A PRECURSOR TO A NEW ECONOMIC STYLE (part one of CONSCIENCE CAPITALISM, slightly reworked)

There has been a lot of talk lately about many issues facing our way of life, and a lot of people are asking, “What can we do? How do we change things?” Poverty, homelessness, unaffordable health care, climate change, depletion of natural resources. Pollution so bad our oceans are dying, our water is becoming undrinkable, and our air is becoming unbreathable. We are killing ourselves, and we are killing our planet. Looking at the big picture, we are killing life! What good is anything, especially money, if there is no one to spend that money–if there is no one alive to live here? So, having heard these pleas for help, I started to ask myself, what ideas could I come up with? Can I offer anything to this world so we don’t commit lifeicide? My answer is, maybe…

But before I get into my ideas, I feel the need to state I am not an economist, not in any way, shape, or form. In fact, what I am is a spiritual explorer, a label I have recently given myself, on top of others I gave myself at varying times throughout my life. I study life, not from without, but from within. I am the me scientist. I have only one field of study, me. I have only one test subject, me. And I am my best student. Anything that does not come from within me is just outside interference. I can only know it is real if I find it in me. And it is by knowing me I have come to know life, all life, and where I learned to care about all life. If I can help anyone, big or small, many, or few, or just one, then it is my responsibility to do so.

So, having set my parameters, or lack thereof, I would like to offer the world what I call conscience capitalism. Or, capitalism with a conscience. Why? Because, inside me, I care.

Why do we need conscience capitalism, whatever that is? I am speaking here mainly to the industrialized nations of this world, where capitalism in any form is the dominant way of life. As it happens, I use the word dominant in more than one way: capitalism dominates the nations that use it, but capitalism also dominates almost every nation on earth through having most of the power in the world. We do have socialist nations, and communist nations, and even communal nations, or some kind of mixtures or hybrids of the main four economic/geopolitical systems, but one thing is clear: Capitalists have created such fear in the hearts of the workers-for-wages they rely on to support their capitalism that the workers fear losing their ways of life should any other economic system be tried. It does not matter that this fear is unfounded, or built on false premises, or even false promises! It matters only the fear is there! And therefore we must work with it, and around it.

But how do we, the workers, work with what has come to be called the 1%? All of the wealth in all the capitalist nations in the world is owned by just 1% of the population of the world. Karl Marx tried to warn the workers of the world over 150 years ago this was going to happen. Unfortunately, he did warn the capitalists of the world of what might happen if the workers of the world decided to do something about the 1%. Their response, accomplished much faster than the workers could respond, was to create a deep, unjustifiable, and unreasonable fear of the system Marx and his buddy Friedrich Engels called communism, which Marx and Engels devised as an alternative to capitalism.

The result is, almost everyone in the industrialized world has an inbred fear of anything that is not capitalism, especially socialism and communism. Just listen to the Republicans in the USA today. Democrats are socialists out to destroy democracy. They might as well be communists. And look how many people believe them. How many people voted to let Trump, a Republican, continue destroying the democracy he claimed to want to save. AMERICA cannot afford to lose their democracy. And democracy seems for too many to mean capitalism. So, therefore, the best way to save capitslism is to work with the capitalists.

But, at present, capitalism is running amuck. Once upon a time it paid lipservice to the idea prices will be determined by what consumers will be willing to pay for a product, and by competition, consumers will demand better products by purchasing higher quality products. If ever that were true, it is not anymore. What happened to change those ideas, or should I call them ideals? I don’t think there is one simple answer to that question, and there is not just one answer, but I am going to give you one big answer, and that is credit cards.

There was a time when workers/consumers had to save their money up to buy things they needed. This created a capitalist cycle that looked something like: an owner of wealth or ideas to create wealth would employ workers to create things, said workers being paid a certain amount of money in return for their labour. The workers would then use their money to purchase the things they produced, as well as food, shelter, and all the necessities of life. But, the price of those goods was not based solely on the value that would be determined as the cost of production, there were two other factors, interest on the money used to invest in creating the means of production, meaning that money was another form of worker and had to get paid for working, and profit, which was an arbitrary amount paid to the wealth owner for allowing people to earn money from him. So, the cycle ran with money going from its owner to the workers who paid more to consume than they were paid to produce. This profit in turn is paid to the owner for risking his money in the first place. The controlling factor was that there was only so much money available, and so there had to be some caution given to what to do with that amount of money. And the workers, having only so much money, did have some influence on price and quality.

No more! When the idea of letting people use credit cards to purchase goods they were paid to produce arrived, the wheels came off the machine. Credit started as just a short-term form of non-money. People were very leery about credit cards, buying things on credit, buying only as much as they believed they could afford to pay at the end of each period of time. But that was the generation who grew up having what they called respect for money. They did not believe in spending too much more than they earned in that particular length of time. One problem was, though, the wealth owners started to pay the workers wages of less value, while at the same time asking them to produce products of lower quality. The words planned obdolescence entered into the language–goods made to last only so long so that consumers would have to purchase more of the same goods over and over. This helped lead to wealth inequality, the buying power experienced by the rich as compared to the buying power of the workers. To put it bluntly, there was no comparison.

But the children of those earlier wage-workers looked at credit differently than their parents did: Why wait till tomorrow to purchase something you could purchase right now, and enjoy right now, rather than waiting to buy only that amount equivalent to what you could earn right now? With that concept came the idea: Buy now. Pay later! And suddenly, there was more money around than what was the value of the available money. The money did not exist, except in bookkeeping records that soon turned into computer records. But the idea of the money did. When the wealth owners saw that, their eyes bugged out of their heads! Here were oceans of non-existent money that could not only earn high percentages of interest, but also previously unheard of rates of profit. And they knew the workers would hardly notice, most of them were incapable of high finance. In fact, not only would consumers pay ridiculous prices for the goods they wanted right now, but also the consumers would willingly pay ridiculous interest charges on their credit cards for the right to have instant gratification. Profit rates and interest rates soared. As we all know, the rich became richer, the poor became poorer, and the wealth inequality divide grew, and grew, and grew.

But there is a cost for all these things. There is always a cost. The question is, who is going to pay it?

Right now, capitalism has no conscience. The wealth owners, for the most part, care very little for the workers, and even less for those incapable of working, no matter what the reason. They take, and take, and take, and give little of value in return. The worst part is, what they take they do nothing with. They play games with their fellow wealth owners to see who can own the most wealth. They are numbers on a scoreboard, numbers that do nothing worth anything. That is what has to change. That is what must change.

Money that just sits there, doing nothing but earning interest, can be considered dead money. It is not working for anyone but its owner. It is not helping the wage-workers, nor the poor, nor even the government. The more the wealthy take, the less taxes they are willing to pay, the less money they are willing to pay to charities that benefit the greatest number of people. The less they pay, the more the wage-workers need to pay. This only benefits the rich.

So, once again I say, capitalism needs to grow a conscience. And it needs to grow one soon.

Author: rawgod

A man with a lot of strange experiences in my life. Haven't traveled that much per se, but have lived in a lot of different areas. English is the only language I have mastered, and the older I get, the more of it I lose. Seniorhood gives me more time to self-reflect, but since time seems to go much faster, it feels like I don't have as much time for living as my younger selves did. I believe in spiritual atheism and responsible anarchy. These do not have to be oxymorons. Imagination is an incredible tool. I can imagine a lot of things.

15 thoughts on “A PRECURSOR TO A NEW ECONOMIC STYLE (part one of CONSCIENCE CAPITALISM, slightly reworked)”

  1. The problem is not the American Capitalistic system. The problem is that America has become too big and too ethnically diverse to be governed effectively by one man as president answering to a House of Representatives and a Senate. What we need instead of the present system is a three-headed presidency (Three members of a presidential committee) where all three must agree before any executive action is taken … and we need to have the House and the Senate operate on Referendum entirely where every citizen can weigh in on issues before they ever reach the House and the Senate. We need a purer form of democracy … a committee system throughout where the final decision does not rest with a single individual or a single committee … a system where all minds must come together before anything is done. I think it would be acceptable to simply do away with the Legislative Branch altogether and assign the governing of the country to the Supreme Court … a supreme court where there are an equal number of judges — five from the right side and five from the left side. The three-person-presidential committee would be the tie breaker.

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    1. Your idea scares the hell out of me, unless the members of your presidential committee have to pass very rigorous psychological testing to prevent any extremist of any flavour from any chance of tricking his way onto that committee. As for the requirement of three like votes, imagine if a Mitch McConnell got onto such a committee. Unless all three are open to negotiation, with the good of all the people in mind and heart, I see that as a big boondoggle.
      It might be next week before I get to finish my next installment on Conscience Capitalism, or it might be tomorrow. Either way, when I do, and if you read it, please do so without emotion, and take a while to digest it, please. Maybe it isn’t as radical as I think, but that is not as important as that I think it will do more good for more of the people, not just Americans, and it will benefit a large proportion of the populace without directly harming the 1%ers. Reigning them in, yes. Harming them–only if they refuse to be humane. And it would not be physical, mental, or spiritual harm, just financial. But that would be up to them.

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  2. I read what you wrote — “I am the me scientist. I have only one field of study, me. I have only one test subject, me. And I am my best student.” — and I conclude (It is my opinion) that if you actually believe what you wrote in that sentence then you must be totally self-absorbed, the center of your own universe and quite possibly even your own “God.” These are things I believe that normal people cannot relate to. (Or, for their own good, should not relate to.) By the way, thank you for unfollowing me. Good luck going forward. By the way, if you are really interested in spiritual things then consider this, “No person can pretend to know anything about spiritual matters at all unless they can love their worst enemy unconditionally.” Your act of unfollowing me does not seem to me to be very loving … so I cannot accept you as any kind of authority on spiritual matters. Sincerely yours, The Chauvinist Pig.”

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    1. No problem, John. I did not say you are my enemy, I did not say I don’t love you, I just said I cannot be around you. As for the “me” statements, you need to read the whole paragraph (except the whole paragragh is not there). Obviously when I re-wrote the paragraph I left part of it out. So I have to stand by your criticism. But if I was that self-absorbed I wouldn’t care about anyone else, would I? And the reason I wrote that post is because I care not only about all people, but about all living beings. So, go ahead and think badly about me if you must, I have no anomosity to you for it. We each must do as we do. I understand you may be bitter about things I said, but they were not intended to harm you. My hope was that you might re-think your positions about women, and violence. When I found out you are proud to be an MCP, and believe it is okay to run a car into people “unintentionally” while worrying about only your own skin while inside a car where you are somewhat safe from harm during a riot, well, those are not at all “spiritual” positions, are they? But I am not going to fight over this. You are who you are, and who you want to be. Go for it. I unfollowed you so we would not have to have this conversation. I hope now we have had it.

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      1. We have had it and I am glad that we have had it and I enjoyed every word of it. I am just sorry that you appear to me to be so obtuse. You and I could have a lot of fun fighting back and forth on the blogs. It is not I who lack the courage here. It is you. You prefer to hide. That is alright too. Like you said, Be who you are.

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        1. Sidenote to John … how do I reach your blog? When I click on your name (linesbyliming.com), it brings up an error message. I coulda’ sworn I accessed a blog by you before, but alas … it now lost in the ether.

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              1. Hi, Nan.
                Did you visit John’s blog? I do hope you read his posts on Cuomo, Oklahoma, and especially Capital Punishment for Abortions.
                The man is trying to be leftist, so he says, but I cannot imagine anything as far right-wing as these three “opinions.”

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                1. Yes, I visited his blog — but I’ve only read a couple of his recent posts.

                  However, after reading your comment, I did take a quick scan of some of his earlier posts, but so far I haven’t seen anything addressing the issues you mentioned. Since he doesn’t have any kind of “Previous Posts” option, it’s a bit difficult to find anything on the topics you mentioned …

                  Could they have been on his now discontinued blog?

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                  1. After a bit more scrolling (what a pain!), I did find the ones you mentioned … and responded to the one on abortion since this is a subject that I feel VERY strongly about.

                    As for the others? I may not agree with his perspective, but they don’t happen to be ones I care to take the time to debate.

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                  2. Nope, just go to his homepage, and scroll down. All three of the keywords I gave you, Cuomo, Oklahoma, and Capital Punishment for Abortion appear in three different, and recent titles.
                    To give you a hint, he believes Cuomo, and men in general, are being falsely accused by the women they have harassed or assaulted, and they should just shut up.
                    In another post about the State of Oklahoma, he says the House has passed a bill to prevent anyone from being tried of “unintentionally” running down protesters on public streets if the driver is fearing for his or her own safety while trying to escape a riot. I really hope that is a joke, but according to John last year, or maybe two years ago, a truck driver struck 17 people who were protesting something, and he was not charged with anything.
                    But the real cake is Mississipi, I think, where they are trying to make abortion a capital crime, unless under very extreme cases. Not sure who all gets condemned to death, but it sounded like everyone from the aborting woman to anyone who helped her get the abortion, surgeons and nurses included.
                    He calls himself a liberal.
                    But I’ll leave the reading to you.

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