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Old March 16th, 2018, 08:30 PM   #71
end capitalism now
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Join Date: Dec 2016
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Originally Posted by Kode View Post
I don't know that any of that is true. Do you?
Which? That the revolution in Russia wasn't immediately subject to disruption and attempted overthrow by surrounding nations, or that Marx didn't believe that capitalism was about to collapse, and socialists would only need to be ready to organize and establish post-capitalist government and economies when capitalist systems disintegrate. Marx viewed capitalism as a flawed system, but he also viewed capitalism as an essential stage in human development before a more perfect system could be developed. He credited the rise of capitalism for creating the industrial revolution and the increase and proliferation of consumer products. But he was just as alienated from nature...viewing the natural world as mere untapped resources waiting to be exploited by human industrial production. The only clear distinction between a marxist and a capitalist on these grounds is who is in control of the means of production: the workers or the capitalist..or owners.

All industrial systems..especially in our time, require cheap nature, consisting of both renewable and non-renewable resources available for easy exploitation. When that is no longer possible and resources are becoming extremely scarce or costly to exploit...like in our time, any viable economic system will respect the limits imposed by nature, and not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment that makes our human economies possible.
And haven't you noticed that the specific tricks used to save capitalism in the past don't work the next time due to the evolution of the economy? In the past, when the average real median income went flat in the 1970s, the capitalists dragged out the credit card to promote so the public could keep up their living standard by going into debt. And it was a factor in the 2008 crash. Domestic debt is now higher than it was just prior to that crash and yet there has still been no recovery of wage growth to sustain the people and we're facing another crash soon.

Corporate profits were created on that credit card debt. Consumption was funded by it and corporate profits grew. Markets grew. Sales increased.

But today, they're running out of tricks. Consumption doesn't seem to be able to grow much more in the US and corporate growth is mostly in the form of stock price increases created by stock buy-backs to boost the value of the options given to the corporate elite, and by mergers to reduce redundancy. Oil companies obtain leases they don't drill because they don't want to increase oil production, but those leases are on the books as assets, and that boosts the value of the company and pushes the stock prices higher, again to increase the value of options and executive incomes.

So real value is in decline while corporate profits and stock prices are artificially and "fraudulently" puffed up. This does nothing for society or for the working class. It's just so much fluff that will go "poof" in the coming crash, which happens every 4 to 8 years typically.

I'd say capitalism is in real decline.
Yes, capitalism is in decline, BUT the growth in use of and accumulation of debt--government, corporate and consumer debt and money games being played, including stock buybacks made possible by cheap credit, and the 'derivative' investment markets(essentially just hedges and bets on already existing investments) are attempts to maintain economic growth when real economic activity has stalled and can't grow to meet demands and expectations of investors.

Since debts are mostly claims on the real economy, it seems reasonable that central banks can't keep playing this game of creating new money out of thin air forever! At some point the credit bubble will burst, and this time it's likely going to be worse than 10 years ago because nothing was done to reform the system, and instead just grew the money supply/debt levels.

In his most recent book: "Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet" the Italian geochemist- Ugo Bardi discusses how environmental changes and resource collapse were the underlying causes for civilizations to fail in the past. In the chapter: The Red Queen's Race, Bardi uses the Red Queen story from Alice in Wonderland as an analogy to describe the decline and collapse of the Roman Empire:
"The Western Roman Empire waned for at least three centuries before it disappeared in the 5th century. During this long decline, emperors must surely have understood that something was wrong, but their only response was to struggle to maintain the status quo.

In a way, they were running the Red Queen’s race, the useless struggle described in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. Everyone in the Red Queen’s kingdom had to run as fast as they possibly could just to stay in one place. As the bewildered Alice noted, it was a lot of work to get nowhere. The Romans, too, were making a tremendous effort to stay exactly where they were, avoiding all changes in the political and economic structure of the empire. But for them it was a lost race. The natural resources that had sustained the imperial system were running out. The Spanish mines had ceased to produce gold and silver. There were no more neighbors that were easy to overrun and pillage. Agriculture was suffering as fertile soil eroded away. The enormous expenses for the army, for heavy fortifications, for the imperial court, and for a huge bureaucratic system required a taxation regime that, eventually, bankrupted the Roman society. The same bureaucratic structures that had ensured the empire’s growth had become a burden, yielding diminishing returns and an inability to cope with decreasing resources.1
(from "Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet" by Ugo Bardi, Jorgen Randers)

When Rome fell, the world was in better shape than it is today! And local feudal institutions were able to rise from the ashes of the Empire and build new institutions. Can the same be done from the ashes of global capitalist empire today? There will be much less to build with this time around! And it will have to be done in a warmer world that will keep getting hotter for centuries to come.... with many non-renewables essentially used up, oceans fished out and replaced with plastic garbage. Unlike the dark ages that came after Rome, this end of civilization could be the end of the human race as well...and just using a different economic system won't do much to alter the course!

Last edited by right to left; March 16th, 2018 at 08:32 PM.
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