The End of Capitalism and Socialism

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Which way do we go? StockSnap CC

I haven’t mentioned capitalism or neoliberalism because we are leaving those things behind. Capitalism has gone through several stages and is now subject to creative collapse hence the move through the current post-capitalist era. Neoliberalism was, it would appear, that final stage. However you traverse the post-capitalist terrain we are working through the economic and political rubble of neoliberalism. As usual the American terminology confuses the issue by mislabeling things for internal political manipulation. My point was that an effective single party system that was neoliberal caused low information voters to assume that either party would continue to do the same things. That has been the case for a long time but, excluding social policy and racist noise, almost indistinguishably for the last thirty years. During that time we have had a steady radicalization of capitalism into a kind of hypercapitalism.

Interestingly capitalism is finally dying of worker revolt but the old class structure didn’t survive. And the workers don’t see themselves as workers but as capitalists screwed out of their profits. Trump was interpreted as offering them the return to the profitability of their parents and as a self-described business (capitalist) genius that had to be better than professional politicians who, they have been taught, know only how to spend. Unfortunately politicians, while they do lie, are almost always what they say they are and mostly adhere to public standards while the Trump-Bannon crew were not at all what they said they were. Trump’s obvious incompetence and mental instability were the first signs of disaster that distracted people while Bannon’s neo-fascist insurgency has quickly assumed background positions of power. And it is increasingly obvious that the whole thing was funded if not managed from Moscow. But it really doesn’t matter.

The real point is that socialism has evolved to become the basis for effective government but is also entangled in hypercapitalism. Any objective view of governmental systems over the last fifty years shows greater stability and human happiness (the loss of this even as a goal is a sign of political collapse in the US) are tied to greater public control and service provisioning. Hypercapitalism produced greater financial returns but distributed them to a smaller and smaller percentage of the population. This is the nearly complete commitment to capital as wealth based on production of physical goods and consumption of ever greater amounts of energy. And this has created the decline of income for 90% of the industrial world population while converting the ever larger US military into a corporatist army for the extraction of petrochemicals to pay the debt used to boost production to burn more petrochemicals. This was happening anyway but the people in charge knew that great care had to be taken to prevent the explosion and that was the essence of Hilary Clinton’s campaign. But, through manipulation of poorly educated voters, and, most likely a series of bizarre events, the ringers ended up in power and, effectively, threw a firebomb into the giant warehouse of oily rags that was our heritage from too much capitalism. We’re now in a slow motion explosion with no one in control. Not too much pain yet as we are still accelerating and gaining altitude on the expanding cloud of rubble and fire. “So far so good”, said the guy as he fell past the 20th floor of the Empire State building.

The last word is socialism. Definitely not a dirty word but that too is now post-socialist. We need to define what this means while avoiding being consumed in the explosion that we caused. All metaphors are partial so there will be come things that need to be saved. I think that we are seeing that the new post-capitalist/post-socialist/post-national order will be more socialist than capitalist but also more management (by AI) and less political (irrationally human. The balance will need to be between sustainability and opportunity with equitability. Management of intellectual wealth and agreements will be individual and independent of the old style of government regulation through rapid growth of blockchain based services with Universal Basic Income as part of this. Government as we know it will shrink while publicly managed services will grow tremendously, maybe even hugely . . . But that is only my best guess and it depends on how well we recover.

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Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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