what stinks in capitalism

March 17th, 2009 by Romeo Anghelache

I wrote about the free-market, and shown it to be a fake and a tragedy, so I’ll focus on the real market, which is made of producers-consumers (or worse, sellers-buyers) but doesn’t pretend any kind of equilibrium between the two.

A producer (collective or not) cannot set-up a factory overnight to produce what consumers need at one given time; satisfying a request has an inertia. So, what needs a producer to do when the request has been satisfied once? Either it disappears (which would be a bad thing, because the inertia above will delay the future consumers’ requests) or applies marketing (bring into existence new consumers, so the production can continue) or upgrades the product; however, upgrading the product is not by itself convincing (people can be reluctant in changing things), one uses marketing again to convince people that the upgraded stuff is better (now without carcinogens, now without taste enhancers, now with taste). With marketing, the producer has a determinant weight against the consumer: even if the “upgraded” product is the same, or worse, the producer can market wrap it for a higher profit, can corner the consumer, and it does.
Marketing is, in fact, psychological terrorism, so it can only be counteracted by education and critical thinking. Therefore education has to be a public resource (the State should back it up from taxes), whether or not some individuals agree that everybody in the society needs proper education.

The price, in today’s capitalism, essentially gets established not through balancing the offer with the request, but, through marketing, it is bound to be more a matter of subjectivity (the will for profit being the motor of it), it is an artistic price.

Capitalism is equivalent with civil war: each person with some capital will invest at least indirectly in some army of marketers who will try to convince himself and his neighbor to buy a certain product, or that the artistic price of this stuff is higher than the physical price, and so goes for the neighbor’s army of marketers too, finally each one of us gets convinced that a human has plenty of costly needs, we end up supporting a ghostly army of idiots hunting each and everyone of us.

Without a certain type of education, the capitalism is bound to end as a society full of marketers: everybody trying to bullshit everybody else into giving up a resource; those who still know how to do something, anything, are bound to become endangered species. Citizens of a capitalist society are exploiting each other with marketing warfare, this type of system cannot but sink itself.

The fundamental reasons why capitalism cannot continue without self-destructing are, in my opinion, first, the reliance of price and, ultimately, production, on belief, and second, the private ownership of profits: the will for privately owned profit tends to stretch beliefs beyond and against any verifiable reality; third, in a “competitive” society, there’s no direct “incentive” to share knowledge (apparently, today, one can only earn something by “packaging” it into something that can be sold, e.g. a book or a black box) so knowledge is pushed into the underground, if not discarded, after the capitalist is satisfied with the profit collected.

Fixing these three issues allows the society to evolve in a healthy way:
1. redefining the price unit so that it will stay portable (from product to product, from consumer to consumer), clear from subjectivity (one might imagine the difference between the artistic price of today and the physical price which should replace or accompany it)
2. collective ownership of profit by the producers (ownership of something means the effective right to decide what to do with it)
3. preserve and share factual records on what has been done to solve problems and how

The rest of the fixings can protect us against a future fallback in today’s primitivism.

Comments are closed.