The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System

In the vein of his 1977 bestseller, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, nationally recognized social critic Jerry Mander in this 2013 book, researches, discusses, and exposes the momentous and unsolvable environmental and social problems of capitalism.

Mander argues that capitalism is no longer a viable system: “What may have worked in 1900 is calamitous in 2010.” Capitalism, utterly dependent on never-ending economic growth, is an impossible absurdity on a finite planet with limited resources. Climate change, together with global food, water, and resource shortages, is only the start.

Mander draws attention to capitalism’s obsessive need to dominate and undermine democracy, as well as to diminish social and economic equity. Designed to operate free of morality, the system promotes permanent war as a key economic strategy. Worst of all, the problems of capitalism are intrinsic to the form. Many organizations are already anticipating the breakdown of the system and are working to define new hierarchies of democratic values that respect the carrying capacities of the planet.

This Sept 2016 article from Resilence offers a long-term perspective on capitalism and de-growth. A 90-minute plenary session from a conference in Budapest on this theme can be found here. It starts (8 minutes in) with a poem:

What is capitalism?
A kind of state?
An institution?
Some values?
A power structure?
Ideology?
A Culture?

What governs capitalism?
Supply and demand
Invisible hand
Enclosure of land
The drive to expand
Market mechanism
Class schism
Racism
The moral virtue of productivism.

Innovation!
Invest!
Impress!
Progress!
Entrepreneurial quest for
Technological success in
Pursuit of profit.

Laissez faire!
Free market
Free trade
Free enterprise
Freedom to buy
Wage slavery
And debt.

Individual self-interest!
Ambition
Addiction
Friction
Cut throat competition
Eat or be eaten
Grow or die.

 

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