Techdirt Podcast Episode 90: Is Capitalism Over?

from the not-exactly... dept

As technology ushers more and more things towards the realm of "post-scarcity", an inevitable conversation has arisen around the very roots of capitalism and what this rapid change means for our economic systems at the most fundamental levels. But the answer is far from simple — is capitalism dying? Can it evolve? Is the whole question being framed incorrectly? This week, we discuss the notion of a post-capitalist world, what it might look like, and how close it actually is.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 1:38pm


    It is not over, but it is being blamed for the problems caused by the people fighting capitalism.

    The irony of life, most times the actions people take to save themselves become the actions that placed them in peril.

    We truly are our own worst enemy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 2:10pm

      Re: No...

      Oh, it was the people that demanded protectionist state laws to hinder ISP competition and the people that put patent laws in place that allowed the pharmaceutical industry to get where it is?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: No...

        The key insight is to realize that both of the examples that you give, and all other actions like them, are directly anti-capitalist. We have allowed "capitalism" to be re-defined underneath of us in order to avoid the general public coming to this realization. If capitalism means anything at all, it has to be compatible with the arguments of Adam Smith, and those arguments were direct counters of the public utility of protectionist state laws.

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    • identicon
      Unanimous Cow Herd, 13 Sep 2016 @ 7:36pm

      Re: No...

      If we've learned anything from history, it is how to repeat it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2016 @ 8:04pm

    Make Everything Scarce Again!

    There's no such thing as post-scarcity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 3:55am

    Capitalism failed in addressing many problems even though it was never adopted in its 'pure' form. Much like Socialism. We will need to find either a new system os an hybrid that addresses the failures of each system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 15 Sep 2016 @ 5:43am


      Mad idea: stop resorting to "-isms" and start looking at problems. Got 'em all written down by type? Great. Now start looking at proven solutions. Try applying them, then tweak them to suit the situation. What do we call that?

      Erm, how about Communitarian Capitalism?

      "Middle-out" isn't gaining the traction it requires to become mainstream thinking but it basically means addressing the failures of both Captialism and Socialism by creating the infrastructure required to maintain a healthy economy. Other people keep renaming their systems in the hope that they'll take off "this time," so why not rename Middle-out in some way, then actually apply it.

      In case you're wondering, I'm advocating for it because I've yet to find someone who is able to effectively kick it over. Advocating failed policies on the basis of principle alone* doesn't count. Of course, this means that as soon as someone can in fact convincingly kick it over by pointing out a structural failure, i.e. it creates more problems than it solves by disproportionately benefiting {group}, I'll have to look for something else to believe in as a beneficial economic system.

      *Trickle-down hasn't worked since the Eighties. Why would it work now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 5:24am

    It is quite apparent that all forms of government devolve to plutocracy. Most start that way whether they call themselves capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism or whatever. But in the end the final evolutionary phase the nations are ruled by wealth and power.

    Look at China, Russia, Vietnam, the US, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 1:46pm

    I hope so. I would like to believe we can create a better society than what we've created today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 14 Sep 2016 @ 7:59pm

    Oh joy. Another sticky editor day.

    "Is Capitalism Over?"

    Umm, no way Hose.

    There aint a chance in hell that any of them white english christians are gonna give up their usury.

    Not without a fight to the death.

    Hell, most of the other nationalities and cults/sects will also hang on tenaciously to the concept that dead money (not in circulation), begets more money, free of labor and cost.

    Its a rich man's wet dream.

    Any rich man, regardless of the means by which that wealth was accumulated, gains the same power and the right to openly associate with other rich men - who then pool their resources to alter the laws of the land so the new laws can allow the rich to accumulate greater wealth easier and faster, while insuring the poor remain poor, or worse.

    And its an eventual economy killer.

    The more mega-rich people you have in a nation, the more of that nation's actual currency will be kept out of circulation for usury purposes by the rich.

    The Panama Papers scandal shows the sort of "don't give a shit about the little guy" attitude that wealth instills in people and the lengths to which they will go to maintain their habit of perpetual accumulation.

    Capitalism has created a world where only the most ruthless and predatory opportunists among us reach the top of the food chain.

    Capitalism, is an addiction, not unlike addictions to sex, food or drugs, and like any addictive substance or activity, capitalism will always attract adherents. It can never truly die, as its a proven method for otherwise useless bottom feeding assholes, to become rich, powerful leaders of nations.

    Those who willingly tread its path, must place the accumulation and hording of wealth, above family, friends and nation, to be fully successful - the billionaires.

    Capitalism is the immature form of Fascism and cannot possibly end in any other fashion. I suspect it is the cause of most - if not nearly all - of humanity's string of ruined civilizations.

    What you're seeing today is not the death of Capitalism.

    It is merely the birth of Capitalism's adult form - Fascism.


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