Capitalism – Impacts and Ponzi Economics

Ok, so continuing off my previous post, we know what Capitalism is, but why give a crap? Capitalism has been the driving force for American Civilization to attain hegemony. Capitalism offers 1) freedom, 2) mechanistic, efficient markets, and 3) growth. That last one, growth, is its own topic but for this post we should agree that the post-WWII American boom was driven in no small part by our economic system. So what are the supposed disadvantages? Inequality, Monopolies, and Crony Capitalism. Some of these are entering the public discourse with greater and greater frequency, and coming off the heels of an uneven recovery from an economic crisis to parallel the Great Depression, the public is questioning the basic tenets of adopting the system.

So I want to discuss a few different ways I see this system acting in our landscape. I’ve kind of been enamored with the idea of direct action recently, which is the anarchist thought of taking action without yielding power to a middleman. I understand this as “as long as you are not bound you can resist.” So if you think about it, you wield a frightening amount of power at any one moment in time. But the things that control us are rarely physical, at least in this day and age. Today we are limited by our decisions. And our decisions are controlled by incentives, which are commanded by capitalism. To make the abstract real, you physically could rise up against your boss or just walk out of work and never return. It is physically within your power. But to do so would mean losing income. So you are held at bay not by physically being chained to your desk, but by constant making the same decision over and over again. Constantly choosing income over whatever else. But it is in your power…

So this power is vested in you at all times by mere virtue of existence. This is where the idea of Ponzi economics comes into play for me. If one CAN lie, I have to take it as an eventuality that one will. If one CAN participate in insider trading, I have to take it as an eventuality that one will. If one CAN create a Ponzi scheme to consolidate power into a monopoly and lie and say that it is not a monopoly, it should be take as an eventuality that one will. It only matters what can and cannot happen, not what is prohibited or not prohibited. A sick sort of Murphy’s Law: If one CAN do it, someone eventually will. Ponzi economics is the real economic system that underlies all other systems.

None of this is new or even remotely original. This is just what I’ve observed so far. I’m not claiming to be the twenty-something that’s figured it all out, but these are trends that my limited data sample shows to exist. Hell, I probably am wrong about this idea (I hope I am at any rate). But my point is that this underlying economic mode fuels black markets and connects to the supposed criticisms of capitalism.

So in the next few posts I want to look at some thinkers who attempt to tackle the supposed disadvantages of capitalism without resorting to socialism, communism, etc. If nothing else, it is a worthwhile exercise in systems thinking…

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