement it, you can repeat the catechism that your system of choice is perfection and every other system is awful. The world is more complex than that, bud.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I didn’t write the post.”
                      No, but you wrote the comment about links in response to my post here https://thestandard.org.nz/is-capitalism-obsolete/#comment-1479998
                      “Were you rewarded for that work?”
                      Yes…I got to eat and live indoors.
                      ““as a general rule” is a weasel expression…”
                      As a general rule Socialism and Communism are responsible for 100 million deaths.

                      “I didn’t know Sweden had gulags, though. Good to know.”
                      Sweden? No-one mentioned Sweden. Sweden isn’t a socialist state.

                      “But if you make choices based on inaccurate or incomplete information, how much misfortune is your fault?”
                      At least you get to make the choice!

                      “The goal of the welfare state was repression of the masses?”
                      The welfare state is not the sole domain of socialism. Most first world countries have some form of social security, paid for by a capitalist style economy!

                      “Yes. But so has capitalism if its goal is “to leave people to determine their own destiny”, because it requires them to “make choices” based on imperfect and incomplete information while competing against people with hereditary wealth.”
                      Not always. Most often not. Most decisions we make are based on sufficient information to make good choices. At least with capitalism we get to make the choices.

                    • McFlock

                      Great, so you’ve demonstrated that you know the difference between a comment and a post, and you also know what a link looks like. So put those three together.

                      “Were you rewarded for that work?”
                      Yes…I got to eat and live indoors.

                      lol. So how do you think that was different from slavery?

                      ““as a general rule” is a weasel expression…”
                      As a general rule Socialism and Communism are responsible for 100 million deaths.

                      As a general rule, so is capitalism. At least 100mil.

                      Sweden isn’t a socialist state.

                      Depending on your unique definitions that conflate socialism and communism. But if not, then it’s not capitalist either.

                      At least you get to make the choice!

                      So you get forced to gamble and then blamed for “poor choices” when you lose. At least under feudalism you weren’t blamed for the lack of social mobility.

                      The welfare state is not the sole domain of socialism. Most first world countries have some form of social security, paid for by a capitalist style economy!

                      And mostly brought about by socialists working within a democratic socialist framework.

                      Most decisions we make are based on sufficient information to make good choices.

                      Bullshit. As demonstrated by the poverty rate. And even if that were true, you’re still condeming the people who make good choices on insufficient information, all because you want to pretend that you chose to do what any objectively sensible person would have done anyway. All by yourself, wearing your big-boy trousers.

                      At least with capitalism we get to make the choices.

                      Yeah – “do what the money says and, if you’re lucky, you won’t starve or be homeless. But maybe you will end up on the streets, anyway”.

                      How about a choice of “have a go at doing what you want, that’s cool. and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll still make sure you have a home and dignity, and you can try something else, and your kids will be fine”. That’s the core objective of socialism in all its flavours, from the fuzzy line between social democracy and democratic socialism all the way to communism (ideal, not practise).

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So how do you think that was different from slavery?”
                      That’s your problem to resolve. You’re the one claiming criminals are made slaves by working for their keep.

                      “As a general rule, so is capitalism. At least 100mil.”
                      Not even close. As evidenced by your total lack of evidence.

                      “So you get forced to gamble and then blamed for “poor choices” when you lose. At least under feudalism you weren’t blamed for the lack of social mobility.”
                      No-ones forced to gamble. And most choices we make are informed, and therefore not a gamble.

                      “And mostly brought about by socialists working within a democratic socialist framework.”
                      ‘Democratic socialist’ is in the long run an oxymoron. And socialist economies eventually collapse. The only economic system able to sustain a welfare state long term are capitalist ones.

                      “As demonstrated by the poverty rate.”
                      Which capitalism is reducing across the planet. Keep digging.
                      https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21578665-nearly-1-billion-people-have-been-taken-out-extreme-poverty-20-years-world-should-aim

                    • McFlock

                      “So how do you think that was different from slavery?”
                      That’s your problem to resolve. You’re the one claiming criminals are made slaves by working for their keep.

                      I was genuinely interested in whether you lacked beatings or extremely punitive detention if you refused to do this unpaid labour, and if so whether you recognised that as fundamentally different from slavery.

                      “As a general rule, so is capitalism. At least 100mil.”
                      Not even close. As evidenced by your total lack of evidence.

                      All you just “evidenced” was your continued inability to read a comment thread.

                      “So you get forced to gamble and then blamed for “poor choices” when you lose. At least under feudalism you weren’t blamed for the lack of social mobility.”
                      No-ones forced to gamble. And most choices we make are informed, and therefore not a gamble.

                      Yes, everyone is forced to gamble. Today’s sensible saving decision could be stolen by Robert Maxwell. Tomorrow’s decision to enrol in a trades qualification could be rendered foolish by a new robot, and an information degree rendered useless by machine learning. Every financial decision we make is an ill-informed gamble. And in a capitalist society, every decision is a financial decision.

                      “And mostly brought about by socialists working within a democratic socialist framework.”
                      ‘Democratic socialist’ is in the long run an oxymoron. And socialist economies eventually collapse. The only economic system able to sustain a welfare state long term are capitalist nes.

                      Three slogans, all bullshit. Well done.

                      “As demonstrated by the poverty rate.”
                      Which capitalism is reducing across the planet. Keep digging.

                      But if everybody (or even most people) were making informed choices, 300 years of capitalism would have eliminated poverty, not merely reduced it (and one can debate about the role of capitalism in development of the technology that actually reduced absolute poverty, but I won’t. You’re already sloganeering enough for anyone’s tolerance).

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I was genuinely interested in whether you lacked beatings or extremely punitive detention if you refused to do this unpaid labour, and if so whether you recognised that as fundamentally different from slavery.”
                      I received food and lodging. You didn’t get the answer you wanted, but that shows the hole in your argument. Prisoners get food and lodging, and should be made to earn it.

                      “All you just “evidenced” was your continued inability to read a comment thread. “
                      No, I evidenced the 100mill.

                      “Yes, everyone is forced to gamble.”
                      No, but let’s say you’re right. Everyone. That means equality. Unlike socialism or communism, where we do what the government tells us. Where THEY gamble with our lives. Bugger that.

                      “But if everybody (or even most people) were making informed choices, 300 years of capitalism would have eliminated poverty, not merely reduced it”
                      300 years of capitalism where? Remember capitalism is introduced after socialism fails. But what we do know is that the introduction of capitalism results in poverty falling. Fact.

                    • McFlock

                      I think that’s peak stupid from you. In no particular order:

                      Remember, socialism is a response to capitalism, not the other way around.

                      As for what you think you “evidenced”, lol, how does your assertion that I “evidenced” nothing become you “evidenced” 100mil? When of course your original claim was “hundreds of millions”, anyway. By which you now mean “one hundred of millions, if I’m pretty loose with the numbers”.

                      Were you free to leave if you are mistreated by your parents? Yes. There are entire avenues by which you can, for example, call social services, or even legally go to court to gain (heh) “emancipation”. Slaves aren’t free to do that. Nor are prisoners. Therefore, if prisoners are forced to work, they are slaves. Slavery is wrong.

                      And if everyone were forced to gamble with the same opening stakes, you’d be correct . Brutal, but correct, as everyone started off equally.

                      But having wealth and power when you start to gamble in life actually gives you a massive advantage over the other gamblers, and from there you can gain even more wealth and power more easily than someone else can even get to your starting position. That is not equality. It’s a scam.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Remember, socialism is a response to capitalism, not the other way around. “
                      No. Example – China. Since china adopted market economic policy, it’s poverty levels have plummeted.

                      “When of course your original claim was “hundreds of millions”, anyway. By which you now mean “one hundred of millions, if I’m pretty loose with the numbers”.”
                      I stand by the hundred’s of millions. I was happy to agree with your number of 100 million so we could advance the conversation. But if you are arguing about whether or not Cummunism and socialism killed hundreds of millions or just a hundred million, you’ve lost.

                      “Therefore, if prisoners are forced to work, they are slaves.”
                      If I don’t work I don’t eat. If I don’t work I don’t save. If I don’t work I can’t afford to live in my home. That doesn’t make me a slave, it makes me someone who pays for my keep. Prisoners are not slaves if they work for their keep, any more than are any members of society who do, eg, periodic detention.

                      “But having wealth and power when you start to gamble in life actually gives you a massive advantage over the other gamblers”
                      Bollocks. Plenty of people start with nothing and end up with wealth, so no-ones shut out. Plenty of people start with wealth and end up with nothing. That’s why the top 1% you socialists speak of is far from static, it is in actually quite fluid.

                    • McFlock

                      “Remember, socialism is a response to capitalism, not the other way around. “
                      No. Example – China. Since china adopted market economic policy, it’s poverty levels have plummeted.

                      And yet marx referred repeatedly to capitalism when he literally wrote the book on socialism.

                      We revert to capitalism in the same way everyone in the Walking Dead reverts to a barbarous state of nature because zombies: it’s a more brutal state than the system that broke down, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

                      “When of course your original claim was “hundreds of millions”, anyway. By which you now mean “one hundred of millions, if I’m pretty loose with the numbers”.”
                      I stand by the hundred’s of millions. I was happy to agree with your number of 100 million so we could advance the conversation. But if you are arguing about whether or not Cummunism and socialism killed hundreds of millions or just a hundred million, you’ve lost.

                      The fact you are asking that question says you can’t fucking read.

                      Capitalism has killed millions. Communism has killed millions. Some wider estimates might suggest (though you have presented none) that communism killed hundreds of millions. Some wider estimates suggest that capitalism has killed 1.5billion.

                      “Therefore, if prisoners are forced to work, they are slaves.”
                      If I don’t work I don’t eat. If I don’t work I don’t save. If I don’t work I can’t afford to live in my home. That doesn’t make me a slave, it makes me someone who pays for my keep. /blockquote>Actually, it makes you a wage slave, according to Marx.

                      Prisoners are not slaves if they work for their keep, any more than are any members of society who do, eg, periodic detention.

                      Indeed. Those people are slaves, too.

                      “But having wealth and power when you start to gamble in life actually gives you a massive advantage over the other gamblers”
                      Bollocks. Plenty of people start with nothing and end up with wealth, so no-ones shut out. Plenty of people start with wealth and end up with nothing. That’s why the top 1% you socialists speak of is far from static, it is in actually quite fluid.

                      Plenty of people win lotto. Is that not gambling?
                      Plenty of people have lost their fortunes at the racetrack. Is that not gambling?
                      The aspect of luck is what makes it gambling.
                      But we were talking about the advantage wealth and priviledge gives people. If it gives people no advantage, a 100% death duty will not harm anyone. So what arguments are against it?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “And yet marx referred repeatedly to capitalism when he literally wrote the book on socialism.”
                      Marx was a slow learner eh? When did he predict the end of capitalism?

                      “We revert to capitalism in the same way everyone in the Walking Dead reverts to a barbarous state of nature because zombies: it’s a more brutal state than the system that broke down, but desperate times call for desperate measures.”
                      What system broke down? Capitalism has never broken down, despite the long dead predictions of Marx et al.

                      “The fact you are asking that question says you can’t fucking read.”
                      The fact you have used the ‘F’ word again just shows you’ve lost the argument.

                      “Capitalism has killed millions.”
                      Nah.

                      “Communism has killed millions.”
                      A hundred million at least.

                      “ wider estimates suggest that capitalism has killed 1.5billion. “
                      They would be bollocks.

                      “Actually, it makes you a wage slave, according to Marx.”
                      So? Most definitions of ‘slave’ entail ownership. Who owns the prisoners?

                      “Plenty of people win lotto. Is that not gambling?”
                      Yes. Making informed choices isn’t.

                      “But we were talking about the advantage wealth and priviledge gives people. If it gives people no advantage, a 100% death duty will not harm anyone. So what arguments are against it?”
                      But you didn’t claim ‘advantage’, you claimed ‘massive advantage’. I call bullshit on your claim. The wealthy become poor, the poor become wealthy. You can’t accept that because you have an envy complex, and so you want to drag everyone down to your pathetic level, and would permit violence (the way socialism and communism generally are forced on the masses) to achieve it.

                      It must really irk you to see the evidence of capitalism lifting people out of poverty, even as socialism continues to drive people deeper into it.

                    • McFlock

                      “And yet marx referred repeatedly to capitalism when he literally wrote the book on socialism.”
                      Marx was a slow learner eh? When did he predict the end of capitalism?

                      Yawn. trying to slither away from your claim that socialism isn’t a response to capitalism now.

                      “Actually, it makes you a wage slave, according to Marx.”
                      So? Most definitions of ‘slave’ entail ownership. Who owns the prisoners?

                      Not really. Most slave industries regard[ed] people as chattels to be owned in order to formalise and legally protect the trade, but then other slavery, especially illegal slavery such as the sex industry in some areas, simply use the threat of violence to maintain the situation.

                      “Plenty of people win lotto. Is that not gambling?”
                      Yes. Making informed choices isn’t.

                      Blackjack and poker involve choices that are more informed than picking a qualification to study.

                      “But we were talking about the advantage wealth and priviledge gives people. If it gives people no advantage, a 100% death duty will not harm anyone. So what arguments are against it?”
                      But you didn’t claim ‘advantage’, you claimed ‘massive advantage’. I call bullshit on your claim. The wealthy become poor, the poor become wealthy.

                      But do they have equal odds of doing it? If so, te level of inequality would decrease dramatically, as 20% of poor people becoming wealthy is a shitload more in number than 20% of rich people becoming poor.

                      It must really irk you to see the evidence of capitalism lifting people out of poverty, even as socialism continues to drive people deeper into it.

                      Basically, that’s just more of your evidenceless “nah” and “at least”.

                      You provided some claimed evidence for 100million deaths from communism. I provided a link for the same number of deaths from capitalism in the same timeframe.
                      You can masturbate all you want about how bad communism can be, but capitalism can be exactly as bad and even worse. At least the Great Leap Forward tried to modernise the country, but the Belgian Congo was pure profit extraction at gunpoint. Stalin was a psycho, but corporations that exist to this day made uniforms for SS and then sold them the cyanide containers.

                    • Babayaga

                      Your running around in circles, Mc Flock.

                      Here, try this. Labour’s great socialist plan to build 100,000 houses has had to call in the private sector to rescue it. Socialism fails. Constantly.

                    • McFlock

                      Indeed. Capitalism must not be murderous in the slightest because Lab6 hasn’t immediately reconstituted the Ministry of Works to build social housing. That was a profound and debate-concluding point. 🙄

                      You’re an idiot.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Capitalism must not be murderous in the slightest because Lab6 hasn’t immediately reconstituted the Ministry of Works to build social housing.”

                      And Lab5? Lab 4? And what about those state houses built by the private sector in the past, McFlock? Socialism fails. Always.

                    • McFlock

                      Please read the following two sentences carefully, as it has been my point from when I first entered the thread.

                      Whatever you think socialism does, be it “fails” or “kills” or “creates injustice”, so does capitalism. The only difference is that any wrongs that result from whatever you want to call “socialism” are flaws in the practise of socialism, whereas with capitalism they’re integral features of the system (e.g. boom/bust, massive socioeconomic inequality, widespread death as a means of generating profit).

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Whatever you think socialism does, be it “fails” or “kills” or “creates injustice”, so does capitalism. The only difference is that any wrongs that result from whatever you want to call “socialism” are flaws in the practise of socialism, whereas with capitalism they’re integral features of the system (e.g. boom/bust, massive socioeconomic inequality, widespread death as a means of generating profit).”

                      What a poor excuse for an argument that is. Socialist regimes are invariably accompanied by totalitarian government, and that is because socialism, by its very nature, requires a totalitarian response. Socialism defies human nature. It defies human instinct. And socialist systems ultimately collapse because the economics simply doesn’t work.

                      On the other hand, capitalist economies are more often than not accompanied by political freedom and liberty. Capitalism is consistent with human nature. It satisfies mankind’s desire for freedom and self betterment. Democracy and capitalism fit hand in glove. Socialism and totalitarianism fit hand in glove.

                      Widespread death is counter to capitalist ideology, because market economics require a market. Widespread death is more a feature of socialist economies, because they simply do not provide sufficient food and other necessities to sustain their populations. Russia, China, Venezuela. Take your pick.

                    • McFlock

                      I’m sure the tobacco, asbestos, and arms industries will be surprised to hear that widespread death is counter to capitalist ideology. Hell, even Nestle (with their wee “give new mothers free samples of formula until they stop lactating” gambit) would be a little taken aback. Not to mention the number of workplace fatalities in some industries.

                      As for your ideas about socialism and totalitarianism vs capitalism and freedom, I’m really not sure what planet you’re on. Even if we restrict “socialism” to communist regimes and exclude socialist governments like lab1, you still have Vietnam apparently providing counterexamples to both. Not to mention all the other dictatorships the US supported or propped up around the world – Pinochet, Marcos, the Shah, and so on ad nauseum. As part of spreading capitalism.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I’m sure the tobacco, asbestos, and arms industries will be surprised to hear that widespread death is counter to capitalist ideology.”
                      Now I’ve given you evidence previously that cigarettes were manufactured in the Soviet Union, so don’t be so dishonest. And socialists don’t use asbestos or make weapons?

                      “As for your ideas about socialism and totalitarianism vs capitalism and freedom, I’m really not sure what planet you’re on.”
                      This planet:
                      https://www.timeshighereducation.com/books/policing-stalins-socialism-repression-and-social-order-in-the-soviet-union-1924-1953/410132.article

                      I’ve got a recommendation for you. Watch a movie called The Death of Stalin. It is a ‘tongue in cheek’ portrayal of the transfer of power after Stalin dies. It is not only funny, but also a brutal reminder of just what a corrupt system socialism is.

                    • McFlock

                      There’s that socialism/communism conflation you claim you never do, again.

                      But squealing communism did it too still doesn’t demonstrate your claim that “Capitalism is not at all murderous”. It merely states that communism is also murderous.

                      While selling tobacco is an excellent way to make money, it is not a good way to remove divisions within society and build social connections. So yes, it’s a feature of capitalism but a sign of a failed attempt to bring about a socialist or even a communist ideal.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “There’s that socialism/communism conflation you claim you never do, again.”

                      That’s just your weasel excuse for not facing up to the damage these system have done.

                    • McFlock

                      Says the dude who thinks “communism did it too” means “capitalism is not at all murderous”.

                      It would have made the Silence of the Lambs ending pretty weird: Buffalo Bill going “but Lecter did it too!” and every decides that’s alright, then, and let him go…

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Says the dude who thinks “communism did it too” means “capitalism is not at all murderous”.”

                      So now you’re making shit up? Capitalism is lifting people out of poverty by the millions. Meanwhile, in Venezuela, 82% live in poverty https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/05/venezuela-western-socialists-nicolas-maduro-abuse.

                    • McFlock

                      And capitalists made billions from the millions dead from smoking.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “And capitalists made billions from the millions dead from smoking.”
                      And they made cigarettes in the Soviet Union. And they tortured and murdered dissidents.

                    • McFlock

                      Repeating that still doesn’t reanimate the corpses of people killed by capitalism.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Repeating that still doesn’t reanimate the corpses of people killed by capitalism.”

                      A claim you keep making, but only support by referencing cigarette smoking.

                    • McFlock

                      Liar. I mentioned more than tobacco.

                      But even if you had accidentally told the truth, I only need one. As long as capitalism provided an incentive for corporations to lie to consumers about the risks ofsmoking and maximise its addictive nature, that is an example of the murderous nature of capitalism.

                • Incognito

                  Sure, and I can provide evidence that guinea pigs kill children. The topic was capitalism and you moved the goal posts to your hobby horse Com & Soc.

                  I had already stated that you would deny and dig in and so far you have not disappointed and been performing better than a trained circus seal.

                  I rest my case.

                  • Babayaga

                    Actually you cant. But I can provide evidence of the death toll of c/s regimes. Which is precisely what is being discussed.

                    • KJT

                      I can provide evidence of the death toll of capitalist regimes.
                      Iraq. Recently.
                      Syria.
                      Iran. The Shah.
                      Indonesia.
                      Haiti.
                      Grenada.
                      Chile.
                      Argentina.
                      Saudi Arabia.
                      Turkey.
                      Yemen.
                      Columbia.
                      Somalia.
                      Honduras. The world’s first ,self avowed, totally capitalist, Libertarian country.
                      The USA.
                      Modern Russia.

                      New Zealand. How many children in poverty dying of third world illnesses now? Again?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I can provide evidence of the death toll of capitalist regimes.”

                      Well go ahead then. But you might want to check that the countries you are referring to are actually capitalist!

                    • Incognito

                      In 4/20 children, animal exposure was a likely allergic trigger before death (a dog in two cases, guinea pig in one, and a newly-acquired rat in one). [my bold]

                      http://www.nature.com/articles/pcrj201197?proof=true

                      What is discussed is here, or was until you moved the goal posts, the post on a speech by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in which he has stated that capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete. More specifically, what is discussed is Ed’s comment @ 1.1.

                      You then wheeled in your Trojan hobby horse @ 1.1.2 about Com & Soc.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “What is discussed is here, or was until you moved the goal posts, the post on a speech by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in which he has stated that capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete. More specifically, what is discussed is Ed’s comment @ 1.1.
                      You then wheeled in your Trojan hobby horse @ 1.1.2 about Com & Soc.”

                      The murderous regimes of communist and socialist states are a direct counter argument to the idea that capitalism is dying. They testify to the fact that people will almost never abandon capitalism for socialism or communism voluntarily, because ultimately these regimes force submission. Understand now?

                      Still waiting for that death toll!

                    • Incognito

                      The murderous regimes of communist and socialist states are a direct counter argument to the idea that capitalism is dying. They testify to the fact that people will almost never abandon capitalism for socialism or communism voluntarily, because ultimately these regimes force submission. [my italics]

                      You brought this counter argument into the thread; it is your Trojan hobby horse. Which means that you are projecting on “people”. This you see as a confirmation of your projection and validation of your counter argument. And so the circle closes. All in your head, between your ears.

                      It never occurs to you that people might not abandon status quo because they fear the unknown. Of course, this fear is being used by some to maintain status quo; they’d do anything to preserve status quo. For example, they raise the spectre of Com & Soc and the killing of millions of people. See what I just did?

                      As Yanis Varoufakis has been quoted in the OP:

                      “And then what happens? I have no idea.”

                      He doesn’t go on about Com & Soc and the killing of millions of people (by other people, I should add).

                      Stop tilting at windmills and start engaging your brain; it’s the most powerful thing in the known Universe and you’re squandering it.

                    • Babayaga

                      “You brought this counter argument into the thread”

                      Indeed, and thanks for acknowledging it is a counter argument.

                      “It never occurs to you that people might not abandon status quo because they fear the unknown. “

                      Oh people frequently abandon Communism/Socialism at their earliest opportunity. It just takes time for the economies and societies under these regimes to collapse.

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      Come on Yabby,

                      Answer the bloody question Yabby “New Zealand. How many children in poverty dying of third world illnesses now? Again?”

                      Or does the truth hurt mate as your No Mates Party ran the Public Health and Education Services in the ground? As I’ve seen may far share of 3rd world illnesses as a Serviceman during Peacekeeping and on Warlike operations.

                      Btw, I carry two third world vector borne diseases in my body as a result which could me to a early grave and two TB scares and a one other. But arrogant right wing muppets don’t gave shit about anyone else as long it doesn’t effect you or NOK because I’m alright Jack.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      ” How many children in poverty dying of third world illnesses now?”

                      Where? Venezuela? How many people died of poverty in China, the Soviet Union?

                      https://mises.org/wire/socialism-worlds-greatest-generator-poverty

    • savenz 1.2

      Hybrids like social democracy seem to work the best, as judged by social outcomes aka low crime rate, low inequality rates – aka Scandinavian countries and formerly countries like NZ.

      But interestingly these countries are also helped by a low population rate, so another consideration is overpopulation and that the resulting competition does not deliver a fairer society, rather rewards those that ‘compete’ the best.

      In a wider context capitalism or communism with a high population against a environmental impacts – clearly not sustainable at all, but maybe in the modern climate of slave labour factories with lower wages to outcompete for goods, rewarding the wrong direction of capital?

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.2.1

        Which Scandinavian country? the one built on massive oil revenues into a sovereign fund, the same oil revenues we have ruled out?

        Or the one with skyrocketing crime rates and spiralling cultural cohesion leading to the rise of a new anti-immigration populace?

        Or the scandinavian country reliant on exports of dairy and consumer electronics?

        Still promoting eugenics? the problem with aspiring to birth control and low population rates is how do you decide who to keep? will we see massive imbalances in male / female population as a result?

        The “modern climate of slave labour factories”, checked any history recently?

        • savenz 1.2.1.1

          I was thinking Finland… no one is saying every country is perfect but some seem to be more basket cases than others.

          Not sure how I’m promoting eugenics there, ( Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population). Having a lower population is not eugenics there, but then right wing trolls don’t like any suggestion that might impact on their profits which rely in competition driving up prices.

          As far as I know counties like Finland don’t practise Eugenics, quite the opposite….. there are however countries that have female infanticide and caste systems which are the darlings of competition and low wages and inequality….

          • alwyn 1.2.1.1.1

            If you meant Finland why didn’t you say Finland in the first place?
            hy confuse things by offering “Scandinavian”?

            • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Denmark’s not too bad either. Sweden and Norway also count, though, becauseNZ pleading resource poverty (even barring fossil fuels) is bloody stupid.

            • savenz 1.2.1.1.1.2

              The reason Norway also got massive wealth from oil is that they taxed the companies as well as invested it wisely…. now even if oil goes they have something to fall back on, unlike NZ, we can’t even get our oil companies to clean up their contaminated waste https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/309039/mobil-dodges-$10m-contamination-bill, let alone have put proper taxes on oil and gas.

              But too late now, that’s old tech anyway. Like our water, our government and council will give away our resources for nothing because they have a cult like belief in ‘the market’… and then make the local tax payers pay to clean the pollution up as well as a fortune to buy our raw exports back as imports into goods. aka logs to timber.

              • alwyn

                “our government and council will give away our resources for nothing”
                I suppose that if you were Bill Gates you might think of it as “nothing”.
                Personally I would find $500 million/year as being quite a nice little bit of change.
                http://www.pepanz.com/oil-and-gas-new-zealand/the-importance-of-oil-and-gas-to-the-new-zealand-economy/
                We are of course nothing like the scale of Norway. Perhaps we could be if the current Government doesn’t try and shut down all the productive parts of the economy.

                • savenz

                  There’s been oil and gas exploration for a long time in NZ, we are not a rich country from oil and gas, and all these polluters fail to clean up after themselves and we have reached peak oil anyway – that oil slick boat has sailed if it even landed here. We could have got a head start in renewables, but nope… NZ getting poorer and less skilled with all the bad decisions being made by government.

                • KJT

                  About a sixth of the profit banking removes annually.

                  Nationalising banking would make more money.

              • Stuart Munro

                NZ will struggle to achieve anything until we break the back of vested interests who continue to move us to the right without a shred of public support. That’s the object of the mass immigration they’ve engineered, together with most other social ills.

                Scandinavia is prospering because it broke the deathgrip of the lazy unproductive elite. https://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/how-swedes-and-norwegians-broke-the-power-of-the-1-percent/

                • KJT

                  Could say that about China also.
                  Their method was much more drastic than redistributive taxes, however.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    China rebuilt itself from collapse – around 1900 it had really broken into multiple parts, which is partly why the Japanese conceived invading it as a mission civilisatrice.

                    The Scandinavian example was achieved within the parameters of a modern democratic state, which makes it a desirable example, which China is not – for all that our lazy 1%ers richly deserve the full range of revolutionary comeuppance.

                    • KJT

                      A large reason for China’s success is they broke the cycle, of inherited wealth throttling economic growth.

                      Can’t really approve of how they did it. I oppose the death sentence even for National party politicians. But you cannot argue it wasn’t successful.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I think if we’re looking for a good socialist example Savage et al are better than the world gives them credit for. They put together a society that didn’t follow the excesses of big geopolitically entangled states, and concentrated on a decent life for all citizens.

                      The death penalty is a curious matter, I think it has a place in a Kantian scheme of natural justice, but I’ve never met many on the left game to think it over in those terms.

                      It’s not really suitable for Gnats however – they are not honourable people. The penalty for Gnats needs to hit their finances – they betrayed their constituents’ franchises for money, so in line with the principle that crooks are not to profit from wrongdoing they should be judicially impoverished. This would send the right message about corruption to society at large.

                    • KJT

                      I consider “New Deal” USA, and Savage’s NZ, excellent examples of, functioning socialist societies.

                      Unfortunately the successful fight back, by those who only care about being at the top, in our respective societies, has succeeded in reversing most of the economic and social gains.

          • savenz 1.2.1.1.2

            There are two ways to practise Eugenics either to eliminate or reduce a race aka Hitler/Jews or genetically dillute aka stolen generation of Aborigines.

            Since NZ has a static population the policy of replacing the ‘hopeless drugged out Kiwis’ with “superior” low paid workers from around the globe in the massive quantities championed by the National party, which will have a knock on effect on demographics and voting in this country.

            I very much doubt Maori are going to be the 2nd highest ethnic group within a few years in this country, the removal of voting rights in prison and the distribution of Maori that effected, could be considered a type of ‘slowly boil a frog’ eugenics happening under our noses…

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.2.1.1.3

            Promoting a lower population rate is akin to eugenics. how do you decide who gets to breed and what sort of choices they make around breeding? is it at your discretion? their party affiliation? there choice of lifestyle.

            petty socialists like yourself are the reason i believe in capitalism and freedom of choice.

    • mikesh 1.3

      Marx, I think, believed that ideologies were determined by the material conditions of production; if these change then presumably something new will emerge. It may not be quite capitalism as we know it, nor socialism as we imagine it, but no doubt what emerges will fit the computerized and automated economy, with its assumed high levels of unemployment.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.3.1

        So lets just leap into the great unknown because of a political philosopher who was dead long before computers became ubiquitous as they are today. Because a failed greek finance minister said too.

        Sounds like a winning plan mike.

        • adam 1.3.1.1

          Unlike you who has just rolled out Ricardian ideas. Who by the way, was dead long before Marx.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.3.1.1.1

            Capitalism is current, and popular. Marxism isn’t current or popular.

            • adam 1.3.1.1.1.1

              If you think Marxist analysis is not current, then you are deluding yourself by being an ideological hack.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                If you think it is current, you’ve revealed yourself to be luddite.

                • adam

                  How is analysis using marx any sort of anti technology position, a foolish statement by you there Tuppence Shrewsbury.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.1.2

              Capitalism is current, and popular.

              Neither of which proves that it works.

              Evidence (Increasing poverty, declining environment, etc) indicates that it doesn’t.

            • Ed 1.3.1.1.1.3

              It isn’t popular except with the 1%

        • mikesh 1.3.1.2

          I don’t think the feudal societies “planned” their evolution towards capitalism. I think they just reacted to changing circumstances; just as we will.

          Philosophers die, Ideas don’t.

        • Gabby 1.3.1.3

          Some folks think highly of a Jewish chappie who got nailed to a cross some 2000 years ago tuppy.

    • One Two 1.4

      The commentary was about capitalism self imoliating….which it already has…The ‘big bang’ signaled the beginning of the end…

      There is no obligation to provide examples of ‘better options’…

      Perhaps you missed the suggestions Varoufakis made…

      The technology will not be manageable by human beings…many day to day sytems people take for granted have been automated for years…

      As corporations race to maintain the perception of advantage…they are, and will continue to eat their own arse…

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.4.1

        But it hasn’t? it’s only fringe nutters that see disruptions in the economic cycle as the end of days for capitalism. And that’s brought about because of bias against the imperative to succeed under capitalism. I get some people are averse to it, but it doesn’t mean the system, that has lifted billions out of real poverty to just imagined relative poverty, is broken.

        • Crashcart 1.4.1.1

          Whilst I agree with you that Capitalism is far from finished I think that there are concerning signs in its current trajectory. It has long been reliant on a planned obsolescence based system that is not sustainable in the long term. It is also designed to funnel larger and larger portions of wealth to those that for what ever reason (earned or inherited) rise to the top.

          The concern is obviously that with more automation and less emerging new employment purchasing power is more consolidated and therefore demand drops. The unfortunate response to this is to attempt to reduce cost of production to try and raise demand. This either involves cutting wages or staff and so has the reverse effect of what is desired.

          I personally think we are at the point where a real discussion has to be had now about future options. It needs to be lead and supported by research. Do we try to find ways to make Capitalism work for every one so that it can remain the preferred option? This would inevitably involve some form of redistribution of wealth and we know what the response would be to that.

          The other option is to start trying to identify what follows Capitalism. Is it some form of resource based planned economy? Who knows. However to simply moan that people in an online forum haven’t provided you the alternative is ridiculous.

          • greywarshark 1.4.1.1.1

            The devious mind! People being ‘lifted out of poverty ‘ has got a bit tarnished as ringing praise of the present free market economic system. So now it is ‘have been lifted into just “imagined” relative poverty’. Which is a truth sometimes so can be presented as total truth. But it is subjective. What is relative poverty, and what true poverty? Finding the difference, establishing the line, wears people out with argument, and the lie goes on.

            We in NZ have been unable to define poverty, despite employing large numbers of highly paid professionals who have been to uni and worked for this or that leading entity. I think
            the elites prefer not to know so they can keep on saying ‘we aren’t rich’, we are just hard workers!

          • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1.1.2

            Do we try to find ways to make Capitalism work for every one so that it can remain the preferred option?

            Capitalism isn’t supposed to work for everyone – it’s only supposed to work for the capitalists – same as the aristocratic system that it’s based on only worked for the aristocrats.

        • dukeofurl 1.4.1.2

          “lifted billions out of real poverty to just imagined relative poverty”

          Like China did with state capitalism Tuppence ?

          Even in NZ we did Ultra fast broadband using state money but private profit, surely a sign capitalism failed in telecomms ( we knew that years ago under the heel boot of telecom)

          • Carolyn_Nth 1.4.1.2.1

            The myth of capitalism lifting millions out of poverty exposed:

            Actually, it’s a dodgy use of stats. And often some have been lifted to a slightly lower level of unlivable poverty.

            fail to see this ‘dramatic lift’. More so, in the World Bank’s annual report in 2000, they actually reported that the number of people living on $1 a day or less continued to rise and world poverty was predicted to rise to 1.9 billion by 2015 which is hardly the story they were hoping for.

            Plus, while some people’s income level has risen from the 1990s to the 21st century, in some other countries, it has dropped.

            • Wayne 1.4.1.2.1.1

              Obviously you have not visited China or South East Asia over a period of decades as I have done. In terms of economic wealth these societies have been absolutely transformed over the last 40 years. Not just for a few, but for many hundreds of millions, probably nearly 2 billion people.
              All done by some form of capitalism (there are several varieties) and by international trade. The WTO and open trading into western nations was the key. Asia needed global markets for first textiles, etc, then low value manufactures and electronics, and now high value manufactures.
              Essentially they all copied the success of Japan, by progressively going up value.
              So people moved out of $1 per day to the “middle class”.

              • Stuart Munro

                It’s one of life’s little curiosities that National, the supposedly capitalist/development party, never learned most of the lessons of Meiji’s reforms. But then Meiji set out to enrich his country, National only meant to leech off theirs.

              • savenz

                @Wayne, but added other problems…from wiki

                “The immense growth of the People’s Republic of China since the 1980s has resulted in increased soil pollution.[citation needed] The State Environmental Protection Administration believes it to be a threat to the environment, food safety and sustainable agriculture. 38,610 square miles (100,000 km2) of China’s cultivated land have been polluted, with contaminated water being used to irrigate a further 31.5 million miles (21,670 km2.) and another 2 million miles (1,300 km2) have been covered or destroyed by solid waste[citation needed]. The affected area accounts for one-tenth of China’s cultivatable land. An estimated 6 million tonnes of grain are contaminated by heavy metals every year, causing direct losses of 29 billion yuan (US$2.57 billion)[citation needed]. Heavy metals (including mercury, lead, cadmium, copper, nickel, chromium, and zinc) in the contaminated soil have adverse health effects in human metabolism. Ingestion, contact through skin, diet through the soil-food chain, respiratory intake, and oral intake can deliver the toxic substances to human beings.[5]”

              • tracey

                How are they doing with those who speak against them? STill throwing them in prison or shooting them?

                • Baba Yaga

                  That’s the domain of socialist regimes, Tracey. That’s just one of many reasons market economics has been the choice of people over socialism time and time again.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    What a load of bollocks.

                    Did you not read about McCarthyism?
                    Or how about Chile and Pinochet?

                    I think you’ll find that many, if not all, capitalist countries are also some of the most repressive. Look at the reforms of welfare in NZ since the 1990s – they, too, are repressive. Designed to keep people down and Paula Bennett showed how it can positively be used to oppress people.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Define repressive

                    • Babayaga

                      So over one hundred million people didn’t die in Russia and China? As for your calling economic reform ‘repressive’, clearly you need to get out more. Or read some history.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      So over one hundred million people didn’t die in Russia and China?

                      You seem to be getting your numbers from here:

                      In the introduction, editor Stéphane Courtois states that “Communist regimes turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government”.[4]:2 According to Courtois, the death toll amounts to 94 million.

                      But the criticisms are interesting:

                      Two of the book’s main contributors, Nicolas Werth and Jean-Louis Margolin, as well as Karel Bartosek,[16] publicly disassociated[4]:xii themselves from Courtois’ statements in the introduction and criticized his editorial conduct. Werth and Margolin felt Courtois was “obsessed” with arriving at a total of 100 million killed and faulted him for exaggerating death tolls in specific countries.[16][17]:194[18]:123 They also argued that based on the results of their studies, one can tentatively estimate the total number of the victims at between 65 and 93 million.

                      Social critic Noam Chomsky has criticized the book and its reception as one-sided by outlining economist Amartya Sen’s research on hunger. While India’s democratic institutions prevented famines, its excess of mortality over China—potentially attributable to the latter’s more equal distribution of medical and other resources—was nonetheless close to 4 million per year, for non-famine years. Chomsky argued that “supposing we now apply the methodology of the Black Book and its reviewers” to India, “the democratic capitalist ‘experiment’ has caused more deaths than in the entire history of […] Communism everywhere since 1917: over 100 million deaths by 1979, and tens of millions more since, in India alone”.

                      And you should probably also read this:

                      And as for capitalism, 100 million Indigenous people in the Americas were killed during the European colonization for the propagation of American capitalism, as well as millions of African people that were enslaved as property to be profited off of by capitalists in the West. How many people have been killed by capitalist sanctions? How many people have been killed in capitalist wars? How many people have been killed by capitalist dictators like Pincohet? How many people have died and will we let die for profiteering?

                      No, I’m not doing a “but they did it too” rebuttal. The deaths caused by the USSR and other so-called communist states is terrible. But we shouldn’t be sweeping the millions of deaths caused by capitalism under the rug.

                      BTW, Nazism was also capitalist.

                  • mikes

                    You keep confusing socialism and communism. As someone else stated in an earlier post, we live in a social democracy. Most western nations are social democracies.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      I’m not confusing anything. And most social democracies operate (relatively) free market economies.

                    • KJT

                      OECD(2018) Data. General Government spending. (Indicator) Accessed on 26th April 2018.

                      Cannot link with my cell.

                      Note some, like Greece, spend most of their money on debt servicing.

                      Others like Australia have a high level of individual States and local Government, with their own taxes and spending.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And most social democracies operate (relatively) free market economies.

                      And so would many types of communism.

                      The reason why Marx said that everyone should be paid the same is because it would still be a market economy.

                      Communism just removes the private ownership that causes so much poverty and deprivation.

              • Ed

                Maybe so Wayne, but as Robert Newman puts it.

                It’s capitalism or a habitable planet – you can’t have both.

                Our economic system is unsustainable by its very nature. The only response to climate chaos and peak oil is major social change.

                There is no meaningful response to climate change without massive social change. A cap on this and a quota on the other won’t do it. Tinker at the edges as we may, we cannot sustain earth’s life-support systems within the present economic system.

                Capitalism is not sustainable by its very nature. It is predicated on infinitely expanding markets, faster consumption and bigger production in a finite planet. And yet this ideological model remains the central organising principle of our lives, and as long as it continues to be so it will automatically undo (with its invisible hand) every single green initiative anybody cares to come up with.

                https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2006/feb/02/energy.comment

                • wayne

                  I would say Scandinavia and western Europe (France, Germany, Holland, UK) are about as sustainable as any societies in human history. All are based on some form of capitalism. In all of them air quality and water quality has dramatically improved in the last 40 years. They all have more forest area.

                  I have visited all these places many times over the last 40 years and they are way better than they used to be.

                  You will recall the standard London photos of 40 years ago were of leaden grey skies, dingy and dirty buildings and streetscape, and a heavily polluted Thames. Now the standard photos are of sunny skies, clean streetscape, and a relatively clean river (which no longer smells).

                  It is the same throughout Europe. Initially the west, and now eastern Europe has thrown off the choke of communism, there as well.

                  I also recall the appalling Los Angles smog of the 1970’s, now a distant memory.

                  Capitalism has proved vastly better at cleaning up the environment than the failed Soviet experiment. The Russians will be dealing with the pollution effects of the failed Soviet experiment for centuries.

                  China, after the huge surge of growth at all costs, now seems to be starting to fix their ecological problems.

                  Virtually none of the plastic bag problems in the oceans comes from the most highly industrialised societies. It is all from less developed nations with limited or zero waste management systems.

                  NZ uses billions of plastic bags. Virtually none of them end up in the sea. They are either recycled or go into landfill. And modern city landfills are vastly better managed than “tips” of 30 years ago.

                  • Ed

                    You write as if you are completely unaware of the multiple crises facing our planet.
                    All down to a system built on infinite growth.
                    On a finite planet.

                    Problem one – the loss of fertile land

                    Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death
                    By the middle of this century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

                    The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil. The UN’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the world’s croplands.

                    Now consider water loss. In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India – among the world’s critical growing regions – levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in south Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by the year 2050. Where will it come from?

                    The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. These predictions could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4C of warming in the US corn belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

                    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/mass-starvation-humanity-flogging-land-death-earth-food

                    • Wayne

                      I was primarily referring to the environmental improvements in western Europe, which you ignored.

                      The biggest environmental problems are in the developing world. Huge use of coal, poor water management, minimal waste disposal systems, knocking down forests, corrupt governments, poor regulation.

                      Perhaps, if China serves as a contemporary example, as they get wealthier they will start to deal with their environmental problems.

                      Maybe all countries just go through a phase. Industrialise, get wealthy and then fix the environmental problems that getting more wealthy entailed.

                      Though in the modern era, huge population increases occur due to better medicine before industrialisation happens. This is especially the case in Africa. It leads to rapid deforestation and desertification, among other things. The huge Chinese investment in Africa however is getting them on a better growth path. One of the benefits of Chinese economic growth.

                    • Bewildered

                      We have infinite energy we just can’t harness it, hence if science Can solve these issue we are not doomed Ed, they are more likely to be solved under a capitalist system than some form of central planning as most great innovation have been fostered under capitalism that is the best system we have in releasing human inginuity, allocating capital and creativity I do agree under current technologies infinite growth is not possible, but technology does not stand still and much of today’s economic growth is in intangibles, services etc Similarly as wealth grows population growth also slows and stabilises I guess you can argue will mankind adapt, innovate and evolve quick enough, that is to be determined but I am hopeful and comfortable we will, I would not be so confident under your option of a one world order and a planned state,

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I was primarily referring to the environmental improvements in western Europe, which you ignored.

                      All of which are a result of government and regulation.

                      None of it to do with what capitalism would have done if left to itself.

                      Same as Apple wouldn’t be the success story it is without government funding and research.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “I would say Scandinavia and western Europe (France, Germany, Holland, UK) are about as sustainable as any societies in human history. All are based on some form of capitalism.”

                    And democratic government. And, at least in the case of the Scandinavian countries, they have bludged off the US for their defence spend.

                    • KJT

                      And around 60% of their economies are State funded and controlled.

                      Hardly bastions of capitalism.

                      But. You knew that already, didn’t you.

                      But. In true right wing fashion, it did not register in your brain.

                  • KJT

                    No mention of “socialist’ regulation, that compelled the “capitalists’ to clean up after themselves. Eh?

                    And that successful countries, including NZ and the USA in the past have had 50 to 60% of the economy State owned and tax funded.

                    As NZ with 30% goes down the tubes.

                    Capitalism is unworkable without a healthy dose of socialism.

                    Too much capitalism and the wealthy start to run out of “other peoples money”.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “And around 60% of their economies are State funded and controlled.”
                      Cite? And their military is subsidised by the US.

                      “No mention of “socialist’ regulation, that compelled the “capitalists’ to clean up after themselves. ”
                      Example? After all in market economies it is business and tax payers making incomes in the market that FUND the government.

                      “Capitalism is unworkable without a healthy dose of socialism.”
                      Then you understand neither capitalism or socialism. All capitalist states have governments that provide a regulatory framework. The difference is those governments don’t tell the citizenry what to think and shoot them if they disagree!

                    • KJT

                      And people working for the Government don’t contribute to the economy?

                      A pretty typical right wing economic fallacy.

                      It is the work that workers do, the resources they supply, whether for private enterprise or Government, that funds everything, at the end of the day.

                      Are you trying to tell me that, say, a Teacher is only contributing to the economy if they are working for a private school, not a State one? FIFY.

                      Try running a business without State funded, educated and healthy employees. They try it in the USA. The business costs of health insurance and training over there, are astronomical compared with ours.

              • Gabby

                You’ll have seen the bits of China you were allowed to see Waynie.

            • Baba Yaga 1.4.1.2.1.2

              Your quote is based on absolute numbers, which don’t take into account population growth. I’ve seen this kind of dishonesty often when socialists run for cover under the success of market economics. And your own reference begins with this “In a relative sense yes capitalism has lifted people out of extreme poverty…”, so even with the conditions that follow that is an admission.

              But there is no serious argument against market economics having lifted living standards across the planet.

              https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21578665-nearly-1-billion-people-have-been-taken-out-extreme-poverty-20-years-world-should-aim

              • KJT

                By the “communists” in China.

                Who are now propping up the economies, of the entire “free World”.

                Funny, Eh?

                • Babayaga

                  The ‘communists’ in China have adopted a progression towards a market economy. Funny eh?

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.4.1.2.2

            Still capitalism Dukey boy. free markets aren’t the be all and end all. There is room for more than one type of capitalism.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1.2.2.1

              There is only one type of capitalism and it doesn’t work. Never has done, never will do.

              Capitalism = private ownership of a nations wealth.

              And that’s all capitalism is.

        • adam 1.4.1.3

          “just imagined relative poverty” and then you showed me

          a) You have no real idea what economics is actually about, and

          b) You have no sense of morality, except one driven by cupidity. So how many people died so the western experiment in capitalism could work? How many bombs were dropped and continue to drop, so you can have a cheap car?

          c) You are so Eurocentric you probably thought b) was stupid.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.4.1.3.1

            For the sake of moving the conversation forward, let’s make the incorrect assumption that all your assumptions are correct (even though Econ (Hon) starts the ball rolling with how incorrect you are)

            What have you got that’s better? Every single reply to my post is how wrong I am, with one exception. Where you start to imagine post capitalism. And you can’t even finish the thought off.

            Capitalism has won, you may wish upon a Star that I’m wrong, but it’s demise has been predicted for at least half a century and it’s still there, and growing.

            My ism is better than your ism

            • adam 1.4.1.3.1.1

              So if nothing better arrives, let’s just roll with what is destroying the planet.

              Sorry but your question is closed and setting up anyone who tries to answer it, in a brief response, to fail.

              The question should be what alternatives are working, and at present there are quite a few. I’ve posted here about dozens of organisations and groups doing it differently. If you just go back through my posts you will find options a plenty.

              In the mean time, to say that an economic system which at this point resembles the Speerian model in the USA ( and possibly the UK as well), is quite a frighten defence from you.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                Can you please give me your top 3 groups/orgs that you think have mainstream appeal? I’ll have a read and come back to you

                My question doesn’t set anyone up to fail. it is rhetorical, but only in the sense that I am asking it from a position from which there is no rebuttal at this stage. I’m waiting to be proven wrong

                It’s all very well and good to promote smashing the system. I know how dearly that appeals to the socialists old and new, or even just the old guard of the 60 -80’s left. But it’s myopic to think replacing the system will cure the problems, when the system existing can be the cure if the incentives are strong enough. which are becoming so at a rapid pace.

                Then you can all have something else to complain about.

                • adam

                  You’re not interested in debate, just pushing a line.

                  Jog on…

                • McFlock

                  If capitalism had incentives to eliminate inequality, pollution, and need, then it wouldn’t be capitalism, would it?

                  Why are you talking about “smashing the system”? The system will eventually smash itself. Not an economic disruption, the actual concept of having to work to get $X in order to get good or service Y will become redundant, sooner or later.

                  The industrial revolution increased production per worker by orders of magnitude, but the information revolution will remove the number of workers from the equation. Even if desire keeps up with supply (which would make today’s Western consumer culture look positively spartan), a largely unemployed society couldn’t purchase the fruits of production. But the producing two widgets will have next to zero marginal cost over producing one, so why wouldn’t the unemployed live like kings anyway?

                  Sure, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it is on the horizon. If I were a young truckie or courier I wouldn’t be too sure of my trade security until retirement.

              • Ed

                So if nothing better arrives, let’s just roll with what is destroying the planet.

                That’s about Wayne’s argument.
                How did someone with such a lack of vision get to the heights of government?
                Really depressing.

                Problem #2 The seas are emptying of fish.

                the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global sea grab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. About 3 billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

                https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/mass-starvation-humanity-flogging-land-death-earth-food

                • Bewildered

                  Bored a clip last week Ed,( one news) where scientist have developed and enzyme or sort that is incorporated into plastic that cause plastic to break down very quickly This if industrialised would solve a big pollution problem, such innovation of course developed under the incentives of a capitalist system

                  • Bewildered

                    Correction above “ viewed a clip” ( fat fingers and predictive text)

                  • Ed

                    That’ll solve everything.
                    Unbelievable……

                    Are you actually aware of the level of crises we face today?

                    Crises, not crisis.

                    Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the attention.

                    This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on the contrary, it presents an existential threat. It is simply that I have come to realise that two other issues have such huge and immediate impacts that they push even this great predicament into third place.

                    One is industrial fishing, which, all over the blue planet, is now causing systemic ecological collapse. The other is the erasure of non-human life from the land by farming.

                    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations

                    • Bewildered

                      Yep and probably only solved by science, don’t underestimate where the world is heading technology wise ed, the progress is breath taking, quantum computing, ai, 3D printing, nano technology, the science of energy Your concerns are warranted don’t get me wrong, the debate is what we do about it Here is where we differ re your let’s go on war fitting, one world order, smash the system I disagree with, I feel the far better option is let capitalism do its job in solving these problems

                    • Ed

                      Capitalism cannot solve the problem.

                      Infinite growth.
                      Finite planet.

                  • Ed

                    Q: How does clever capitalism get thousands of species back from extinction?

                    Problem #3 Species are going extinct at over 100 times the natural rhythm.

                    One in eight bird species is threatened with extinction, global study finds report on the state of the world’s birds reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by intensive farming, with once-common species such as puffins and snowy owls now at risk.

                    Agricultural expansion and intensification threatens 74% of the 1,469 bird species globally at risk of extinction

                    A: It doesn’t. It kills species.

                    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/23/one-in-eight-birds-is-threatened-with-extinction-global-study-finds?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=272323&subid=14416979&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

                  • KJT

                    I understand that a State funded scientist found it by accident. At least in the article I read in new scientist.

        • One Two 1.4.1.4

          lifted billions out of real poverty

          The catch cry of shallow thinkers…

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.4.1.4.1

            Says the village idiot who can’t propose anything better

            • Ed 1.4.1.4.1.1

              One Two at least is aware of the problem.
              That is one step further than being in complete denial.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                One two displayed no such awareness. He displayed Ed levels of awareness.

                • One Two

                  Having vandalized this thread, you then make assumptions about what you do not know of…

                  The velocity of your comments on this subject is on a par with the futility of your arguments…

                • Ed

                  Shoot the messenger, as per usual.

          • KJT 1.4.1.4.2

            And so provably wrong.

            But.”repeat something often enough!

    • dukeofurl 1.5

      Note his words :
      rise of giant technology corporations and artificial intelligence will cause the current economic system to undermine itself…..

      Its a small but extremely powerful and wealthy subset of the existing economic system which is increasing its control…

      No need to use your straw man Tuppence of ‘ replacing everything with what’

      • Bewildered 1.5.1

        Technology.AI, quantum computing, etc maybe go long way in solving the problems ed raises

    • tracey 1.6

      Oh God “it aint perfect but it is the best system I know” also is not an evidence-based counter argument. It is a throw your hands up in the air and refuse to consider anything other than the status quo argument.

      • Bewildered 1.6.1

        Other system have been tested in a lab called history, they don’t work, but but this time we will do it pure, nup, not falling for that one

        • In Vino 1.6.1.1

          Wrong. You quote socialism as failing because of Stalin, Mao, etc.. But socialism of that type has never been fairly tried in an advanced, industrialised country with a democratic tradition. In such countries he capitalist ruling class have always ensured that capitalism ruled. Socialist revolutions have occurred only in countries like Russia and China which are by and large poor countries, strong only when mercilessly ruled by tyrants with a rod of iron. Naturally, these socialist beginnings quickly descended into totalitarianism – the opposite of true socialism. I admire the historian who called Stalin the most recent of the great Tsars. Despite the idealistic theory of socialist revolution, the culture of the country prevailed. Your lab called history is no fair test at all.
          (And please do not quote Argentina: I said industrialised country, and when Argentina was wealthy it was because of primary produce, not industry.. Even NZ has found that it is difficult to remain among the world’s richest countries when relying on primary produce.)

        • KJT 1.6.1.2

          Funny that when NZ, and the USA, were socialist, and sort of Democratic, they had the highest standards of living in the world.

          I would say it is unregulated, and/or totalitarian , capitalism that has obviously failed.
          It has to be reimposed constantly by force, everywhere.

          Not to mention, anyone who thinks constant growth, which “free market” capitalism requires, is possible in a finite world, is, clearly, delusional!

  2. Capitalism is ecologically unsustainable, corrupted by unimaginable levels of debt, and incompatible with Democracy. Corporations more powerful than sovereign nations roam the globe seeking resources to steal. Capitalism is an expression of the sociopathic side of human nature.

    More fundamental to humanity is community and family. For the last 50 years capitalism has seemed unstoppable but to me it looks increasingly unstable dangerous and discredited

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      GFC ?
      And they saved the day by printing money ….too funny

      • Bewildered 2.1.1

        Yes they did, in the 1930 depression they constrained the money supply which resulted in a much longer and deeper depression , thus we learned

    • Bewildered 2.2

      Capitalism has created problems and huge advancements, it is also the best system to solve those problems and create new advancements

      • Ed 2.2.1

        If you call destroying life on this planet advancement, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

        • Bewildered 2.2.1.1

          It’s all we have Ed. Your one world order; global war footing; lets all become vegans etc is not going to happen: so I guess on this matter you can only hope I am right

      • ropata 2.2.2

        Totally false. The real advancements have come through publicly funded research institutes and universities. There is some innovation in the private sector (e.g. SpaceX) but no real fundamental advances. Even worse example, drug companies suppress medicines because they make money off sick people.
        The aim of business is money not improving society

  3. esoteric pineapples 3

    I like Yanis Varoufakis but I can’t see how this argument makes sense. Capitalism doesn’t need employment to exist – just ownership (capital) of the means of production. Also, although it is ironical that the mass population is increasing to the value of those who own the capital, this only strengthens capitalism. The only way the present situation could lead to the overthrow of capitalism is that so many people can’t afford to buy product because they don’t have any income, that the circle of trade is broken. However, I imagine that capitalism could continue to exist with a small number of consumers as long as the capitalists control the wealth. What is likely to happen is not the collapse of capitalism but even more extreme capitalism backed by various tools to protect it from the disenfranchised sections of the population such as survelliance, police and media control

    • Pat 3.1

      Capital however needs labour…all those owned resources are useless without someone (or something) to collect,convert and most importantly protect them…it could be employment or slavery, capital cares not…however the environment and the masses are not obliged to play the game by capital’s rules….frankly, the environment (resource depletion) is the real kicker….it cant be bought off.

    • Capitalism’s weakness in a democracy is that a small minority control the means of production (and the media). All the majority have to do is change laws and increase taxes to redistribute income.

      Seizing the means of production is vastly overrated. You are likely to end up like Zimbabwe is now, or with the famines that happened in Russia and China.

      • Pat 3.2.1

        It can,,,and has…although as always there are degrees…it was successfully carried out post WW2 (when capital was rightly concerned about a battle trained and experienced (and disillusioned) multitude)….but largely the change (or death) of capitalism will likely result from resource pressure ,(preceding revolt?)…..and it will all likely be too late in any case.

    • tracey 3.3

      How can it not require employment? Who will buy their produced goods if no one is earning money through employment?

      • Pat 3.3.1

        if you ‘own’ resources you dont need anyone to ‘buy’ them…all you need is someone or something to convert them to what you desire/need and as stated previously most importantly, protect them.

    • McFlock 3.4

      I’m not so sure that “capitalism could continue to exist with a small number of consumers”. Essentially, those consumers would end up being other capitalists, but when production is automated there’s no competitive advantage to encourage trade. If I want a car and I own a 3dprinter/robot with AI that can either use an existing car template or even design one for me, why do I need to buy someone else’s car?

      If someone else doesn’t own that printer/robot, they are beholden to me and other people who own the means of production, but what do they have to offer? I have no need for cash because I can produce whatever I want.

      So they’ll have their capitalist drone economy, while a few people have no need of wage slavery but can sell their produce every time they want power over the plebs in that area, too. It’s a regression back to feudalism.

      But the more people who own their own labour-free means of production, the more people can opt-out of the drone capitalist economy.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      What is likely to happen is not the collapse of capitalism but even more extreme capitalism backed by various tools to protect it from the disenfranchised sections of the population such as survelliance, police and media control
      That’s what’s always been tried before and it hasn’t stopped society from collapsing.

  4. Zorb6 4

    Isn’t the real dilemma ,that the present system of creation of capital,who owns it,and who allocates it,needs to be reformed.
    Less inequality and a fairer system that allows the benefits of sovereign ownership of resources without the relentless debt cycle of compounding interest and inflation would put a brake on the current military/industrial complex Eisenhower warned of.

    The deconstruction of financial ‘products’,like derivatives,and parasitical trading/gambling in forex and commodities futures,coupled with caps on obscene salaries in private and public organisations would go a long way to creating a more egalitarian society.

    Endless growth and materialism is just not sustainable without deprivation for millions.

    Trump just might blow the whole thing up anyway.

    • Crashcart 4.1

      I agree. Capitalism needs to move towards a truly more efficient model. Some how efficient in the current model got replaced with profitable.

  5. Carolyn_Nth 5

    Yanis has produced some very thoughtful arguments, and analsyes that are well worthy of consideration.

    Here, in a Guardian piece this weekYanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out, Varoufakis explains how Marx and Engels predicted the current crisis in capitalism. he argues that they didn’t foresee how their manifesto would result in some attempts to counter capitalism, in the name of communism, would be counter-productive.

    In a way, he’s saying we need to wait for capitalism to totally self-destruct, because interventions, like social welfare states, merely work to keep capitalism alive.

    Varoufakis ends by saying:

    Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment.

    In an article last year, co-written with James K Galbraith, they argue for Europe to develop a green New Deal for Europe, based on the way Roosevelt initiated in the US.

    To this END, we have proposed the following programs for all European countries, independent of whether they are in the European Union or the eurozone:

    • A green transition, led by a new agency whose aim is to provide a continent-wide infrastructure…

    •  Economic and social stabilization, principally through a jobs-guarantee program


    • A universal dividend that would allow European citizens to share in the returns of capital and automation

    • A step-by-step banking union that (a) emulates the creation, by the Roosevelt administration, of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;

    • A program by which the European Central Bank mediates between states and money markets to reduce their total debt burden, but without money-printing or making Germany pay for, or guarantee, the public debt of deficit countries.

    • A Chapter 11–like public-debt restructuring facility for unpayable legacy debts

    • tracey 5.1

      Thanks carolyn

    • Baba Yaga 5.2

      ” Varoufakis explains how Marx and Engels predicted the current crisis in capitalism.”

      Engels died in 1895, Marx in 1883. And you’re claiming they ‘predicted’ something about capitalism that is only happening at least 121 years after the former died? Big Deal! Call in Nostradamus.

      • AB 5.2.1

        Marx was a theorist of economic systems – it is quite possible to look at the inherent properties of systems and predict general outcomes of those systems into the future. Some predictions will be wrong, some right and most a bit of both. This is not unusual at all.
        In this sort of context you could argue that Shakespeare predicted just about every human behaviour, and he’s been dead 400 years.

        • Baba Yaga 5.2.1.1

          Marx has had 135 years (at least), and so far his prediction has been an abject failure.

  6. Macro 6

    Micky, can I recommend to you a book that has recently been published by 2006 Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus – founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh – entitled “The World of Three Zeros” The new economics of zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero carbon emissions.
    Essentially he argues that we need to change our financial structures away from conventional banks (who are only interested in lending to the rich) and design our banking system to deliver financial services to the poor. The Grameen Bank when initially conceived was regarded as being impossible by economists and bankers, yet today, Grameen Bank lends out over US$2.5B a year to 9 million poor women on the basis of trust alone. It enjoys a repayment rate of around 99% and micro credit banks operating on the same principle are running successfully in many other countries including the US. Grameen America has 19 branches in 12 US cities with 86,000 borrowers, all women, who receive business start up loans of around $1000. As of 2017 the loans disbursed by Grameen America total over $600 Million and a repayment rate of over 99%.
    By enabling poor people to create work for themselves and to establish a business they are being assisted to lift not only themselves out of poverty, but also others.
    There is much more to it than this. I have not the space to enumerate all of the proposals in the book. If people are truly interested they should read his book.

    • Bewildered 6.1

      So lots of small capitalist then that will grow and evolve as market dictates , sounds like the author is a proponent of capitalism just wants more flexible funding structure

    • greywarshark 6.2

      In a society that has managed to be more equitable between men and women’s opportunities, NZ could follow this great Grameen idea but also have a men’s section which may be slightly different to the one for women. Men may have different drivers, can waste money on gambling and alcohol, and so require more stringent measures to weed out such addictions.

      This problem with frequent male addictions is one of the reasons that Grameen has been needed and why it works well when it is a available to women alone.

      And Bewildered –
      This is useful small-time capitalism – really helpful. All groups trade with one another to support themselves. This is nothing different, it is essential capital for the people, not the sort that seeks to squeeze large surpluses and direct them away from saving ‘for a rainy day’ or buy another goat to milk and breed with.

      If you don’t like the idea of a Grameen bank idea, perhaps you could think of another way to help people help themselves. Then we all wouldn’t be helpless and bewildered, we would have a workable system that supports all society and enables people to trade.

      • Bewildered 6.2.1

        I like it, simply a capitalist enterprise ( a bank) responding to a local market need All good stuff

        • Macro 6.2.1.1

          Actually Grameen Bank is not a bank as normally understood. It does not charge interest. It does not require collateral. It is the complete reverse of a conventional bank. Conventional Banks are owned by Rich people – Grameen Bank is mostly owned by poor women who are its customers; poor women make up its board and decide its policies.In Bangladesh conventional banks serve mostly men. Grameen Bank focuses on women empowering them to become entrepreneurs and to lift their families out of poverty. Conventional Banks believe that the poor are not creditworthy, Grameen Bank has shown this to be a falsehood, and that poor people are able to repay their loans at a higher rate than rich borrowers.
          Our current financial systems are the conduit through which wealth concentration occurs and continues to gather momentum. The top 0.1% are on track to control 2/3 of the world’s wealth by 2030. This is not to say that these few people are ever more grasping and bad – it is just the way the current system works, and they are the fortunate few on that conveyor belt of wealth. This is the major failing of Capitalism as currently practiced in the developed world. Micro-finance works against this trend and helps to include poor people in the financial system. The un-banked need financial services directed to their needs, not micro-sized loans through conventional institutions.

          • Bewildered 6.2.1.1.1

            Capitalism does not dictates firms need to be owned by capital, any other patron is fine, ie workers( Spain), coops (buyers suppliers) even the state, it just turns out capital ownership is a lot more efficient in meeting the market needs otherwise these other forms of ownership would dominate or at least be more prevalent

          • Phil 6.2.1.1.2

            poor women make up its board and decide its policies.

            Ummm… are you sure about that? The board of the foundation that sits over the top of the bank is chocablock full of global bankers.

            https://grameenfoundation.org/about/people/board-of-directors

    • Ant 6.3

      I think there was a doco on Yunus ten or so years back? Makes huge sense as all people have talent and ability (often in obscure not readily marketable areas). Within highly competitive job environments relatively few get to mobilize them and are consigned to drudgery, low wages and stagnation. Yunus demonstrated that by empowering others to “do their thing” they gained energy, insight, inspiration. These are contagious and stimulate others to participate. (Rocket Science of course)

      • greywarshark 6.3.1

        Ant
        That’s what I believed too. And now with AI coming, know. It is essential to introduce this approach as a bedrock to society. Everyone doing something that has a good purpose, and stimulating further activity, to keep it flowing and going. Everyone learn music, art and sewing and woodwork and gardening and cooking – the old fashioned ideas once taught at intermediate then replaced by technology. Now technology is replacing us. Time for us to reclaim our own education preparing us for our life, fitted to human needs and our lives.

  7. Puckish Rogue 7

    If capitalism is obsolete what would you replace it with?

    • Enough is Enough 7.1

      Draco will have a good answer for you

    • KJT 7.2

      How about a truely Democratic mixed economy, where excessive wealth and excessive poverty are consigned to history, and monopoly capitalism and wealth concentration is regulated.
      Worked fine for many countries, before they got infected by the wealthy fighting back.

      • Baba Yaga 7.2.1

        “How about a truely Democratic mixed economy, where excessive wealth and excessive poverty are consigned to history, and monopoly capitalism and wealth concentration is regulated.”

        Sounds like New Zealand today.

        • Incognito 7.2.1.1

          You are not funny.

        • KJT 7.2.1.2

          No. That was New Zealand, when we had the highest standard of living in the world.

          And New Deal USA, when they had 90% wealth taxes on high incomes.
          And less than 5% of their economy was offshore trade. BTW.

          Most of Scandinavia until their very recent infection with Neo-liberalism.

          Germany. Though too dependant on impoverishing the rest of Europe.

          • Babayaga 7.2.1.2.1

            The only time NZ had the highest standard of living in the world was when it was paid for by mother England. We pay our own way now, and the only reason we can is because we moved towards a market economy.

  8. greywarshark 8

    It’s all rather scary when someone forcefully minded, well spoken and and knowledgable on his subject like Varoufakis presents a summary of inevitable outcomes of present world economic and anti-human society policies.

    What will happen when the present crazy destructive policies go down the holiday highway to hell that everyone has been sold and told is the opposite; the stairway to heaven? It’s like there is a moving belt that carries along the clever, the ‘up-for-it’ faster than the other, dumb, slow people walking alongside. The smart ones ride by thinking ‘So long, suckers’. Where to? Nobody knows but you are told you have to embrace technology, even have it implanted, that’s the new thing!

    Shit a brick, where have all the brains and reasoning gone? The consideration, the long-term planning, even the short-term planning,
    the reflection, the holistic view, the thoughts about what people need so they can make a life, with reasonable living standards that allow time for enjoyment and some security all in a sustainable context.

    We don’t know what we are doing but just keep following orders. So before those of us attempting to think about it all give up in despair, take a break and a laugh (which is very fortifying) with Seinfeld who describes how men don’t know about attracting women, but bravely keep on trying.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bts28rz0lJ0

    And then those of us trying to respect both other people and the environment together, not just one or the other, just keep trucking on and encouraging each other’s successes at improvement while not worrying about perfection. Give respect to those who manage this, and support them in whatever their endeavour is if it can lead to an improvement for individuals that will benefit all.

    • Bewildered 8.1

      Don’t be sucked in by authority bias , a million economist in the world , very few picked GFC, likewise if they could all just be right twice on a currency or a stock they would all be millionaires A lot of what Mr Varoufakis says is simply about maintaining his brand and audience

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        Bewildered
        you don’t have an idea yourself but just criticise others speaking up trying to raise awareness. Perhaps you could put a sandwich board on saying Everybody is useless and nothing will work. Give up and have a beer.

        • Bewildered 8.1.1.1

          Do you apply the same principal when a right winger makes and arguement ie judge it on its merits not the individual ( ie mark Richardson’s comments on press last week) , With economist I take them with a grain of salt both left and right, likewise any authority figure, why are they saying what they are saying, especially if they are making predictions Sorry if it upsets you

      • KJT 8.1.2

        Much of what Mr Varoufakis says has been proven right by events.

        Just like Keynes.

        Something the at the Chicago school and most modern economists cannot claim.

  9. I’m still not convinced about the ubi or any variations on the theme.

    We already have Amazon employees on food stamps, I’m sure Bezos and his like would be quite happy to have them on some sort of Universal Benefit.

    It seems that such things are an admission of defeat rather than an improvement, or even a way to maintain the average workers position.

    And while the World Bank is calling for a lowering of minimum wage and workers rights I suspect that the UBI and Universal Tax Credits are simply going to be used as a way to lower our standard of living even further while appearing to be giving us ‘free money’.

    Unfortunately I suspect the majority of voters will eventually be forced to think of this benefit as a ‘good thing’, like family tax credits, when all that is happening is a further transferal of wealth, cutting of wages and undervaluing of workers labour.

    • I wish I could remember where I saw a good counter-argument to the UBI, but what it was basically, was that if we abandon work we lose a lot of our power.

      It also seems much fairer to reduce the working week, rather than have some work and some paid to do nothing – From each, to each etcetera.

    • savenz 9.2

      The whole point of a UBI is that people have an income and not reliant on waged labour… therefore if they did not want to work for companies they don’t want to work for, they don’t have to as they have a UBI to fall back on …

      • greywarshark 9.2.1

        UBI would just gives surety of basics, it wouldn’t enable people to live well deciding who they wanted to work for., in fact it might come with a proviso that they need to get fit and make themselves available for seasonal fruit picking etc.

        UBI would work and fit into basic economics when choosing who to work for; how many jobs available in one’s area – supply, and what sort of workers they were looking for – demand. UBI would not give a comfortable living but people could live a little uncomfortably while they were looking for alternatives to wage drudgery in one area., or in a particular industry. It could be said that would be better than being rich and living miserably.

        There have to be extra options to add to UBI so as to enable most to be reasonably secure, fed and able to look for opportunities to advance oneself legally.

      • Siobhan 9.2.2

        No one with any credibility has ever presented it as being some sort of lifestyle option allowing workers to be ‘picky’ about who they work for. No article I have ever read has even hinted that the UBI would be enough to live on.

        Its more about limited redistribution of wealth to allow the bottom percentage of people to pay rent and not starve to death, and to allow the middle to consume at the required rate while their wages stagnate.

        It is also a nice way to allow the Tech kings to maintain their dubious ownership of the economy and rampant profiteering by throwing a few pennies our way while failing to address inequality..

        “…as the previous section argued, the ownership of new technologies is often cited as a driving force behind rising inequality. UBI is a redistributive, compensatory response to the unequal labour market and economic outcomes arising from new technologies, not a challenge to the ownership of these technologies. This is the reason, Tarno (2016) argues, why so many tech entrepreneurs are keen on the idea of UBI; through subsidies, it enables people to survive the era of automation while sidestepping critical questions of ownership.

        The Case Against Universal Basic Income (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314401252_The_Case_Against_Universal_Basic_Income [accessed Apr 23 2018].

  10. Bill 10

    What is it with people assuming “artificial intelligence”? There will not ever be such a thing. Automation? Sure. Did that collapse capitalism in the past? No. What it did was disempower some sections of labour where tasks had been “automated” and increase profit flows.

    Does capitalism need a huge pool of consumers to operate/survive? No. Capitalism operates on market share, not the overall size of a market.

    Think about it. Most of the people in the global south were excluded from the so-called ‘fruits of capitalism’ at the same time that we (westerners) were indulging in those post WWII “golden years”. Similarly, I’d reckon consigning people across the US to tent cities while bailing banks shrunk the total aggregated size of the market.

    Capitalism isn’t obsolete, but we need to make it obsolete if we want there to be any kind of meaningful prospects for the generation just born. This bullshit of running and managing an economy as an abstract – simply as a way to generate financial gain at the expense of safeguarding real things and managing real things, has all of our futures now dangling by a thread.

    In short, capitalism does not survive the impacts we’re stacking up in terms of global temperature increases.

    As of today, the worlds major deltas that represent about 25% of agricultural land (or is it productive capacity?) is going to go under water. Nothing is going to stop that from happening.

    Will capitalism survive that? Probably. (Though billions of us merely living real life things might not. But that’s incidental)

    It’s the effects of a degree or so beyond 2 degrees, when maintaining any kind of globally integrated expression of civilisation becomes impossible – that when capitalism falls. But by that point we’ll likely already have created conditions that will have locked in effects that the paleontological record shows us to be utterly inimical to mammalian life.

    If we were even half way intelligent, then no-one would jump in a car today and no-one would pop on a plane tomorrow, and we’d bend all of our creative energies to developing workable solutions for a 2 degree world (that being basically where we are right now) and the inevitable effects that we know are coming.

    But no. “Everyone” wants to save capitalism; preserve habits; exploit business opportunities and see AGW as nothing more than mere change to the business environment.

    We’s fucked peeps.

    • Pat 10.1

      Is a personal question and theres no expectation of an answer (nor any comment made) but do you have children Bill?

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Thankfully, no.

        Oddly, I get the impression that it’s those of us without children who are more inclined to face this shit. Maybe these a whole psychological tangle of responsibility, guilt and “doing what’s right” (or perceived to be “right”) at play for some parents?

        I dunno.

  11. David Mac 11

    We are naturally capitalists, always have been, we can’t help ourselves.

    When a government seizes the means of production. As with booze and weed prohibition, a seething thriving black market rises.

    Me trading my capital (2 hours of pruning time) for your capital (a laden Avocado tree) for a box of fruit is not evil.

    We have always traded, we just need to get better at how we do it.

    • Pat 11.1

      “We are naturally capitalists, always have been, we can’t help ourselves”

      What you describe has no relationship with capitalism…(until you add in property rights and the ability to enforce law)…so you can forego the pruning and take the fruit and chop down the tree should you so wish…and all without penalty should the assumed owner of the tree be unable to inflict one…or if he can, he may cut off your balls and enslave your children as compensation…we can equally be said to be natural thieves…..or even ,god forbid ,natural socialists because we form communities to develop and protect resources

    • tracey 11.2

      David

      Bartering is not Capitalism.

  12. Tiger Mountain 12

    to put it rather mildly, yes micky capitalism is obsolete, –“socialism or barbarism” is now the question

    n.b. 21st century socialism is not about mimicking the Eastern European degenerate workers states of the 20th century, it is about taking the power and control and wealth off the several thousand individuals, and finance capital apparatus that hogs multi trillions and have pushed this planet to the brink of destruction

    • greywarshark 12.1

      Tiger Mountain
      Do you have a working knowledge of how Spain’s Mondragon social working experiment has succeeded? Has it been the sort of thing to be emulated? Or is there another model /s in the world. Certainly the Grameen bank seems great. Do you have any gems tucked up your sleeve? We need to have things to chew over and ‘they say’ time is moving on fast.

  13. RedLogix 13

    Horses did not become obsolete because they were inefficient and expensive; they were replaced by a mechanical technology that was better and cheaper.

    Nor as a professional automation engineer do I have much faith that AI will rapidly take over the ‘means of production’ anytime soon. While it clearly has some domains of competence, as soon as it hits the real world it tends to stumble. As Eon Musk discovered when he tried to use too many robots in his latest production line. Yes AI will continue to advance; but in my view and experience, there is a ways to go before the results match the hype.

    For all of it’s flaws capitalism has delivered results; it’s transformed the lives of billions. We enjoy mostly safe, secure, healthy lifestyles that kings of just a century or so ago could scarcely imagine. It’s foolish to repudiate or diminish this extraordinary outcome.

    But equally it’s plain that while capitalism has been fantastically successful at producing wealth; it has no answer as to how best distribute it. Nor has it found a way to correctly allocate externalities and social costs. These are real flaws that only get worse with time. Two or three horses in the main street may be fine; eventually thousands deposit intolerable mountains of shite.

    In particular the extremes of wealth distribution, an inherent vice of capitalism, are reaching historic and intolerable extremes. It is a serious problem no-one has discovered a serious answer for; or at least an cure that is not demonstrably worse than the disease. There is no place in this conversation for gloating dogmatics; nor the genocidal fantasies of those who’d wish for the ‘destruction of capitalism’ from behind what they imagine is the safety of their keyboards.

    How to balance these innate human motivations; the instinct to vigorously compete and produce, with the need to co-operate and distribute fairly? These are complex problems. As E.O.Wilson rather memorably observed about Marx “wonderful theory, wrong species’; it can be easy to identify the flaws of a system, far harder to improve it.

    Modern human economies are fantastically complex; transforming and improving them is a task of equal scale and subtlety.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      For all of it’s flaws capitalism has delivered results; it’s transformed the lives of billions. We enjoy mostly safe, secure, healthy lifestyles that kings of just a century or so ago could scarcely imagine. It’s foolish to repudiate or diminish this extraordinary outcome.

      Was that really capitalism? Or was it the socialists that regulated capitalism?
      When capitalists are getting infinitely more of the wealth than what the worker who creates it gets is it really making people better off?
      If people, left to their own devices and with community support, will simply go out and create stuff is it really the profit motive that drives them? Or is it just the profit motive that drives the greedy and the rules that have been designed to support that greed?

      There is no place in this conversation for gloating dogmatics; nor the genocidal fantasies of those who’d wish for the ‘destruction of capitalism’ from behind what they imagine is the safety of their keyboards.

      You seem to be being dogmatic and gloating from behind the safety of your keyboard just to write that BS restriction which seems purposed to prevent any discussion of anything other than capitalism.

      It is a serious problem no-one has discovered a serious answer for; or at least an cure that is not demonstrably worse than the disease.

      It’s called democracy but not the elected dictatorship that we have. Participatory democracy is what we need starting at work.

      Businesses turned into cooperatives where everyone who works there has a say, where everyone rotates through all of the roles that the business has and where no one outside of the business gets anything from it. The business will be neither state owned nor owned by those that work there. Finance will be available through the state bank at 0% interest if the business has a good enough business plan.

      The state creates money and spends it into the economy through government services and through a UBI. No other sources of money are allowed and that includes foreign money (We have no need of foreign money to utilise our own resources).

      How to balance these innate human motivations; the instinct to vigorously compete and produce, with the need to co-operate and distribute fairly?

      Competition:

      However, Stephen Jay Gould and others have argued that as one ascends the evolutionary hierarchy, competitiveness (the survival instinct) becomes less innate, and more a learned behavior. The same could be said for co-operation: in humans, at least, both co-operation and competition are considered learned behaviors, because the human species learns to adapt to environmental pressures. Consequently, if survival requires competitive behaviors, the individual will compete, and if survival requires co-operative behaviors, the individual will co-operate. In the case of humans, therefore, aggressiveness may be an innate characteristic, but a person need not be competitive at the same time, for instance when scaling a cliff. On the other hand, humans seem also to have a nurturing instinct, to protect newborns and the weak. While that does not necessitate co-operative behavior, it does help.

      As E.O.Wilson rather memorably observed about Marx “wonderful theory, wrong species’; it can be easy to identify the flaws of a system, far harder to improve it.

      No amount of crying But it’s human nature will get a delusional system working. Reality will always break it.

      And capitalism is delusional as it strives for infinite, exponential growth while ensuring that all the wealth belongs to a select few thus increasing poverty and inevitably bringing about the destruction of society (And now the entire ecosphere as it pushes climate change for profit).

    • greywarshark 13.2

      RedLogix

      For all of it’s flaws capitalism has delivered results; it’s transformed the lives of billions. We enjoy mostly safe, secure, healthy lifestyles that kings of just a century or so ago could scarcely imagine. It’s foolish to repudiate or diminish this extraordinary outcome.

      A lot of what has made life better is better amenities. Clean water without cholera, medicine, antibiotics. These things have often been brought about by determined individuals not capitalism as such. I think we should watch the paeans of praise, there is another similar word for the unpaid or lowly paid work that has enabled such surplus money to become disbursable to investors. You could say that it is the un/underpaid work of millions that has provided the seed capital on which captalism’s finest financial instruments and monuments have been built. Paeans of praise from the work of peons.

      Modern human economies are fantastically complex; transforming and improving them is a task of equal scale and subtlety.
      No doubt that is why the financiers in Treasury always want simple tax structures. They don’t want to delve into the shades of fantastically complex economies.

      I suggest that we are not beyond subtle alternatives to those the capitalists use such as two sets of books.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_sets_of_books
      Let the capitalists have their own financial instruments, and the lower orders operate on a simpler scale where we would be happier.

      Not too different to what happens now, but a People’s Bank which would offer low priced home loans to those who establish a regular savings scheme. This would open an avenue for Jack and Jill to make their own lives on a simpler scale than now, only occasionally having to buy foreign exchange. The NZ$ would go down if we had our own currency that was pegged at a highish rate but was secure from overseas hot money.

      Also we need to replace some of our primary and intermediate classes in maths for learning about accounting and nation’s accounting. We need the hard facts and in learning about them would get a great hunk of maths at its most usable stage rather than theoretical.

  14. Ad 14

    Yanis says he doesn’t have a clue about what next.

    Top analysis there.

    For a Marxist he’s not much chop on the relationship between our version of capitalism, crisis, and the state.

    • McFlock 14.1

      I dunno.

      Marx was pretty much bang-on in describing the flaws in the system, but a bit shit at making predictions. Like everyone who makes predictions 🙂

      Capitalism is approaching a crisis where either the scarcity it relies on will basically disappear, or production will be so concentrated that the only people in a position to purchase products will be the owners of production. They’ll do a Henry Ford and throw crumbs into the community (or face revolution).

      So everybody owns the means of production (but nobody works), or oligarchs control the society (by controlling production). Either way the markets will essentially cease to exist.

      • Ad 14.1.1

        Crises are fantastic for capitalism.

        Often not too bad for democracy as well.

        • McFlock 14.1.1.1

          Normally, it’s not capitalism that has the crisis, though. Individual markets, maybe, but not the entire system where the problem of distributing scarce resources is rendered obsolete.

    • tracey 14.2

      So analysising what is, and not being able to predict a replacement is worthy of scorn? That is most debate on this site gone then, including some of yours

      • Ad 14.2.1

        Catastrophists are just shit.
        They bring nothing.

        Our state-market relationships have been evolving through multiple challenges since the Renaissance, and through far far worse crises than yet another realm of automation.

  15. arkie 15

    Encouraging democracy in the work place would be a good start to mitigating the negatives of late capitalism. This is UK Labour’s idea which I think is a good one.

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell guaranteed to give workers the right to own a stake in their enterprises if Labour returns to government.

    Speaking at the Ways Forward conference in Manchester on Thursday, Mr McDonnell said a future Labour government would seek to grow co-operatives as well as enable employees the first chance to buy their companies in the case of them being closed down or sold on.

    https://www.thenews.coop/101534/topic/politics/labour-pledges-expand-co-ops-give-workers-right/

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    A universal basic income will have to be paid somehow.

    Wrong way of looking at things. The UBI will be what makes the economy work, it will be what funds the economy.

    Capitalism has always destroyed the society that it has arisen in. We’re now in a position where that is becoming common knowledge and we may make the transition to a sustainable economic system. That system will be some sort of socialist system as the capitalists will have to be removed and not allowed back.

  17. Mark 17

    Give me one example of a modern nation where any political system- capitalism or communism or Marxism- has not resulted in the higher echelons garnering to themselves the majority of the nations wealth and resources and the expense or ordinary working people: Nth Korea? the Soviet Union? Cuba? Modern China? All corrupt with substantial inequality. Controlled capitalism (ie not US style) such as we have in NZ and Australia is the lesser of these evils. Human diversity and nature, and the scarcity of resources makes this so.

    • bwaghorn 17.1

      it’s the bloody pigs they think they are more equal than the rest

    • McFlock 17.2

      There was that socialist president of Uruguay who was pretty cool, ISTR.

    • KJT 17.3

      Unfortunately. Without true democratic control, the wealthy are able to subvert the system to retain wealth and power.

      “Representative democracy”, an oxymoron was designed so the majority will never get enough power to demand that the resources they produce be retained by those, that work for them.

  18. R.P McMurphy 18

    capitalism will eventually wear itself out but as longs ahumans are still here then there will always be class warfare.

  19. Andre 19

    Fonterra is a co-operative owned by its supplier farmers. Yet it too shows the same fucked up behaviours of those at the top trying to grab as much as possible for themselves and screw everybody else.

    As someone else pointed out, pretty much every other societal organisation suffers from the same problem of “elites” trying to grab most of the goodies and leaving the bare minimum for everyone else. (ok, ok there’s an occasional break from the usual routine, but those are rare and they don’t last long)

    So it looks to me like the problem is less about whether we’re capitalist, socialist, communist, mixed or whatever, and more about how we manage the sociopaths that will always be with us and best harness their drives.

    The northern european model looks pretty good to me. Strongly progressive taxation with a strong welfare state, but with sufficient freedoms that those driven to build something that makes them a wealthy elite can still do so.

    It also has the bonus that the path there from where we are now is fairly clear and achievable with incremental steps. Rather than requiring a revolution, which generally just opens up yet more opportunities for the sociopaths to screw everybody else.

    • Pat 19.1

      “…and more about how we manage the sociopaths that will always be with us and best harness their drives.”

      Yep, and never forgetting that the elites are not the only ones with sociopathic tendencies….hence laws and norms.

      Unfortunately it appears even the ‘north european’ social democratic model will be not be effective enough at transforming society in a timely manner …..although it has more chance than laissez faire.

    • savenz 19.2

      I think when Fonterra started paying 8 million plus to their CEO while some of the farmers got payouts lower than their costs, Fonterra became a co operative in name only…. because they certainly don’t seem to act in the best interests of the ‘collective’.

  20. greywarshark 20

    Those interested in our country’s economy and taxation will want to take up the offer of offering your valuable opinions to the TWG because they are very interested. You have a week. There is lots of good reading and fine sounding propositions which if these were truly considered right would have been applicable for years.

    However when we have the right to do it in a democracy it seems irrational to moan about its workings but not participate when invited even without much hope of improvement.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1804/S00241/one-week-left-to-have-your-say-on-the-future-of-tax.htm
    “The quick polls have been popular with more than 10,000 responses so far and it’s encouraging that a good proportion of those votes have been followed up with a submission.”

    Note: 10,000 responses so far – out of 4+ million taxpayers minus children not big enough to suck gobstoppers. It isn’t many really is it. Your input will be effective at some level so don’t miss out.

    https://taxworkinggroup.govt.nz/

    The group’s website (https://taxworkinggroup.govt.nz) has also been updated to include thought-provoking videos and a quick comment facility. Longer, more detailed submissions are also welcomed and can be sent to submissions@taxworkinggroup.govt.nz.

    Explanatory from Scoop giving press release from 14 March 2018.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1803/S00380/tax-working-group-open-minded-on-how-to-future-proof-tax.htm

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