The Death of Capitalism: Reality sets in

I’m not exactly sure when the realization first struck me.

Perhaps it was when I was stuck in voice-mail hell for the umpteenth time, waiting to talk to a real live human being to resolve a problem, all the while being bombarded with pre-canned propaganda about the company’s commitment to meeting the needs of ME the customer.

Or perhaps it was when I went looking for a pair of gloves in March a couple of years ago, only to be informed that the store was out of them and wouldn’t be getting another shipment from Asia until next fall.

It was certainly well before it became apparent that the Masters of the Universe ™ on Wall Street are nothing more than glorified grifters bellying up to the government trough whenever they mess up.

But it has become apparent to me that, barring substantial reformation, market capitalism as we have all known it for our lifetimes, is as surely broken as Soviet socialism ever was. It’s the early days yet, but I am quite certain that when you privatize gains and publicize losses, refuse to deal with the pernicious effect of corporate lobbying on democracy and generally stick our collective heads in the sand, we’ve got a big problem.

And before I get the predictable flood of comments from Libertarian types claiming “You can’t say capitalism failed, it’s never really been tried,” let me just point out that there were Marxists throughout North America saying “You can’t say socialism failed, it’s never really been tried” long and loud circa  1993.

The truth is that the largest “market” economy in the world is now apparently being run by a banking oligarchy, according to the former IMF chief economist, who says if IMF staff were given the raw numbers with the name of the country redacted, they’d currently be proscribing exactly the same kind of “shock therapy” that’s been long-inflicted on Latin America, Asia and a ton of other places.

Here in western Canada we have, so far, been mercifully spared the worst of this meltdown. We have a small population base, lots of resources and we’re pretty far from banking centres. But make no mistake, we will eventually feel it. And when we do, there’s a pretty good chance that what we’re going to be feeling are the effects of The Death of Capitalism.

Here on TDOC, we’ll be exploring this theme, occasionally engaging in a bit of schadenfreude, and, most importantly, looking for the truth amidst all of the happy talk about how recovery is just around the corner.


1 thought on “The Death of Capitalism: Reality sets in”

  1. I agree somewhat that the US is living in a dream world. That somehow the hyper over consumption of the last decade will come back and let them keep borrowing money. They will hit a debt wall at some point and it won’t be very nice when it occurs.

    In the mean time, it’s a gross over generalization to say capitalism failed. I would argue in fact, we have really just realize its faults. For example, capitalism excels at setting a price for a product, but sucks at costing some of the inputs. For example, leaving a tree standing in capitalism is worth $0 currently, but worth $50 in lumber when you cut it down. Yet in fact that tree stores carbon, helps regulate local wind patterns and rainfall and provides food for local wildlife which in turn controls pests in the field next to the tree. All in all that tree may actually be worth $387, but that fact isn’t realized until the tree is gone.

    So capitalism can work, it just need some regulation to help input costs for those externals that typically get cost at $0.

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