One of the things I enjoy, now that I am a totally “streaming” beast with my Apple TV, is the screen saver that gives me a bird’s-eye view of the world. It was just showing the United Arab Emirates. The massive skyscrapers are spectacular to look at. Then, the thought came to me that all that opulence was made from one source, oil.
That is what capitalism is all about. If you have a product that is in demand, you sell it to the highest bidder. If your product is successful, you reap the rewards.
But what happens when your product is no longer in demand? How do you maintain your elevated standard of living when there is no future income? How can you even maintain what you have?
Getting back to the UAE, what will happen to all that opulence in twenty years when oil no longer fuels the world’s vehicles? I can foresee massive turbulence in the Middle East when their primary means of wealth evaporates.
Of course, oil is not the first disruptor of capitalism. When Henry Ford invented the assembly line, it gave a level of immediate wealth to unskilled workers. It brought them quickly into the middle class. That lasted until those mindless jobs were taken over by robotics. That takeover, which seriously started in the 1980s, caused middle-class status to be taken away from many. Here we are in the 2020s with a very disgruntled mass of people who are bitter that their perceived middle-class status is no longer there. How many of those are among the Trump supporters who want to see our current society crumble?
Capitalism does create quick wealth, but it seems it can’t guarantee long-term wealth to the masses. How to make that happen is way above my pay-scale. 🥸 So, the basic question is, can capitalism sustain a democracy in the long term? Not all of us can be brilliant inventors who will accumulate great wealth. What happens to those others?
3 thoughts on “Capitalism Just Might Be The Downfall Of The World.”
What happens to those others?
So far it would appear they are out of luck. Reasoned negotiation and regulation of capitalism is needed. Sadly, we no longer have the ability to do that effectively. You do point out the irony that many of them have elected to support tearing down the entire system as a solution. If this group has not been able to keep up so far, they will most likely do much worse in a collapsing democracy. I am especially surprised at the near and over 65 crowd that supports this collapse. I find it unlikely that Social Security or Medicare payments would continue for long under a collapsing scenario. The young would have very little sympathy for us. The insurrectionists should be careful what they ask for, they just might get it.
A book you might find worth reading is American Schism by Seth Radwell. His detailed look at our history and how we got to where we are today explodes a lot of myths. He makes the key point that the tension in our society was actually present at our founding and was inevitable.
The problem is not capitalism but the tension between competing roles of the Federal Government and how involved citizens should be.
That sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the suggestion.