Provocation #217 Operating the system at a net loss.
Capitalism is a problem for society because it maximizes profit and money wealth, not the quality of the society or of lives. Instead of managing for ecological health and the benefits of tech for the elimination of labor, it manages the whole for the good of a part, destroying the environment and crippling the people.
Capitalism exploits what is created and taken as if free and charges for it: trees, minerals, plants all of which have some human input but the main value is produced by the earth and then taken, worked and charged for. A few acres of redwoods bought for X, cut and sold for many times X, perhaps a 20 cents aboard foot. But think of what it took nature to make that board foot. What is sold in the market, or taken to the end of building a new house, includes unpaid work, such as the raising of children that are then taken by the employer for wages. The result is the depletion of the earth and of society. The whole supports a part.
Moreover, everything that is sold is sold for less than the total costs of production. Think of what you pay for your morning coffee. That payment is distributed back down the chain to the importers, the ships, the plantation. But the chain keeps on going, through the earth, its minerals and organics, to the rain and sun. These last steps are not paid for nearly what they are worth. The result is an overall depletion of the earth without renewal nor compensation. Thus capitalism can appear to be making a profit but it is actually operating at a loss. We have used up much of the topsoil and polluted the atmosphere and impoverished much of the population (if you think of what it takes to raise a child and then that child as an adult, on the coffee plantation, paid).
Bad system management. One result is that we do not have the leverage to repair the system and we have too many people, too much output, too many guns and we can’t see a way to keep it from collapsing. Is anything better possible? Is there an economics for ecological restoration where there is no product nor service but general good? Is there a way to distribute the fruits of tech so that everyone benefits from “labor saving”?