On air: Is it the end of capitalism as we know it?

Does capitalism work? If it did governments around the world wouldn’t be bailing it out with vast amounts of taxpayers’ cash would they ? Shouldn’t the market decide ? .

here’s a quote from history :

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”–Winston Churchill

And here’s a view from the Washington Post which talks about the end of “American capitalism” , and says

“The notion of government ownership in the financial sector, even as a minority stakeholder, goes against what market purists say they see as the foundation of the American system. “

While this commentator sees the “rebirth iof American capitalism” arguing that the system has always thrived with a strong and active government.

“What’s going away today, in other words, is not “American Capitalism” but a doctrine of pure laissez-faire capitalism that was deeply flawed and not in keeping with the traditionally American approach to markets. “

…and the same theme is carried on here with the question being raised  :

“Are we witnessing the erosion of capitalism, or its salvation?”

and just to add a bit of controversy to the mix, here’s a suggestion that the capitalist way of doing things should be replaced by the Islamic system…and this Arab paper says capitalism is in crisis but …”Sorry Karl, capitalism is not dying”.

Who does think it’s in trouble then ? The Guardian interviewed some opponents of capitalism…

Is Greed back? Can we have a nicer capitalism – capitalism with a friendly face? Or do we need to tear up the current system and start again? But what are the viable alternatives to capitalism?

Already lined up on today’s show is the former London Mayor Ken Livingston.

148 Responses to “On air: Is it the end of capitalism as we know it?”

  1. 1 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 12:04

    Well, neither does a horse unless you put a harness on it. The harness has to be sized to the horse, cleaned regularly and checked for fit every day. Any worn bits must be promptly replaced if you don’t want a shambles.

    Like a horse pulling a surry capitalism has to balance the source of energy with the load. It also requires careful and attentive hands at the reins with clear eyes looking forward. Otherwise you could find yourself looking at an expensive pile of firewood strapped to some rather gamy meat.

  2. 2 Brett
    October 13, 2008 at 12:09

    I have 1% of my net income going into my 401k (and thank goodness its only 1%), I just received my first statement on my 401k. I lost about 5% of what I put in for the first quarter. I could have put that money in a checking account with no interest and came out further ahead.
    And my investments when I signed up for the 401k were scheduled to be placed in the most conservative investments. I feel bad for some of those with my company who chose the risky ‘high return’ investment options.

  3. 3 Brett
    October 13, 2008 at 12:12

    And on the topic of Capitalism not working, NPR has at various times aired lectures on the future of capitalism in regards to economic and environmental aspects. And at the risk of being labeled a communist or socialist by the right because I don’t agree with the current way of American Capitalism, I would have to say, and agree with countless scholars that nope, current capitalism does not and will not continue to work. We are seeing that now.

  4. 4 Kelsie in Houston
    October 13, 2008 at 12:39

    American capitalism in the mode Mr Faiola of the Washington Post suggests is, as the world has spent the week demonstrating, untenable and perhaps even dangerous.

    To argue that government ownership in the markets is contrary to the “purists'” view is true to an extent–however, the U.S. government has a long legacy of “interference” in the market, even if such interference does not amount to nationalization itself. Historically, federal monies have supported railroads, land speculation, the dredging of canals, and billions of dollars passed along to industries in the form of subsidies…

    …so there is no “pure” laissez-faire; throughout history, the government has stepped in to intervene in favour of this or that–that the present circumstances should demand the same isn’t the “end of capitalism,” but rather a furtherance of the government’s already long involvement in the markets’ world.

  5. 5 Robert
    October 13, 2008 at 12:44

    This system doesn’t work, but then this system is not a pure capitalist system, as the balance between risk and pay off has been pushed to far towards risk.

    In this market those taking risks with money recieve the upside of the investment in the form of bonuses, but are shielded from the downside. The risk is not personal to them. This distortion of risk perception is the root of the problem we have.

    Capitalism is the most efficent means to transfer money to parts of the economy needing investment and should remain the model used. However in rebuilding the system we have to alter the structure of pay to either

    1) Remove the potential upsides for those making trades with money which is not their own (i.e. they are only paid a one off charge for the service they provide to a customer)


    2) Add the potential long term downsides into pay for those traders using other peoples money.

  6. 6 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 12:48

    The thing that bugs me most about capitalism is the absolute waste of both labor and resources. Globally, there is a massive labor surplus with millions of people either out of work, working too little, or lacking the skills to do the work that is available. Why capitalism can’t manage to devise a system to educate the unskilled and then put the best skilled to improving the standards of said education is beyond me.

    If people are alive that means we are going to the trouble of feeding them. We should at least give them the chance to return the favor should we require a bit of feeding ourselves.

    And what’s the biggest argument against energy efficiency retrofits? The labor is too expensive.

  7. October 13, 2008 at 12:52

    what is happening is just the begining of the end to the Capitlism as well as the US demonation on world economy…

  8. 8 selena in Canada
    October 13, 2008 at 12:55

    “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”–Winston Churchill

    It was easy for Mr. Churchill to make that quote, being at the top. The truth is there is no equal sharing of the misery.

    Maybe Capitalism is not the culprit. The culprit, in this case, may be Globalization. The global economy is a thread throughout the economic fabric. A hole at one end caused the unraveling of the fabric. You can patch the hole but the fabric will forever be flawed.

  9. 9 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 12:55

    Kelsie- Are you suggesting that Uncle Sam has been buying the lemons and sugar for Wall Streets lemonade stand?

    That’s shocking.

  10. 10 Dan
    October 13, 2008 at 13:00

    It is not often (if ever) we have agreed but your description of control of Capitalism I think is perfect.

  11. 11 Dan
    October 13, 2008 at 13:23

    Comments are made as some dance with great glee that this economic crisis is the end of Capitalism and the US guiding the global economy.
    Never though does anyone say what they want to replace it all with.
    Capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than any other economic system.
    Perhaps those that hate Capitalism simply are too frightened to compete in the real world and want to return to their mothers womb.
    Since WWII the United States has guided the world economy preventing the chaos of the past and has been instrumental in establishing the infrastructure for nations to operate under. The failing is that from time to time it requires retooling and as economics is an uncertain art there will be crashes. If, as the Europeans have recenly said, we have faith in our Governmental institutions we will all get thru these crashes and come out stronger.
    What however do those who now dance with glee at the suffering want to replace Capitalism with? Their Mother’s womb is not a viable economic system.

  12. 12 Angelo
    October 13, 2008 at 13:55

    if it wasnt for Capitalism millions of people in emerging economies wouldnt have been hoisted out of poverty.

    If it wasnt for American Capitalism it wouldnt have turned millions of poor european immigrants at the start of the twentieth century into the wealthiest poeple on earth.

  13. 13 selena in Canada
    October 13, 2008 at 13:57

    Paul Krugman (once an economic adviser to Enron and the promoter of the idea of “economies of scale”) that champion of free trade and globalization has won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

    Ah, the irony!

    Perhaps he could be a guest on WHYS?

  14. October 13, 2008 at 13:58


    Don’t go throwing capitalism out with the bathwater. Capitalism works fine when an understanding of why it works is attained. Capitalism has two distinct features. One is the people and money that flow through it. The other is the government, rules, and mechanism that allow it to work. Neither can ever be used to fill the others role.

    The trouble is not that the US has capitalist wealth distribution format, but that it has an unchecked democratic power assignment format. We are hiring people to control the system that do not have depth of knowledge to control their own personal finances. They are elected because of priorities that run counterintuitive to making the system run well.

  15. October 13, 2008 at 13:59

    Nowhere is that more evident that how we elect the CEOs of our economy is to fault then our current choices. We have a 72 year old man with major health problems that barely made it through the Naval academy spent a good long time not learning much of anything but how to survive. He has a running mate who needed to go to 5 different colleges before becoming a sportscaster. She has the qualifications of a YMCA secretary. This verses a guy of 44, not young, but not old either. He graduated from one of the greatest law schools in the world at the top of his class and passed the bar on the first try. His running mate is a multy disciplined lawyer with more then 30 years experience in the Washington grind. And this race is close! That s why our capitalism doesn’t work. These weren’t even the best or worst choices.

  16. 16 Mark Sandell
    October 13, 2008 at 14:05

    Selena, we have bid for Mr Krugman..

  17. 17 Jonathan
    October 13, 2008 at 14:06


    I wouldn’t want to tempt you into being a capitalist pig, but since you’ve apparently decided to work within the system and do the best you can inside the decadent rotting corpse of capitalism, what with the 401(k), I’ll tell you that it’s usual advice for the 401(k) to hold exactly those high-risk instruments you’re glad you don’t have, for the early and middle part of your working life. They have the highest return over the long run. Buying them (I’m thinking equities–stock) now when they’re super cheap is frosting on the cake.

    When you get within shooting distance of retirement–I think they say 15 years or so–you want to shift into ower-risk, lower-return stuff (i.e., more bonds), because you won’t any longer be looking at the long run, and you don’t want to get caught in a downdraft like this one.

  18. 18 Brett
    October 13, 2008 at 14:10

    I wouldn’t want to tempt you into being a capitalist pig, but since you’ve apparently decided to work within the system and do the best you can inside the decadent rotting corpse of capitalism

    Haha, love the wording. 😉

  19. 19 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 14:12

    With all due respect to people who tout capitalism lifting the poor, bringing us the goodies, etc. more than a bit of those benefits came not from capitalism but from government payments promoting one bit over another.

    The internet was an offshoot of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US government. Ditto the development of integrated circuit chips, advanced wireless communications, high powered batteries and dozens of other bits wanted for the purpose of turning fellow humans into soil amendments.

    What appears to be capitalism is all too frequently cronyism or racism when the glitter and spackle has been chipped away. Also socialism, due to the sheer size of China, has lifted far more people out of poverty than capitalism.

  20. October 13, 2008 at 14:14

    Hi mark
    There are so many sides to the credit crunch. We are all involved, like it or not. Tehran is saying that we are unscathed, but it has emerged that the country is skint, therefore untouched by the credit crunch.
    I do resent the fact that we have all gone along with the myth that everything American is best, regardless of the issues and the long-term consequences. American oil majors are the biggest and therefore the best, American cars are the best, American movies are the best because vast sums have been spent on them, the American individual, the academic, the middle man are outstanding, but why?
    Concentration of capital is obviously a good thing because you can buy more at a cheaper price and give the consumer the benefit. Mass production is good because it produces goods cheaper, but we must get back to basics now and then?
    Has Chinese mass production of cheap goods been a good thing? Didn’t politics get the better of Peking?
    The sasme with American military build up at the expense of common sense, economic priorities? Fewer Americans are working and earning less, more Americans will have to revert to grueling hard work and get used to fewer social benefits. The Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Caucasus and even some part of Southeast Asia are demonstrating against American interventionism.
    As US presidential contender Barack Obama said, thre was no need for lavish over-expenditure on military intervention which led to a Federal deficit of over ten trillion dollars.

  21. 21 Dan
    October 13, 2008 at 14:21

    Sorry to burst your bubble but the verdict on China is not in.
    Not only is the sample (time) too small, but they have yet to go thru any market upset.
    You are using an incomplete model and drawing a conclusion. NOT VALID!!!

  22. 22 John in Salem
    October 13, 2008 at 14:26

    Capitalism is an expression of natural selection. It doesn’t promise the fantasy of Utopia that other systems do and it is likely to outlast any other contrived system for the foreseeable future.
    Nobody ever said it was perfect. Like democracy, it’s just the best we’ve come up with so far.

  23. 23 rustbeltistani
    October 13, 2008 at 14:32

    I believe the shift from defined benefit pensions, huge funds, expertly managed with decades if not centuries in mind, to individual defined contribution retirement accounts created a disincentive for prudent management of risk. What we see now is is the mess created by coupling the sausage machine mortgage-based derivatives to the individual 401(k). When it’s time to cash in – surprise – no cash! The same dollar was leverged 30 times.

    Is the day of the defined benefit pension past recapturing? I think not, not any more than the idea that a home mortgage should actually be held by its originating institution. Slow growth with an eye to decades, rather than quarters is the only hope for stabilizing the world economy. As an American who has never defined myself as a “consumer” I still have to chuckle at the thought of the world getting by as we consumers slam on the brakes and live within our means – what revenge for the job-killing rapacity of companies that put shareholders and CEOs before consumers and workers.

  24. 24 Roy, Washington DC
    October 13, 2008 at 14:44

    If it did governments around the world wouldn’t be bailing it out with vast amounts of taxpayers’ cash would they?

    Bailouts are not capitalism at all. In a true capitalist system, mismanaged banks would be allowed to fail, and the better banks would grow as they picked up the pieces. Bailouts are a form of socialism, where corporate losses are spread out among society (they are not true socialism, either, since the profits are not spread out as well).

  25. 25 parth guragain,nepal
    October 13, 2008 at 14:47

    capitalism or solilism both works .what is the problem is greed of human.this greed cause the system to fail.

  26. 26 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 14:49

    Capialism works very well. It is gov’t and socialist intervention that is at the root of the problem. The market is trying hard to balance itself and is not being allowed to complete the process. PLEASE remember it is the credit crunch that our socialist advisors are trying to save. Credit is the problem. The credit crunch is a symptom of the problem. A capitalist system allows the rise ad FALL of business. the current crisis was caused by an overextension of resources without any sustainable basis. It was bound to fail. A capitalist system does that. All of the retirement accounts that are dropping are a result of greedy investors overextending those resources. How can you say the system didn’t work when it just demonstrated that it does. Not even a totally socialist system can survive without resources.

  27. 27 Bob in Queensland
    October 13, 2008 at 14:55

    What is the definition of “working” when applied to capitalism?

    Will markets find there own level? Yes. Will supply and demand eventually equalise for everything from tootpaste tubes to nuclear physicists? Yes. Would the customers from failing banks and insurance companies eventually end up with more successful ones? Yes. On those levels, capitalism works.

    However, capitalism is a blunt, slow moving instrument and, left to its own devices, would leave a trail of casualties in its wake before any of the above is achieved.

  28. 28 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 14:56

    Sorry to burst your bubble but the verdict on the US is not in.
    Not only is the sample (time
    and size) too small, but they have yet to go thru any market upset.
    You are using an incomplete model and drawing a conclusion. NOT VALID!!!

    Until when the Great War began in 1914 the United Kingdom ruled far more land, people and wealth than the United States. England, Europe and the majority of the world had the majority of their economic, agrarian, product engaged in models of feudalism. American capitalism the bits you can separate out from direct government payment, subsidy, protectionism, racism and oligarchy, is at best, 100 years old.

    And look how well our patient is doing. With only a trillion dollars of promised subsidy and unlimited short term loans for banks (check the news) the Dow is up a whole 5%. After losing 40% of its value from a year ago.


  29. 29 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 14:59

    rustbeltistani-I must agree with the consumer part of this issue. I have been amazed that people bought into the idea that we should retire at the same income level that we have while we are working to build that retirement. IF we were to retire with no debt load then retirement is easy. Being a consumer is one thing. Being a super consumer that has to have every little gizmo and gadget is waste.

  30. 30 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 15:04

    Bruce~ There are a few nations where the governments do not interfere with business, set minimum wages or working conditions, or bail out failed companies or individuals.

    If you visit one, be sure to hire a good bodyguard and consider purchasing kidnapping insurance.

    A pure capitalist state is usually a failed state.

  31. October 13, 2008 at 15:12

    It is not socialism or anything else that is at the root of this problem. The root of this problem is glaring people right in the face and many still don’t see it. The problem is “credit”. Credit is a invasive species to capitalism.

    I love analogies. so here is one. As a child I learned that if the unfortunate even of running out of gas occurs, one could fulfill the call to nature into the gas tank and get a few more mile out of the tank. (if you are of the female persuasion, don’t try this. This idea is gender biased.) Now it isn’t because of my excessive drinking that made this possible. The gas level just got raised above the fuel intake and the gas got thinned. There is enough flammability in gas to burn even when thinned a little. But I could not plan on running my car on water or other nonflammable liquids forever. The gas would get too thin.

    This is what credit does to a capitalist system. It thins the real wealth out so thin that it can no longer power the system. Now that doesn’t mean the engine is junk and doesn’t work. You just need to put real wealth into it and not watered down wealth that credit represents. Like you are going to need to take your car to a mechanic, you are going to need to take your economy to an economist.

  32. 32 Dan
    October 13, 2008 at 15:13

    The DOW is a relative number but not an absolute. Who cares how much it loses. Worth is thru individual stocks. Some people lost >50% some <5% but over time it will come back.
    You are correct in that a pure Capitalist state is a failed state but none exist outside of a textbook or a college classroom.

  33. October 13, 2008 at 15:23

    To Ros and those older people.

    Where I do feel a little sorry for them – that their pensions have gone flat – I have to look back at who and which government advocated and brought into being private pensions – and, add to that, those who elected that government once, and again, and again, and again.

    There was an alternative then – a good one, but people – as has been shown most recently are greedy and wanted something that was probably not attainable – but they were not told that.

    I gave up on the financial side of things because of what I saw – and I do admit that I don’t agree that those old people should be helped out with a government infusion of cash. They were told then and younger people are told now – “The stock market can go down as well as up’ Maybe they should have had better financial planners.

    If people want to learn something from this crash – don’t let the government privatise pensions and social security.

  34. October 13, 2008 at 15:23

    Iraqi PM Maliki Wants Britain Out!
    Ironic to think that the entire issue of a sovereign Iraq revolves round US forces withdrawing from the enclave, but Nouri al-Maliki has targeted the 4,000-man British force.
    Peace in Iraq is a long way off. The issue of prelates and their repeated and flagrant interference in civil affairs hasn’t been settled. The future of Iraq is bleak. If and when President Jalal Talebani leaves, all hell will break loose. Kurds are pretty unruly for the most part but Talebani is the odd man out who has been able to keep order.
    The only nation, party or force which knows the history and terrain is Britain. The only hope for a brokered peace between Baghdad and the littoral states of the Gulf is London. The 150,000-man US force is the obstacle to Iraq sovereignty, if there is such a thing, otherwise prepare for another Vietnam-like war in the Middle East.

  35. 35 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 15:27

    Pangolin-There are few capitalist nations anywhere. The fuedal system that you mentioned earlier was very beneficial to the LORDS of the land but the serfs and peasants were very poor and were stripped of all resources to support the lordly manor. The USA is certainly not a capitalist system and has not been for some years due to the subsidies and interventions that you mentioned. History seems to tell us that the only financial systems that have shown signs of balance are the ones that support the working class. If the big corporations cut their legs off by supressing the good will of the workers and becoming top-heavy and the workers don’t strive to support (through purely capitalistic consumption) then the system fails. BUT to claim that the system has failed because a few FINANCIAL companies have failed is not giving the system a fair chance.

  36. October 13, 2008 at 15:36


    Jon is 100% correct. If you have the disposable income do that now! But once you get to 50/53 within those 3 years – dump the lot into very save savings or bonds.

    You will have a good retirement.

  37. October 13, 2008 at 15:40

    Dan –

    Sorry to burst your bubble but the verdict on China is not in.
    Not only is the sample (time) too small, but they have yet to go thru any market upset.
    You are using an incomplete model and drawing a conclusion. NOT VALID!!!

    Huh? Sorry but you are way wrong on that. China has been a part of this crash as any other industrial nation.

    Plus it is holding a substantial amount of US debt/borrowing – I wouldn’t like to be the accountant who is doing China’s books right now.

  38. 38 Brett
    October 13, 2008 at 15:43

    Yes but what takes priority with disposable income? Paying off the house or investing in retirement? Both need to be done at some point lol.

  39. October 13, 2008 at 15:47

    Pangolin –

    A pure capitalist state is usually a failed state.

    I applaud you, sir!!!!!!!

  40. 40 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 15:51

    Pangolin and Will-what do you see as a successful state?

  41. October 13, 2008 at 15:52

    Brett –

    That’s the balancing act you have to follow. One lady came to my office and ask for advice – she WANTED to invest 100 quid a month. She wasn’t a rich client, just a single mum who wanted to save for retirement. After looking at what she had coming in – her plans for the future and what that would possibly entail, she invested 20 quid a month.

    She had both worlds but not the vast nest egg that she had been told she would get with the other 80 quid being taken from her. She had bad financial advice and the advisor was after the commission – not the best interests of his client.

    There are ways to do things, but we just do not have the space on here to go through it. lol


  42. 42 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 16:17

    If you visit one, be sure to hire a good bodyguard and consider purchasing kidnapping insurance.

    Pangolin-I am currently afraid to enter the inner city without a bodyguard so I fail to see the relevance and I am still very curious. If “a capitalist state is a failed state” then which state is the one that is not failed?

  43. 43 Dennis@OCC
    October 13, 2008 at 16:35

    Capitalism—doesn’t work if you–allow to make risky decisions…by putting your money into unknown investments….

    e.g.: Ponzi scams, and investing in projects that you have not done research on…


  44. 44 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 16:42

    Ah, the successful state. That is the harder question.

    A resource conserving state appeals to me. Washing a nations soil down the river makes no more sense than educating people for 16 years and then having poor job placement services. Anybody not working should be learning new job skills or if medically incapable, participating in recovery programs. There will be a remnant fraction that we’ll support but we do that now. Homeless people are more expensive to deal with than people on welfare.

    I would say that both minimal and maximal incomes are reasonable as it makes no more sense to have idle people hoarding resources than idle people wasting their educations. The recent collapse of major Wall Street firms is proof that pay has no relationship to performance after a certain level is reached. An income floor and ceiling with ample room between for individuals to thrive.

    Business, most importantly, has to be kept small enough to fail. An experiment without possibility of failure isn’t valid.

  45. 45 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 16:48

    Bruce~ Those people in the inner city you fear are merely entrepeneurs looking to exploit a temporary resource niche; your wallet. In exchange you are treated to an authentic adventure no more dangerous than scaling Everest. The fact that you have limited choices in that situation doesn’t seem to bother doctors when they are going after the same resource.

  46. 46 Pangolin-California
    October 13, 2008 at 16:50

    Capitalism—doesn’t work if you–allow to make risky decisions…by putting your money into unknown investments….

    How do I replace this computer? No single person can claim to understand it.

  47. 47 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 17:23

    Pangoin-I have to assume that you are a pure socialist because everything that you have outlined requires a complacent, benevolent overseer that offers controls without becoming an intimate player else greed again becomes the motus operandi (or is that communism). Of course, as has been pointed out we have neither a pure capitalist nor a pure socialist system anywhere in existence today so we have no clear examples to work from but I do have to agree that business must be small enough to fail. I must add that the consumer must be subjected to the constraints of the business to the point of cross sustainability. But then I see that as a capitalist system. As far as the inner city is concerned, there is, unfortunately an element where my wallet is not the prime motive, but rather an animal drive to be dominate within the gang rule (of course that might be said of the doctor and the rule of the almighty coin as well).

  48. 48 GB
    October 13, 2008 at 17:42

    “Capitalism doesn’t work….”

    On the contrary, I think capitalism worked all too well! I think we need a system incorporating a more deliberate blend of capitalism and socialism, which once past the inchoate state may scarcely resemble either of it’s predecessors.

  49. October 13, 2008 at 17:43

    lol, Pangolin. what do you mean you don’t understand it. If the economy goes bad, you should invest in cleaning supplies. Why? because people are staying in and eating in more. They are going to do more dishes at home and more activities at home that will require more cleaning. What is so hard to understand about that?

  50. 50 roebert
    October 13, 2008 at 17:47

    South Africa has weathered the storm remarkably well, although we expect more fallout in the months to come. The big thing in our favour was conservative regulation, including, especially, foreign exchange control and a tightly written national credit act which prevents easy access to bank loans. Our banking system (often described as ‘boring’) has traditionally been so severe that the joke down here is: ‘banks aren’t in the business of risk, mate.’ Many complained about these measures and traditions, but they’re all breathing sighs of relief right now.

    Capitalism works if it takes into account the basic stupidities of human nature, and regulates to prevent them. A lot has been said about greed being the culprit; Well, you can’t legislate against greed as such, but you can decide at which point greed becomes a danger to your society and regulate those aspects; and at which point greed becomes criminal, and legislate against that.

    Running a pyramid scheme, as these investment bodies have been doing, is not capitalism. It’s fraud. And fraud, of course, doesn’t work.

  51. 51 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 17:58

    Roebert – well spoken. Faud and greed are major players in the current situation and if our current admiistration (and some in the past) weren’t worried about propping up the ultra wealthy and would punish where punishment is due then capialtism has a much better chance of working.

  52. 52 Ogola Benard
    October 13, 2008 at 18:00

    Anyhow, capitalism is a brain of a superstitious man!

  53. 53 roebert
    October 13, 2008 at 18:45

    …capitalism is a brain of a superstitious man…

    I like that. It has true poetry, in the tradition of T.S. Eliot. It doesn’t need to make sense; you just let it wash over your mind, and suddenly you see it…perhaps.

    Now I’m tempted to have a go too:

    Capitalism inbreathed was a house,
    the wall, the wainscot, and the mouse.
    Dust in sunlight and capitalism in corners
    wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land
    grant us thy peace.
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the money we have lost in information?
    We are the hollow men, the stuffed men
    headpiece filled with capitalism

  54. 54 Harriet Jones
    October 13, 2008 at 18:47

    I feel surprised that we even discuss the term “capitalism” anymore. Over 20 years ago Harvard University did an extensive long term study on the ills of the American economy and discovered that the US no longer operated under a capitalistic economic system but rather termed it “Corporate Socialism”. The major culprit in what was not working in America according to this famous Harvard study? Corporations.

    Corporations have private standing Armies. They have more money than most of the governments in the world. They dictate countries policy and social justice. They effect the direction of our ecological systems. Yet somehow, and this boggles my mind, the little man is somehow being told he is at fault, he needs to work harder and to save more. Yet most of us no longer make a living wage, we have no extra to save. For this we are blamed for living beyond our means. We drive our old cars, we rent our overpriced badly maintained apartments, and we see no end in sight. Many are chronically unemployed who were formerly highly successful. This is the reality we never discuss.

  55. 55 Jonathan
    October 13, 2008 at 19:36

    Perhaps this old debate has lost its meaning. Perhaps back in Smith’s and Keynes’ day these arguments rang true, because there were much fewer people and much more resources. Today Its hard to imagagine a realistic Laissez Faire society with the enormity of things going on. We need only to look to the real ecomony that is ,ecology, to understand that man’s
    scarce resources are in short supply. And Ecology is the true Laissez Faire model. If we try to consider ourselves part of the natural world which I think is a fair assumtion then our numbers need to come down in order to balance nature’s books. Man can simply not go on living in such numbers and with such extravagence. The truth is, is that nature will sort out our numbers sooner or later. Whether it is acting through our consiouness’ or thru other means (war, plague).


  56. 56 Pangolin
    October 13, 2008 at 19:41

    Hmm, it sounds like capitalism is a game that must be played in a box formed of laws. The laws would have to outlaw the big stupidities and let the little stupidities sting.

    Who do we trust to make the laws?

  57. 57 John LaGrua/New York
    October 13, 2008 at 20:05

    Capitalism is the most effective system to encourage innovation,creativity and imagination.All systems are subject to abuse and require a public response to excess.This crisis is due to failure of senior management to temper risk, goverments eager for prosperity at almost any cost ,politicians on the take from big contributors and a general public eagerly deluding themselves that they were annointed to gratify every desire.instantly.The corruption sread through all aspects of society where liberty became license ,more and more poured into a yauning vacumn.Maxims of the past “,Moderation in all things ,knowledge of self “,Solon ,were disgarded with contempt.In the UK and US the two leaders symbolized the folly ,a fool and a sycofant in jeans tight enough to give any one a terrible headache.leading their countries into the abyss from which they themseves artfully escape. A new paradign will emerge ,hopefully balancing regulation with freedom of action to encourage responsible behavior throughout society.All great instituions need periodic reformation ,goverments through revolution ,sometimes violent and financial systems by catastrophic failure,An old folk sayiny “If everyone swept the front of their door all tha world would be clean”

  58. 58 M.Carter
    October 13, 2008 at 20:26

    The 3 great “Isms”, capital, social, and commune, have all failed for the same reason, too much power in too few hands. The quest for power knows no ethics. Global corporations and financial institutions are monopolies and hence totalitarian and anti-democratic by nature.

    In this present situation we have the same politicians and capitalistic financial leaders who created the problem reassuring us that they can “fix it” by keeping the same failed system in place. ? “Trust us”, they say as if they had absolutely nothing to do with past policies.

    So after these banks receive the money and loan it all out, then what? Another bailout? Any monetary system based on borrowing and loaning to keep it going is not an economy.

    Mark my words; this present bail-out is going to turn into a blow-up just a bit further down the line…

  59. 59 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 21:23

    Who do we trust to make the laws?

    pangolin-That is the exact question that will lead to an appropriate answer. And no matter what the system of control it still boils down to that box of laws. More importantly, using your model of minimum and maximum restraint, is – what laws have benefit to the whole as opposed to benefit for the few? Any system of society has to operate to the benefit and sustainability of that socety.

  60. 60 rick
    October 14, 2008 at 11:14

    The natural end game for capitalism is that one person ends up with the lot and everybody else has nothing.
    Corporations go around playing packman, gobbling each other up until some day there are no others to gobble. There are no morals or view to the future other than to be the last man standing and they will do whatever it takes to get there. Greed is good, money is God and profit is everything.
    Thank heavens governments around the world have just rescued it. Whew that was a close call, now lets get on with it.
    OK so…I can get you a 108 inch plasma TV today, no payments for 5 years and no credit check required and I’ll throw in a George Forman Barbecue for free. Just sign here sir…../

  61. 61 DENNIS@OCC
    October 14, 2008 at 14:27

    I think that the end of capitalism as we know it…is a good thing, but, next round–which it will be! Maybe some things will change….


  62. 62 DENNIS@OCC
    October 14, 2008 at 14:53

    C: rick October 14, 2008 at 11:14 am [and everyone else]

    OK so…I can get you a 108 inch plasma TV today, no payments for 5 years and no credit check required and I’ll throw in a George Forman Barbecue for free. Just sign here sir…../

    **that is the problem in “our” society to a point over the past several years!!!**


  63. 63 Vetrivel Adhimoolam
    October 14, 2008 at 15:00

    I don’t think so. Perhaps unregulated market capitalism is being replaced by the state capitalism, but that’s far from arguing that capitalism has reached it’s moribund stage.

  64. 64 Dan
    October 14, 2008 at 15:00

    @Will Rhodes
    I am not certain that China has been “Capitalist” long enough to draw any conclusions.
    In the end they may be just like us or…..they may have found a new formula.
    The fact that they hold significant US debt is another issue. America no longer charts our own course. Arab states, Russia & China have become new masters.

  65. 65 Bob in Queensland
    October 14, 2008 at 15:02

    The reports of the death of capitalism are greatly exaggerated. (With apologies to Mark Twain.)

    Seriously, as many have said, there is no such thing as “pure” capitalism. The amount of regulation used to control it has a history of changing and evolving and this process will continue. How many years until some bright spark says “all these rules are holding back the economy….some of them have to go”. I bet it’s within my lifetime…and I’m getting old already.

  66. October 14, 2008 at 15:04

    What has failed [in finances as well as all walks of life in society] is the Republican and Democratic Elite who govern the USA by attempting to mix communism, capitalism, and feudalism. The time has come for a new beginning under the Libertarian Party.

  67. 67 Shirley New York
    October 14, 2008 at 15:30

    Why cant we have some capitalism and some socialism? Even China is trying to improve the standard of life for her farmers. Obviously when we pursue each theme blindly, dishonest people fill their purses at the cost of the middle class and poor.
    In Capitalistic USA, the government is buying preferred shares in banks and not common shares. We, with our tax payer dollars has employed the government. However Mr. Paulson has decided that we need to have little say in Executive pay and how the banks are utilising our money, When the UK bought into 4 of their banks they have a hold on Executive salary and the UK has Universal Health Care, less homelessness and better benefits for veterans and retirees.
    It is time the US taxpayer gets better utilities for the taxes we pay or else our country will have very little say in world matters especially Iraq

  68. 68 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 14, 2008 at 15:49

    To put it in few words:

    “The market is a good servant but a bad master”

    I think it is from Václav Havel

  69. 69 gary
    October 14, 2008 at 16:25

    Functional capitalism has never “worked” per se. It has always depended upon governmental intervention to tilt the playing field in its favor. Even the act of Incorporation confers a whole range of de jure privileges and de facto licenses that allow businesses to act in ways that would merit an individual hard time. Good business decisions seldom rise to the level of neutrality, and much less often up to the standard most people call “moral.” These points having been made; it is none the less true that properly-controlled capitalism produces substantial wealth. Some might describe this wealth as “unequally shared,” while others describe its unequal distribution as “theft.”
    Laissez-faire capitalism is not a functional form of capitalism. Greed and other forms of immorality are not self-limiting. While good business decisions need not be based in morality; they do need to be based in predictability. Pure, laissez-faire capitalism robs wealth production of predictability. Thus, if allowed to evolve without interference, it progresses (1) through hegemony to slavery, or (2) to social and economic collapse.
    Which of these alternatives has just occurred? The bail-out might prevent global economic collapse. This is good, isn’t it? The bail-out has rewarded many people for making poor, and often immoral, business decisions. This doesn’t sound good at all, does it? Considering that I am now to be forced under threat of imprisonment to pay for the idiocy and immorality of others, I’d believe the former (1) has just occurred.

  70. 70 Savane, Nairobi
    October 14, 2008 at 16:35

    If Capitalism means “stealing from the ‘Getting-Rich’ to give to the ‘Already-Stinking-Rich'” (the 21st Century Robin Hood?), then Capitalism deserves to die!

    I’m a die-hard Capitalist, but everything has to operate with some controls that are enforced, and I think Enforcement looked the other way in the name of Freedom, and I (a Getting-Richer) is being asked to pay for it, and the Already-Stinkiing-Richers are sitting pretty! I believe that was the premise for the revolutions of the 18th Century! Hmmmh!!

  71. 71 Ndirangu/Nairobi.
    October 14, 2008 at 16:37

    I think Capitalism in Kenya only serves to worsen the plight of the poor. In Kenya, as in many other countries where “economic liberalization” is underway, the burden of caring for the poor resides not with public institutions but with private citizens. But is this fair? Shouldn’t the government be involved somehow? The current trend in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa is to reduce the government’s role in public affairs. Pressure for this “economic liberalization” comes mainly from societies where intrusions by governments into private matters are seen as excessive. I think the withdrawal is premature and it only reaffirms the cycle of dependence and the inequality that we want to alleviate.

  72. October 14, 2008 at 16:40

    In America the FBI is following the money. They should be able to identify who did what to amass the dollars and bring about collapse. Because so many people did the wrong thing it appears impossible anyone will ever be brought to task or court. Best option would be to freeze all accounts of where all the money went. Consolidate all the money into a grand fund along with the Social Security tax money that is paid into the system by employers withholding taxes from those who have bought and use phony social security numbers that have no real persons name and address attached to it and will never claim benefits. This account is now well over 500 billion dollars and amassing interest.

    Confescated funds from selling and reselling mortgages could be amassed into this fund and be used to pay off the trillions in our national debt. People whinning about their funds being computer generated and confenscated can apply through the complicated legal system to attempt to recover their funds from a system that they feel is corrupt. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!

    Thanks to Enron the FBI has learned quite well how to track the money and find it, even in Swiss Bank accounts.

    Another good idea would be to fund a national health care system and a national energy plan that T.Boone Pickens advocates. Also the National Energy Commission needs to be abolished, as it was originally started by President Carter to exactly create a national energy program that would get us off foreign oil, and has only blown 124 billion a year on nothing. Those funds could also be saved by eliminating the agency and Presidential cabinet post.


  73. 73 Kaidala Danappiah
    October 14, 2008 at 16:41

    Socialism is a mass movement,
    Capitalism moves mass.
    Socialists are outdated,
    Capitalists are inundated (with money.
    Socialism always talks about the ill
    effects of Capitalism.
    Capitalism always talks about socialism
    and its positives, however,
    only in the name of HR development.

    India is a socialist by heart,
    and capitalist by function.
    (irrespective of the so called economic
    liberalization of 1991)

    In America and EU, capitalists are now feeling
    the heat. Because, there are deprived sections
    within capitalism.
    How will they address the issue?
    They are doing it by cap-socialism.
    They are begging for tax payers’ mercy!
    It has not happened in India as yet.
    It will happen very soon.

    People think that Indian market’s ‘fundamentals’
    are strong. Well, when more 50% of 1 billion people
    live on less than dollar per day,
    what do people mean by strength?

  74. 74 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 14, 2008 at 16:55

    Dear Paul Jr.

    With the way the money markets are goings now, banks could close on us, all of us. I want to put money into your “school account” now so it will be there for the Fall Semester of next year. I am sending a check to cover the cost for this year, for our money system is crashing. Before they take it away from me, take it, cash it and save it for college, car repairs, medical bills, etc.

    Love, Janice


    This is the only thing from this fiasco that has directly impacted thus far. Janice is my aunt. She is 64 years old, retired Air Force Reserve of some 20 years, and retired state worker ad-min of some 40 years. She has been to the doctor for bleeding lungs. Her retirement has been affected by recent events, and the reality is, she will more than likely not see the recovery of the markets over the next 10 years or more.

    And to correspond with what I have heard from some financial advisers, it makes sense of people in retirement, to pull out. I do not know exactly how she feels about what she is experiencing, but I think as one might gather from the E-mail, it’s not hard to guess. I’d imagine it rough to see something you had been working on your entire life -as a penny pincher- to see your work crumble by the hand of someone else’s undoing and not your own.

    I disagree with the question. The approach is wrong, it breeds negativity. Is this the beginning of a change in capitalism? The word end is finite, maybe too much so. End of the line, End of your life.

  75. 75 Janet
    October 14, 2008 at 17:10

    My apologies- this is totally off subject, but I’ve been wondering for weeks- where is Dick Cheney?? Has anyone seen him??, shouldn’t he be visible during this crisis??, at least supporting his President? – Or the Republican candidate?? Does anyone else think this is weird??

  76. 76 Ogola Benard
    October 14, 2008 at 17:11

    Bailing for good of banks is okay but what is the per capita income per head?
    Maybe the tax payer should have a say before these banks are bailed out.

  77. 77 David
    October 14, 2008 at 17:13

    I agree with the witer of this comment “what is happening is just the begining of the end to the Capitlism as well as the US demonation on world economy…”

    I have another name for capitalsm and that name is “Greed”.

    Wall Street has been torn down like Balin Wall was. Governments around the world are contributing a stone or so each to rebuild Wall Street to prevent the money from disappearing, but will it work?. For me I have lost all what I had thanks to capitalism as we know it today.

  78. 78 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 14, 2008 at 17:14

    To follow up on the thought from the tail-end of my last post,

    Evolution, things change. While many things around us will be constant, like the sun,
    stars, space, sunny days, and rainy days … they way in which we interact with those things have changed, and will continue to do so. Do we like to think this evolution limited, and will not effect how we interact with each other by communication, entertainment, exchange of thought, or conduct business? Are we not capable of evolution in our scales of society and humanity? Business structure and the ways of which one carries them self in business is a reflection of how one believes. What do we believe? You have to chose a side, end or beginning. Do you want to start something new, or end something old?

    No, this is not the end of capitalism as we know it, it’s the beginning of change in what we know.

  79. October 14, 2008 at 17:42

    Capitalism to a point exist but it is not in it’s entirety. Psychology based mind control needs capitalism to keep a ascending striving work force. Capitalism can even be said to pose in a pretence of freedom.

    Society lives in a perpetuated dream world. The mass media of each ones country portrays a ideology that the populous must convey in every moment of their lives even though it isn’t real. Capitalism is still some what alive even though the citizens of the world live under a police state’s fascist totalitarian bureaucracy.

  80. October 14, 2008 at 17:42

    @ troop,

    The FBI is the police branch of the federal government. If they follow the money, they are going to follow it ack to the federal government. Back to the people who said, “owning a house is an investment, ownd a car is a right, there is such a thing as “good debt, and spending is the best thing to do when the economy is broke.” The chances of the FBI prosecuting their own boss is pretty slim.

  81. October 14, 2008 at 17:46


    If Dick Cheney reared his head even an inch – the US would vote for Obama en masse.

    The US is following the EU in what it is doing right now – and the US detests EU policy. But it is following it. That is far better terminology use than what is really happening – socialist policy in the US, or I should say what the US believes to be socialist policy.

    Capitalism was never alive in real terms, so how can it be dead?

    Anyone know what “The American Dream” is?

  82. 82 David
    October 14, 2008 at 17:47

    Dan, I disagree with you when you made the comments that
    “Comments are made as some dance with great glee that this economic crisis is the end of Capitalism and the US guiding the global economy. Never though does anyone say what they want to replace it all with. Capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than any other economic system. Perhaps those that hate Capitalism simply are too frightened to compete in the real world and want to return to their mothers womb. Since WWII the United States has guided the world economy preventing the chaos of the past and has been instrumental in establishing the infrastructure for nations to operate under. The failing is that from time to time it requires retooling and as economics is an uncertain art there will be crashes. If, as the Europeans have recenly said, we have faith in our Governmental institutions we will all get thru these crashes and come out stronger. What however do those who now dance with glee at the suffering want to replace Capitalism with? Their Mother’s womb is not a viable economic system”.

    · From this writing you appear to have a share in this great wall.
    · We can replace this mess with a recipe made of a mixture of capitalism, socialism and communism. How about this cooked together? I bet they will not give you bad tommy.
    · There is no one in his/her own mind is dancing with glee but those people have lost all what they had because of this mess. Are you accusing them of demanding to know how they are going to get where they had intended to go??! If so you must be part of wall street, and in this case I would not blame you. .

  83. 83 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    October 14, 2008 at 17:56

    Great Questions. Capitalism as we know it will die if the governments don’t stop messing with it.
    As some have said above, Capitalism in its pure form does not exist. If it did maybe we would not be in this mess. As it is governments have to much control over the economic systems. Once they are out of it the pure capitalism models and economic models will work. HANDS OFF! As you can tell I was not for the Bill that passed two weeks ago.

  84. October 14, 2008 at 17:59

    I have never seen capitalism as the best alternate, as it aims to serve the interest of a very few, creating a situstion of disequilibrium.
    I think this may turn out to be an end of a phase(the domination of capitalism).

    Mary from Nigeria(Naija).

  85. 85 jack
    October 14, 2008 at 18:08

    derivatives and hedge funds – why were these tolerated – round up the crooks and prosecute them – otherwise, Robespierre may return and the silently complicit may loose their heads as well

  86. 86 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 14, 2008 at 18:13


    “The American Dream” is a philosophy that says, I can do anything if I set my mind to it. I do not think that dream is lost, I think that dream has been hidden in a thicket. It is harder to see, and harder to reach that dream. The problem lies in the mindset or what we set our minds to. When we set our minds to our pockets … our hearts are prone to suffer, and when we set our minds to our hearts … our pockets are prone to suffer. What a person chooses to suffer and sacrifice has something to say about where their mind is. The problem is finding the balance … of this and that. What means the most to us? Money, or happiness? What we have experienced is the result of an extreme mindset toward the acquisition of more money, greed, and as a result we suffer in both pocket and heart.

    What do we surround ourselves with? What windows do we peer through? What doors do we open, and which do we close? I think the fundamentals of what we believe effect the fundamentals of what we do. What we have been doing does not work. While the path might change, the destination is still the same. The American Dream is what is has always been, hope … dare we not lose sight of it, deem it unattainable, or mock it. Our ability to communicate and change is what gives this speck of dirt meaning.

  87. October 14, 2008 at 18:17

    As I often ask my audiences whenever I’m standing in front of a microphone, “Money. What is it? Is it real? Is it imaginary? Is it a hold-over from an era not so long ago when Wimpy could tell you, ‘I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today…'”

    Speaking from the still imaginary 25th century on loan here to make sure we have a 25th century, I also tell my audiences that if I suddenly vanish, you’ll know that you people in this time zone screwed up so badly that our beautiful future didn’t happen. Hey, I didn’t ask for this assignment.

    Last Saturday night before singing “Dow Jones Beat”, an apparently visionary tune I wrote about 10 years ago on the heels of the ’87 hiccup, I attempted to explain what money is. In my usual stream of consciousness style I told the audience that money no longer exists (in the 25th century), and already it’s just electrons flowing from your account to mine, to hers, to his, and back again…)

    I often make reference to the way Whoopie Goldberg aka Guinan the bartender from Star-Trek Second Generation, never asks for a credit card, a Euro, or any form of payment at akk for the drinks she serves. Of course by the 23rd century replicators are in full use on starships. So the production of goods (if not services) is a done-deal. (requirements: access to raw material in molecular and sub-molecular form. 4 dimensional map of molecular placement in object to be replicated. Voila…)

    But until we get past the Ford/assembly line way of creating objects the current economic system is likely to persist in one way or another. Just as a horse mounted calvary practiced racing back and forth on a field above Arlington cemetary in the shadow of the first intercontinental radio transmission tower (that communicated with the Eiffel tower in Paris), mechanized “calvary” aka tanks, were already coming on line in the early 20th century. Where things have gone since then is too dismal to discuss here. So don’t get me started.

    Some of us are here in order to make subtle and not so subtle shifts in what goes on. The rung in this ladder is a little shaky so someone had to come back to fix it.

    If you want to hear “Dow Jones Beat” just ask and I’ll upload a copy to you. You can “gladly pay me Tuesday for a hamburger today…”

    Janet Bratter, MD (musical diplomat)
    “have guitar/will travel”

  88. October 14, 2008 at 18:20

    Credit, not capitalism is the thing that has changed. Credit has allowed us to feed on the capitalist organism for about 80 years. Just as when a parasite consumes it’s host, it dies, so it will be for credit and capitalism. Unfortunately there will be real human casualties with the death of credit.

  89. 89 Adam
    October 14, 2008 at 18:22

    Winston Churchill’s quote is really witty, but it’s not quite accurate. Socialism still heaps the majority of the misery on the poor. The success of capitalism is that it recognizes and accepts the fact that some people have inherent gifts that benefit greater numbers of people and they are, therefore, more valuable citizens and must be reimbursed accordingly. For example, the CEO of Lehman Brothers (despite the fact that he’s now considered “evil” and “greedy”) helped many more people than a mentally unstable homeless person could. Socialism is an attempt to ignore this realism and instead try to convince everyone that they’re equally valuable to the rest of society, which is simply not true. Capitalism is an attempt to reward a person (roughly) proportional to the number of people he/she benefit.

  90. 90 Dan
    October 14, 2008 at 18:23

    I appreciate that you disagree.
    Our economy in America is a combination of Capitalism and some Socialism only. Communism I believe is classified as a political system.
    Pure Capitalism does not really exist. My point was that there are people, some here on WHYS, calling for the downfall of Capitalism & the US guided world economy.
    I make no comment other than to ask what they will replace both with and I have not yet received a clear answer.
    Certainly I am a Capitalist but if there is a better system I’d sign on. No one has yet detailed one.

  91. 91 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 14, 2008 at 18:24

    The basic is, markets have not failed, government has not failed markets.

    People have failed them both.

    People failed to use the government properly, people failed to use the market properly. These entities are an extension of people. The problem that got us here is the power to control, check, and balance, is/was placed in the the hands of too few, for something that effects the great many.

    And I have to say, I am not happy with America’s flagship position in this most talked about manifestation of our beliefs, not as Americans but as people.

  92. 92 Dan
    October 14, 2008 at 18:25

    What happens if the US Guided world economy is left rudderless and no one patrols the sea lanes or promotes some type of order?
    What is money based upon? Certainly not Gold…there is not enough of it to support global growth.

  93. 93 Pangolin-California
    October 14, 2008 at 18:30

    I think a certain amount of exhaustion and giddiness is setting in after the last few weeks and we will see some of the thinner nuts crack soon. Every day we get a new explanation as to why everything will be all good tomorrow. We all lie down in our pillow top beds and force a few hours of ambien forced sleep and then….

    The next day we’re treated to new forms of looting by the palacio’d powers that be. So sorry, we’ll have to print up a few hundred billion more and give it to the morons that caused all this. You’re losses? Too bad. The foreclosure you’re fighting? On schedule. That health care that might get you back to work? No money for you.

    Unless and until we see the mighty lords of Wall Street hauled through the streets on the backs of flatbed trucks Chinese style, placards with cards hanging in front of them. Barring that unlikely occurrence there will remain a feeling that this was another form of looting by the rich. Enron on a vast scale.

  94. 94 Rex
    October 14, 2008 at 18:33

    The form of Capitalism that we have endured since the Apollo Moon Landing has incresingly become like the board game of Monopoly where people are represented by inanimate objects. The difference is that when the game of Monopoly is over you can start again or go out and enjoy life, but when the real life game of Monopoly ends, what we call Capitalism, people’s lives are destroyed and they no longer exist. We must have a Social Sensibility or we will become extinct like the Dinosaurs.

  95. 95 Ben
    October 14, 2008 at 18:34

    1. All money is generated by lending. When it is generated, the interest is not also distributed in any way. What this means is that there will never be enough capital to repay. It is a system of generating debt, until that debt exceeds the total of available capital. That is the point which the united states has reached. $700 bil bail out, $650 bil currency in circulation. 300 million population of US, I will take my $2 million please.

    2. The Economist recently reported that the total value of all life on the planet is $26 billion. The total of public and private debt in the US, depending on how you count, is $81 billion. This means we need two more planets to pay it.

    3. Fiat currency is an abstraction. It has no actual material value more than paper. Disillusionment can be painful.

  96. 96 David
    October 14, 2008 at 18:34

    Capitalism is NOT an inherently suppressive system. It’s purpose is to reward those with business savvy and ignore those without. However, this does not mean that those who lack it are being attacked, it is just the nature of the system. Anyone could potentially be successful in this setting. I do not believe this system is on it’s way out, but is instead stumbling because of widespread bad business practice.

  97. 97 M Harry
    October 14, 2008 at 18:37

    It better be the end of capitalism as we know it. Irresponsible, deceitful leaders are no foundation on which to build our childrens’ future!!!

    The ‘captains’ of the financial and banking service sectors failed us and the governments were clueless (or so they will have us believe)!!!

  98. 98 Steve
    October 14, 2008 at 18:38

    Is this Christiana in Denmark the “freetown” place in copenhagen that basically was a place where people hang out and do drugs? If so, I can imagine why they would want handouts.

  99. October 14, 2008 at 18:40

    How do you define capitalism? Money is a tool; an abstraction representative of real human relationships. The recent crises has been caused by a growing distance between these real relationships and the abstractions that correspond to them. It’s impractical and unethical. Regulation is certainly in order, but it would be foolhardy to do away with money or money-based relationships. A market evolves – even in places where there is no or no market. People have bartered or used other items as currency at different points in mankind’s history (yams, etc.) I would like to use innovative approaches to economies around the world: time-dollars, real money, barter dollars, local currencies, etc. Why don’t we hear about forms of capitalism that work toward socialism and direct democracy?

  100. October 14, 2008 at 18:43

    The U.S. government cannot be mobilized to provide health care for the population or a solar energy program or rebuild New Orleans, but it can bail out investment banks
    that don’t even create value. The US toxic mortgage securities are an example of theft,or “primitive accumulation” but it is a culture of theft developed over 28 years.

  101. 101 Kasra
    October 14, 2008 at 18:44

    To get rid of capitalism as a whole would be too drastic of a measure for society to grasp. Not only for the corporations of the world but for the people as well. However for capitalism to be transformed into social-capitalism would be the best of both worlds. Keeping the corporations competitive while also benefiting the common man. Letting government intervene will not only help the citizens but it will also grab the horns of the rich and keep them under control.

  102. 102 Pat in Belize
    October 14, 2008 at 18:46




  103. 103 Adam
    October 14, 2008 at 18:50

    Everyone keeps saying that China has a better system than the US because it combines capitalism with communism. The problem is that Chinese leaders have historically had so much power/authority that they’ve actually destroyed many of the advances they made prior to the 16th century because the authority was always vested in one person (or a few people). The power and accountability isn’t spread wide enough to make it a trustworthy system. Capitalism at least works roughly to reward and punish those who do not work in the interests of society (i.e. they fail to either help create jobs, or make money for their shareholders, or distribute money in some other form).

  104. 104 Kisha
    October 14, 2008 at 18:50

    It annoys me a little…the dependence on the idea of “making your money, make money”

    I mean, before there was money, there was bartering. Exchanging things of value that benefit both parties. So we help each other out and we all grow.

    I thing we need to get back to that. Not to say that financial markets are “the devil” but fundamentally, on an international scale, we need to focus more on the exchange of wholesome and sustainable products geared towards the greater good… and stop pumping up consumerism and spending on goods that have little “human” value… soon to be obsolete or designed to stop working after five months.

    Money is really “work done”… “human effort”…, work sometimes driven by child labour or underpaid workers for PROFIT… this profit is horded up by the wealthy. This is the heart of the capitalist society. It´s simply not sustainable.

    Jamaican in Spain

  105. 105 mila avramovic
    October 14, 2008 at 18:51

    the market-based economy is here to say. It is the most efficient we have come up with. What you need is social distribution of the profits that a market-based system produces, as the recent caller referred to, the Nordic countries. What clearly is dead is the mantra of ‘market always knows best.Market can self-regulate’
    It would have committed suicide, as the recent bubble proved. Left on its own, I think, as a master of the system has recently argued, the Mr George Soros, given human behaviour it drives to extremes that would prove fatal if society does not come to its rescue.
    It would die.
    And regulation is the nub of the problem-coz the smartest women and men go to the highest paying job, which does not lie in the beaurocracy overseening the market, but to those who can outsmart the system.
    Perhaps a checkmate, bubbles cannot be avoided???
    Perhaps George Soros should be head of the x that hires and oversees the regulators??

  106. 106 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 14, 2008 at 18:51

    Some of the thorns in the thicket in which our hope lies, are terms used to define. These thorns lock in beliefs of these terms, these definitions. These are things that must change, as evolution states, and how we define things must change too. Drop the definitions of the “problem” and there is still a problem.

    In the process of change, we might be able to realize that , we are obsessing on definitions and drawing lines of where we have been. We need to define our path ahead, not the path behind.

  107. 107 Wang Yiwei
    October 14, 2008 at 18:53

    I believe we are missing the point here.

    The financial crisis the world is facing now is a direct result of imbalanced access to public domain information.

    A society that does not protect the freedom of speech always tends to crash. If one thinks the CCCP or the Communist China is real socialism (or communism) that is competing alternative, then I would argue they only reached current economic growth rate after adapting the capitalism principles. The price for such economical achievement has been unimaginable. In these two countries, the freer the information flow is, the better people’s lives become.

    If one thinks the U.S. society is a model society, time proves it still has a lot of room to improve. The two-party-4-year election political system tends to lure the politicians into a short signed policy usually influenced by the richest. If one blames the greed and short-sighted actions from these crashed commercial banks, then we also need to reflect the this 4 year a term presidency system, in which a president looks for short term targets, blames the oppositions for failures. The crucial information concerning the nation’s welfare is not fully shared in such a system.

    By the way, the huge saving rate in China for the moment is due to missing of the social security system. People has to save for their education, housing and retirement. Even if the world goes into depression, people in the west would only suffer economically. If it hits a totalitarian regime, people lose life.

    A life time spent in a recession period in a democracy is 100 times better than that under a dictatorship.

  108. 108 Maccus Germanis
    October 14, 2008 at 18:54

    “the attitude of the State towards capital would be comparatively simple and clear. Its only object would be to make sure that capital remained subservient to the State”

    Anyone care to guess whom I quote?

  109. October 14, 2008 at 18:56

    hello again

    @Steve et al.

    it is a common misconception that people living in christiania are dependant on handouts. most people work, though some have reached pension age by now.

    welfare is also a way of alleviating the pressure on employers to be socially responsible. by using taxation to fund a welfare state, employers do not have to pay health insurance, schools and education. but the workers will. and if strongly unionised they will also have the means to negotiate and settle salaries with industry.

    this is how it works in scandinavia, and it makes our economies strong, as no one is left out.

    i was happy to have a say on the show, unfortunately my phone needed a reboot, so my line went dead when the london mayor came on.

    installing flip4mac now – what a pity the bbc streams in a closed format.

  110. 110 Eamonn in Kent
    October 14, 2008 at 18:57

    I read today in one of the UK National newspapers that as part of the Government package, the dividends to shareholders will be stopped. I work part time, am on low pay and have a small number (some 200 or so) shares and the small dividend bought me a little something as a treat. Meanwhile the bankers and financiers still got their big bonuses and payoffs.

  111. October 14, 2008 at 19:02

    Signs that your capitalism is healthy.

    1)You are not getting 10 credit card offers a week.

    2) no car loan lasts more then two years.

    4) the sum of the max credit limit of all your credit cards combined do not exceed more then 15% of your gross income.

    5) The out the door cost for your home (sale price, transfer costs, and interest) do no cost more then 25% of the agreed sale value.

    6) The max time for a home lone is 10 years.

    7) Within 4 years of leaving school, if you are in the field of your education, you should have your expenses paid off.

    8) The lowest paid employee of any company makes 3% of the highest paid employee’s salary.

    9) when you make a purchase with a piece of plastic, it is backed up with real money.

  112. 112 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 14, 2008 at 19:12


    Hitler stated in Mein Kampf that

    “the attitude of the State towards capital would be comparatively simple and clear. Its only object would be to make sure that capital remained subservient to the State” and also made a clear distinction between “capital which is purely the product of creative labour and … capital which is exclusively the result of financial speculation”

  113. 113 Dan
    October 14, 2008 at 19:12

    I understand the lure of the simplicity of a barter system but it simply is not viable when we want to grow a society or civilization.
    If populations expand and I want to build an apartment complex to house those people what am I bartering with?
    I borrow money from a bank, who makes profit (interest) and I build my apartment building paying my contractors who are making a profit. I rent out the apraatments so that I make enough money to repay the loan plus make a profit for myself so that I can reinvest that money again.
    I cannot see how bartering will do that and neither can bartering solve a worldwide energy shortage.
    In my view I am afraid the world just grew out of a barter system.

  114. 114 Dan
    October 14, 2008 at 19:19

    ~Dwight….Real Money!!??…Real Money!!?? What is that?

  115. 115 Gene Pepi
    October 14, 2008 at 19:24

    Yes it is an end to capitalism as we know it. The USA is losing its place in the domination of the world, financially. China and Brazil, between them, have the five largest banks in the world, that financially dominate the world economy.

    The financial bailout is not socialism. It is a reform of the capitalist system, as explained by Ken Livingstone. The class that dominates society and the mode of production has not changed. The political-economic regime that rules society has not changed.

    When the British labor party, in the post World War II period, nationalized industries, they did so to save capitalism, not replace it with a society, democratically run by and for the working class and the oppressed.

  116. 116 Adam
    October 14, 2008 at 19:30

    Wang, I agree with you that the US two-party, four-year election cycle system could prove to be flawed. It’s meant to protect against authoritarianism, but it might go too far in the opposite direction and, therefore, be detrimental. Also, you propose that an imbalance in information causes an imbalance in socioeconomic positions; however, there will always be an imbalance in information because information is a freedom that must be exercised (largely) by the individual; it cannot be forced on anyone by the government. The US has opened up many avenues to access information that was previously inaccessible (like info on Congressional legislation, political campaign donor lists, etc.). Anyway, classical economics, in my opinion, is going out the door because it says kind of what you say: that as long as society has access to complete information people will always act in their own economic benefit in a predictable manner and, therefore, society will be better off. The flaw in that argument is that it presupposes we have access to the info we need to make the most self-serving decisions possible (and it presupposes we all make self-serving decisions 100 percent of the time).

  117. 117 Syed Hasan Turab
    October 14, 2008 at 19:39

    Because of defective Govt monitering Capitalism is loosing public trust, nothing wrong with Capitalism. Aggressive Corporate attitute is developing Terrorisam in financial market, because of huge profits & huge bonuses sever damages been caused to mother state along with public suffering’s & trust.
    During this high speed era we need highly trained financial monitor’s to govern the system otherwise off & on we have to face bailout & public will be riped off constantly on regular basis.

  118. October 14, 2008 at 19:40


    lol, not sure if your question was met to be satirical and/ or rhetorical. But for those slower and listening along I will answer anyway.

    Real money is the money you get from your boss at the end of the week. You may have seen it in a the box at your yard sale. “Real Money” is what you give to the guy who approaches you at the gas station and tells you his story about his stranded family and running out of gas. It is money you got from drawing from your bank account and not a credit card. Real money is what that “out of gas” guy is spending later when you see him buying a beer at the strip club. “Real money” is the only thing they will let you slide in the governors G-string.

  119. 119 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    October 14, 2008 at 19:46

    On air: Is it the end of capitalism as we know it?

    The Capitalism we’ve known has NEVER been a constant! So:

    Incorrect Q! The correct Q should be: Is it the end of Capitalism?

    A = It should be the end of unfettered, unregulated or lightly regulated and uncontrolled Capitalism.

    Life is NOT black & white. It is grey! In this context NO extreme is right or the ideal.

    Neither Pure Capitalism, nor Pure Communism nor Pure Socialism is ideal! Keeping in mind that ‘Pure Capitalism” or whatever is in itself an inexact term. So how can its definition be exact!

    Mother Nature works on the principle of balance. Of course, the time scales of Nature, in certain instances or processes, differ vastly from the time scales we want or prefer!

    The answer lies in studying the following VERY carefully:

    >The processes of Mother Nature
    >The behaviour patterns of humans to a set or created ‘Rules & Regulations’! Especially in terms of how they manage to break or manipulate the ‘Rules & Regulations’. Something akin to the saying: ‘For every lock invented someone will invent the key.’


    >Creating a fluid & flexible regulatory regime which allows Legislators and regulatory agents and/or ‘The People’ to immediately clamp down on newly developing methods of financial dealings, obfuscation (e.g. ‘Off Balance Sheet’ items!) and so on.

  120. 120 Dan
    October 14, 2008 at 19:48


  121. 121 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    October 14, 2008 at 19:51


    Dwight! LOL! Indeed! Fantastic!

  122. 122 john in Scotland
    October 14, 2008 at 19:57

    Missed the show tonight as Im away ..bet it was a ..goodun .Capitalism collapses in on itself simply because of certain inherent contradictions ….There easy to track…its just know ing what to look for .
    The problem lies in being able to get our heads round it . Once you :understand it you have the power to change it for the good .

    When Einstein abstracted the laws of relativity.E=Mc2..it meant we could manipulate , matter to release new and hidden amounts of energy,….when we understand the molecular properties of materials we can design them to work in ways that work for us .

    The problem is overcoming fear and the desire by some people to go back to something that has in affect just destroyed itself .

    It is akin to telling a mother she cant have here baby that is about to be born….how bizarre horrifying and dark is such a proposition ……..now ask yourself …what was the consequences of the crash of 29 when we failed to recognise that something had fundamentally changed………something bizzare horrifying and dark

    Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

  123. 123 Jared
    October 14, 2008 at 20:09


    It was good to hear what you had to say. I must say I was disappointed that you didn’t get a chance to say all that you wanted. It seemed that the person speaking from the Netherlands was very shall we say “opinionated” and you didn’t get a chance to respond. That’s the problem when they try to bring so many people on. I listened to the rest of the program hoping you’d have your response, but I am glad at least that you had the chance to post on here.

    In the US, where I live, providing health insurance is a big burden on employers. Employers actually pay much more for their employees than the employees realize. They think that they are only being paid $12/hr. for instance, but if they are getting health insurance, it’s actually much more than that. Which makes it almost virtual slavery if you are getting minimum wage or near to it ($5.15 min nationwide–some states have a higher one) if you are not getting health insurance on top of that. It’s a shame really because the cost of health care is artificially high. My guess is that has to do with the high amount of people that don’t have health care. While many people may scream “socialism” here, which seems to be more of a dirty word than in other countries, we seem to be heading for more government intervention anyway, but only on behalf of the rich. If we had socialized medicine as you do in Denmark, I think the cost of health care could be spread more evenly, and it would actually be less of a burden on employers.

    Shame I have not had the chance to visit Christiana for myself!

  124. October 14, 2008 at 22:05

    What we have winessed is the result of unbridled capitalism to cater to individual greed and/or negligence. Society is having to pay for it now by order of governments which say they are for free markets but at societal cost -a contradiction in terms. Let us see how this artificial fix will pan out in practice. Unless public input/interest into the massive bail out is carefully monitored, properly audited and reviewed the results could be very painful for taxpayers in the longrun. If this too fails it could be a financial doomsday scenario leading to a serious depression. Responsibility with accountability is the cure. Should those who fail deliberately or otherwise not be punished as in the Singapore Barings Bank case? New legislative measures may be needed to protect the public interest. People should not be permitted to walk away with millions in final payouts despite failures.

  125. 125 john in Scotland
    October 14, 2008 at 22:17

    Capitalism is ineffect check mated .It cant return to its former self. The success of its own mechanisms have produced the very things that will now destroy it .

    It has built up vast productive forces that have now surpassed the limits of a finite planet to maintain and sustain .

    It is not growth we need now but a sustained retreat where we organise sustainable sytems of dependancy. Where we cooperate internationally as opposed to ” co operate “” but in a competitive market mode .

    The forces and solutions for a new tomorrow are already being given birth to..they have been building for a longtime .Now they must come to fruition and dominance …and not dashed on the rocks because a section of our society wants to hold on to the mechanism by which it has distorted values both monetary and moral.A system which has set one against another ,and us all against the very earth on which we depend .

    We don,t live in a vacuum….we will either fill it with enlightenment or we will fill it with misery.

  126. 126 Thomas Murray
    October 14, 2008 at 22:22

    I’ve been joining the discussion late because I haven’t been able to sleep at night. My savings are in a trust fund in one of those financial institutions that have been flailing on Wall Street for the past few weeks. It’s also made me anxious and depressed.

    My librarian friend, who works in the library where I use this terminal, is in similar straights with another investment house. Though she’s near retirement age, she cannot withdraw her account without incurring a penalty. Though neither of our investment banks are in receivership or bankrupcy, right now the economy is suffering from nothing else but worry of its investors.

    Now here’s the bombshell.

    Winston Churchill was right about the inherent greed of capitalism. But let’s be fair about the assignment of blame.

    In the U.S., our labor unions were so good at negotiating that they basically priced our factory workers right out of business, which is why so much of our heavy industry has moved to other countries. And everyone knows if you want to grow the economy, you first have to manufacture something.

    The saving grace of the U.S. economy is our agricultural sector. But like the Brazilian rain forest, our arible land is slowly being buried under the concrete of urbanization.

    Has capitalism changed? It must. Else our children’s children — burdened by a scarcity of everything — will curse us for our wastefulness.

    –Regards. Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.

  127. 127 Kisha
    October 14, 2008 at 23:19


    I appreciate your response to my comment. I´m in the construction industry… at the design end and even though I don´t know much about economics… i´m seeing (and feeling) the relevance of the point you´ve made. Spain´s construction industry had slowed dramatically even though their banks seem to be weathering the economic storm. The point I really want to make is that I agree… bartering is surely something that we can never go back to… but that “human effort” that pumps money around should be grounded in the production of things that are wholesome and sustainable… whether it´s the example you made of housing (that meets basic human need and when done properly uplifts that environment), wind farms or banana fields… just so long as POSITIVE WORK is done, which yes creates PROFIT but as you rightly said, should be REINVESTED and not allowed to become stagnant. Of course… now that I´ve typed it out… I can´t imagine how that can be regulated!

    Jamaican in Spain

  128. 128 john in Scotland
    October 14, 2008 at 23:41

    Hi Thomas …dont see how it can change as its a particular way of doing things …with particular consequences …both positive and negative . Trouble is it has converted both man and nature into something that now is unable to survive sustainably that is now so alienated to her that we are in real trouble . Watch Ken Burns The West …its all in there.
    It is a process that has gone through continents like a virus eating them up and spitting them out….now its China and India .Use the labour and resources to add value and concentrate it in the hands of a relative few .
    As in 29 this bottleneck if you like brings the whole thing down.
    the Labour guys you were talking about only defended their right to live a life worth living .The corporations moved to sustain their profitability in a market dictated to by shareholders and speculators . Who was right …both in .their own way
    …they were doomed to collide because of the very inherent logic of the system itself .

    Resolve the contradictions within it …you resolve the antagonism

  129. October 15, 2008 at 00:32

    Capitalism will reimerge with a bit of socialism thrown in.
    Greenspan warned some 3 or 4 years ago with regard to the ecessive behavior in the financial markets but it fell on deaf political ears.
    For politicians its all about staying in power, nothing else.

  130. October 15, 2008 at 01:55


    The housing industry, especially the design end, poses an inherent conflict with capitalism. What do you, a housing designer, need to continue gainful employment? People buying houses. In your case, uniquely designed houses. Since many houses last longer then most lifetimes, it is easy to see that the need to supply more could fade to nil. However, as a housing designer, you can’t really see that happening. What you need is eternal population growth. That is an unrealistic need.

    In the US we have supplemented that need by encouraging population growth at the poorest and most uneducated sectors of out society. We have also looked the other way as 20 million illegal immigrants have come pouring across our borders. They need housing. Unfortunately they don’t have much wealth.

    So what does a home builder do when everybody in the community has a house? This is a question that the US has had to struggle with a few years back. The brilliant leaders at the time thought, NAFTA! More examples of secretaries and soldiers that passed economics with D+ (even with help from a friend) and never even ran a business of their own are in charge of making economic policy. Yet we keep electing them because, well, they look like us.

  131. 131 Paul Harbin - Waco, Tx.
    October 15, 2008 at 05:57


    Money is power is money. Being drunk on either is dangerous. But, I think they care about money markets … just a tad too far under-the-table to notice the tab.

  132. 132 Joseph Martin
    October 15, 2008 at 07:05

    What happened during last month is a proof that capitalism is not dead. Market forces did rule. A bubble that was weak on its fundamentals burst. It is true that the governance and risk control mechanisms failed. But that should not be interpreted as the death of capitalism.


  133. 133 K.Anaga
    October 15, 2008 at 07:20

    It is not the end of capitalism.It is the beginning of cautious and careful capitalism with adequate safe guards and cosideration for the people. Perhaps greed and selfishness may be thwarted and a lesson learnt.

  134. 134 john in Scotland
    October 15, 2008 at 10:24

    are you perhaps confusing enterprise .individual effort resourcefulness…. all those things we associate with being a winner…… for capitalism?

    Are you afraid all this would disappear if we worked in a system where the we co operated with one another …we ‘re fair with one anotherand gave remuneration where remuneration was due ?

  135. 135 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    October 15, 2008 at 10:48

    Re: john in Scotland. October 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Very well written comment! I agree.

    However, reading between the lines of your comment I am wondering whether you are hinting at something without actually saying it in words.

    For example, when you say:

    “The forces and solutions for a new tomorrow are already being given birth to..they have been building for a longtime. .”

    Do you mean ‘Sustainable Development’ which is predominantly ‘Green’ or just ‘Pure Green’? Or do you mean Socialism or Communism?

    Or would you rather NOT attach a label to it?

    Sustainable IS a label you have to attach to your argument. Isn’t it?

  136. 136 Kisha
    October 15, 2008 at 11:13

    A great point for you Dwight From Cleveland!

    Last night I said to my husband… “honey, we need to diversify”. Spain has had a housing boom for the past 10 years or so and the problem is that it’s population growth has levelled off. If the economic situation gets worse many immigrants will go back to their countries of origin (good news for many Spaniards)… so where does that leave design and capitalism?

    Design is not restricted to new buildings… and the market does need to adapt to the needs of the society. Part of the nature of capitalism is to create an excess and them push it on the society through advertising and, to an extent, recondition the perception of the masses creating the desire to consume unnecessarily. If we’re to get some balance back, what we produce, sell and “capitalize” on should be of real need to the society we live in. Capitalism is just a tool… the values that drive it is the real problem. How we use it is not sustainable.

    Jamaican in Spain

  137. October 15, 2008 at 13:31


    You hit the nail right on the head. Capitalism works just fine if I grow vegetables and you raise livestock. We could buy back and fourth in a very sustainable manor. You produce something that when I purchase it, the product makes me happy and when you get my money from the purchase you in turn buy something off me that makes you happy. But the US economy eventually found itself more reliant on “big ticket items” such as auto, steel, and things classified as “durable goods”. If you walk into our stores here, many of our less durable goods are made out of our borders by people who don’t have the will or ability to buy the stuff we produce.

    I was a draftsman for awhile. I hated it. my world for 8 to 10 hrs a day was a 19″ screen with AutoCAD or Solidworks on it. I hated it. But as with many occupations there are wither transferable skills or niche markets.

  138. 138 john in Scotland
    October 15, 2008 at 19:22

    Hi MAXIMUS good question

    sadly due to blog rules its often ot easy to speak in more than generalised terms .Im going to be brief as the system has just dumped my more detailed reply.

    Those forces are .. both right and left in some general sense . Both thinks their right for reasons often emotional more than reasoned ..

    For me it has to be based on reason and logic .
    I think its pretty uncontestable now that global warming is on its way,that we need to maximise the resources to meet it and to co’operate in getting the solutions across the board ..Just on that issue alone ..forget world poverty ..terrorism…they pale into insignificance.

    So for me the problem dictates its own solution. I think it would be bizzare in the extreme to bolster and put back in place a system that has not only produced the problems in the first place……and despite its agencies such as the UN and the IMF has gone on to make the gap between rich and poor wider ….has concertinered a bottleneck as a consequence and now bellied up good and proper…….and can I add WITHOUT A STRIKE IN SIGHT for it to blame it on .

    It has collapsed because of its own inherant contradictions within it..

    To ignore this and say ….oh yes,Ill.,deny the evidence of my eyes….waste 5 -10 years in a state of destitution for the majority of the world …forget about global warming …all because ” free market “is democracy (because its got the word free ).

    Since when was democracy about a world voting for such disparaties and chaos.

    Answer is …it never was and never will be …its just that we’re on the whole mesmerized by the illusion factory of ideas.

  139. 139 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    October 15, 2008 at 20:32

    Re: john in Scotland October 15, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I like it even better!

    The parts I particularly like, simply because they are the truth/facts or close to the truth/facts and they mirror my own thinking are:

    >”Both thinks their right for reasons often emotional more than reasoned ..

    For me it has to be based on reason and logic.”

    >”So for me the problem dictates its own solution.”
    My comment: That IS the way it should be and has been but do we realise it?

    >”It has collapsed because of its own inherant contradictions within it..”

    >”Since when was democracy about a world voting for such disparaties and chaos.”
    Excellente! Since the time democracy was hijacked by Senators in togas (as in Rome) and is being hijacked now by Senators (penguins) in black ties)!

    Yeah! The world needs thinking people in Power to reverse the corruption & manipulation of whatever system BUT can the thinking people maintain their focus when faced with mesmerising wealth &/or power? The answer/result of that Q will determine the continuance or otherwise of the human species!

    john: Stay on the blog! Keep writing.

  140. 140 john in Scotland
    October 15, 2008 at 21:37

    Hi Maximus …..you ask another good question there.

    Would it be right of me say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely ?

    If so… I’d say absolutely . Im not an idealist ,and I think humans are primordial creatures with primordial instincts that if not given a degree of limitation will quite frankly take the biscuit …and the cake …and the cream.

    I think all complex structures take a certain shape for reasons that allow them to function .Large social\ structures tend towards the pyramid.Only by understanding the essence of it can you create regulations and structures that allow the energy to flow harmoniously.

    The problem is and this is a biggy and I,m afraid quite scarry and ominous , is that a structure can only be healthy and harmonious if the environment in which it lives is in some equilibrium within itself .(Good article on this is by george monbiot …. his latest one )

    ….We no longer are and to be truthful this will probably degenerate even further as resources run out and global warming changes the very landscape on which populations depend …..Im afraid that the prognosis is not very good …
    It makes it thus more imperative that we try as it is our children and grandchildren that will inherit this mess and quite rightly curse us for it.

  141. 141 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    October 15, 2008 at 22:41

    Re: 140 john in Scotland. October 15, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Based on whatever knowledge I have of the history of humans you’re right to say so. Just for fun the original quote (from ‘phrases.org.uk’) is:

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” By
    John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton,…

    “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it” By
    William Pitt, the Elder, The Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778,…

    In other words: Control, Regulation, Rules which try to create/enforce a ‘balance’ (equilibrium = your word) ARE necessary!

    When the resources run out:
    Visualise the movie ‘Mad Max’ (Mel Gibson) & directed by George Miller. I really respect Mr. Miller & Mr. Kennedy! Those fantastico images depicted in his film will be what we see once resource scarcity is reality & so releases the worst of our primordial survival and dominance instincts! The hair at the back of my neck is standing!

  142. 142 john in Scotland
    October 15, 2008 at 23:16

    Well the damage is probably in some proportion to the delay .The quicker we get acting in concert the chances are better .

    Strange how we live in a time, where the possibiility for transformation can release so much energy for the good ,but at the same time could basically self destruct .Its a real knife edge job …fascinating but scary.

    One thing is not optional ……transformation itself.

  143. 143 preben jacobsen
    October 16, 2008 at 14:29

    Capitalism was designed to self destruct and it’s failure is inevitable, because it is based on corruption, greed and deceit, with no moral values or concern for the best interest of the people. The fact that 95% of all wealth in the world is owned and controlled by about 3% of the world’s population speaks for itself. It is stupidity to think that this grotesque greed by only a few, while the masses of people around the globe are barely surviving, and in many cases not even that, can continue to prevail. These capitalists are morally bankrupt, self serving worshipers of the culture of entitlement. They claim by the very fact that they have made it to the top, regardless of how many lives and resources they have destroyed in the process, to have the right to indulge in obscene wealth, while depriving millions of people of a basic existence. It is this culture of greed and entitlement that has led to depletion of natural resources, such as timber and fish, while other resources such as oil has become a tool of organized crime to extort money from the people, by demanding outrageous prices for fuels. In most parts of the world the wealth generated from resources does not even benefit the people in the region, but somehow seems to disappear into some corporate bank account somewhere. In this time of economic turmoil and global climate change, a different approach is not only needed, it is a matter of survival of civilization as we know it. It is absurd to suggest that working people around the world should have to bail out the financial institutions, without part or full ownership in return. Ownership will ensure that the self serving criminal acts by a few top executives in the industry will never again be allowed to create such mayhem in the lives of regular decent people. It will also mean that the general public, who have become unwilling shareholders in these financial institutions, will perhaps see a fair return for their investment. And should the financial world turn around at some point, and the governments stand to receive a share in any would be profits, that wealth should be invested in health care, education and affordable housing, so various governments are not tempted to pull some brain dead quick fix stunt to deal with the shortage of housing, by giving mortgages to people to buy houses that common sense dictates they can not afford. I believe the world is at a cross road in history. We can choose to turn these events into a new world order of fairness and social justice for the masses of people around the world, or we can stand by passively and allow the capitalist criminals of the world to resume control, and continue to exploit and deprive the people of their basic rights. Best regards from: Bosco in Canada.

  144. 144 john in Scotland
    October 16, 2008 at 18:50

    Hi Preben
    very eloquently put and in a nutshell.We have put up with this despotism of the free market for too long .

    There is nothing democratic about a system that maintains and exacerbates such disparity. It is largely a sophisticated technique of mezmerization and brain washing ..

    Most of us carry certain assumptions about the world …as in for eg …democracy equals a free market ……Its actually such a generalisation it actually means nothing in itself .Only when you start breaking it down and reveal its inner logic do you find that it is ineffect the exact opposite..

    We all carry shared assumptions of the world that are not neccessarily a reality ,…they are not spoken …they are not discussed but they are the premises on which we discuss the world and make decisions ..No wonder we go from one disaster to another , and why more often than not something ” gets worse ” when they have pronounced targets to make it “get better.”.

    We live in extremely dangerous times .and I dont think people realise the extent of this .We;ve had the earthquake ,now we’re going into the arms of a Tsunami.

    The middle classes and the working class along with the worlds dispossesed must act to demand the socialisation of money and resist all demands to be dispossesed of what the “system thinkers” will say you now have to pay back ….everything from the house you live in to the place you work and to the services that will now be affected.

    New institutions need to evolve which will be made up of the capital that we own and share ,and not to be “given “to the institutions that have created the speculative and fictitious values that they now want to realise from us .

    The socialisation of the banks and markets must become a reality and made to serve the majority not the minority …..that is democracy.

  145. 145 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    October 16, 2008 at 22:07

    Re: john in Scotland. October 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    “One thing is not optional ……transformation itself.” (Eloquence!)

    Re: preben jacobsen. October 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    “We can choose to turn these events into a new world order of fairness and social justice for the masses of people around the world, or we can stand by passively and allow the capitalist criminals of the world to resume control, and continue to exploit and deprive the people of their basic rights.”

    That makes three of us with similar thinking and similar objectives!

    Key Q’s:

    How can like-minded people get together to create a force for fairness and common good without falling into the trap of ‘Power corrupts …. corrupts absolutely!’

    Once the like-minded people have made an agglomeration which is large a subsidiary Q is: when will some of the like-minded people begin to betray the common goals etc. as their primeval dominance or greed instincts kick in?

    What are, & how will the forces of equilibrium be released & enforced such that a ‘new’ system does NOT stray and become as exploitative as Totalitarianism or Communism or Capitalism?

  146. 146 john in Scotland
    October 16, 2008 at 23:04

    hi Max

    “What are, & how will the forces of equilibrium be released & enforced such that a ‘new’ system does NOT stray and become as exploitative as Totalitarianism or Communism or Capitalism?”

    The way you put it reveals a certain underlying assumption perhaps. ie that the lessons of history are not taken into our body of knowledge…..and that Communism has existed and its dictatorial…..

    Well Id have to say that “we” as living systems within a “social living system” within a planetary system are to a certain extent predomonantly self balancing as in essence we are just energy in motion and things tend towards equilibrium.
    What we lack is the key that allows the conscious element to see its balanced place in the uiverse .
    Historically this has been the aim of philosophers and in some respect religion .
    Our knowledge of the material world and psycho social behaviour is such that we an devise conditions structures and rules to enhance that goal.
    I would be the last one to think for example that in his heart Gordon Brown is not sincere in hsi idealism for a better world …its just that the assumptions he believes in such as the” free market will deliver” are hopelessly generalised and inherantly contradicting …..the proof of which is now ” in the public domain.” so to speak .
    The forces acting on him to try and “bring it back “…are as such that to re-dress the system he has to strip a lot of people of what they have .In effect he has to dismantle what he thought were the material benefits capitalism could bring to the worlds poor and under priviledged ….sort of cashing it in to give it to the banks .

    As for Communism. its never existed. and in fact nor has socialism. Socialism can only exist and be perform in its suggested ideal if money and markets are socialised and that ecxchange rates are in effect non existent ……you call it the dolar …we call it the pound ..(because of our emotional attachment to labels )…..but in essence its completely interchangeable.

    As for Communism I really cant see that emerging any time too soon as diminishing resources and degraded ecosystems will neccesitate organs of authority to keep the lid on obvious tensions that will emerge .

  147. 147 Emile Barre
    October 18, 2008 at 14:03

    To sup with the devil you need a long spoon.

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