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Generals/dictators are really bad at understanding and enabling complex economies to develop. Democracies are much better at facilitating the complex trade-offs between highly differentiated interest groups and skills sets required

This may be true, and I'm inclined to think that the evidence of the last few decades has supported this.  However the contemporary counterexample is China and it's adoption of the Singaporean model of capitalism.  I tend to agree with Žižek that the future of capitalism is likely to be an authoritarian one along these lines.

And then again, the political formations that prevailed during fossil fuel abundance are likely to be different to those prevailing during the era of abundance.

That's not to say that we shouldn't do our damndest to defend what remains of participatory democracy in Europe, encourage it's development in Africa, and encourage the invention more particpatory forms.  We should be under no illusions however that any of that is compatible with the present form of capitalism.

by Pope Epopt on Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 05:49:33 AM EST
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And that's cool for mining, or oil, or any other business with high variable and low capital costs. Because then you can loot while the looting is good, and then scoot once the shit hits the fan

In the case of China, the almost free abundant resource is not Oil or Coal, it is labour, and once you have millions of people unemployed in a zero social welfare environment, you can throw almost any shit at them and they will still do almost anything to get a job or cash - like selling their own organs.

As you get closer to peak (available) labour, labour become a much more valuable and powerful resource and can achieve a better share out of the fruits of economic productivity.

Thus capital needs unemployment to stay high to maximise its bargaining position - cf US republicans desperate attempts to prevent economic recovery under Obama.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 08:10:38 AM EST
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The present form of capitalism isn't compatible with the present form of capitalism, never mind democracy.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 11:29:17 AM EST
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Yes ~ while anticipating the form of economy over the coming century is intrinsically speculative, anticipating that the current form of capitalism won't be it is straightforward: it cannot survive in the environment it creates.

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 Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 01:42:21 PM EST
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