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We don't need corporate capitalism the same way we don't need fertiliser or internal combustion engines. There were after all a time when we didn't have them and the human race still survived. But that's not setting the bar very high.

Well-regulated corporate capitalism is a great system for creating wealth and prosperity for a society. Instead of arguing for the destruction of said system, progressive efforts should be focused on once again taming capitalism. For it's own sake as well, I might add. Only socialism/social democracy/whatever can save capitalism from itself.

This is the same ancient revolutionary vs. reformist debate on the left which we've had for at least a century. As both models were tried in lots of different countries at different times, it's easy to compare and see which yielded the best results, and one have to be utterly blind not to see that it was the reformist path.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 06:49:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
We don't need corporate capitalism the same way we don't need fertiliser or internal combustion engines.

Capitalism, like the internal combustion engine and the more aggressive kinds of fertiliser, are like burning down your house for warmth because you're too stupid to work out how to turn on the free heating.

Regulation certianly helps, but it has to be absolute to prevent regulatory capture. Once regulatory capture begins the inevitable outcome is the one we have today - bonkers people running around doing suicidally bonkers things for the bling.

It might be more useful to question aims and then consider means.

What would the aims of a sane culture be?

Would it surprise anyone - outside of the US and the MBA schools - if bling wasn't top of most people's lists?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 08:12:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the most pernicious phenomena of the last 30 years has been the limited choice survey. "Is your pill a) red or b) blue?"

This may make sense actuarily, but socially it promotes monoculture.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 01:35:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
We don't need corporate capitalism the same way we don't need fertiliser or internal combustion engines.

The thing is that - as the Economist pointed out the other day - the conventional corporate form is obsolescent.

New enterprise models are emerging because 'they work'.

My prediction is that capitalism as we know it will eat itself as the 'Co-operative Advantage' - ie the freedom from making returns to unproductive shareholders - makes itself felt.

In a world of direct instantaneous connections there is no need either for the State or for rentier shareholders as intermediaries.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 08:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... is also a great system for destroying the life support system upon which we all depend, if any of the existing observations of corporate capitalism are to be believed ...

... and indeed, a great system for financing the aggressive and persistent undermining of the regulations which would define a "well-regulated" corporate capitalism, which would seem to make well-regulated corporate capitalism an intrinsically unsustainable system lying on the path from mostly unregulated corporate capitalism to mostly unregulated corporate capitalism.

Indeed, we do not in fact know that partially regulated corporate capitalism is able to deliver increasing affluence and wealth without tapping non-renewable resources, nor indeed whether the increasing affluence and wealth was caused by the corporate capitalism, or whether corporate capitalism just happened to be at the right place and the right time to benefit from the technology for irreversibly tapping a massive stockpile of non-renewable resources.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 09:00:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the same ancient revolutionary vs. reformist debate on the left which we've had for at least a century.

This might not be as clear as we might like to think. The Russian Revolution and the emergence of the Soviet Union turned out to be instrumental to the defeat of the Axis Powers in WW II and the rise of a bi-polar world after WW II. The reformist path gained traction, at least in part, by the fear engendered among the very wealthy of a similar occurrence in their own country. Rightly or wrongly, such fear is not present these days and the very wealthy have been assiduously dismantling all constraints on their power, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Given the way things are going, the mess they have made of the economy, the inability of the great mass of the people to gain any reformist traction, given the security state organization and apparatus that has been legislated and put into operation in the USA and given the deliberate stoking of populist rage against scapegoats by ultra-conservative, authoritarian elements such as Murdoch and the Koch brothers, it is not inconceivable that a post-coup US Government could constitute the political and ethical equivalent of a new Soviet Union to the rest of the world. To me, that is the single greatest danger against which we need to guard, but I see little evidence of any effective action in that regard.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 10:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the same ancient revolutionary vs. reformist debate on the left which we've had for at least a century. As both models were tried in lots of different countries at different times, it's easy to compare and see which yielded the best results, and one have to be utterly blind not to see that it was the reformist path.

This is not as clear-cut as you put it, for a number of reasons:

  1. Revolutions have a greater chance of success in countries where the reformist path is successfully obstructed. Reformism is, in turn, more likely to be obstructed in poor countries than in rich ones, since successful reformism requires sufficient resources to cover the needs of the poor and still leave comfortable opulence for the rich.

  2. Reformism is much more likely to be successfully opposed where the oligarchy is more entrenched.

  3. Left-wing revolutions are historically associated with agrarian societies. This is partially a function of the first two bullets, but part of the reason is almost certainly that agrarian countries offer greater scope for guerrilla strategy than urbanised countries do: It's easier to lock down urbanised than rural areas. It is also easier to avoid collateral damage in rural than in urban settings, something that is far more important to guerrilla strategy than to anti-guerrilla strategy.

So simply looking at the outcome after the fact is similar to claiming that a financialised economy is superior to an industrial economy because the USA has greater consumption at the moment than China.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 10:49:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The most efficient and reliable way to reform corporate capitalism is to reform their brains, by democratizing (and making transparent) corporate boards of directors so they represent the cross-section of interests that work best for social democratic society as a whole. Then regulatory capture is no longer the constant threat, and corporations generally work in the directions society wants them to without having to be directly taking order from the state.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 12:55:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that many boards believe that they DO represent a cross-section.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 01:36:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An honestly social-democratic society would listen hardly at all to what the wealthy and well-connected board members believe they are doing/representing.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 02:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is one fundamental fact to bear in mind: there are more of us (bar the sleepwalkers). This is vital in any system that includes universal suffrage in rights and opportunities. Thus we should focus on all systems that enable the 'more', whether print, electronic, local or global.

I see IT as the best bet as leverage because it is relatively easily scaleable, and has low transaction cost.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 02:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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