Posted by farid from customer-148-233-93-113.uninet.net.mx (188.8.131.52) on Friday, September 19, 2003 at 12:41PM :
Theoretically Capitalism can only be viable for so long before it dies under its contradictions, or runs out of forrests. Eventually you're going to run out of "things" to make for people. Aside from repairing and replacing what they already have...what more can you sell them if they've bought everything they need? You can go a little farther by making poor quality stuff that needs replacing regulalrly...built-in obsolessence they called it. If Rolls Royce (or as we say it, "Roys Roice") makes a car you never have to replace...both because you never need to mechanically and because each model is frumpier than the one before...and because there is more cachet (snooty French word pronounced "Cat-Shet") in owning an older Rolls and NOT replacing it every year. Rolls Royce will eventually go broke unless it starts making other products...like action figures for instance.
That's because Capitalists can't survive if they aim at only making "enough" money or turning out a product that ever reaches a saturation point. In the beginning that may be the goal..make enough to cover expenses plus a profit...and then as soon as you can...a healthy profit. But it doesn't stay that way...because you get Leverage People and other Barbarians trolling for a way to break into "money-making"..as a business in itself...they could care less about "product" or service and all those things the early Capitalist has to think about.
Pity the fellow who comes along and finds Main Street USA filled to bursting with every conceivable sort of business selling everything people could possible want to buy and afford to buy and even buy when they can't afford or have no real need or use for one more thing...and all the things being made and sold have been refined to within an inch of uselessness and no one can think of even one more thing to make or need or buy...and that takes into account that you've already passed the point where Conservative Christians have torn up the Constitution so that business-types could tap every resource we tried to preserve...AND past the point where they've made and sold to us...bottled water..bottled air...bottled sex and a host of "product" that's supposed to minimize the deleterious effects on the air, water and land under our feet of all that "product" they made that poisoned same...AND about all that's left as a way to make gobs of money for that bright and eager and up-and-coming CEO-type is "finance" as a way of skimming a percentage off the top each time the money circulates through a bank....BUT that has the effect of making money worth less over time so that people lose the ability to buy the stuff you have to sell to keep the whole juggernaut rolling...AND there're no longer any Third World countries where the people will work for pennies...AND everyone is drowning in a sea of garbage that doesn't justify investing in to get rid of cause there's no money in garbage...not the kind these people set out to make ages ago when it all looked so simple and straight forward...AND this "finance" isn't producing anything at any factory except cleverly and legally stolen money from people who're getting poorer and poorer and increasingly turning to "God", the Afterlife and the Armandgethem it will take to get away from this mess...so that the "final frontier" of really big gobs of money is making the weapons that will get us off this fucking planet that's become a sewer anyway.
Slavery as an economic system exhausted itself...first by making slaveholders morally decrepit and then by undermining the labor and ambition of free workers...then Feudalism came along and the engine chugged a little further down the road but that evolved into the Latifundias...huge estates and plantations where the people were practically slaves all over again...and the time came to scrap that system as well and just in time the Industrial Revolution came along and everyone was off and running like mad hatters or Native Americans swept off their feet by the sight of glass beads and mirrors. Every one of these economic systems was put in place by The Man to benefit himself first of all and in increasing disproportion and wherever slightly possible...his slaves, then his peasants and serfs, his indentured servants next and finally, his employees. The common denominator in all of them is that none of them were thought of or instituted with the good of the majority in mind...but rather by and for a few, an absolute minimum, who looked on people as one more resource or raw material in the production of THEIR wealth.
If fifty people were crammed into a lifeboat set adrift on the ocean and followed the same principle...the meanest and most selfish would eventually eat the rest and then die of starvation themselves...especially if they started the trip fighting over who would be boss man...instead of making decisions as a group whose driving force and underlying principle was that each person was needed and must be looked to and treated no better or worse than the next one if they're all to pull into harbor safely which, with a healthy and contended crew, would be about their best chance. Whereas what's happened in that boat...and in the world...is that a few reckoned the best way to preserve themselves, which was all they thought to preserve, was to drive the rest day and night...rowing in shifts till each fainted and were left to die...stinting their rations down to a bare minimum...eating the ones who died...or rather feeding them to the rest...while the "Shtrongest" ones got the best of everything...figuring they'd be the only ones alive when the boat came home...IF it came home...that driving and abusing and using the crew was the best way to ensure their own survival...or barring that...at least they'd live it up better than the rest, for longer...till they too died and went to heaven.
Capitalists who begin a business with an aim to make profit...and then more profit and then just some more...will eventually be replaced by people at the top who ONLY want to make profit...and care little how they do it. This type will also not be content with "enough"...but will invent ways and tricks and sleight-of-hand to make more and more...and once that becomes your goal, there is never enough...because there can never BE enough...you've already lost all sense of purpose and meaning and proportion. If money is your goal...how WOULD you ever get enough?
If writing the sweetest music ever heard was your goal...when could you possibly stop...when has the sweetest piece "ever" been wrtitten, been written...that would so satisfy the type of person who set out on such a delightful quest...that he or she would ever be satisfied and quit? And do what? Wouldn't the very impulse that started you out whisper in your ear constantly, day and night..."just one more tune..one more note...one more variation on the theme...just one more...and then once more again..." That sort of happened, or people thought it would, where literature was concerned. At different times in our history people have actually thought.."what MORE is there to write about...and how may ways can you say pretty much the same things"?
The next economic system...and there will be a next one...will have to have the welfare of the entire population of the planet, as well as the planet itself, as its goal and underlying principle...and it can be done...isn't as whacky as it sounds. We could begin now, when the people at the very bottom economically should no longer be chased from pillar to post and like the Jews in Christian countries, kept in ghettos and on the margins just to scare the rest of us into joining the morning commute to nowhere. The Poor and disenfranchised and uninsured are costing all of us a lot more in every way than they would if we just scrapped a few useless bombers and gave them a decent stipend to live on. Like cities that refused to really help the homeless and paid far more in ruined public places..clean-up costs...emergency room costs...police costs...quality of life costs and a whole bunch of money they had to spend anyway...just because they don't want to encourage people to take a "free ride"...cause more than half the population would quit flipping burgers and decide that a life with a minimum of the goodies Capitalism makes the center-piece of living...would be far preferrable...and that having a full belly, a roof over your head and your family's heads...and enjoying the rest of the time chatting with neighbors and playing with your children...relaxed in knowing the minimum is amply provided for and the means to go out and make more are still there, if you want more...would be, "life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", enough.
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