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And that reason is that you believe that there will, in fact, be a complete collapse of the capitalist system, and that you are so sure of this that you are willing to bet your future on it by spending as much as you can today.

Is that really the bet you want to take?

For context, people have been predicting the imminent collapse of the current economic system since Marx defined capitalism, but rarely has it ever occurred. With the exception of some nationalistic experiments and periodic and very temporary crises, the capitalist system has thrived, adapted, and grown.  I think the wise bet is that your future will continue to be defined by that system, and your payoff for betting otherwise doesn't seem high enough to justify making it.

by santiago on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 02:47:08 PM EST
There is some truth here, no question.

But this isn't the first "capital based industrial revolution," that occurred during the High Middle Ages.  The rise and fall of such is instructive.  Capitalism works great during periods of population increase where investing money for future reward is met with future reward due to increased demand.  It is unclear, to me at least, what will happen under capitalism - as we know it - during an extended period of population decline.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 03:33:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please explain what you mean by the capital based revolution of the High Middle Ages and what happened to it.
by santiago on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 03:54:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, that s/b "Capital based industrial revolution"

The High Middle Ages went through a spate of water and wind powered industrialization funded by capital accumulated through trade, human-powered (looms) production, and grants/gifts to religious institutions.

Briefly, this system collapsed due to over-production versus consumer ability to purchase, over-population versus the food supply, and disease.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 04:23:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are some good books to read on that?
by santiago on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 04:32:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know the state of current research is.  This is topic I sloughed-off due to lack of time a long time ago.  The only book I can find in my library, at the moment, is Gimpel's The Medieval Machine written for a 'high brow,' not academic, audience and it's over 30 years old.    

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:16:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by santiago on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 11:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM:
Briefly, this system collapsed due to over-production versus consumer ability to purchase, over-population versus the food supply,

too many cooks, not enough broth?

'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 Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 09:48:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the black plague.  That didn't help, either, though its role was more to finish off a declining system, rather than to start the system's decline.
by Zwackus on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:43:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The plague put a sharp underlining to the end but they had outstripped their resources at their level of technology.  In cases like this ignorance is lethal.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 11:03:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too many piggies for the teats.

Can't remember their ag complex yield but it was, by today's standards, pitiful.  You can start your research href="http://www.cropyields.ac.uk/project.php">here, if you want ;-).  They would get, roughly 4 bushels for every bushel of seed compared with, roughly, the 20 to 30 bushels modern farmers can expect.  This meant they had to increase the total number of farms by using ever marginal land in order to try and maintain food production.  Eventually, they farmed areas that are not in use for field cropping even today.

Then the weather turned on them, the marginal land went out of production, some kind souls invented the Black Death, and it was all over.  The European population didn't recover until the introduction of cultivars from the Americas, particularly the potato.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct Link.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Capitalism works great during periods of population increase where investing money for future reward is met with future reward due to increased demand.  It is unclear, to me at least, what will happen under capitalism - as we know it - during an extended period of population decline.

what's the opposite of predator capitalism?

'enlightened' capitalism? reverse-engineered capitalism? collaborative capitalism? conscious capitalism? capitalism as if people mattered?

chris cookism?

right little slogan factory, must be cuz i watched madmen earlier!

'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 Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 09:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the opposite of predator capitalism?

Damfino.  Co-operative syndicalism, I guess.  

In either case, there's still the need to accumulate "capital" - however one defines it - to pay for "investment" - however one defines that.  I don't have a handy definition to trot out. The latifundia of the Roman Iron Age required "capital" in the form of land purchases and slaves; there was continual political strife between debtors and debt holders; but I wouldn't go so far as to claim the Roman Empire was a "predatory capitalist" political-economy although there are degrees of commonality 'tween then and now.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:31:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgot ...

Marx's critique of Capitalism was based on Hegelian Logic which, at best, has a limited application to the Real World©.  Marx wrote some good things but to take him seriously as a political economist in light of current knowledge is, I submit, a grievous error.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 03:36:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a bit more severe than I see it.  

On the one hand, I continue my month-to-month existence, with a small cash reserve put away on the side.  With the remainder, I enjoy going out to eat, drink, and take fairly modest vacations once or twice a year.  This is hardly an ideal situation, but it's no worse than that of my many, many friends who have enormous student debts hanging over their heads.  

On the other hand, I guard my rather meager income much more carefully, don't eat out or travel much at all, and save up enough money to think about things like investments.

If civilization continues in a recognizable situation, and present investments are not wiped out in a financial calamity, then I would definitely be a bit richer following the second course.  Yay.

If civilization continues, but most financial assets are wiped out, than I'm more or less the same either way, except I'd perhaps be a bit less bitter if I'd spent the money myself, instead of seeing it all disappear into inflation/asset value collapse/confiscation/etc.

If global warming/peak oil/financial collapse push civilization into a long, slow decline over the next twenty or thirty years, than I'll probably not die immediately.  More likely is several marginal years of homelessness and unemployment before I die of cancer or tuberculeprosy or something.  While savings might help mitigate my misery in such a situation, I have to wonder how well pre-crisis assets are going to hold up in value, and thus be useful.  Cash might be the best thing there is, or it might become totally worthless as governments turn to hyper-inflation to deal with unsustainable debts.

If civilization doesn't continue in a recognizable fashion, then I'll die, sooner rather than later.  I have no illusions regarding that.  So, savings are a bit of a moot point, whether they have value or not.

by Zwackus on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 08:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Zwackus's Crystal Ball of Doom™ Technology]

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, I tend more to the tarot cards than the crystal ball, but the way I read them, they don't give the most useful answers to these kinds of questions.  :-)
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tarot is a good storytelling device...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:55:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but that's why it's better to help people think about situations that they are in or may be in, rather than to predict the future.  
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 07:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we're not trying to predict the future, we're doing scanario-based contingency planning.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 10:56:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll die, sooner rather than later.

Ah, but the danger is that you will not!  :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 02:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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