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Gibson writes: "Now that we're having a serious conversation about capitalism, we can also have a conversation about solutions. Along with calling out flaws of capitalism, I'm proposing four solutions that would fix the most glaring problems in capitalism and blaze a new path forward for the next generation."

(photo: file)
(photo: file)


Four Ways to Evolve Beyond Capitalism

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

07 March 14

 

n my previous article, I explained how all of the economic problems we currently face are natural results of capitalism. From rising poverty in the midst of record-high corporate profits, polluted air and dwindling water, private prison systems that rely on mass incarceration, students going deep into debt while the government books student loan profits, foreclosures, stagnant wages, all of these economic problems can be addressed once we acknowledge our seriously flawed economic system and vow to fix it.

Now that we're having a serious conversation about capitalism, we can also have a conversation about solutions. Along with calling out flaws of capitalism, I'm proposing four solutions that would fix the most glaring problems in capitalism and blaze a new path forward for the next generation.

1. Break Corporate Monopolies and "Free Trade" Agreements

There's nothing wrong with starting a business to make and sell goods that people want to buy. But the problem begins when large corporate giants force local small businesses to shutter their operations. This peer-reviewed study looked at data from 3,000 counties and found that, on average, each new Walmart that opens kills approximately 150 retail jobs in the county. This means that for every job created by a new Walmart, 1.4 jobs on average are lost.

The explosion of corporate giants swallowing up small business competition and killing jobs is a consequence of "free trade" entities like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is currently being negotiated behind closed doors.

At the time NAFTA was signed, there was no trade deficit between the United States and Mexico. As of 2012, that trade deficit has ballooned to $276 billion in lost jobs and wages as a result of skyrocketing imports and stagnant exports. While the Clinton administration promised 1,000,000 new jobs because of NAFTA, over 1,000,000 jobs had been lost by 2004.

The trade deficit between the US and China reached a record $30.1 billion as of July 2013. In the ten years that passed between China joining the WTO in 2001 and 2011, the US lost $37 billion in wages, mostly in the manufacturing sector. As manufacturing workers who lost jobs were re-employed in other sectors, an average of $13,504 in wages was lost for each displaced worker.

One main argument used by defenders of capitalism is that consumer spending dictates the market, so bad corporate actors will be punished by more consumers buying from their competitors. Advocates of capitalism also argue that if pay or work conditions are insufficient, workers will logically quit their jobs and seek employment elsewhere.

But when the new Walmart shuts down the local grocery, hardware, and auto parts stores, workers who are upset with being paid poverty wages have nowhere else to work if they want to quit. When the local auto manufacturing plant gets outsourced to Mexico, those auto workers have no other choice than to work at a place like Walmart. And when consumers have nowhere else to spend their money but at places like Walmart, then Walmart gets all the business.

2. Guarantee Full Employment

While defenders of capitalism oppose almost any regulation of business, such regulations were largely responsible for the long period of economic prosperity that followed World War II. During FDR's administration, there was full employment in the United States, and everyone had an income.

Increased public investment meant Americans all had jobs that provided them with steady income. As a result of direct government involvement in the economy, FDR inadvertently created the middle class just a decade after the Great Depression robbed most Americans of their jobs, homes, and savings. When more people had more money to spend, local businesses thrived on the extra demand, and more jobs were created to meet the increased demand.

Jobs that were created as a result of public investment, like FDR's New Deal, injected new money into the economy as programs like the Works Progress Administration put 3 million people to work rebuilding critical infrastructure. Congressional obstruction of New Deal programs and neoliberal economic advisers convinced FDR to scale back government spending, sending the country into recession in 1937-38. The US only bounced back from that recession due to tight economic controls in place during the war effort.

The government became the prime buyer of half the goods manufactured in the US. When ALCOA's monopoly on the aluminum market became a threat, the government subsidized Reynolds aluminum to force ALCOA to compete fairly, and also got into the aluminum manufacturing business to make sure raw materials were in steady supply. When Ford refused to abide by the National Labor Relations Act that gave private sector workers the right to organize unions, FDR cancelled a top-dollar contract. A wartime tax on windfall profits prevented corporations from becoming large enough to absorb competitors.

While President Eisenhower didn't regulate business as tightly as FDR did during World War II, he did make huge investments in public infrastructure. In building the 46,000-mile interstate highway system, creating NASA, and expanding national parks, the government put 3.5 million people to work during the Eisenhower years. The interstate highway system alone cost $114 billion then, which would be roughly $450 billion in new government spending today. Such projects were made possible by keeping the top tax rate on the richest households and corporations at a 90 percent rate - the interstate highway was made possible by drivers paying an extra penny per gallon in gas taxes. The tax code was also much simpler in the Eisenhower years, without any of the special exemptions, loopholes, credits, subsidies, and other giveaways that corporate lobbyists have inserted in the tax code today.

3. Wage War on Climate Change, Poverty, Inequality and Greed

FDR and Eisenhower's economic controls were the result of war; FDR wanted to create national solidarity around the war effort, and Eisenhower wanted the interstate highway system built to better move troops and supplies during war. By drastically changing what we value in society and fostering the political will to change it, we can also change our economic circumstances through a new war effort - call it the war on climate change, the war on poverty, the war on inequality, and the war on greed.

In a winner-take-all system like capitalism, in which the biggest and baddest reap all the rewards, there must be strict regulations and high taxation on multinational corporations, and numerous subsidies and tax benefits for small businesses. This has to also be combined with the complete reinstatement of tariffs on foreign exports to the US that were eliminated in free trade agreements, uninhibited rights for all workers to organize unions, and strict penalties for companies who attempt to crush those unions.

In waging a war on climate change and poverty, we can create millions of new jobs by making heavy public investments in creating a widespread sustainable energy grid, powered by wind turbines and solar farms. A side effect of that will be lower greenhouse gas emissions, and decreased consumption of the planet's finite resources. A new Works Progress Administration could stay in business permanently, providing a never-ending supply of jobs repairing not just schools, roads and bridges, but building and maintaining broadband internet infrastructure, high-speed rail, city parks, bike paths, community gardens, housing cooperatives, and other projects. These jobs can never be outsourced.

We can win the war on inequality and greed by instituting a maximum wage for executives of all companies that get any tax credits or do any business with the government, making sure that no CEO makes more than 50 times what their lowest-paid worker makes. We could also double the tax rates of those who make more than $5,000,000 a year, those who inherit their wealth from previous generations, and those who make money from having money (capital gains). However, merely taxing income isn't sufficient enough to melt the glacier of wealth that the wealthiest 0.1 percent have amassed. When such a small number of people have accumulated such a vast amount of resources, such one-sided distribution has to be corrected.

While some defenders of capitalism would call this unwarranted class warfare, the only ones affected by such a tax increase would be, in 2007 numbers, just 46,000 taxpayers who collectively had over $670 billion in taxable income. Since over 96 million people filed taxes that year, that amounts to just one-half of the top one percent of taxpayers. And out of those 46,000 taxpayers, less than 14,000 estate tax returns were filed in 2008. That means only one-sixth of the top one percent of taxpayers would be affected by this tax increase. Daily Kos diarist "clammyc" originally proposed this idea, and called it the "fat cat," "rich brat," and "trust fund baby" tax. Over $100 billion could be generated each year with these new taxes, which would go a long way in paying for the aforementioned public investments.

4. Build a New Populist Political Party

Several readers responded to my previous article about capitalism by asking me if I favored socialism or communism. I honestly don't know what -ism I would use to describe the economic system described above, and I don't personally believe in communicating values and goals through -isms.

And while this may look to some like pie-in-the-sky utopianism, it can be achieved if we start building populist political power now. My anarchist friends advocate living off the grid, generating their own solar powered-electricity, hunting and gathering their own food, and self-governing through tribal principles. While I don't oppose that, I also recognize that there are those of us who want to see truly systemic change in our lifetimes.

Both Democrats and Republicans have become captive to the same industries and oligarchs responsible for the rampant climate change, poverty, inequality, and greed destroying our economy. And the only alternative parties that currently exist don't propose any real challenge to the Democratic/Republican stranglehold on our politics. These parties are usually led by a figurehead who runs as a perennial candidate in presidential elections, meaning none of these parties really exist outside of presidential elections. These figureheads are almost always white males, and come from positions of privilege, widening the disconnect between themselves and the rest of the population. The currently existing alternative parties also have to battle with being branded as perennial losers, steering people away before their candidates even have a chance to make their case.

However, a new party that actively opposes capitalism and unites people around the basic ideas of meeting human needs would be widely respected and immediately acknowledged. This new party could stand apart from the two corporate-owned parties by refusing to take campaign donations from corporations, banks and developers, standing up for the rights of immigrants and indigenous people, calling for sustainable energy and development, making education for all a top priority, and believing in universal access to healthcare as a human right. While it would take time, focusing on building power first at the local and county level is the surest way to make lasting change.

Who's in?



Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+24 # Sangze 2014-03-07 17:27
A new party would be a welcome change from the garbage currently in power. However, such a party requires strong, vocal and visible leadership, and right now, I do not see that such exists. That the media would totally ignore any serious efforts to form a viable third party suggests the matter is quite hopeless. Worse, most voters don't care.
 
 
+19 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:38
Sangze 2014-03-07 15:27:

The Cows need to wake up and challenge the fence. So long as the Cows expect the Ranchers and the Cowboys to represent their best interest, the Cows are going to be sorely disappointed.
 
 
-7 # skipb48 2014-03-09 07:56
A third party would only create more gridlock, check out 19th and 20th Century French History.
 
 
+1 # bmiluski 2014-03-11 08:43
A third party needs to start at the grass roots.....they need to get involved in local governments and only then start moving up into the state and federal. They need a "base" that they can bring along. Until then, they're just children pissing into the wind.
 
 
+40 # TrustMovies 2014-03-07 22:43
I'm in. And I am not certain, as the above comment suggests, that a third party is hopeless. As more and more voters realize that the two parties they have now are useless in terms of any necessary and helpful change, that third one will look better and better.
 
 
+19 # lorenbliss 2014-03-08 04:30
A growing third party, "building power first at the local and county level" precisely as Mr. Gibson suggests, already exists. It is called Socialist Alternative. It has defeated huge odds to elect Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council, and it is increasingly active in many other U.S. cities. Its website is here: http://www.socialistalternative.org/about/
 
 
+8 # ericlipps 2014-03-08 07:48
Quoting lorenbliss:
A growing third party, "building power first at the local and county level" precisely as Mr. Gibson suggests, already exists. It is called Socialist Alternative. It has defeated huge odds to elect Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council, and it is increasingly active in many other U.S. cities. Its website is here: http://www.socialistalternative.org/about/

And with that name, it will never, ever be a factor at the national level.
 
 
+11 # lorenbliss 2014-03-08 13:11
By its cutting-edge leadership in the campaign for a $15-per-hour minimum wage, SA is already a huge factor at the national level. It has even frightened a few Democrats into joining the "$15 Now" campaign.
 
 
+6 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:45
TrustMovies 2014-03-07 20:43:

We have an INSTITUTIONALIZ ED 2-Party Political System in the USA, a 3rd Party is contrary to the institutionaliz ed nature of the USA Political System and is therefore designed to fail.

Change the sublated dialectic balance of government in the USA to include all who are represented by government as a separate and equal branch of government that can enable the making and enforcing of equal legislated law and order to effect REAL MEANINGFUL CHANGE.
 
 
+23 # Growler 2014-03-07 22:54
It's no good talking of how we need a new party, so long as we have first-past-the- post voting. I may hold my nose to vote for a main-party candidate, but at least I am lessening the chances of the truly awful alternative (from the other main party) taking the election. Instant runoff voting makes gerrymandering less effective, and it improves voter turnout. It lets people vote for a candidate that actually represents their views, with the less-awful of the mainstream candidates as a fallback -- which in turn makes third-party candidates truly competitive and forces the mainstream parties to pay attention to somebody besides swing voters.
 
 
+4 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:52
Growler 2014-03-07 20:54:

Ask your legislators to give you a written commitment from the political party they represent to make and enforce equal legislated law and order in the USA. You will find, as I have, after many years of trying as a Democratic Party member that they will not commit to the making and enforcing of equal legislated law and order in the USA, will not give you anything in writing regarding whether or not they will or will not and will ignore you if you persist in your request that your legislators make and enforce equal legislated law and order in the USA.
 
 
+20 # MidwesTom 2014-03-07 23:05
The simplest way to fix capitalism is to let any one or any company that fails, fail. Uf the banks had failed, we would have a much more balanced society.
 
 
+8 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:35
MidwesTom 2014-03-07 21:05:

The way to fix Capitalism is to put Private Capitalism in competition with Public Capitalism. Here's how to get started by using the Public Banking Institute http://publicbankinginstitute.org/ and the State Owned Bank of North Dakota http://banknd.nd.gov/
 
 
+19 # MidwesTom 2014-03-07 23:07
Failed banks couldn't own our elected officials. Failed banks couldn't pay an average wage of $850,000/yr. like Goldman Sacks.
 
 
-10 # ericlipps 2014-03-08 07:54
Quoting MidwesTom:
Failed banks couldn't own our elected officials. Failed banks couldn't pay an average wage of $850,000/yr. like Goldman Sacks.

It's "Goldman Sachs", Tom. With an H. And if we had "let the banks fail," they'd have dragged down everything else with them. If enough had gone down, the FDIC, which insures my checking account and, I presume, yours (unless you've got more than $100,000 in a single account), would have ben sucked dry, and of course commercial lending would have evaporated. Welcome to 1933.
 
 
+14 # Radscal 2014-03-08 14:01
Or is it "sacks" as in "the too big to fail banks sack and pillage the world?"

The government could have "foreclosed" on those banks and guaranteed any deposits that the bank didn't have funds to cover. I'm guessing that would have cost taxpayers less than the $14 trillion or so we apparently gave to the banksters. But even if not, at least the nation and world would have been free of those blood suckers.
 
 
+5 # Cdesignpdx 2014-03-09 21:31
It's been, ericlipps. with two Es.

The banks were bailed out, but how do you justify the taxpayer funds provided for the bastard's bloated bonuses—in the millions!
 
 
+4 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:58
MidwesTom 2014-03-07 21:07:

Of course they failed. The American populace in the USA bailed them out -- Privatized Zombie Capitalism, duh!!!!!!!
 
 
+16 # andyseles 2014-03-07 23:23
Name a problem, then follow the money. It will lead you to the individuals and artificial entities (corporations, unions, foreign trade associations, supposed welfare associations, etc.) that fund campaign electioneering in the corporate-owned media. Said funds made legal by the 2010 SCOTUS decision in Citizens United. Said funds insuring a quid pro quo from who used to be the people's legislators...b oth so-called "political parties" feeding at their favorite troughs. "Lesser of two evils?" Don't make me laugh...
 
 
+21 # Kimc 2014-03-08 01:36
It's easy enough to say we should do this... or this... or pass this law... or this law.... But how? Our current congress isn't going to pass those laws, or do that thing. Starting a new party isn't going to change the system, and it will inevitably be sucked into the system's processes -- you can say it won't take donations from big corporations, but then it won't have enough money. It won't get publicity in the right-wing-corp orate-owned media.
If we want to change the system, we will have to just change the system: we will have to produce an alternative economy by starting lots of worker-owned cooperatives and buy locally, starving the big corporations by not patronizing them. Take our money out of the big banks and put it into consumer-owned credit unions. Pay attention to building local economies that pay decent wages to everyone. Maybe even use a local currency or script. It can be done. If we don't do it, we are sunk.
 
 
+10 # Radscal 2014-03-08 14:11
That sounds like something I used to say in the '60s; "the best way to end capitalism is to ignore it."

But can we get enough people to boycott capitalist corporations? A couple years ago, I moved to a small town. There is a very strong sense of community here. And yet, our City Council is vigorously working to get WalMart to open a store in town. I testified to my council member about how WalMart decimates local businesses, relies on Federal subsidies, lowers local wages and outsources production to "Red China."

He said, well that all may be true, but the townspeople want to be able to buy products cheap.

It will take a fundamental change in consumer culture to convince people that it's better in the long run to pay a bit more today to support one's community than to save a few bucks at Wally World or Amazon.
 
 
+4 # Buddhaboy 2014-03-08 14:25
I agree with kimc that the solution to the problems generated by our current system would come in the form of a communitarian, bottom up approach. This would have to be coupled with the de- conditioning process described by re100. We need to work on ourselves as well as society.
 
 
+16 # reo100 2014-03-08 05:30
Everyone makes good points including Gibson. However, nothing will change until we simply stop buying anything other than necessities. Unfortunately, people have a difficult time doing something they have been "conditioned" to do in "american society". Corporations "feed" on our "need" to spend. Until we bring them down nothing will change and they will continue to "control" us.
 
 
0 # dostoevsky 2014-03-08 06:19
Gibson has some good ideas & some bad ones. In an inflationary (hyper?) environment, $100/hour (or $10000.../hour wage) isn't enough. $$ represents work (capital). The factories are gone. TPP will finish it. Sound money, manufacturing jobs,no militarism and arrest the banksters. Ask Iceland. Accept that we are "all one." Social & Fascism differ little.
 
 
+6 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:54
dostoevsky 2014-03-08 04:19:

You say "Social & Fascism differ little." Is your perspective the perspective of the Rancher, the Cowboy or the Cows? And, do you know the difference?
 
 
+3 # rlandingham 2014-03-08 13:59
The only "difference between socialism and fascism" is the fascism it capitalism in crisis, when the capitalists feel their rule threatened while socialism is the political and economic system of workers after they have overthrown capitalism. The one a minority of the population ruling the country in their economic and political interests while the other the majority of the population ruling the country in their interests.
 
 
+3 # goodsensecynic 2014-03-08 06:47
What's proposed here is not a replacement for capitalism, but a reform of capitalism.

To think in terms of replacement, it is necessary to understand the dynamics of social evolution. What, after all, "created" capitalism in the first place? Understand that and you might begin to understand what will bring about its collapse.

As for a third party alternative, there have been all sorts of third parties - but none have been successful apart from occasional local victories. A city councilor here, Bernie Sanders there ...

If, however, you look elsewhere you might find intimations of what you're looking for.

In Britain, the Labour Party has replaced the old Liberal Party and is holding off the Liberal Democrats. In Canada, the New Democratic Party has (at least temporarily) replaced the federal Liberals as the Official Opposition, and has at one time or another formed the government of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

BUT, the price of success seems always to be compromise and accommodation.

On the one hand, Labour and NDP strength brought universal, single-payer health insurance to Britain in the 1950s and to Canada in the 1960s - The US still lacks this obvious and important "reform."

On the other hand, not many members and fewer leaders of these parties talk much about "socialism" anymore.

As one NDP apostate put it: "the question isn't whether to have capitalism or socialism, but what kind of capitalism to have."
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:56
goodsensecynic 2014-03-08 04:47:

Do you suppose that "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" by Emmanuel Goldstein might contain the answers to the questions raised in your post? If not, you may want to talk to Big Brother about it.
 
 
+7 # goodsensecynic 2014-03-08 06:55
Incidentally, in pointing out the problems with third parties (as failures and as successes), I am not endorsing the seemingly inevitable drift to the center on the part of once socialist and then social democratic and eventually slightly left-of-center liberal parties.

I am merely remembering Marx's comment that "revolution is the kicking in of a rotten door."

Capitalism may be "rotten" from a moral standpoint, but it is not yet collapsing of its own "internal contradictions."

Marx may well turn out to be right and, if so, it will be for profoundly Marxist reasons - not least the vast changes in technology (the means of production) that are visible today - but the time of transitional change is not yet apparent.

This, of course, doesn't mean that people shouldn't do most (or all) of the things recommended in the original article. It does mean that these reformist gestures must be carried out with open eyes about what they really mean - not the overthrow of capitalism, but merely creating "capitalism with a human face."
 
 
+6 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:22
goodsensecynic 2014-03-08 04:55:

Capitalism in and of itself cannot collapse because capital is as much a part of nature as humankind itself, but Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism can collapse and does so cyclically, because Privatized Capitalism is a byproduct of "Engineered Artificial Scarcity" which is a bastardization of nature.
 
 
+10 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 07:20
Might I suggest you consider the benefit of Public Banking http://publicbankinginstitute.org/ that uses public money as public capital to create a public revenue stream of benefit from interest on loans of public money.

Public Banking [Example: The Bank of North Dakota http://banknd.nd.gov/ ] and the use of public capital can be used to harness the greed of private capitalists to massive loan payments of principal and interest to the public sector to bail themselves out, so that John Q. and Jane D. Public Citizen does not have to continue to provide LIFE SUPPORT to private capitalists without benefit, bailout of PUBLIC WELFARE to private capitalists on a cyclical basis is a "MORAL HAZARD" that MUST END; the only way that that "MORAL HAZARD" will end is if private capitalists run on the hamster wheel of massive principal and interest payments on long term loans to the public sector in the same way that John Q. and Jane D. Public Citizen are made to do to the private sector.
 
 
+4 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 07:36
When you think that you want to get rid of Capitalism, take a good look around you and see if you can find anything that is of the earth, including yourself, that cannot be used as an asset to produce a revenue stream; i.e., capital, then tell me how denial will separate you from capital assets, when you, your shoes, your clothes and everything that is of the earth are of a nature that can be used for either PUBLIC or PRIVATE CAPITAL?

The choice with regard to CAPITAL ASSETS and CAPITALISM is not whether or not to get rid of capital, because the only way that could be done would be to dispose of mankind, all of the land, and natural resources attendant to and derived from the land of the earth because ALL are CAPITAL ASSETS of mankind.

The choices available in regard to Capitalism are:

Choice 1) - Public Capital and Public Capitalism,

Choice 2) - Private Capital and Private Capitalism,

Choice 3) - Combination of Public and Private Capital and Public Capitalism and Private Capitalism in Competition.

The 3 choices above are HOW TO HARNESS CAPITALISM.

Mankind has tried Choice 2) and Choice 2) has proven to be ineffective for the public welfare of mankind as a whole.

The remaining choices are Choice 1) and Choice 3). I favor Choice 3).
 
 
+3 # ericlipps 2014-03-08 07:58
There's a bit of bait and switch here. Getting rid of capitalism is much less drastic than abandoning the idea of capital. Even the Soviet Union didn't do the latter; indeed, rather than being "communist" in the theoretical sense, which would have meant that everyone owned everything (so that no one owned anything), the USSR practiced state capitalism (no matter what it said it was doing).
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 17:13
ericlipps 2014-03-08 05:58 am:

"Getting rid of capitalism is much less drastic than abandoning the idea of capital." -- ericlipps 2014-03-08 05:58 am

Other than you, who said anything about abandoning the idea of capital? Certainly not me, because it is not even possible to get rid of capital assets, so long as people exist and continue to use assets in nature that provide a revenue stream of benefit. I choose public capital competing with private capital.
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 17:15
ericlipps 2014-03-08 05:58 am:

What you have stated, ericlipps, is a good rendition of Cold War Propaganda, but what you said is ultimately meaningless.

Use of the concept of what Capital IS; i.e., an asset that provides a revenue stream, IS what Capitalism IS, and nature is replete with capital assets, so much so that it would be impossible to dispense with capital assets.

The private use of private capital has CYCLICALLY FAILED so many times that the private capitalist textbooks call the FAILURE and RESURRECTION of private capitalism an Economic Cycle; i.e., Private Economic "Zombie Capitalism" Resurrection Cycle of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism at PUBLIC EXPENSE by PUBLIC WELFARE ------- Go figure ------- How does the cyclical failure of private capital owned by private capitalists practicing PRIVATIZED Capitalism equate with an economic cycle other than GREED and FAILURE?
 
 
+3 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 17:16
ericlipps 2014-03-08 05:58 am:

With regard to the use of public assets and public money as public capital in public banking to provide a public revenue stream of benefit from interest on loans made to the Private Sector, Public Banking has been in use in the USA since 1919 by the State of North Dakota, Dba The Bank of North Dakota, and the system has NEVER failed, or had to be bailed out; Public Banking can and should be used by the Public Sector to finance the resurrection of Private Capitalists' private capital and Privatized Capitalism with long term high interest loans, so that the concept of "Engineered Artificial Scarcity," that empowers Private Capital, can be applied to Public Capital and Public Banking that will put Private Capitalists on the same Hamster Wheel of Debt to finance their American Dreams for Public Benefit, the same way that John Q. and Jane D. Public Citizen are forced to run on the Hamster Wheel of private debt to the Private Sector.
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 19:42
ericlipps 2014-03-08 05:58:

The USSR did not even have a banking system, but you say that the USSR practiced State Capitalism; how on earth do you equate the USSR practicing "State Capitalism" without a banking system to administer state capital; i.e., make loans to both the private and public interests to finance business endeavor???????

The State of North Dakota USA dba The Bank of North Dakota practices State Capitalism, and other than being more stable than Private Capitalism and providing benefit to the public sector rather than the private sector, there is no discernable difference in the use of capital and ownership by the public and private sectors in North Dakota than any other state in the USA.

The example you gave of the USSR being a Model of State Capitalism is a falacious example; the example of North Dakota as a Model of State Capitalism is an appropriate and successful Model of State Capitalism Established in 1919 and as American as "Apple Pie."
 
 
+6 # JJMK3 2014-03-08 08:12
ANSWER IS, SET COUNTRY GOALS. " COPY CAT THE countries ways Where the Populations are the Happiest. HAPPY AND HEALTHY AND YOU NEED NOTHING MORE! " THESE COUNTRIES ARE SHARING, COOPERATIVE COMMUNITEE'S OF HAPPY PEOPLE. Google , happy Citizens in the World. It will not be the U.S. of A....
 
 
0 # butchblack 2014-03-08 08:24
For the most part I agree with your article. The part I don't agree with is implied. No one should have to pay more then half their earnings in taxes. I would suggest raising the personal deduction, eliminating most deductions, and lowering the tax rate, essentially putting everybody on the short form. That, getting rid of most corporate subsidies and instituting an 80/20 plan where businesses with gross profits over say 10 million can not deduct more then 80% of their profits on their taxes i.e. they must pay taxes on at least 20% of their profits. That, and the suggestions in your article would go a long way to improving things.

One more suggestion would be to put a spending cap on political campaigns similar to those in major league sports and have it low enough that people other then the 2 party's candidates could afford to run for national office and make it mandatory that with a reasonable amount of signatures the third party candidates be included in any national debates.
 
 
+5 # Quickmatch 2014-03-08 11:04
I think "half their earnings" is entirely arbitrary. Taken as a surrogate for survival, income that allows individual or family to survive at some minimal level of food, shelter and medical aid is the irrevocable minimum allowable in a "civilized" society. Beyond that any limit becomes arbitrary: but consider what tha limit would be for an individual like Phil Mickelson who made $2,167,500 in winning the US and Scottish Open's in 2013. Poor Phil got to take home only $842,700 (that's 60% tax rate)with the rest going to the british, US and California treasuries. That's just 2 tourney wins, and & $800k in pocket is about 16 median wage families in the US. Hope the bite doesn't throw his game off.
 
 
0 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 19:49
butchblack 2014-03-08 06:24:

With State Capitalism nationwide in the USA there should be no need of Income Taxes at all, because the revenue stream of public capital on a national basis will provide more than adequate funding to both state and national governments in the USA without taxes.
 
 
0 # Quickmatch 2014-03-08 10:42
Thought experiment: a world that is divided into a set of equally populated “counties”. Within each county, firms have free rein to conduct business in any manner that is beneficial to the firm by offering value to its customers.
Any firm that is new to the county and offers product (goods and services) at increased value for the price will take customers from the older establishments that offer similar products. Assume that the value increase can be called efficiency; of capital or labor use.
It seems that efficiency increase will result in some mix of increased quality and increased product volume; the former leads to increased life satisfaction for all; the latter to increased satisfaction to all but those who lose employment when the county population demand for product is satisfied by a smaller workforce.
In a county of diminishing population there may be a balance. In a county of level or increasing population individuals find themselves out of work. New products due to a new technology will cause a sudden over demand for labor and skills—a boon for workers—until the mass of the population’s demand for the technology is sated and efficiency takes over again.
This “boom and bust” must be managed and business is not in a position to fulfill both, its need for profit and the population’s need for moderation. Government needs to enter as the regulator; not as regulator of business but as the supplier of employment when business fails to employ sufficiently.
 
 
+7 # goodsensecynic 2014-03-08 10:47
Note to # JJMK3

I don't think I have to look it up. Happy (and healthy and well educated) countries include Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark + smaller parts of continental Europe such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and probably Lichtenstein.

Key issues: less rampant economic inequality, well-designed social programs, good public health care, good education (including good wages and public respect for teachers) and, of course, a dearth of energy-draining professional sports franchises (and higher taxes on the rich and infamous).
 
 
0 # Georgist 2014-03-08 11:05
Like all systems capitalism will evolve and it can be guided to solve the problems Mr. Gibson addresses. One major correction has long been studied that will at one stroke reverse the current capitalist incentives that are now plundering the planets resources, including it's human capital. With this one relatively minor adjustment we can put the universal motivation of all people to work in the service of conservation and thrift. In fact it is the same motivating force now underwriting capitalism itself, that is everybody wants to get the most reward for the least effort. It is a natural law so trying to go against it is pointless and futile.

The outrageously and blindingly simple mechanism for this alteration is one that everybody agrees needs to be done anyway - reforming the tax system. The simple solution is the Footprint Tax. Each person is taxed according to the use each person makes of the ecosystem and ecology that gives life to all. We rightly should taxed according to our tax upon nature and not upon the income or profit we receive from our own effort.
see next post.
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 20:23
Georgist 2014-03-08 09:05 am:

The underlying fundamental of Capitalism is "Engineered Artificial Scarcity" and this fundamental of Capitalism can be used in support of public capital as well as private capital.
 
 
+1 # Georgist 2014-03-08 11:06
Therefore both labor and investment are encouraged by making them both tax free. A persons effort and the accumulations of that effort as investment and capital rightly belong to the individual 100%. However, the natural gifts of nature that were created by no person must never be monopolized by any single person or group except the group of the whole. So the single tax is upon the resources derived from the earth and from the demand of society known as the market. Products and services of human labor are tax free. All mutual expenses of society such as government are derived from a property tax upon two major categories, a) minerals and b) the market value of any location. Your buildings and investments are not taxed because they result from labor. Only their location is taxed because that market value is not determined by your labor but by the demand of society as a whole.
These principles were first written in 1879 by Henry George and can be downloaded free as an audio book abridgment by Bob Drake.
 
 
+1 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 20:38
Georgist 2014-03-08 09:06 am:

See the above post to you at 2014-03-08 18:23 pm. "Engineered Artificial Scarcity" empowers both State Capitalism and Private Capitalism and this fundamental can be used by the State as well as the Private Sector, as demonstrated by the State of North Dakota dba as The BANK OF NORTH DAKOTA http://banknd.nd.gov/ and the Public Banking Institute http://publicbankinginstitute.org/ "Banking in the Public Interest" - "Public Banking -- it already works in the United States and is catching on! 20 States are considering some form of state banking legislation." And, Public Banking in America http://www.publicbankinginamerica.org/
 
 
-2 # perkinsej 2014-03-08 11:17
Unfortunately, none of the author's bold abstractions are going to have any significent impact on the inequality gap. As far into the future as I can see, it will be a characteristic not only of banana republics but the USA as well. Mostly the problem is linked to higher education and technological advancement. It's not going to go away anytime soon.
 
 
+2 # jwb110 2014-03-08 12:01
I agree with Gibson. I also think if the points start at 4 and work thru to 1 in that order it might be more effective.
 
 
0 # rlandingham 2014-03-08 12:39
Well, I am disappointed by not surprised. I thought that Gibson’s first article was a good starting point in a discussion of the economic and political system that we live in. But only a first step, even just a baby step. As Gibson point out, all of the pressing issues that we face today are a result of that economic and political system called capitalism. So if we are want to make changes we need to understand it. As capitalism has been around for several hundred years, people have had ample opportunity to study it, understand how it works, and try different remedies to fix it or, at least make it a little better. This has all been written down and passed on to us. All we have to do it to read and understand it and then see how things have changed so that we can take those changes into account.
But this has not been done, so Gibson and many others in the comments section have blithely offered remedies that have been proven time and again unworkable. Unworkable, not because those who tried them did not know what they were doing, rather because the capitalists will not allow them to be implemented. And most, even if they were implemented are mere tinkering which would change nothing anyway. But the first reason is the important one. (continued)
 
 
+2 # rlandingham 2014-03-08 12:42
Capitalism is a class system. There is the ruling class, the capitalists. And there are the ruled classes, mainly the working class made up of people who work for a wage or a salary. But there are also numerically small classes of small capitalists, merchants and petty producers. But overwhelmingly it is the capitalist class and the working class that face each other. The capitalist class consists of a handful of, who own or control most of the productive wealth of the country. In the ‘30’, Ferdinand Lundberg identified 60 families in his book titled “America’s 60 Families”. Since the time the number has most likely shrunk (they do not include small fry like the Koch Brothers).
The important thing that has been learned from history, as it relates to the current discussion, is that the capitalist class also owns or controls the state. The state is made up of the armed forces, the police (including the spy agencies), the judiciary, the legislative and executive branches of government and the media.
(continued)
 
 
+3 # rlandingham 2014-03-08 12:43
While we can sometimes wring concessions out of them it takes mass activity in the streets, such as the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. But as soon as the participants think that they have won and go home, those concessions start to be eliminated. So we see the attacks on the key provisions of the Civil Rights legislation under attack, and the switch from conscription to the use of mercenary armies to carry out the regime changes.
The other thing that history clearly shows is that if the capitalist class really feels that their control is being challenged, they will do away with pretense of democracy and rule by force (capitalist ruling by force is called fascism, not just some mean nasty ruler or dictator). That is what happened in German, Austria, Italy and other countries and what the US capitalist class considered when they approached retired Marine Corp General Smedley Butler and asked him to carry out a coup of the US government in the ‘30’s.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-03-09 14:52
In his book Socialism, socialist Michael Harrington showed that the proletariat has never been a revolutionary class. The proletariat doesn't want to take over; it just wants a decent deal. (The last sentence is my interpretation, not necessarily his). In countries like Canada and Germany, it has succeeded in getting a decent deal.

I think the whole idea of social class is medieval. In the Middle Ages, people were by and large born into a particular class and had to stay in it. We have never had class in that sense in the United States.

Let me raise another conceptual problem with your Marxist view. If there is a ruling class, how did they get the power they have? In the Middle Ages, the aristocracy got their lands and titles because they offered their services to fight for the king. They were the chief warriors of the realm. Don't you think that somewhere, sometime, those capitalists must have done something productive?
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2014-03-11 13:30
Please explain to me the useful product that billionair hedge-fund owners produce?
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-03-11 18:29
I don't see anything useful. The view I was expressing doesn't deny that capitalism can be corrupted. I just think that as an economic system, it's more in line with the uncertainty of human life. We can't plan everything very well. I always remember the time I was short on money and wanted to watch movies. I couldn't afford to buy full price ones. I noticed my local pharmacy was selling DVD's for 50 cents and bought some. There's no way you could plan to make DVD's for 50 cents. I profited from the fact that the movie makers had failed to make films people wanted to buy for a better price. Of course they weren't great, but I enjoyed them some, and the makers got a small return for their work.

But once again, there's nothing that guarantees capitalism is moral. It can be highly corrupt. The power of money over our politics must be reduced.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2014-03-11 18:37
Just to show you how aware I am that capitalism can be corrupted, I thought I'd mention an article I saw on a conservative web site. The author claimed that liberals' proposals to share the wealth in our society amounted to a proposal to give everyone A's in school. I pointed out that the analogy was poor. Earning power and grades are not the same kinds of entities. A person's earnings do not equate to his personal merits as grades are expected to do.

I offered another analogy: what if a teacher had an "equal opportunity cheating" policy. After the test papers were passed out, the teacher would leave the room, and the students were allowed to cheat for 10 minutes. There would be no break for students who somehow didn't finish cheating by the end of the 10 minutes. And no break for people who got the answers wrong. But everyone could cheat for those 10 minutes. I think that's quite analogous to crony capitalism. It's organized cheating.
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:06
dostoevsky 2014-03-08 04:19:

You say "Social & Fascism differ little." Is your perspective the perspective of the Rancher, the Cowboy or the Cows? And, do you know the difference?
 
 
+1 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:15
goodsensecynic 2014-03-08 04:47:

Do you suppose that "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" by Emmanuel Goldstein might contain the answers to the questions raised in your post? If not, you may want to talk to Big Brother about it.
 
 
+2 # MarthaA 2014-03-08 13:28
MidwesTom 2014-03-07 21:07:

Of course they failed. The American populace in the USA bailed them out -- Privatized Zombie Capitalism, duh!!!!!!!
 
 
0 # Rain17 2014-03-08 14:01
However, a new party that actively opposes capitalism and unites people around the basic ideas of meeting human needs would be widely respected and immediately acknowledged. This new party could stand apart from the two corporate-owned parties by refusing to take campaign donations from corporations, banks and developers, standing up for the rights of immigrants and indigenous people, calling for sustainable energy and development, making education for all a top priority, and believing in universal access to healthcare as a human right
---------------------------------------

What planet are you on? Americans don't hate capitalism. While they don't like its excesses and extremes they don't want to abolish free enterprise either.

Such a party that you describe would probably do well maybe in college towns like Amherst, Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Boulder, Cambrdige, and Madison. It might do well in parts of Manhattan, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. But beyond those areas such a party would go nowhere.

I'm not going to vote third party either as long as the US electoral system is winner-take-all and not proportional. If it were proportional then fringe parties, which the one you propose would be, would likely be able to win a few seats her or there. But so too would the Libertarians, US Taxpayers, Socialist Workers, American Independent, New Alliance, Green, Natural Law, and other obscure parties I've forgotten to mention.
 
 
+2 # David Starr 2014-03-08 14:30
Gibson's points are valid.

"1. Break Corporate Monopolies and "Free Trade" Agreements"

Indeed, this private corporate bureacracy must be broken down, and in turn eliminate private monopoly.

"2. Guarantee Full Employment"

Employment is a right, a necessity to earn a reasonable imcome, according to occupation and skills.

"3. Wage War on Climate Change, Poverty, Inequality and Greed"

Yes, and to do that, the very nature of capitalism must be opposed.

"4. Build a New Populist Political Party"

Yes, another party is needed, but with principles that are by nature incompadible with capitalism. The idea that reforms for democratic change under capitalism won't work in the long term. The idea, that, once and for all, we have to move further beyond the capitalist epoch and into an epoch with a nature that promotes permanent, social ethical ends.

A Left/Progressiv e party and/or coalition could do the trick.
 
 
+1 # Rain17 2014-03-08 15:51
You write:

"Employment is a right, a necessity to earn a reasonable imcome, according to occupation and skills."

I would change it to say instead:

"Employment is a right to anyone who wants to work hard and do well."
 
 
0 # David Starr 2014-03-09 12:41
@Rain17: I do agree with that, only that there would be different occupations with different skill levels; although that doesn't mean that anyone should abuse the situation if someone is making more than someone else (the differences being minimal, if anything). Plus, education is an obvious key for improvement.
 
 
+1 # Rain17 2014-03-09 14:51
I get what you mean. What we also, as a society, need to be blunt about is:

1) There will always be people in low-wage jobs.
2) And we need to ensure that they have a decent enough salary so that they can have basic necessities.

But what I would be careful with messaging is that, while "full employment" is a great goal, it should be available to those "who are willing to work hard and do well". We should stress equality of opportunity, but not equality of condition.
 
 
0 # David Starr 2014-03-12 13:53
@Rain17: I agree on both points. I'll add that it should be where low-wage earners can save a little money.

Simply put, all people, despite different occupations, having reasonable living standards.
 
 
0 # Wintersnow22 2014-03-08 18:34
These are all great points but you have to have a Congress that votes in the interest of the people as opposed to the interests if corporations. Until the time the citizens get sick and tired enough to make a stand against this things will only further decline for the people and improve for corporate America. The other day I was ddoing research on Crony Capitalism to satisfy some curiosity. I tan across the term Inverted Totalitarianism . I'm sure many of you know what that is but I didnt. What a frightening eye opener! If you don't know what it is GOOGLE it. It is exactly what is and has been taking place in our country. When our past president and his chorts along with members of some of the big oil companies plan a war to invade a country, and depose its leader, within the first month of their term
, lie and instill fear on the citizens and Constitution of the country he swore to represent, come within a tiny hair of economically collapsing the country, and not be brought to justice their is a problem with the. System and the mass media that helped aid and abett them. The people need to start demanding truth in our journalists for starters. Why? Because that is where most people get their information. How? Right now we have the internet, the truth is out there, information can be found, advocacy groups need to be formed and made themselves heard. If people don't make demands nothing will change.
 
 
+1 # Wintersnow22 2014-03-08 18:34
These are all great points but you have to have a Congress that votes in the interest of the people as opposed to the interests if corporations. Until the time the citizens get sick and tired enough to make a stand against this things will only further decline for the people and improve for corporate America. The other day I was ddoing research on Crony Capitalism to satisfy some curiosity. I tan across the term Inverted Totalitarianism . I'm sure many of you know what that is but I didnt. What a frightening eye opener! If you don't know what it is GOOGLE it. It is exactly what is and has been taking place in our country. When our past president and his chorts along with members of some of the big oil companies plan a war to invade a country, and depose its leader, within the first month of their term
, lie and instill fear on the citizens and Constitution of the country he swore to represent, come within a tiny hair of economically collapsing the country, and not be brought to justice their is a problem with the. System and the mass media that helped aid and abett them. The people need to start demanding truth in our journalists for starters. Why? Because that is where most people get their information. How? Right now we have the internet, the truth is out there, information can be found, advocacy groups need to be formed and made themselves heard. If people don't make demands nothing will change.
 
 
+1 # Wintersnow22 2014-03-08 18:36
Sorry for errors, having issues with my cell phone. Its time for a new one.
 
 
+3 # hwmcadoo 2014-03-08 19:12
Those re very good ideas to get us free of our very unfair repressive capitalism (fascism).

A Congress who has no desire to make any change in their cozy relationship with the elites will be required to make the changes. How to convince a corrupt, greedy Congress working solely for the elite to give up their gravy train will take more than I can imagine.
 
 
-2 # tabonsell 2014-03-08 20:11
Once again Gibson offers only tepid responses to serious problems.

His four points amount to only nibbling around the edges of a corrupt system and lack specifics about how any of this is to do any good.

I have to remind him to actually explore proposals that would do what he dreams about but can't obtain.

Those proposals are in the book "Saving America: Using Democratic Capitalism to Rescue the Nation from Economic Folly."

Read it, Carl, and you might recognize your proposals lack substance.
 
 
+1 # MarthaA 2014-03-09 13:23
rlandingham 2014-03-08 10:43 am:

Your post is about private capital, private capitalists and privatized capitalism; what your post and the posts of others need to focus on is State Capitalism and Public Banking to finance Private Capitalism, so that Private Capitalists can be forced to borrow money to finance the Economic Cycles of the collapse of Private Capital from Public Banking Institutions with long term loans at high interest rates that will put Private Capitalists on the Hamster Wheel of debt in pursuit of their dreams of world domination in the same way that John Q. and Jane D. Public Citizen are put on the Hamster Wheel of debt in pursuit of their American Dream of home ownership and a good life; this is the way to harness private capitalists and private capital, so that private capitalists pay their own way, rather than to continue to be dependent on the Public Sector. It is time for a change. It is time to end "Dead Zombie Capitalism and the eternal resurrection of Dead Zombie Capitalism at public expense without public benefit."
 
 
+1 # kitster 2014-03-09 16:18
let this article be the manifesto of a new progressive party. the old two party system is holding amerika back from being the true democracy envisioned by our founders. let the government of the greedster/banke r/corporatists, by the greedster/banke r/corporatists and for the greedster/banke r/corporatists perish from the earth.
 
 
0 # magwa999 2014-03-11 03:38
50 white men settled amerika and 50 white people are still in charge(settle down just a view). amerika will have to fall before it can get back up. All the ism's around the planet have failed and until we discover a new one this is what we have. Greed has taken over and common sense is gone. No one will straighten this out and as care takers of the planet we have failed miserably. As they say you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything and we are falling with nothing to grab on to......
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2014-03-11 13:36
magwa999....gre ed has always been there and common sense has not always been in abundance. As for being care takers of this planet, we failed misarably in the past as we are now. The only difference is that there are just more of us doing it. Ergo the horrible state of this planet.
 
 
+1 # bingers 2014-03-11 04:37
If we are to have a third party which will help, not damage America it must only be a conservative one. That would lead to the destruction of the Republicans as a force in politics and all the well meaning folks who want to establish a leftist third party are risking making the right wing all powerful. I too would like to see a more progressive party, but that is only workable if the Republicans become a rump party.
 

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