positive personal and global change through education
We need to work together despite our differences of opinion for a better alternative to the current economic system because, ultimately, we all want the same thing – a fairer, happier, more equal and sustainable system than the one we have now.
I am so ecstatic about the huge success of the recent article The Truth Behind Capitalism (here) and grateful for the overwhelming number of people who have watched the accompanying documentary:
The objective of this short 30 mins documentary is to present information and opinions from various different sources not covered in the mainstream media so that people are more informed about the economic structure of capitalism and the true meaning of socialism (which is the power of the community placed in the control of the people – not in the hands of a few), in order for people to think more objectively about community versus individualism, or cooperation and unity versus competition and division, to see where they would put these two opposing values within a new economic model.
It critiques the current system from the perspective of Karl Marx; unsurprisingly, not everyone agreed with Marx’s perspective that a more communal, or ‘communist’, approach to the way we live would be more moral, ethical, and better for people and planet.
But the fact that so many people took the time to comment on the article at all is very telling in and of itself.
In 2008, the economic system as we knew it literally collapsed, and it seems that this may well be one big reason why so many people are questioning the validity of the system we have today and fervently debating its many alternatives.
Here are some other economic alternatives to the current capitalist system that Collective Evolution readers expressed:
Socialism is commonly misunderstood as government control of everything; in actual fact, advocates of socialism seek worker control of the means of production (places of work), not state control.
Socialists believe the people should make decisions as a collective through workplace co-operatives.
Karl Marx coined the term ‘socialism’ as a reaction to the exploitation by factory workers of the working class, especially through child labour, purely to yield more profit.
As Harvard, Stanford, and Yale educated economist, Richard D Wolff, explains (here), socialists see the economic motive for profit maximisation as the problem with capitalism, and the reason why wealth in unfairly concentrated into the hands of the few.
Whereas socialism promotes an alternative economic system that is democratically planned by the workers (democratic socialism), advocates of social democracy support the current mixed economy, and want to keep the private sector.
However, they believe that the state needs to heavily regulate the actions of capitalists to avoid ‘corporatism’ or ‘crony capitalism,’ which is when out-of-control business practices allow for corporations to lobby, influence, and sue the government.
This political alternative is what is often wrongly dubbed by Republicans and other American conservatives as socialism in the USA, as they disagree with state funded initiatives such as free education and health care:
Further examples of socially democratic regulations could include using the proposals set out by the non-profit organisation Positive Money (here) to regulate the current market economy with better ethics and morals, or the framework developed by Earth system and environmental scientists, which suggests enforced preconditions for businesses (such as ecological taxation) based on planetary boundaries (here) to ensure sustainable development.
Capitalist libertarians, such as Stefan Molyneaux (here), do not fall easily on the progressive left or the conservative right because, like the left, they believe in a fair society for the people, but like the conservative right, they also believe that the capitalist economy itself is the way to achieve this.
Libertarians believe that the inequality we are experiencing today has grown not because of capitalism, but because of government involvement, since political rulers not only grant monopoly privileges to a small few, but also decide who succeeds and who fails.
Libertarians argue that true capitalism is nothing but the free and voluntary trade of goods and services and the private ownership of the means of production (places of work).
The profit motive is seen as a beneficial consequence of free trade because profit can only be realized when something is produced that other people want.
Advocates of capitalist libertarianism therefore see profit as the best motivator to be creative and productive in a stateless free-market society; instead of government forcing people to behave in certain ways, people trade and interact freely with each other for the benefit of all. In this model, the profit motive exists alongside a non-aggression principle (here).
The most important thing to know about communism is that communist societies past and present have only been communist in name.
Communism has never existed, because in a truly communist society there is no more state, everything is owned by everyone, and there is no more scarcity.
Like capitalist libertarians, advocates of communism seek to decentralise the government until there is no state, but unlike capitalist libertarians, they also wish to move completely beyond money as a form of trade to a society in which people work together as a community, and make communal decisions on the best way to share goods and services for the benefit of all people in society.
Marx believed that communism is the natural progression after socialism, and socialists see the ideology as a goal to aim for as the people build a fair and equal society.
RBE or Resource-Based Economy is a relatively new term that many are excited about. The idea was developed by Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project (here) and is now also being developed by The Zeitgeist Movement (here)
Advocates argue we must view the world systemically as one organism, and focus on technology as a means to manage the world’s limited resources and provide for the needs of all.
Like communism, it is a belief in a post-scarcity economy where there is no longer any need for money. Unlike communism, in order to eradicate scarcity, the world’s resources would be managed by a central computer, which could therefore be seen as a kind of central state entity.
The principles behind the RBE are set out in The Free World Charter:
Having publishing an article back in August on all these responses (here), I have since come across anarchist Peter Kropotkin’s theories on mutual aid (here), Bookchin’s libertarian socialist ideology called communalism (here), Michael Albert’s participatory economics or parecon (here), and several suggested alternatives to GDP.
CE readers also left comments about one other social structure: Ubuntu Contributionism which proposes a system free from money but, as founder Michael Tellinger explains (here), this system turns to ancient knowledge rather than modern technologies for its societal blueprint.
I haven’t had time to properly investigate these alternatives yet, but that is perhaps ultimately the point.
The first step to positive social transformation is to recognize that there are so many intelligent people offering possible alternatives to our current collapsing economic model.
We need to work together and debate each other’s ideas constructively despite our differences of opinion because, ultimately, we all want the same thing – a new, fairer, happier, more equal, equitable and sustainable system than the one we have now.
If we can agree on that much, then we can also agree that we are all far more alike than different, and that is when positive social transformation truly becomes possible:
So what do you think?