America’s Form Of Capitalism…

2018-08-24_09-44-00.pngThis post is about the question “Is America’s form of capitalism being pushed aside?” Is the world moving beyond the American definition?  Some might say the Capitalism as it exists in America is “The rich get richer,  and nothing else matters…

“What happens when a society reinvests the gains from industrialization into things like healthcare, education, and so forth? Well, it’s economy changes — radically. You see, the American economy is still 75% consumption — McMansions, SUVs, designer jeans, and so forth. The problem is that 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. They can’t afford those things anymore. But if America had invested in public goods, then the economy would be made less of consumption, and more of investment.

Source: How to Think About the World After Capitalism – Eudaimonia and Co

I like to blame all of our problems on #CO3 but I recognize that our “consumption” problems are ingrained in our capitalist system. The “rich get richer” and “survival of the fittest” is a dominant part of our version.

Our version of capitalism will likely change in the coming years. One path will be divorcing ourselves from the rest of the world. Going it alone. Another path is that our capitalist system may morph into the version practiced by  Western Europe, Scandinavia, and Canada as cited in the source article.

So, what is the basic difference? These countries practice what some may call social democracy.  They give all their citizens what they see as inalienable rights.  They include healthcare, education, transportation, and retirement. Because these rights are endemic in their version of capitalism they divorce themselves from the “survival of the fittest mentality”. I think we have some things to learn from them in that and many other regards.

Cackle Footer Banner

#CO3 = Current Oval Office occupant

Capitalism Is Proving Unpopular Among Those With No Capital..

I ran across the title of this post in an article by Fraser Nelson of The Daily Telegraph which is a popular British newspaper. It basically talks about how the Brits are now leaning to the left despite the relative win of the rad-cons in the recent election. This leftward trend is evidently being pushed by the young voters in the country.

I kinda think the Brits are smarter than us when it comes to government and I  hope our young people are doing the same. The basic definition of capitalism is that it is an economic system based on private ownership of capital.  Dropping back to look at a broader view of this system, when all the capital ends up in the hands of a relative few then it morphs into an oligarchy and that is something that the Brits also know about.

An oligarchy is pretty much the opposite of a democracy in that the people without capital have little or no control over government decisions and actions. That happens because money controls information as it does pretty much everything else in a capitalist society.

2017-11-23_10-31-06.jpgThe general feeling today, at least among RedAmerica, is that anything that is not driven by capital (read money) is somehow an enemy of the state. To them, it seems logical that a capitalist state should be run by a billionaire as they are the only truly successful ones among us. I’m sure that logic was part of what got us into the trouble we are now facing.

Going back to the original thoughts on this post, I hope our young people have a similar attitude as those in Britain.  I know I started out in the opposite mode and as I grew in wisdom I turned left to a more people-oriented view. My votes during my first three presidential elections were for the GOP candidates. It was not until Reagan and his brand of conservatism that I basically made the switch.  Of course, seeing where we are today I would love to go back to Reaganism, even with his trickle-down politics.

I do still believe in capitalism but we need to have reignes on that horse or it will morph into an oligarchy.  There just seems to be something about wealth accumulation that once you have a certain amount it turns into an urgent rush to get even more.  In my mind, that is where the dangers occur.  It is hard to remember that the 90% estate tax along with excise taxes were once the primary source of revenue to run our governments.  Taxing the workers didn’t occur until one hundred years ago.

In today’s world where 1% of the population control the majority of the wealth, its time for some “real” tax reform. The current proposal being ramrodded through Congress is in no way a real reform.  We will never get that until our political parties can come together with compromise solutions.  I think our young people today can see this much more clearly than I did when I was their age.

If you are one of those who don’t have capital, it’s hard to gung-ho about it…

 

Simplicity…

Snippet Banner  I came across this post from about three years ago that seems to apply to my recent posts on tiny houses and simplicity.  Take a look… I think it applies more today than it did even three years ago… Click on the image below to go there.

2017-02-02_18-11-34.png

Shared Equity vs Pure Capitalism…

But, first, let’s look at an unusual way of running a business, by having your employees own the company. One popular craft brewery has made a name for itself in part by going that route, with strong results so far….

One of things that we think is a big societal issue is this widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. And we realized that we had an opportunity to support people owning something that was increasing in value. Shared equity has been an incredibly powerful engine for us….

The better I do, the better we do, and I personally take that to every day of my job, and it really does inspire us all to go above and beyond in a way that I haven’t experienced at other employers….

Source: Brewery workers pour their hearts into business when given a stake

Shared equity vs pure capitalism is a very thought provoking idea to me. Especially in the circumstances where we find that today’s capitalism returns are overwhelmingly skewed to the top 1% of our citizens. It is just not being shared by the people who are actually creating the wealth as it once was.  Will shared equity become the new capitalism in the future?  I can only hope so; it would indeed solve many of the social issues of our times.

In my day “the three legged stool” was the symbol for a successful enterprise. The three legs were Owner/Employees/Customers. Each had equal weight in corporate prosperity. If something is beneficial to all three then it was quickly implemented.  Over the years the Customer leg has been shortened. If something can be made for a penny less and the product will still last at least through its warranty period it is cost reduced. Product longevity and quality is missing from far to many capitalist institutions.

The Employee leg of the stool has been ruthlessly amputated. As profits rise they are never shared by those who generate them. In fact brutal downsizing has become the mantra. The median income for U.S. families has actually decreased significantly while profits sour.

The only leg getting attention now is the Owner or stockholder. He is the king of capitalism as shown by the massive increase in wealth of the ultra-rich in our society. It seems the only way to straighten out the three legs is to make the employees the owners. With shared equity another thing that diminishes is the constant need to grow profits. The new owners will usually be satisfied with a constant income and not be obsessed with more and more. It is obvious that many business fail because they tried to grow too fast.

Our industrial society started out as a cottage  industry. Small businesses were built based on local needs. Maybe it is time to start heading back in that direction. If you ask me “Too Big To Fail” is a formula for the implosion of capitalism. How to make shared equity once again happen is the question of the day.  The first answer is probably to force  politicians to join Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in realizing that shared equity appears to be our only viable future.

 

Spending Less…

Is it a bad thing that I want to consume less this year than I did last year?

canstockphoto3815900.jpgThis is a question I have been contemplating lately. Although I am not making out a specific list for 2016 I have decided to shed myself of much of the stuff I own and to not spend so much this year. It sounds like a noble goal but that very idea seems to have the world in a panic right now.

As I am writing this post, which is actually a couple of weeks before it is likely posted, stock markets are diving into negative territory because China manufacturing is slowing down.  To the capitalists around the world this means that we are consuming less than in the past. To them, if we are not consuming more and more then our economy is not sustainable.

I must admit that I am not much of a fan of pure capitalism. But I’m sure, if you have read even a few of my post, you know that already. Pure capitalism just seems to be concentrated on greed than anything else. Everyone wanting more and more is to me a negative instead of a positive.  Of course I am saying these words with a “western” mentality where many of us are fortunate enough to have discretionary spending money, more and more means buying things we don’t really need. To much of the world “more and more”might just mean putting enough food on the table so that their family can thrive. That is a completely different mentality.

Oil prices are going down because people like me gave up our 18 mpg car for a 35 mpg version and are even driving that one less. That on the face of it seems to be a good thing but to the capitalists it means our economy is shrinking and will soon collapse.

I know earlier I said I am not a fan of pure capitalism but I am a fan of regulated capitalism. Without it our country and many others around the world would not be in the enviable condition we are. Capitalism drives prosperity when it is properly regulated.

Getting back to the initial question, I don’t really care what others think about my decision. I have decided to take up the mantel of “Simplicity” more seriously than I have in past years. I am shedding things that I have not used in the past 5 years and that seems is a LOT of stuff. Thankfully stuff just doesn’t mean much to me at this stage of my life. Right now simplicity is the key to my satisfying retirement, at least for 2016.

Even In Small Town America…

2015-07-31_07-02-31

Pope Francis recently spoke out about “unbridled capitalism”. A good example of that is the unregulated sales of guns in this country. Even my small town of 2,000 now has a gun shop where anyone can buy just about any weapon they choose.  Capitalism is the best economic system in the world but when it is unfettered from any moral requirements it is perhaps among the worst…