The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: January 2016 Page 1 of 3

And This Is Why You Don’t Screw Up Post-USSR Russia


These days most Russians regard the loss of the USSR as a negative event. A poll conducted this month by the independent Levada Center found that 63 percent see the collapse “negatively” while just 14 percent think it was a “positive” event. Asked which type of political system they would prefer to live under, 13 percent named “Western democracy,” 23 percent said the present Russian setup was best, while 37 percent said the Soviet system would be most desirable.

As the article itself says, the USSR was a superpower, it produced consumer goods Russia does not (produced, not bought from other countries) and it claimed to seek to create a better world.

This wasn’t necessary. But we, the West, deliberately chose to wreck Russia through shock therapy: We sold everything off as fast as we could, dismantled industries, allowed oligarchs to rise, and generally plundered the country. Russian mortality actually exceeded births, the average age of death dropped, and so on.

It was a terrible time.

The joke back then, was, “Everything the Communists told us about Communism was a lie. Unfortunately everything they told us about Capitalism was true.”


The stage is now set for a new ideology, claiming to fix the failures of Communism, but keeping its ideals.

This was easily enough avoided; we could have eased them in the way we did Poland, for example, and ensured that they thought Capitalism was ace. If we’d given them European social democracy, by now they’d be asking to join the EU (because any elites competent enough to follow this policy wouldn’t have borked the EU the way the last 20 years of EU bureaucrats and European officials have.)

Geopolitically, this would have left China isolated, ensured American dominance for a few more decades, and so on.

A world that never was to be, but could have been, had we not been run by neo-liberal ideologues and carpetbaggers.

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Police Now Steal More than Burglars

According to Harpers, in 2014 police seized more assets than burglars stole.

From Harpers Police Seizures

This is trickle-down kleptocracy in action. America is ruled by thieves, con artists, and corrupt officials (even if much of what they do is legal).

Police can generally seize any asset they say they think might have been used in a crime. They do not need a warrant, approval from a judge, or anything else. To get that property back, you must take them to court. In most cases, it isn’t worth it. This is one reason a lot of people in corrupt areas (or who have darker skin) don’t carry large amounts of cash.  It’s not the criminals one needs to worry about, it’s the cops.

But they can take anything, including your car, boat, and even home.

This is punishment without trial, and it is dead routine.

Welcome to your dystopia.

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Important Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does: Corbyn Trident Missile Edition

So, off in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour leader, has been against the Trident nuclear missile system: He wants to scrap it.

The hysteria over this has been epic–from the Press, from within his own party, and from the Conservative Party.

His opposition has been characterized as wildly irresponsible, but someone finally polled the issue: 49 percent agree with Corbyn, scrap the missiles. 51 percent disagree.

This is a statistical dead heat.

So, something which half the population supports is somehow massively opposed by the elites and the press.

I mean, issues over which the population is split down the middle can be controversial, but I see no indication that Trident is an important issue to ordinary Britons, compared to, say the NHS, austerity, the EU, or immigration.

As for Trident and its merits, upon investigation, I have come to Corbyn’s position (which I did not support originally).  Trident is not a fully-independent deterrent. The missiles are made by the US, maintained by the US and supplied from the same pool the US uses. While Trident may be “operationally independent,” the US could pull the plug on the program any time it wanted.

Trident is a deterrent as long as the UK is on good terms with the US. But, if it’s on good terms with the US, it has the US umbrella anyway.

Trident is only useful if you think the US might not retaliate for a nuclear attack on the UK (yeah, right, unless there’s been a HUGE falling out, in which case Trident is gone), or if the UK wants to nuke something itself that the US doesn’t want to nuke.

This is worth paying for? A small, first-strike nuclear capacity?

But the larger point is simpler: It’s not a very important issue to most Britons, and it’s not something about which the polls are skewed. So why is the establishment so hysterical about it?

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Paul Krugman Against Bernie Sanders

So, Paul Krugman has a column in which he says he thinks Clinton has better policy proposals than Sanders:

As far as I can tell, every serious progressive policy expert on either health care or financial reform who has weighed in on the primary seems to lean Hillary. (emphasis mine)

Ah.  Serious.

Ok, Paul. Let’s bring up some history, Paul.

You supported Bernanke, strongly. Not just in his appointment as Federal Reserve Chairman, but during his tenure–during which he refused to do anything about the housing or financial bubbles.

Bernanke, for those who don’t know, was the man who plucked Krugman out of MIT and moved him to Princeton, where Krugman was a star. MIT had a lot of very brilliant economists, Princeton had very few.

Then, let us return to that word “serious.” For years, the word “serious” has been used to freeze out outsiders. “Serious” foreign policy experts are the most pernicious: They were virtually unanimous in their support for the Iraq war, for example.

We know how that went.

“Serious” almost always means you are part of the establishment.

Because of this, the “serious policy experts” are almost all wrong. Take Obamacare (ACA). It’s done some good, but a lot of problems have resulted in which people can’t use it because the deductibles are too high.

The serious people (like Krugman) who supported the ACA somehow didn’t predict this.

The un-serious people who opposed the ACA did predict it.


Meanwhile, Krugman links to Paul Starr of Politico (Politico, ok), who attacks Bernie’s “Medicare for All” policy.

Starr’sattack has three prongs:

  1. Bernie’s not viable in a general election because he is a “socialist” and Americans will never vote for that because they say they don’t like the word. Might be true, but head-to-head polls show Bernie doing just fine.
  2. Medicare-for-All can’t be passed, because it would involve a large tax increase.
  3. Medicare- for-All is a bad idea because it is inefficient and pays only 80 percent of costs.

It’s a bad sign when you’re misleading your readers. Here’s what Aetna has to say about Medical Cost Ratios:

In general, the minimum percentage of premium health plans must spend on health care is 85 percent for large groups and 80 percent for small groups and individual policyholders.

So, at most, a 5 percent difference.

Starr also suggests that Medicare is less efficient. This is untrue. In fact, Medicare spends about 2 percent on administrative costs. Private health care plans spend about 17 percent.

So, Medicare is more efficient and its ratio is only slightly less than the private ratio. If the US switched to a Medicare-for-All system, it would be simple enough to go to 85 percent and would still cost less.

The international experience for single payer is that it costs about two-thirds what US healthcare costs.

Even in a non-single payer system, Medicare has kept costs down better than private insurance:

Ok. So, Medicare-for-All would cost the Americans less than private insurance + ACA has. To try and deny this is like saying the sun doesn’t rise in the morning. It’s not not just wrong, it’s not just a lie, it is delusional.

Would taxes have to be raised?

Absolutely. But since Americans pay, y’know, premiums, if the tax raises were distributed properly (a.k.a. if corporations paid their fair share), most people would have more take-home money in the end, or corporations would be paying less for insurance. There have been cases of corporations going to Canada just to avoid having to provide medical insurance.

That leads to the feasibility argument. Can Medicare-for-All be passed? Probably not. But it won’t be passed if the President doesn’t try, that I guarantee.

It can be sold, however; Medicare is popular. And it is popular with the Republican base, I might add.

Starr’s argument really comes down to obfuscation (that’s the polite word) and, “It’s not likely to pass so we shouldn’t try.”

Sanders has been a member of Congress for a long time. If he can’t get what he wants, he’ll negotiate–that’s how it works. And he’ll get more because he’s starting from a stronger position.

Meanwhile Clinton won’t even try.

As for financial reform, it is hard to even. Sander’s position is “break up the too-big-to-fail banks” and “restore Glass-Steagall.” That includes breaking up the too-big-to-fail shadow banks. The Clinton position is that shadow banks should be regulated, but not broken up or subject to Glass-Steagall. Her position is the weaker position, and arguments otherwise are obfuscation, at best. Krugman obfuscates this in his actual post, suggesting that Sanders doesn’t think shadow banks are too big to fail.

Krugman appears to have become so much a creature of the status-quo and New York elites he isn’t worth more than a casual dismissal.

I feel bad about Krugman. I remember when he was essentially the only national columnist willing to take on George W Bush.

But one can, I suppose, only expect so much from a man who spent his life at MIT, then Princeton, then writing for the New York Times. I had hoped Krugman would be an exception.

So, Paul:

Or it could be because they are, one and all, corrupt corporate lackeys. I report, you decide.

If it barks like a dog.

I was right about Iraq. I was ahead of the “serious financial experts” on the housing boom and financial crisis. I predicted correctly that the economy would never recover for most people after 2008. I said the next crisis would start in China. I said that America was ripe for a man-on-horseback many years ago (presaging Trump.)

I’m not a “serious” analyst in the way people like Krugman mean it, because I’m a nobody.

Not a member of the club.

But regarding financial reform, I say Sanders is better than Hilary. And regarding health care reform, well, judge for yourself if Sanders proposal is impossible, but it is better policy as policy.

Paul Krugman. Well, he did have one extended period of bravery when it mattered greatly. For someone who is a member of the establishment, that is remarkable. I will remember it, honor its memory, and not be too harsh on him.  Given the world he lives in, his beliefs are not surprising.

I had hoped he would prove to be more than a creature of his circumstances, that he could sustain his bravery and insight, but it was an unreasonable and unfair expectation.

Goodnight Paul. Thank you for standing up when you did.

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Did the Industrial Revolution Require Land Clearances, Slavery, Genocide, and Empire?

The Leninist argument is that imperialism, industrialization, and capitalism were intertwined. It did not make sense to discuss capitalism or industrialization without discussing Empire, and all its crimes. It is also the common argument that land clearances, in which commons rights were taken away from peasants and serfs, often by law and force, were required to create the industrial workforce.

This is because the early industrial workforce was a terrible place to work and live–and the phenomenon is not temporary, by most measures. It was true for between a hundred and a hundred and fifty years. Maybe longer. You worked longer (six and a half days a week, 12 hours a day was common in certain periods), you lived in urban filth, ate less, were sick more, grew to lower height if born into this, and died younger.

So, clearance was bad for the people who were cleared. I trust I don’t have to explain why European Imperialism was bad for most everyone else. Granted, European Imperialism predates the Industrial Revolution (but not the commercial, wind, and water revolutions), but it goes into overdrive during the Industrial period, and the gains of previous periods are definitely used to support the Industrial Revolution.

There are two questions to answer with regards to the clearance issue. First, whether or not clearances were necessary for the agricultural revolution to occur. With no agricultural revolution, there’s not enough food for expanding city populations.

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The orthodox answer to this question is, “No.” But recently, a scholar, Robert C. Allan, went through the agricultural records and compared enclosed field to non-enclosed field production. Common fields were usually somewhat less productive than enclosed fields, but their gains increased almost as fast as enclosed fields did, and were even higher for certain crops (for instance, as with nitrogen fixers, like clover).

In other words, no, the agricultural revolution was not predicated on field enclosure–it just would have happened slightly slower in a non-field-enclosure scenario.

The second question concerns wages for workers, and is trickier. Allan argues that the Industrial Revolution happened in England for a simple reason: The coal was right there and could easily be shipped to factories. Shipping coal was hellishly expensive, and early steam engines were massively inefficient. Industrialization didn’t start in, say, Paris, because it lacked the resources. In Paris, it was cheaper to use more labor rather than to use coal.

Field enclosures made labor cheap in England. Without them, there are a lot less desperate workers, and a lot less desperate workers means higher wages and better treatment of workers (no one’s leaving the peasant village to go work 78 hour work weeks). Higher wages could make steam-driven factories unprofitable. No profit = no revolution.

This is an empirical question, and I don’t see the data to indicate the answer one way or the other. The theoretical point of view is this: Land clearances forced the cost of labor down. The higher wages are, the more you want to use capital (like equipment), not workers. In such a case, again, the Industrial Revolution happens, but it happens closer to Newcastle to keep the cost of coal down, and it is slow to gain traction due to profitability concerns. Once stabilized, however, the incentives for increasing machine efficiency of the machines faster could quite possibly have accelerated the Industrial Revolution faster than how it actually played out. Hard to say, but the argument is sound.

Now, for Empire.

With a very few exceptions, the main one being the USSR, every country which has industrialized, including Britain and the US, has done so with mercantalist policies, that is, behind trade barriers of some sort or another. They become free traders when their industry is well-established, not before.

Mercantalism does not require imperialism, but imperialism can augment mercantilism. When the British invaded India, India had more factories than England. Soon, they didn’t. India was a vast market for British manufacturing and provided raw materials.

The South in the US provided much of the cotton, through slave labor, as did Egypt and various other places which were conquered or absorbed through imperialism. (While the US South was, no, not under British control during this period, the Native Americans were cleared from it by European imperialism and disease and the slaves were brought over on European ships.)

Imperialism provides two things: Markets and cheap supplies for the factories. Even the Chinese opium/tea trade is related. Tea reduces appetites and enables people to work longer, and the British, even with the agricultural revolution, are somewhat underfed. Minus six half-day weeks, of course, they would not need so much food, but they do. (Ever done hard, manual labor all day? I have. I ate A LOT.)

There is clearly a benefit from Imperialism for industrialization under capitalism.

Could industrialization have happened without forcing open these barriers to British exports and without cheaper commodities like cotton, acquired through slave labor, plantations (which require shoving small farmers off the land), and so on?

What would have happened if we didn’t conquer, pillage, and enslave so many people? What would have happened if we didn’t deliberately retard their economic development? If we didn’t kill so many of them?

Perhaps they would have been more prosperous. Granted, many tribal societies have little use for money, but as the Hudson’s Bay experience shows, if you provide goods they really want, they’ll go out of their way to get what you want in return. And India, despite vast numbers of peasants, had vast mercantile cities and trade long before the British, Portuguese, and so on, arrived.

The commodities wouldn’t be so cheap, and Britain may not have gained so near a monopoly in early industrial manufacturing, but other societies would have also been richer–which means more purchasing power. Richer people can pay more.

The British still would have had that huge advantage: Coal near the manufacturing areas and near the coast. It’s an island. You can get what you manufacture to the sea easily, and you can use coal because the coal is near the sea too (everything is near the sea in England, from the Continental point of view).

This scenario suggests that England would have still industrialized first, and the Industrial Revolution still happens in Britain. Is it’s pace slower? Faster? I suspect slower at first, faster later. But it is more humane, and it leads to a better world.

If China and India had industrialized at a faster, more organic pace than they did; if they had been dragged along closer behind, standards of living would have risen faster. But standard of living is negatively correlated to the number of children.

A world in which all (or at least most) boats rise together, with England in the lead, but not excessively so, is one with a lot less of a population problem and a lot less of a poverty problem.

It may just be that being complete bastards to virtually everyone was not required for industrialization. It may be that we would have lived in a vastly better world.

It may not, of course, but I think the argument for “Being Assholes Wasn’t Actually Necessary” is pretty strong.

And I think it’s fairly important, because it’s at the heart of the whole “Is other people’s suffering required for some people to live the good life?” question.

(This is part 3 of a semi-series.  Read part one on “The Death of Capitalism” part 2 on “What Capitalism is and part 4 on  “How The Rational Irrationality of Capitalism Is Destroying the World”.)

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What Is Capitalism?

The responses to my article The Death of Capitalism made something clear:

Most people don’t know what Capitalism is.

We’ll need two definitions.

Market: An economic arrangement in which price signals direct people’s actions.

Markets are old. There were markets in Sumeria thousands of years ago. Nonetheless, Sumerian society was not Capitalist. Most people were farmers, living on the land. They produced their own housing, their own food, and their own clothes. They bought some goods on the market, sold grain on the market (there was a very active market in loans denominated in grain or silver), but most of their needs were met through non-market methods.

Some people in that society (arguably) had their lives regulated by markets. There were money-lenders, urban inhabitants, merchants and traders, specialists, and so on who used money to buy what they needed. There were other such people who were essentially feudal lackeys; you might be a market scribe working for money, or you might be a palace or temple scribe.

The primary financial markets, by the way, were run out of temples.

But the rule is this: Most people in most agricultural and pre-agricultural societies produced what they needed, generally as part of an extended family, a tribe or some other arrangement. Sumeria was more mercantile than most agricultural societies.

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Capitalism: An economic system in which people are directed towards particular actions by price signals from markets AND in which they obtain the necessities (and luxuries) of life from markets.

You may measure HOW capitalist a society is by how many people cannot create their own necessities as part of a relatively small group.

Now, let us return to markets. A market says:

  • Do more of what makes more money
  • Do less of what makes less money
  • Stop doing that which is losing money

This is an oversimplification, but it’s less of an oversimplification than it seems. Take Amazon, for example: Amazon did not make a profit for many years.  However, the decision makers at Amazon (Bezos, senior exectives, etc.) made plenty of money from Amazon.

What matters is not whether fictional entities are making money, or even if all human beings are making money, but whether decision makers are making money.

Prices are not set solely by markets, they never have been and they never will be. Governments lean on prices through direct and indirect subsidies, taxes, and so on. Roads are a subsidy for trucking, auto-manufacturing and a host of other businesses, for example.  The US interstate highway system was the death-knell for the hugely powerful railroads that preceded it.

This is true despite the FACT that, if you include all costs, shipping people and (especially) freight by rail is cheaper.  The final price, as it effects the individual decision makers responsible for those individual, economic decisions, is what matters.

Markets are a way of telling people what to do and what not to do and how much of either.

The more money a person makes doing something, the more they try to do of that something (including hiring workers to do it for them).

If a decision maker’s profits are not aligned with social utility, well then, capitalism does not produce results with social utility. Bankers make a lot of money. Their businesses lost so much money the entire world economy could barely contain the damage and trillions of dollars were required to bail them out. So why do bankers keep doing what they were doing? Because they are still, personally, making money.

So what if a few brokerages and banks went out of business? Their executives are still rich.

Capitalism is dis-empowering. Serfs and peasants, for all we sneer at them, could support themselves, because they had access to the land they needed to do so. They spun their own clothes. They raised their own houses.

Peasants and serfs were better off than the industrial workers who replaced them. There is a reason land clearances had to be done by law and force: The peasants and serfs didn’t want to leave. They weren’t stupid, they weren’t fools–they knew they lived better than the people working six and a half days a week, ten to 12 hours a day, in the new factories amidst cities and towns, choking in their own filth before modern sewage was put in place.

Capitalism forces most people to base their decisions on price (salary, comissions, hourly wage vs. goods they buy) levels. It takes away their ability to support themselves without working for someone else.

Capitalism is the concentration of the means of production in the hands of a few people.

This is why it is called Capitalism. Capital is what allows you to make other things. Land can be capital. Machines that make things, even machines as simple as a spinning wheel, are capital. You add labor to capital and you have products.

(It may be, with the rise of the sophisticated automation we call robots, that capital will be able to make capital soon, with little to no human intervention.)

Capitalism removes productive capacity from most people so they can’t support themselves. It orders the behavior of almost everyone through price signals.

Capitalism is a way of making decisions about what people should do, what products should be created, how they should spend their time and so on.

Because Capitalism is one of two major decision making methods in our society, and has been for the most important societies (starting with Britain) for hundreds of years (in varying forms; there are different types of capitalism), it is fair to judge capitalism by the results produced by those societies, especially the economic results.

Capitalism is NOT synonymous with industrialization, but most industrialization (outside the USSR) occurred under capitalism. Capitalism made the decisions about how to industrialize which were not driven by the internal logic of industrialization itself (too big a topic to go into in this article) or by government.

Capitalism fed back into government, however, because pricing matters. That coal was cheaper than solar for most of history (until about last year) mattered. In theory, we could have overridden that decision and said, “At X times the price is worth it and the sooner we make more the sooner the price will drop,” but in practice we did not.

We went with the flow.

Social choices, including those made by government, modify market signals. But when you live in a Capitalist society, you think first about VALUE as PRICE, even though the two are very different. The price of your life can be determined very accurately by life insurance charts (future expected earnings, discounted).

I doubt you consider the insurance market’s valuation of your life as the actual value of your life. If you do? Congratulations! You have splendidly adapted to the mandates of capitalism and markets.

Having read this far, and considered what you have read, next time someone yammers on about capitalism, you will know what they should be talking about. Because most people don’t know what capitalism is, despite living in it, you will also know, perhaps, what they are not talking about.

Capitalism uses markets as the main method to determine human economic behaviour and removes humans’ ability  to support themselves without engaging in the market.

Note the second characteristic listed: Removing humans’ independent means of support. In many cases, this had to be done by force. In others, it was done through blandishments. In both cases, the end result was a reduction in effective power for individuals who do not CONTROL capital–who are not capitalists (ownership is not always control).

To a remarkable extent, people are Skinnerian behavioural machines. Markets are one of the main methods used to condition people, to create their personality, to create them.

To control them.

To control you.

Under Capitalism, virtually everyone is subject to that control and conditioning, on penalty of living a miserable life, or, indeed, of death.

(This is part 2 of a semi-series.  Read part one on “The Death of Capitalism” and part 3 on “Did the Industrial Revolution Require Clearances, Genocide and Imperialism.” and part 4 “How The Rational Irrationality of Capitalism Is Destroying the World”.)

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The Death of Capitalism

Let us state the obvious.

Capitalism has failed.

It has failed because it failed to deal with climate change.  This was a forseeable, and foreseen disaster.  We knew it, without any reasonable doubt, by the late 70s. If we had acted then, we could have stopped the worst of it.

We did not.

The death count will be in excess of a billion people. I think, given the way that damage counts keep coming in above prior estimates, and given how vicious cycles act, that the death count will be in the billions.

It is not inconceivable that we could see the end of human, and higher, life, on Earth, though it is still unlikely.

We are in the middle of a Great Extinction. Each life-form which dies off takes genetic wealth with it and weakens the ecosystem. Ecosystem collapse has happened in the past in limited regions, it can happen globally.

If it does, we may need to bend over and kiss our asses, lives, and species goodybe.

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Capitalism’s great claim to being a superior form of organization for production and distribution of goods and services is that it is best able to account for costs and benefits: It produces that for which people are willing and able to pay.

People weren’t willing and/or able to pay to stop climate change. In part, this is because actors with money were able to obfuscate both the science and the situation, spending millions on doing so, and buying the political process. In part, it is because climate change’s worst effects were expected to take place AFTER the death of the people who needed to act to stop it.

If you were 30 in 1980, you are 66 today. If you were 40, you are 76. If you were in the decision making class, overwhelmingly allocated to those who were 50+ in 1980, you are 86 today.

People who were in their prime and during their decision-making days, when we needed to act on climate change, were making a DEATH BET.

They bet they would be dead before the worst results of climate change happened.

They will win this bet.

This was a RATIONAL thing for them to do. I want to repeat that, because too many people think “rational=good.” It does not. It was rational for them to discount a future they would not see.

Note also that they did not prioritize their children and grandchildren’s well-being over their own. This, also, is RATIONAL.  How your children do after you are dead has only an imaginary effect on your well-being. (For instance, if you think they’ll be ok, that’s enough. And that’s an easy enough thing of which to convince yourself.)

Our capitalist markets did not discount the future properly. Capitalistic accumulation, which gave certain corporations and individuals excess rewards, and thus power, also made it easier for them to capsize the democratic process.

This does not mean that capitalism is entirely to blame, not directly. In 1980, the US was not yet an oligarchy. At that point, it took a mass movement, a constituency, to decide: “Fuck all that environmentalism and conservation crap.”

That movement was headlined by Reagan and presaged by Thatcher in Britain. Reagan won because of the so-called “Reagan Democrats,” who abandoned the post-war Democratic coalition to vote Republican. They were substantially and primarily SUBURBAN voters. The suburbs, now, but especially then, would have been hammered by properly done environmental and conservation changes, as they were massively energy inefficient. You do not get a generation and a half of suburban housing prices rising faster than wages and inflation in such a world. (You do get better wages, as there is more real work to be done.)

As time went by, the advantages that Reagan put into play disproportionately (and vastly so) benefited a small number of Americans, and America became an oligarchy. You can date America’s descent to oligarchy somewhere between Gore v. Bush (2001) and Citizen’s United in January, 2010. Personally, I would pick the passage of TARP, done in the face of phone calls in excess of one hundred to one against: 2008.

Capitalism has thus, in the span of less than five decades, ensured that there will be billions of deaths and has bought-out the popular sovereignty system of representational democracy.

Despite triumphalism, it is also true that we have had the ability to end hunger and famines for decades and have not done so. Serious poverty in Africa has dropped as a percentage, but risen in absolute numbers. In the past 30 years, the average amount of calories consumed in India has dropped. China has industrialized, but studies show that those who remained in traditional villages are happier.

It is very easy to look at what has been achieved under capitalism and cheer. Vast growth, vast increases in food production, and so on. One can argue how much was driven by capitalism, how much by democracy, how much by government bureaucracy, and how much by industrialization, but the last 200 years have seen massive accomplishments.

Those who die in the next 100 years will not be so sanguine about the costs, however, as they will be the ones to bear them. Those who do not die, but suffer and see their loved ones die, are unlikely to forgive.

They WILL be looking for an alternative to capitalism, because it will be clear to them: The cost of capitalism is too high.  Especially if we skirt species extinction in a visible way.

There is no “end of history” minus an end to sentient life. There never will be.

The world keeps changing, capitalism and democracy were never going to be the last systems, and it is now obvious and visible that they are unlikely to be.

It is possible that one or the other might survive, in a modified form, but only if it casts blame on the other.

This doesn’t mean markets won’t survive. Markets have been with us for thousands of years, but markets as the prime distribution and production mechanism for the majority of the population have not.

The Death of Capitalism, and possibly the Death of Representational Democracy, are nigh. If you are young, you will see one or both. You may even if you are middle-aged.

(This is part 1 of a semi-series.  Read part 2 on “What Capitalism is and part 3 on “Did the Industrial Revolution Require Clearances, Genocide and Imperialism,” and part 4 “How The Rational Irrationality of Capitalism Is Destroying the World”.)

The Day Someone Bombs a Wedding or Funeral in the US…

…to kill a “legitimate target,” is a day I will be interested to see, though I don’t look forward to it.

Who qualifies as a legitimate target? Anyone from the President on down who was involved in the drone assassination program.  Any group being assassinated by American drones has the right to strike back, in my opinion. Since America is willing to strike at weddings, funerals, convoys, and more to “hit their targets” (and willing to kill their children and families), well…

It is hard to even imagine the squealing. Entire pig farms would not suffice to convey the outraged cacophony, I am sure.

Legitimate targets, no matter who happens to be standing nearby. This may not be what America “says” is its policy, but it is the policy in action.

(Or maybe they’ll bomb a hospital. Probably won’t be able to bomb it all night, though.)

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