The Myth of Late Stage Capitalism - Page 3 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

"It's the economy, stupid!"

Moderator: PoFo Economics & Capitalism Mods

Forum rules: No one line posts please.
#15083086
quetzalcoatl wrote:All of the above are subsets of Late Stage Complexity.

New complex (and very fragile) production/control systems have evolved to replace more primitive (but sturdier) systems of food distribution, transportation, and communication. Whether it was intentional or not, these systems are irreversible - they can't be ratcheted back or turned off without severe dislocation.

Consider financial clearing as an example. We no longer have the armies of trained clerks to do this manually, and with the current size of capital and money markets it's probably not even possible. A freak solar flare destroying computer networks/power transformers, a concerted cyber attack, a global heating induced hurricane drowning NY financial district... As these and other innovations were introduced bit by bit, no one was stepping back and asking "how can we engineer robustness into this new world?"

Thus fragilities are embedded in our basic survival systems at every level and across every industry. The scope and depth of system fragility increases every day.

No one can say when, where, or how, but... It is inevitable that a predictably unpredictable trigger will randomly push the system from metastability into chaos.

(These are strictly internal problems of complexity. I'm ignoring hard external problems, like environmental degradation.)


There's a great book on the subject called The Collapse of Complex Societies by anthropologist Joseph Tainter.
#15083093
B0ycey wrote:@SolarCross, there are two methods where Capitalism ends. This first which is quite quick where the populous storms government and takes over and brings forward a Socialist Government - which historically happens during times of struggle and the second is a slow progress of many many years where governments take over failed businesses and nationalises them for the good of the nation and enterprises cannot compete with them due to the demand of profit and ultimately collapse to then be nationalised. And under both scenarios it will be the lack of cash flow that causes these reactions. You might not like "Printing Money" or counterfeiting Money as you call it, but without doing that the cash flow stops and Capitalism dies straight away. The 2008 financial bailout was basically to get Capitalism beating again. So don't forget that when you criticized the methods of MMT.

Your first method basically never happened. All the socialist governments to date may or may not have had some popular backing but none of them won the civil war that put them in power because there was any problem with "capitalism". Invariably they won by exploiting the problems in the old government. Even where there was some complaint against private enterprise it was really just a xenophobic complaint against foreign companies.

You second method is extremely dubious too because governments tend be bad managers so after nationalising something they usually want to be rid of it after a while so it gets sold off again. Moreover decent governments do not simply steal companies, failing or not, they buy them. There is practically no problem with governments buying up private assets if the price is fair. Moreover most decent government buy up companies for a strategic need (sane) not to impose socialism (crazy). This was why the UK railways were nationalised, because they were perceived to be vital for moving troops around fast. They sold it off once they realised that actually now that they have cars and planes that the railways are bit superfluous and obsolete for military uses.
#15083099
SolarCross wrote: Moreover decent governments do not simply steal companies, failing or not, they buy them.


How much did Rover cost again? £1

A failed business costs virtually nothing. A bankrupt business even less. And governments can function quite well. It has done better with the NHS than privatisation ever could and Leyland ran better than Rover. The sell off were due to Heyek economics which is basically a system that benefits the wealthy. It doesn't stop them from failing once cash flow stops.
#15083106
B0ycey wrote:How much did Rover cost again? £1

A failed business cost virtually nothing. A bankrupt business even less. And governments can function quite well. It has done better with the NHS than privatisation ever could and Leyland ran better than Rover. The sell off were due to Heyek economics which is basically a system that benefits the wealthy. It doesn't stop them from failing once cash flow stops.


A fucked business is worthless for sure, it does not matter who buys it a private investor or public one, if it is fucked then it is virtually free. Governments do not always nationalise broken businesses though and if they are going to nationalise everything as you seem to want them to then they will have to buy hundreds of thousands of healthy businesses too at fair value. The cost of doing that is incalculable. Unless they cheat somehow, forced purchases at below fair value using counterfiet money? There will be riots as that is the behaviour of an overtly criminal regime. Certainly no democracy could do something like that. So you will need to impose a Mugabe or Hitler or Stalin on us first. The marxists were right about that. The dictatorship is the path to socialism not democracy.
#15083116
Capitalism is quite resilient. The problem is that we haven't priced in things like climate change, pollution, etc.

Increased government involvement is inevitable. Partly to price in things that capitalism ignores, partly because that's the way the world has worked for a couple centuries.

Studying the history of capitalism is quite constructive. We run into crisis after crisis and have to adapt to the changing circumstances. It's not as emotionally satisfying, but hey, it's the way the world works.

Of course, there is an assumption here. And that is that we aren't so stupid we kill ourselves off. I have to admit, that thought has several good arguments in it's favor.
#15083146
^ @late I believe there are quite simple mechanisms for which private enterprise can be forced to price in pollution. Simple class action litigation for environmental damage is sufficient. A company can spend on appropriate clean up and disposal and pass that cost onto their customers as higher price or pay in damages awarded to litigators. It is actually government that allows companies to dodge environmental responsibilities because government can craft permissive regulations (after collecting bribes) which effectively exempt the company from litigation as if they conformed to the regs then no court can hold them to be irresponsible. Then the fault lies with the crafter of the regulation but governments are pretty hard to litigate against.

The theory that government are the ultimate angels of mercy is not well supported by reality, often they are the bad guys.
#15083151
SolarCross wrote:
^ @late I believe there are quite simple mechanisms for which private enterprise can be forced to price in pollution.



Not really.

How would we price in the pollution of the oceans or the Amazon.

This is a lot of things, simple isn't one of them. Actually, there is one simple idea. That's a constitutional convention for a global government. I have a feeling that's not going to be on your to do list.

But that would give the authority to regulate.
#15083154
late wrote:Not really.

How would we price in the pollution of the oceans or the Amazon.

This is a lot of things, simple isn't one of them. Actually, there is one simple idea. That's a constitutional convention for a global government. I have a feeling that's not going to be on your to do list.

But that would give the authority to regulate.

The oceans are the commons, hence the tragedy of the commons. If they actually belonged to someone then there would be some one to give a crap about what happens there. That might be governments or whatever but, whether public of private, if no one owns it no one cares enough about it to protect it.

Global government would be bad and probably impossible anyway. No one is going to make the Russians or the Chinese subordinate themselves and pretty much no one with any balls will either. It would take another World War and the next one of those may be humanities last. It's hopeless. Also even if some gang could hustle world spanning government then there is no escape from tyranny unless you can escape the planet. A lot of refugees struggle to escape just across a single earth bound border that you could just walk across but for border control. Escaping into space is a massively harder proposition, even in the future when space travel may be much cheaper. Essentially world government will just facilitate greater tyranny, worse even than the DPRK or China. It is good basically a good thing it can not happen.
#15083164
SolarCross wrote:
It is good basically a good thing it can not happen.



When technology makes a higher level of organisation possible, it happens.

The real choice is between letting China get there the old school way, or by voting.

Anyway, you would have authority to regulate.

But I think you may have lurched accidentally into the general neighborhood of the truth, that might be beyond the ability of humans to deal with. Please note that I didn't say they couldn't do it, just that they couldn't plan it out and rationally build a world spanning democracy.
#15083165
Global government is more of a right-wing fantasy than anything else, but if I recall in the early days of PoFo there were some liberal and moderate-minded people (like MB I think) who advocated for world federalism.
#15083175
late wrote:When technology makes a higher level of organisation possible, it happens.

The real choice is between letting China get there the old school way, or by voting.

Anyway, you would have authority to regulate.

But I think you may have lurched accidentally into the general neighborhood of the truth, that might be beyond the ability of humans to deal with. Please note that I didn't say they couldn't do it, just that they couldn't plan it out and rationally build a world spanning democracy.

It has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with human wilfulness, diversity and general rebelliousness / self-respect. Any polity however decentralised needs some basic agreement on values to hold together. There is no way the CPC is agreeing on anything like that with say for example the US, so one will have to dominate the other through successful war. Given both have nukes then hopefully that will not happen. This is not even considering all the other countries. What does Somalia have in common with Sweden? Why would the Russian take orders from the Japanese? Why would the Australia give up the XXXX for the Iranian. It is never going to happen. Even relatively homogeneous polities have their splitters and rebels. A fair number of Scots want independance from England, Texas and California have secessionist elements, Taiwan is in no hurry to join China and Hong Kong wishes it was still under British rule. Catalonia wants to undo 600 years of Castilian hegemony. I could go on indefinitely. It is a hopeless dream that would probably be dystopian to the extreme even if it could happen. You may as well give it up. You are the only one in the world that imagines it could happen and will not live much longer anyway (are you not a boomer?). The world will be as divided as it ever was forever.
#15083293
@SolarCross, you should do a thread on late socialism. We could talk about how it innevitably devolves into fascism and how its total failure at class politics has forced it to rely on the junk science hoaxes of the liberal establishment. We could talk about how it cynically exploits group identity in exchange for a seat at the kids table inside the libtard tent. We could also talk about how its "anti-imperialism" isn't based on a principled opposition to imperialism but is just a thinly disguised anti-Americanism.

Late socialism:




These late socialists are actually shilling for a fascist regime. It's hilariously tragic:
#15093338
Interview with Noam Chomsky:

The pandemic has only exposed the suicidal tendencies of capitalism

Why has the world’s richest, most powerful country, the U.S., failed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus? Is it a failure of political leadership or a systemic failure? And despite the COVID-19 crisis, Donald Trump’s popularity actually rose in March. Do you think this will impact the U.S. election?


It is worth taking a step back to look at the roots of the pandemic. It is not unexpected. After the SARS epidemic of 2003, scientists anticipated that another pandemic is very likely, probably a variant of the SARS coronavirus. But knowledge is not enough. Someone must do something about it. The drug companies are not interested. They follow market signals, and profits lie elsewhere. The government could take over, but that is blocked by neoliberal doctrine.

Trump made it worse by steadily defunding the Centres for Disease Control and eliminating government programs that would have provided advance notice, so the U.S. was singularly unprepared. Chinese scientists very quickly identified the virus that was causing the illness, sequenced the genome, and by January 10 made all the relevant information public.

A number of countries reacted at once and have pretty much contained the problem. Trump ignored the regular warnings by U.S. intelligence and health officials, insisting that it was just the flu and would disappear. By the time he finally paid attention, in March, it was far too late. Tens of thousands of Americans had already died and the pandemic was out of control.

So the U.S. suffered a triple blow: capitalist logic, the savage neoliberal variant of capitalism, and a government that has no concern for the population.

When a president takes a stand, there is always a gain in approval, but in Trump’s case it quickly waned. His bungling and criminality will probably weaken his re-election chances, but a lot can happen before November.

Digital technology and state control help many countries monitor and fight the pandemic, but experts have also raised concerns about increased authoritarian control and state surveillance. Would you agree?

There are contending forces. The business world and the reactionary statists allied to it want to restore something like what [came before], but with more authoritarian controls. Popular forces want to move towards a world that is more just and free. What will [eventually happen] depends on the interplay of these forces.

What are the economic measures needed to ameliorate the plight of the poor in the present context? Do you see the possibility of a new social-democratic approach or more austerity and bailouts by governments?

We know the kinds of economic measures that are needed. We don’t know what will emerge from the current crises. The beneficiaries of the savage capitalism of the past 40 years of neoliberalism, who are also largely responsible for the current pandemic and much more, are working relentlessly to ensure that the outcome will be an even harsher version of the system they have constructed for their own benefit. If there are no powerful counter forces, they will succeed. But it is not foreordained.

Popular forces are taking shape that could create a very different and much better world. That is even happening at an international level with the formation of Progressive International, initiated by a call from [Bernie] Sanders in the U.S. and Yanis Varoufakis in Europe, now also including the Global South.

We should bear in mind that as severe as this crisis is, there is worse coming. There will be recovery from the pandemic, at terrible cost. There will be no recovery from the melting of the polar ice sheets, the glaciers in the Himalayas or the other dire effects of global warming–which will render much of South Asia uninhabitable if the world persists on its present course, and not in the distant future. The most recent scientific studies estimate that the world may be reaching that level in 50 years, on our present course.

Epidemiologists like Rob Wallace have pointed out that profit-driven capitalist logic has invaded the wildlife ecosystem, that human-wildlife conflicts have become more frequent, and that this paves the way for viruses to spillover to humans. So the crisis of capitalism has been exposed in the form of a health crisis, and humans can’t go back to what was ‘normal’. Your thoughts?

He is quite correct. Destruction of habitat and unsustainable land-use are raising the threat of such spillovers, [which is] apparently what happened with [the new coronavirus]. The suicidal tendencies of unbridled capitalism [have been] exposed in many other ways by the health crisis. After the SARS epidemic in 2003, scientists warned that another coronavirus epidemic was likely, and urged that we prepare for it. Who could do so?

The huge and super-wealthy drug companies have the resources to do so, but they are blocked by normal capitalist logic. It is not profitable. The government could step in, but that is blocked by the neoliberal plague, which demands that the government cannot intervene in the world controlled by private power–except, of course, to rescue the rich and corporate sector from the crises they create, as is happening again now.

Another pandemic [has been] predicted, probably more severe than this one, amplified by global warming. Scientists know how to prepare, but someone must act. If we choose not to learn the lessons that are right before our eyes, the consequences will be dire.

We should, incidentally, not assume that Big Pharma and government are the only choices. It is a fair question why Big Pharma, which is heavily subsidised by the public, should even exist. Why should it not be socialised, even placed under the control of workers and community, to devote itself to human needs rather than to the demands of concentrated wealth and private power?

There should be solidarity between nations to better fight the virus. But we have been seen racial and xenophobic blame-games, threatening China, stopping funds to the WHO, greater sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, competing for medical equipment, etc. Patrick Cockburn has said that this is the decline of the U.S. hegemony. Would you agree?

Most of this is the ugly face of the Trump administration and their unusually vicious form of imperialism. But there is more, and it is quite revealing. Consider the European Union–note, Union. Its richest and most powerful country is Germany, which is handling the crisis reasonably well. Not far to its south is a country that is suffering severely from the pandemic: Italy. Is Germany providing health services to Italy? Not so far as has been reported. Fortunately, Italy is receiving substantial help from Cuba. That is an illustration of true internationalism, not for the first time. The circumstances illustrate the kind of internationalism that is desperately needed–and the kind of selfishness that may destroy us all.

Trump, no doubt, is inflicting serious harm on the United States, but even he is unlikely to seriously damage U.S. hegemony, I suspect. U.S. power remains overwhelming. In the military domain, it is beyond comparison. The U.S. is the only country that can impose harsh sanctions–third party sanctions which others obey no matter how much they oppose them. When the U.S. releases its “deal of the century” for Israel-Palestine, it becomes the framework to which others adapt. If any other country had released it, the reaction would have been ridicule, if anyone had even noticed. US-based multinationals control half the world’s wealth and rank first or sometimes second in just about every economic category.

Others increasingly dislike the U.S., or worse. But they fear it, rightly. There’s no serious competitor on the world stage.
https://mronline.org/2020/05/19/the-pan ... 72afc6a94d

I can't figure out how our glow in the dark frien[…]

Did I not mention the fact that the Non-aggressio[…]

With rent protections ending, and Republican Senat[…]

Obama was also responsible for hurricane Katrina, […]