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As long as the economic system is based upon capitalism the cycles of greed and collapse will continue. It is a feature of the system.

Small gains in wealth or market position allows for predation which then makes the winning firm bigger. The bigger firm then can buy political influence which then creates the legal framework for them to grow even larger.

This feedback system continues until it implodes, when there is much hand wringing, some modest reforms and the cycle starts again.

The only way to break this cycle is to eliminate capitalism and replace it with something new. Something which is not based upon the continual striving for growth, something which is not based upon exploiting natural resources and something which is does not reward greed.

I have no idea what this new system would be, socialism and communism have also been shown to suffer from fatal flaws of their own.

What I have found is that every time I bring this up I get blasted by libertarians who can't see beyond their cramped views of personal liberty and dislike of "government".

My most recent rant on the subject on this site:
http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/8/7/124216/5548

I really would like to hear some ideas on what new social structures might look like, but it seems it is easier to tear down ideas than come up with new ones...

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 10:16:13 AM EST

The only way to break this cycle is to eliminate capitalism and replace it with something new.

Question: Are you replacing just the ECONOMIC SYSTEM or the GOVERNING SYSTEM?  For how many people?  With access to what resources?  What about population (birth) controls?  Will your society operate in a vacuum or should you consider competition from Communist China, who I see (in short order) taking over the entire globe and exterminating ALL non-Chinese humans, other than zoo specimens and humans for research?

Let's start that discussion, right here at ET, especially while the ADULTS are away in Paris!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 10:52:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've written a lot about governance, you can peruse my web site for the essays.

What we have now is public firms where the governance is under the control of the CEO and board of directors, not the stockholders. This is anti-democratic.

We also have highly imperfect democratic governance in the largest developed countries (especially the US and UK). In the US it is money that votes not people. This has nothing to do with how firms are financed (capitalism).

What is needed in the US is to reform the electoral process so that money is not used to buy elections. Any combination of public financing, limited allowance of corporate money, free broadcast time and a number of existing good government proposals could do the job. Unfortunately there is little sign of a desire for reform.

The permanent election industry (consultants, lobbyists, media, pollsters, etc) makes too much money from the present system to want to see it changed.

As the number of non-democratic capitalist countries continues to grow the old confusion between the two concepts is starting to vanish. We need to repair democracy, we need to replace capitalism.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 11:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What is needed in the US is to reform the electoral process so that money is not used to buy elections

How do you view Obama's method/success at fundraising?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 01:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rdf:
The permanent election industry (consultants, lobbyists, media, pollsters, etc) makes too much money from the present system to want to see it changed.

was there ever a more parasitic, useless caste in history?

amusing to think the whole phenomenon was a luxurious excess, that future societies would do well to heed as warning.

as in carved in stone in every village square...

don't blindly trust treasurers!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 04:48:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What we have now is public firms where the governance is under the control of the CEO and board of directors, not the stockholders. This is anti-democratic.

It may be, but if you read Galbraith's The New Industrial State is seems like a natural development.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 08:54:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I really would like to hear some ideas on what new social structures might look like, but it seems it is easier to tear down ideas than come up with new ones... "

I have thought a little bit about some kind of "layer economy", where there would be, perhaps, two layers. The basic layer would be some kind of a sosialistic/private agricultural self-sustainable society, that would include food production, housing, health care etc. On top of this there would be a free and open liberal capitalistic society where people could sell their "services" what is left from the lower layer. The top layer would work with maximun flexibility and laissez-faire, because it would not take part in servicing the basic needs, which create "inflexible" economic and political structures inside the market economy.
I'm not an economist, so i can't go further, but i wonder if some economist have thought something along these lines?

by kjr63 on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 11:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever it might be, it would be a transformation as profound as the agricultural revolution.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 01:22:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, that's how it looks to me.

how we get through the bottleneck between now A and B where this might end up if things go very favourably, is the million energy-unit question....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 04:57:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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