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Is Capitalism a failure?

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posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 11:09 AM

Originally posted by deltaalphanovember
reply to post by sty

Socialist countries are not all they are cracked up to be:

I read an article this month in Car & Driver that Finland has passed a law in which traffic fines are now based on your annual income. So a person going 5 over may be fined $10 or $100,000 depending on whom they are. This bit the CEO of Nokia recently when he received a $12 MILLION fine for going 15 over.

"To each according to what they own" - some may argue that its great that the fat cats who could easily afford the old fines, now get truly punished. I feel that viewpoint is rather short-sighted. Why punish someone more because they earn more? Should fat people pay more for a big mac? A stupid person pay more for education? Socialist thinking at it's finest.

I think thats the best system for traffic fines I have ever heard! Of course fat cats should pay more. A standard (lets say $100) fine wouldn't bother them. A fine is supposed to hurt - its a punishment. How does a $100 dollar fine even begin to affect a person who has millions of dollars of wealth? They could speed all day, even pay hundreds of fines, and not even care. They think the rules don't apply to them, well they do now.

I praise Finland, and their incredible system of traffic fines!


posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 11:44 AM
well, this depends on what you define as wealth . Shout know someone living there first. I talk about free University education , free health-care, social houses etc.


posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 11:46 AM
reply to post by deltaalphanovember

this is a great example! a 15 Euro penalty for a rich guy would encourage him/her to disconsider the law , and think that all can be bought with money! great ideea !

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 11:58 AM
By it's very nature capitalism is destined to fail because it promotes the worst traits of mankind. The only goal of capitalism to make as much money as possible. All ethics and altruistic motives are thrown out the window. The greater good is left in the dust. The only thing that matters is the bottom line. We are all slaves to the corporations, whether we like or not. Whether we are aware of it or not.

It is inevitable that as the quest for the all mighty dollar goes on, eventually there will be only a few corporations that own everything.

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 12:11 PM
reply to post by sty

Everyone is missing the point - we are punishing the rich for being rich. What's the sense in discouraging people to aspire to become wealthy. Oops, sorry I don't think being "rich" is a swear word...

The wealthy just relocate to other countries with better laws, and those left behind in their old country bemoan the fact that they cant get a job because business has pulled out.

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 12:31 PM
Sty what exactly is it that you want?

Massive wealth redistribution campaigns to Robin Hood style rob the rich for the poor?

How do you expect a country to function without free enterprise?

The most prosperous countries in the world are always free market driven:

Singapore, UAE, Hong Kong etc are countries with extremely laissez faire attitudes. This is why they are even more prosperous than the USA/ mainland Europe.

The only aberrations are the countries which are massive enough to sustain prolonged periods of communism, such as Russia and China; but even these countries never achieved true wealth. Both ultimately switched to capitalism. Why? Think...

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 01:18 PM
Capitalism itself has not failed, any more than one could say a crash test on a Toyota failed because it crushed under the weight of a D-10 bulldozer. Unchecked capitalism, on the other hand, is definitely a failure. It did not take a psychic to predict it would be.

Capitalism works on a system of checks and balances, and through these rewards hard work, innovation, and efficiency. The same mechanism punishes laziness and apathy. In a perfect world, everyone who contributed to society would be duly rewarded for their contribution, and those who contributed the most would receive the most reward. But we do not live in a perfect world. Let me use an example that I believe most here can identify with: ATS and our benevolent overseer, Skeptic Overlord. This example is purely for illustration purposes.

SO (along with the other partners in crime), has started a marvelous Internet forum company. He has contributed his time and his expertise (along, I am supposing, with some cash) to make this company what it is. His reward is a job that (again, I assume) pays well, and profit from his initial investments in the form of company dividends. This is as it should be. Contribution = reward.

But let us suppose for a moment that SO is not as benevolent as he is, and decides he wishes to monopolize the Internet forum industry. He could take those profits and start buying up smaller forums, operating them as a subsidiary of ATS and therefore controlling the free speech on them. Each forum he buys out would produce more profit, allowing him to purchase more smaller forums, until he would finally have full control over the vast majority of forum-based talk on the 'Net.

There would no doubt be holdouts, smaller forums who did not wish to sell. But if SO owned such a vast majority of the available sites that he could threaten advertisers with refusal to run their ads if the dealt with his competitors, he could effectively strangle out any upstart company that wished to compete and would not bow to his will. Thus, SO could, in the space of a year or two, completely control the Internet. I am sure most of the people here would be able to agree that, even knowing SO as we do, this would still not be a good thing.

On the other hand, should things go a different way, another problem would occur. Let us assume that the Internet failed, for some reason beyond anyone's control at AboveNetworks. 60% of the available lines are down, and traffic slows to a crawl. Advertisers no longer feel their investment in ATS advertising is worth the cost, and begin to pull their accounts in wholesale fashion. Amid this struggle to survive, let us assume (while we hope for the opposite!) that SO has a heart attack. Now he can no longer handle the operations of AboveNetworks. In his absence, a lack of control over the trolls who do regularly frequent these boards (or try to) leads to a breakdown of loyalty among the membership and a further lack of posting traffic to add to the lack of available traffic. SO's income would drop drastically, and his insurance could easily be canceled for lack of funds to keep it in effect. Now, the man who brought us all ATS, IMO the best alternate news forum on the Internet, is indigent and saddled with more health care bills than he can ever hope to pay off. And ATS eventually closes.

Let me re-emphasize that the above are not predictions, hopes, or anything of that nature. They are examples only.

In the first case, capitalism has run wild and corrupted the free trade it is designed to encourage. In the second, capitalism has aided the destruction of a man's life. Both extremes are unacceptable to a true civilized society. The only way to correct these out-of-control moves is to artificially discourage them. And that, my friends, is called 'socialism'. Too much socialism will eventually lead to communism, as the lack of any economic reward or punishment for one's actions will eventually cause the entire system to collapse. But in small doses, it can be used to complement capitalism and cause it to flourish to the benefit of all citizens.

The question, as I see it, is not whether capitalism should be used, as I along with many other posters already see no reasonable alternative that is not worse. It is instead how to control the runaway tendencies using some measure of socialistic policies to assure a minimum lifestyle for everyone who attempts to contribute, and prevent economic slavery through monopolization of an industry.

We already have some semblance of socialism to prevent monopolization in the USA. We use a progressive tax system that reduces profit based on the amount of income already achieved, and cycles that wealth back into our government coffers. We also have anti-trust laws (poorly enforced at the moment) that are designed to prevent monopolization through the power of legal intervention. The problem is that these two devices have been perverted over the years. The tax code system is now ridiculous in length and complexity, leading itself to an artificial industry dedicated to nothing more than helping average Americans not go to jail for making a mistake in this complex maze of regulation. The entire tax code should be scrapped and re-instituted with a minimum of regulation. Credits, especially to corporate entities, should each be carefully scrutinized in light of the goal of stabilizing runaway capitalistic tendencies. Even deductions should be examined in the same light.

Anti-trust laws should be again enforced under the stated guideline of preventing corporate growth to such an extent that it jeopardizes competitive self-regulation.

To combat the other problem, we must have some sort of welfare system. This system, which is designed to enhance capitalistic involvement for those who are unable to do so for reasons beyond their immediate control, must take into account the fact that those who do not contribute cannot be rewarded. As such, it must be limited (except in cases of medical disability) and tough, yet also fair. I have such a program that I wrote years ago, but it is too long and involved to explain here (if others wish to see it, I will gladly type it up in a new thread for review. Simply respond here or by u2u if you want that). We must also educate our citizenry in how to live under capitalism. Far too many people simply do not realize that capitalism itself is a type of a voting process, with each penny spent being the equivalent of a vote, and therefore vote for bad situations without even realizing they are doing so.

Monetary investment must also be strictly regulated, as this is a bastardization of capitalism. Witness the recent oil bubble which spiked fuel prices so high so fast that it almost destroyed the national economy. Investment must be allowed for capitalism to exist, but it must also be regulated with the best interests of the people as a whole firmly in mind. This means no more margin purchases, and no more fractional lending. The former can be accomplished through traditional loans, placing more responsibility on those profiting from the investment game, and the latter is a relegation of the government's responsibility for financial control to private bankers who obviously care nothing for the economy except as it pertains to themselves. Yes, this means the Federal Reserve would be abolished, as anything other than a clearing house for bank transactions. Period.

As for medical care, to prevent the potential for disaster that stalks us all, I have already written a thread on this. It can be found here in an abridged form and would make health care a reality for everyone as well as regulating both cost and performance while not mandating anything on the people at large.

Government does have a huge role to play in preventing fraud and misrepresentation. All contracts should be transparent and between informed parties, or they should be disallowed in such a way to penalize those who violated the spirit of this requirement. Credit cart companies, for example, who would attempt to change the terms of their agreement (something I heard a warning about to consumers this morning on CNN; the post I made regarding it can be found here) should suffer a penalty up to and including forfeiture of the debt in full. That may sound harsh tom some, but a law with no teeth cannot perform its function.

We have just experienced a period of time where capitalism's best attributes have been thwarted, while its worst attributes have been encouraged. This is why I say, capitalism itself has not failed. It was not even a participant in the test.


posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 05:20 PM
I think part of this idea I'm about to share has been touched upon, but I haven't seen anyone actually tie things together like this...

Capitalism cannot survive with a fiat currency. The comment about true capitalism being born out of a bartering system hit the nail on the head. In order for free market capitalism to work well AND regulate itself it has to be based on the exchange of items with a consistant tangible value to both parties. When we left the gold standard, we left behind true free market capitalism and we opened the door for the trading of things like credit default swaps.

We were further indoctrinated into accepting this percieved value of our money when the standard operating procedure in business became the electronic direct deposit of their paycheck. Prior to the computer age, after a man worked 80 hours his supervisor handed him a physical check, which he could drive down to his bank and either cash, recieving physical tender in his hand, or deposit at his discretion. Now that is the exception in all facets of the workplace and is pretty much unheard of in the office worker world. This idea was sold to us as a "convenience" to the worker. Rather it was a step towards indoctrination of Americans to accept the idea that money isn't a physical thing, it is a perceptual thing... further eroding the tangibillity of our money and further harming the exchange of items of tangible value (AKA: Capitalism)

Along with this trend came the introduction of the electronic debit card. I am amazed at how few people carry cash anymore, myself included. The concept was pitched to us all by touting the increased safety of the process. If someone stole your wallet, you can call the bank and have them put a stop on your stolen card whereas if you had cash in your wallet, well... too bad, so sad. Again though, we see a direct tep in the process of stripping the tangible physical value of money from the American mind. This further strengthened the concept that value was completely arbitrary and a man's wealth was a perception. Once again, capitalism is based on exchange of items with tangible value.

Now, you might wonder, doesn't that predicate the fact that a man can sell his ideas, his skills, his brain power in a capitalistic society? How can that happen in true capitalism and still fit inside the tangible, consistant value model? Simple, those are the ends to a mean. For example, General Motors isn't financially buttressed by their designers' ideas. They turn those ideas, which they compensate the design for, into a physical good... a car. The problem is we're talking about the backbone of the entire economy: the US dollar, which is backed by absolutely nothing except perception & faith. Great for a church & her parishoners, horrible for capitalism!

The "regulates itself" I mentioned earlier depends on this point as well. When the dollar was backed by gold, there was a natural growth curve to the economy. Inflation stayed in check, we still had people getting wealthy, but the country tended not to get too big for its britches. And, above all else, people didn't depend on debt to buy everything. You either had the money, or you did not have the money to make your purchases. As soon as the gold standard was abandoned, suddenly we were trading in imaginary wealth right and left. It was only inevitable that sooner or later somebody would say "Hey! Wait a minutes here, this crap aint's nothing but a piece of damn paper!" and turmoil would ensue.

So no, capitalism didn't fail us. Nixon & the banking system failed capitalism.

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 05:44 PM
reply to post by Gaderel

No, capitalism is not a failure, but greed will make any system fail.

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 06:28 PM
Sry didn't read all the posts but wanted to add my 2c on the OP's question...

Capitalism only works for the short term and will inevitably fail, and either turn into totalitarianism or, if we're smart, will be replaced. The way things are going it looks right now it will be the former for us.

It's a predator/prey system that rewards criminal activity, and hides the real criminals by turning those who refuse to be part of, or just don't fit, this system into the public face of crime.

While 'they' jail the dope dealers 'they' deal in Human lives. People are just another product, a resource to be used to 'their' benefit. When we are no longer needed we are 'laid-off', made a criminal, thrown out of our houses, left to die (Africa etc...), slaughtered in wars etc...

The system that people support so much, because they think it gave them what they have, will turn around and take it away just as quick.
We are seeing this happen right now.

No one is safe in this system, we all live at the whim of it...and most slave for it...

We don't need economy, we need self-sufficiency. The means of production, and thus the means of our survival and prosperity should belong to us all, not the few privileged at the top of this pyramid scheme.

Our 'means of survival' need to be taken out of the hands of governments and private businesses.

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 06:37 PM
Capitalism has not completely failed. In essence, capitalism is a mechanism for creating wealth, and it does a pretty damn good job of that. The problem is how easily manipulated it is and how it exploits a basic human flaw, greed. I agree with one of the posts earlier that mentioned that what we are seeing today is "perverted" capitalism not the original concept in practice. Regardless, the question we all should be asking is if MONEY has failed us. Why do people want to be rich? So they don't have to work and they are FREE to do whatever they want with what little time they have. Only newborns and dead people are free. Free of what, debt.

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 06:48 PM
reply to post by ANOK

We don't need economy, we need self-sufficiency.

While I agree with self-sufficiency, I am a bit confused over this statement. Exactly how do you propose that we all stop trading with each other? That will make life pretty difficult. Forget automobiles, as no one alive has all the skills needed to create one. Forget any fresh food during the winter months. And forget central heat or air conditioning as well, because we'll be back to fireplaces (for those who learn to create and lay brick) and open windows... wait, how do we get glass unless we live next door to a beach?

The means of production, and thus the means of our survival and prosperity should belong to us all, not the few privileged at the top of this pyramid scheme.

Our 'means of survival' need to be taken out of the hands of governments and private businesses.

I feel your frustration; I really do. But so far you have told us what we shouldn't do... what should we do? Exactly who should have the economic power if not private businesses or government? The people? You really think every person in the US voting on every issue will work? You really want to see the current election fiasco every week?

It just doesn't sound so far like you thought this through... if I am reading your post wrong, please enlighten me.


posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 06:49 PM

Originally posted by deltaalphanovember
Everyone is missing the point - we are punishing the rich for being rich.

And why shouldn't we? I seem to get punished for being poor all the time.

They chose to spend their lives making THEMSELVES rich. What if they had spent their energies helping to make themselves better 'people'?
And then maybe the greed and Human misery they have created could have been avoided?

A HUGE chunk of our worldly problems are caused by personal wealth and it's accumulation, so yes in my mind the rich deserve NO respect.

When I was growing up selfishness was frowned upon. What's more selfish than having more money than you could ever spend in a lifetime, when a few starving babies could be put out of their miserable situation for a few freaking dollars? And these are the people in charge of everything! These are the people you empower with your vote, and your labour, your money and support....So sad.

The few get rich off the backs of the many, and you see nothing wrong with it?

posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 07:54 PM
It seems to me any system is vulnerable to exploit.

An uncontrolled system is open to abuse from the participants.
A regulated system is open to abuse from the regulators.

That being said, a regulated system with suitable oversight should be harder to manipulate.

Many seem to believe change is in order, even those who dont think capitalism has failed. So with this in mind, how would you change our current system of world economics.

The removal of commodity trade?
The re-establishment of a gold backed currency economy?
Heavier regulation of credit?
Regulation of the stock market?

It seems clear that whatever is determined would need to be agreed to globally.

[edit on 29/10/2008 by Gaderel]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:07 PM

Originally posted by TheRedneck
reply to post by ANOK

We don't need economy, we need self-sufficiency.

While I agree with self-sufficiency, I am a bit confused over this statement. Exactly how do you propose that we all stop trading with each other?

I didn't say anything about not trading with each other, how did you come to that conclusion?

My comment could have been worded better, sorry you misunderstood my statement.

What I mean is it is better for us all to not be tied to the 'system', economic and political, for our survival (as most are now). If not we are at the whim of it, and those that control it.

It's the difference between being a free animal who takes care of it's own survival, and the household pet who's at the whim of it's 'owner'.
The later might seem like a nice deal, but you're putting your survival at the whim of others who might just decide you're no longer welcome.

You all claim you want freedom, while at the same time accepting your own imprisonment by handing over your means of survival to others.

The working classes need to own the means of production, not private entities who use it to imprison, exploit and manipulate the masses...

The capitalist system is a fraud, and will ultimately fail the masses who slave to maintain it for the few to benefit.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:17 PM
reply to post by ANOK

I didn't say anything about not trading with each other, how did you come to that conclusion?

An economy is a system of trade between people and companies. No economy means no trade; everything must be produced by oneself.

But it does appear to be a simple misunderstanding of your intent.

What I mean is it is better for us all to not be tied to the 'system', economic and political, for our survival (as most are now). If not we are at the whim of it, and those that control it.

OK, this I can get behind. I agree with you completely, as much as such is possible. We will always be tied to some sort of economic system, however, as long as we choose to utilize modern technology.

There is one group I am aware of who is completely independent and shuns all modern technology: the Amish. And while they seem to be doing pretty well in that endeavor and I admire them for their persistence in their beliefs, I am not sure I would want to join them in it.

The working classes need to own the means of production, not private entities who use it to imprison, exploit and manipulate the masses...

This may again be a misunderstanding, but are you suggesting communism? I ask this because of the statement that 'classes' should have ownership rather than 'private entities (individuals?)'.

If so, I would remind you that communism has never actually worked in the history of civilization. It invariably fails due to a lack of production/innovation, or degrades into something that resembles totalitarianism.

The capitalist system is a fraud, and will ultimately fail the masses who slave to maintain it for the few to benefit.

I'm still a little confused here. Capitalism is the fairest practical economic system I know of. What are you suggesting to replace it with? Communism?


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:29 PM
Capitalism did not fail. Government sponsored diversity, and government interference is what caused the mortgage crisis, now we are crying for more government regulations? That is crazy! Government causes problems, they don't solve them. What better way to control the masses than to create problems that only you can solve? Keep the masses grateful, and ignorant.

[edit on 30-10-2008 by RRconservative]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 09:11 PM

Originally posted by Gaderel
Is unchecked capitalism a failure? If it is, what should replace it.

I think the better question is this....

Is Humanity a failure? And if so, what should replace it?

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 01:49 AM
reply to post by TheRedneck

Sry but you don't need an 'economy' to trade.

The thing is you have been conditioned to see no alternative to the present 'system'.

The 'economy' is just a way to get you working for money that you can spend on stuff you really don't need, so others can get fat and rich by doing nothing but for themselves.

You are conditioned to think happiness comes from possessions and wealth, when really it's just a life devoid of your true potentials.

Humans are a different animal when taken out of the 'norm' of society and are freed from it's stresses, conditions and coercions.
When we are forced to be nice and compassionate through coercion it doesn't work, but you should see what it's like when people are free to be naturally empathetic...An experience most don't get to see because it's hidden from sight, receives no press and when it does it's always a negative slant. dirty hippies, violent anarchists etc...But trust me I've seen 40,000+ people living together like you've never seen, with no government, economy and total self sufficiency through personal responsibility to live outside the 'system'...It's just a shame it's not more common.

Also try looking up permaculture and how that could get us away from the centralised system we have and into self sufficiency.

We don't either want, or need, your 'system'...

[edit on 10/31/2008 by ANOK]

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 02:09 AM
Maybe not capitolism but our current monetary system is most definatley a failure look at all the things that it has created its increased the wealth gap, made it harder for poorer people to get anywhere, money unfortunately has massive political power so the only ones who are heard in our system are the ones who can pay to be heard, healthcare is denied to those who cant afford it, food water and electricity are denied to those who cant afford it.

The main thing we could do to fix our systems problems is take money's political power away. If we made the playine field even then we wouldnt have a lot of the problems we do have.

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