Weekend World Programme: The World Debate: 2012 Reinventing Capitalism?
I was a little disappointed that no one was seriously examining the systemic issues with capitalism, and with the concept of money.
The deepest issue seems to be the disjunct between human value and monetary value. Both value judgements are made by individuals, and monetary value seems to be essentially human value multiplied by scarcity. Thus things with high human value, and zero scarcity, end up with zero monetary value (like oxygen in the air as an example).
This means that there is zero systemic incentive within monetary systems to create the sort of abundance of essential goods and services that most people desire.
Related to this is the issue of the pursuit of money in and of itself.
When money is used simply as a tool to promote the exchange of goods and services it has undoubted utilty for human beings; but when money becomes a goal in and of itself, then the game becomes about optimising money, and not about optimising goods and services.
The optimum amount of money can be generated by generating an optimum perception (or reality) of scarcity. Various groups use all sorts of media, political, and legal mechanisms to create such perceptions.
Thus, rather than the game being about creating abundance and satisfying the needs of every human being, it becomes about creating barriers and monopolies that generate scarcities and the opportunity for secure profits.
If we create systems that guarantee abundance of all the necessities (essentially making them free), then capitalism is free to play its games above that essential minimum.
The harsh mathematical reality is that no capitalist system will ever, in and of itself, meet the needs of everyone – it simply is not incentivised to produce that sort of abundance.
I don’t characterise it as a declaration of war, I simply see it as ignorance.
I am convinved that most people will and do act in their own best interests as they perceive them; but unfortunately most are ignorant of the longer term consequences of their actions.
When those 1% see that it really is genuinely in their own long term best interests to ensure the welfare of the other 99%, then it will happen.
And the process of making distinctions must logically follow the same general form – starting with a simple binary distinction (like light/dark, hot cold) then moving to more gradations (like the colours ROY G BIV) and then on to an infinity. That process takes time. Some people get hung up on binaries (good/bad, right/wrong, etc) – getting people past them and into infinity is a bit of an art.