Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Capitalism- Pros, Cons, and Alternatives
With any economic system, it seems as though it’s flawed; socialism fails because of the correlation between size and efficiency being entirely contradictory (any consumer or low-level worker can tell you this about a corporation). Communism fails because there is no incentive to contribute to the system; when a worker does contribute, he receives nothing for his additional efforts, and when he does not contribute, he suffers no loss in benefits. This inevitably leads to a shortage in supplies, and it begins a race to the bottom that drains the economy of all resources. Anarchism fails because man is far from autonomous; actually, it doesn’t fail, but it does buckle when the size of the community being managed becomes too large. Capitalism, meanwhile, fails because of mankind’s inherently selfish nature; the false correlation between money/ assets and value leads down a treacherous path, including the degradation of workers’ rights and the middle class, a build-up of the military-industrial complex, and urban decay to the nth degree. Still, what’s the solution? Talking about what doesn’t work is not productive; it merely narrows the slots of compatibility. So, what’s the solution? Here the solution is a philosophy of philosophy, an ages-old Asian ancestral tradition: Taoism, the middle way, the balance and proper use of yin and yang. Here, it is the balance and proper use of these four different economic philosophies, each with its own contributions.
Capitalism’s benefits include incentivizing labor and a correlation between that labor and economic benefit. To contrast those benefits and keep them from becoming a negative characteristic, socialist control by the government (by means of laws that regulate wages, taxes and tax breaks, social welfare programs, and limiting the profits companies can make/ the individual gain that can be acquired from them) will keep these capitalist characteristics in check. These aforementioned socialistic rules that protect the lower class of laborers are important, but again, must not be taken too lightly or too strongly. To keep these from negatively affecting the economy, legislatures must regulate these economic rules periodically, allowing for some individual profiteering potential and expansion that serves the greater good of the community (i.e. more jobs that will go towards additional labor). So, what regulates these legislatures? The anarchistic economic tendencies do; these fun size, efficient economies thrive because of their smaller sizes and corresponding increased ease of communication. Lastly, regulating the small businesses of these anarchistic economic models is a sort of communistic sense of contribution; contributing to the community not for the good of one’s own self, but for the good of one’s community. Making clear the correlation between contributions and benefits in this communistic economic model will help laborers to realize the benefits of aiding their communities. This model is regulated by the capitalist model that allows for competition and incentive to succeed. Now, for the hard part: How to put such an enormous plan into action?
It’s not as hard as it may seem; yes, change is difficult, but achievable. First, know where your money goes= this means keeping a rudimentary log of any and all financial transactions. Second, buy local when at all reasonably possible; if it’s not possible, export your dollar as close to home as is possible for services/ goods. However, it is important to keep in mind that economic needs (NEEDS, not WANTS) are easily fulfilled locally, which leads to a third and final point. Nietzsche said of the fourth question of conscience in his finest work Twilight of the Idols that “one must know what one wants and that one wants.” Applying this to the lives of consumers will make for wiser financial decisions, and in turn benefit the collective economic contributors, as opposed to a few top-level profiteers. This will be our economic objective as a city, a county, state, country, and a species.