This Guest Post is by Standardista Incognito.
This is a follow-up on my previous post and a reply  to the comments that were made and I would like to thank all commenters for some great feedback.
The arguments in favour of sticking with capitalism run along two familiar lines: 1) capitalism has delivered so much; 2) there is nothing better. Both these lines are predominantly economic ones but obviously have political implications.
We have indeed had industrial revolutions and technology is advancing at phenomenal speed. Undoubtedly, the influence of capitalism grew in parallel and enabled & reinforced economic progress and vice versa. However, this does not mean that capitalism caused progress & prosperity, in the sense that it provided obligate necessary & essential or even just permissive & facultative conditions. This kind of answer relates to the second argument that there is no (better) alternative.
In other words, as the all too familiar reasoning goes, capitalism and economic prosperity appear to have gone in hand and they must, therefore, be causatively connected. Taken one quasi-logical step further, economic prosperity was caused by and could only have happened because of capitalism. This, to me, seems like retrospective historical determinism and a logical fallacy as, for one, it conflates correlation with causation.
Recently, we have seen and heard many economists arguing that capitalism is the best we have got and that with a bit of tinkering, a ‘human face’, it can be sufficiently improved that we can still reap the alleged ‘benefits’ but also counter the obvious side-effects of capitalism especially of its Hulkish form called neoliberalism. On the other hand, plenty of anthropologists and psychologists have pointed out the obvious failings of capitalism. In addition, even economically capitalism has not delivered the goodies to all; prosperity and wealth are very unevenly distributed, which is the default and inevitable outcome of capitalism, of course. Sure, many have enjoyed economic progress to some extent, but it has come at a huge cost.
The argument that there is nothing better is so weak it is funny. If the caveman had never bettered himself beyond what he knew so that he could ride a Woolly Mammoth Beast to work we would still be crawling in caves on our knuckles & knees. Interestingly, democracy, as we know it, also gets this woeful defence, e.g. Churchill said:
Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
To me it all sounds very much like “better the Devil you know” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – ignoring or diminishing the social and psychological damage that is occurring not to mention the ongoing devastation & desecration of the environment to feed the capitalist machine.
These arguments in favour of capitalism and democracy as we know it came together when Francis Fukuyama wrote that liberal (capitalist) democracy was the ideological endpoint and final form (and ‘destination’) of government.
One of the best counter-arguments in my opinion was provided by Plato in his story of the cave. This is an award-winning clay animation of this story and here is a good link for some follow-up reading. Briefly, my counter-argument is that defenders of status quo generally lack imagination and are trapped in their way & world of thinking in fear of change and the unknown and, in fact, denying there even is an unknown (hubris). It is a strong argument in favour of Utopian thinking and not accepting the here & now as the only possible interpretation of reality or, even worse, as some kind of Universal or Absolute Truth.
There are two more issues that are intimately associated with capitalism that warrant attention when arguing against it. The first one is that of ownership, which is, just like capitalism, an artificial human construct.
Even when you were still a twinkle in your father’s eye and even after you have departed this realm of the material world your existence is embedded in and defined by ownership of Earthly possessions although not necessarily limited to Earth.
The whole concept of ownership is engrained in our psyche entirely through ‘nurture’ I would argue. In fact, this idea results in competition, distrust, and exclusion (e.g. enclosure) and runs counter to our biology; it is in our nature to cooperate and be social. I believe it goes deeper than this but I won’t dwell on this here & now. So, it is hard (but not impossible!) to imagine a world and an economic system that is, in contrast to capitalism, not deeply founded on ownership and effectively we all are prisoners in a cave.
Property rights and ownership are enshrined in many of our Laws. But there are many other rules & regulations that limit our actions, our choices, and our thinking! Many human genes have been patented by companies so in a way you may not even (fully) own your own DNA.
The second issue is that of freedom. All sorts of institutions (state, insurance companies, employers, banks, etc.) demand full disclosure of all sorts of (personal) information. Every time we ‘accept’ the Terms & Conditions we freely give away our rights to some of our information when we use social media (never forget that we are the product). When we sign up for a loan or mortgage we chain ourselves to decades of wage-earning. None of these actions per se might be reason to worry but together they weave a suffocating straitjacket that severely limits or choices and actions. Freedom in this environment is as much an illusion as the shadows on the cave’s walls. However, it is oft used as justification for capitalism and vice versa capitalism is supposedly leading to more (personal) freedom.
Freedom is also determined by how well you know the system and its rules and other idiosyncrasies. Some get to know it well enough to game the system (at the expense of fellow humans or the collective) while others (e.g. beneficiaries) do not know or understand what their rights & entitlements are and thus miss out. In other words, not only is there a built-in and wilfully propagated asymmetry of power (ownership) but also of (system) knowledge and thus we are not equally free in the true meaning of the words.
If you accept that freedom is relative at best and an illusion at worst then you will also have to question the arguments for neoliberalism and the so-called free market dogma. It runs something like this: people are free to engage in voluntary transactions (trade, buy & sell) and make rational decisions. This cannot be true if we are chasing shadows on the wall or, in fact, when we merely are a shadow on the wall!
What does this mean for post-capitalism? We do not yet know what it will look like because we have not yet ventured out from our caves. It will be different, at first, but no worse than what we knew before despite our current belief that capitalism is the best thing since sliced bread – a belief that is harder to keep given the mounting evidence for the contrary. Till the time comes when we are sufficiently educated to see things differently we are and will remain staunch defenders of capitalism if not by conviction but for our actions.
 Unfortunately, I did not have time to reply at all to the comments at the time the Guest Post went up on TS. However, as Lynn recently suggested, it lightens his workload and that of the Moderators here if I were to do things by posting rather than commenting. Lastly, rather than replying to separate individual comments I thought it actually made more sense in trying to capture my thoughts in a single more cohesive post.