Connect with us

Business

Is Capitalism vs. Socialism a False Choice?

Published

on

We need true democracy if we’re to halt the slide into self-extinction.

Economic power is—and always has been—the foundation of political power. Those who control the peoples’ means of living rule.

In a democracy, however, each person must have a voice in the control and management of the means of their living. That requires more than a vote expressing a preference for which establishment-vetted candidate will be in power for the next few years.

My previous column, “Confronting the Great American Myth,” distinguished true democracy from government by the wealthy, a plutocracy. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Constitution was written by representatives of the new nation’s wealthy class to keep people like themselves in power.

On Jan. 4, the newly elected Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced HR1, the For the People Act of 2019. Its aim is to make voting easier, reduce the influence of big money, and curtail gerrymandering. Even before it was introduced, the champions of having rich people rule were falsely characterizing it as an attack on the freedom of speech of ordinary Americans.

The provisions of HR1 represent an important step in a transition from the plutocracy we have to the democracy most Americans want. Unfortunately, political gridlock assures that HR1 has no chance of becoming law until at least after the 2020 election. Yet the popular yearning for democracy reflected in that bill makes this a propitious moment for a serious conversation about what a true democracy might look like and why it would be a good idea.

We stand at an epic choice point for our nation and for humanity. The plutocracy now in place has put us on a path to self-extinction—a future with no winners, rich or poor. We must now seek a path that restores the health of Earth’s regenerative systems while securing equity, material sufficiency, peace, and spiritual abundance for all—exactly the opposite of the plutocrats’ drive to secure the power, privilege, and material excess for themselves. This makes democracy far more than just a good idea; it is now an imperative.

The power of plutocracy depends on keeping the people divided against each other along gender, racial, religious, or other fault lines. The goal is to divert our attention from themselves so that they can maintain their power and continue to amass wealth.

Champions of plutocracy would also have us believe that we must choose between two options: capitalism (private ownership and management) or socialism (government ownership and management). They prefer we not notice that in their most familiar forms, both capitalism and socialism feature an undemocratic concentration of control over the means of living in the hands of the few. Democracy is essential for either to work effectively for the benefit of all.

Plutocrats generally favor capitalism, because in the extreme form we now experience, it supports virtually unlimited concentrations of wealth and power. Its practitioners are also drawn by capitalism’s ideological claim that unregulated markets will assure that the presumed benefits of a growing economy will be shared by everyone, and so the rich need not bear any personal responsibility beyond maximizing their personal financial gain.

The critical economic and political question for humanity is not whether our means of living will be controlled by corporations or government, but whether control will be concentrated for the benefit of the few or dispersed, with benefits shared by everyone.


Join Mobilized for life-changing opportunities, create new partnerships, discover new and improved ways to mobilize your ideas and actions, and discover a whole new world of opportunity dedicated to sustainable development of systems around the world. Sign up here.


 

Support for the needed economic transition can come from many places. Just as people are not necessarily racist because they are White or misogynistic because they are male, people do not necessarily become plutocrats just because they are rich. Many wealthy people work actively for economic and political democracy and support radical wealth redistribution, including through support of progressive taxation and significant taxing of inherited wealth.

The political and economic democracy we seek cannot be easily characterized as either capitalist or socialist. It is a system of substantially self-reliant local economies composed of locally owned enterprises and community-secured safety nets with responsibilities shared by families, charities, and governments. Such a system facilitates self-organizing to create healthy, happy, and productive communities.

In our complex and interconnected world, this system will require national and global institutions responsive to the people’s will and well-being to support cooperation and sharing among communities, but the real power will be dispersed locally. There would be ample room for competition among local communities to be the most beautiful, healthy, democratic, creative, and generous. There is no place for colonizing the resources of others or for predatory corporations.

These communities will most likely feature cooperative and family ownership of businesses. They will also recognize the rights of nature and their shared responsibility to care for the commons and to share its gifts.

The rules of plutocracy evolved over thousands of years. We have far less time to come up with suitable rules for democratic alternatives. That search must quickly become a centerpiece of public discussion.

Source: David Korten, Yes Magazine

Continue Reading
HEROES5 days ago

Right Livelihood Awards Announced: System Change is Not Only Possible, But Necessary

HEROES5 days ago

Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers

HEROES7 days ago

Make Love Go Viral: Somalian Peacemakers

HEROES7 days ago

Energy as a Public Service

HEROES7 days ago

Honoring Cooperatives

HEROES7 days ago

Ukranian Human Rights Defenders

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Understanding the Great Transition

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Information, Communications, Media

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Consumption, Materials and Resources

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Food and Agriculture

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Transforming Health

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Education for a New World

Featured2 weeks ago

The Transformation of Energy and Transportation Systems

The Great Transition3 weeks ago

Going forward: A realistic action plan

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Policy1 month ago

NO TO NUKES: Non-proliferation treaty conference ends in failure, ban treaty shows the way forward

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Innovation without Borders

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Information without Borders

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Affordable and Renewable Clean Energy

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Resources and Materials

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Improved Food Systems

Build for Change2 months ago

Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Featured2 months ago

Indigenous rice out-performs commercial varieties in nutrition value and tolerance to drought, flood, extreme weather

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

Reviving Jordan’s community, resilience and food sovereignty through urban wheat cultivation

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

An organic farming revolution in Thailand

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Rethink: Humanity’s Next Operating System

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

Food and Land2 months ago

Understanding the Roots of the Food Crises and Preventing Future Crises: Resilience and a Deep Dive

Editorials2 months ago

Another Conference is not going to save us:

A web of Life for ALL Life2 months ago

Truths or Consequences

Build for Change2 months ago

The launch of “Rights of the Atlantic Ocean” campaign in Newfoundland

Build for Change2 months ago

What’s really going on in the Brazilian Rainforests?

Editorials2 months ago

To Save the Planet, Forget About the Globe (And Act Locally)

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Rethink X4 months ago

Out of Chaos Comes Creation: Understanding Transformation of Civilizations

Rethink X4 months ago

Understanding the Repeating Patterns of History: Growth / Collapse / Transformation

Mobilized News Network7 months ago

Clarity Above all Else

Paradigm Change7 months ago

Nuremberg Prosecutor at 102: Make Law, Not War.

INTERVIEWS8 months ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change8 months ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Arts9 months ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

A web of Life for ALL Life10 months ago

We are One

Mobilized TV10 months ago

How we can eradicate heart Disease

Mobilized TV10 months ago

Howard Bloom: Imagination Takes You Everywhere

Featured10 months ago

From Punk to Planet: Slam Dunk the Junk with Dave Street

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A Moral Responsibility: Jean Su, Ctr. for Biological Diversity

Mobilized TV11 months ago

On Free Speech TV: Rethinking Humanity with James Arbib of RethinkX

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Sustainable Architecture, Design and Building for a Sustainable Planet

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A better understanding of lawn care for Climate Care featuring Dr. Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Stories from the Reservation: Davidica Little Spotted Horse

The News without the Noise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translate »