End Of Capitalism

Well, here goes everything! If and when Capitalism in our great country hiccups or worse yet fails entirely, what will be the tell tale signs? My father, who lived through the depression says, “You don’t want to know.” Who in their infinite wisdom, can enlighten me? Don’t hold back!!!

“Great country” ? You started this badly… :slight_smile:

Well capitalism can “fail” depending on the regime that follows. If some lunatic fringe takes power and declares the US a "non monetary economy’ or some other wacko thingy… its imediate.

A gradual decline might come from total crash of consuming... depression style. One scenario I can see that is possible is the end of the dollar as the international means of exchange or a increase in interest rates internally in the US. Both might create a unstable dollar value and since americans in general has a lot of mortgages and debts... that might lead to heavy citizen endebtment and drop in consuming.  This would require a heavy lack of confidence in the government thou....

The End of Capitalism? It’s “m”.

When the means of production (raw resourses, factories) and its distribution is controlled by individuals, or by individuals corporately (as in a corporation), then that is capitalism. Distribution is through a free market where laws of supply and demand dominate.

When the means of production and its distribution is controlled by a central authority (the government), then that is socialism. Distribution is through the central authority ‘hiring’ the people or just giving things away as a stipend.

The U.S. is mostly capitalistic. I say ‘mostly’ because the government does own some means of production and distribution (e.g., some utilities, federal preserves, the radio spectrum, etc…). Also, the government taxes individuals and corporations, so that it has some of the capital which it then spends through central authorities (pay for the military, infrastructure, social-net entitlements).

It’s very difficult to have a purely capitalistic or socialistic society. Historical experiments have failed. Capitalism creates the motivation for people to work hard and produce the goods that increases the overall general wealth of society. Socialism protects the exploitation of the weak and poor (no one want mass starvation and the riots and revolutions it produces) and greases the wheels of capitalism by creating and maintaining infrastructure on a large scale (e.g., the national highway system).

By themselves, socialism leads to overall decline in wealth due to the lack of incentive to work hard; and liberal laissez-faire capitalism leads to class warfare (to oversimplify).

So, if you mean pure capitalism, it’s already gone in the U.S. If you mean the end to any capitalism whatsoever… not in your lifetime (barring a global disaster).


“You got capitalism in my socialism!”

“You got socialsim in my capitalism!”

Does the OP mean a collapse of capitalism, such as, so many jobs are exported and people are either laid off or afraid of it they stop running up their credit cards? And they stop consuming? So other jobs go away?

And so income taxes and sales taxes aren’t happening due to no incomes and no sales? so the states can’t pay unemployment stipends? So people stop paying their credit card payments? and even the credit card companies are laying off? and the medical providers only see people begging for free help?

And the landlords get nothing from their properties? And mortgage companies aren’t receiving their payments, but when they foreclose there are no good buyers? Corporations are bombing out? And the rest of the ‘owner’ class lose their incomes too?

I was taught in high school that there had been a business cycle of boom-and-bust that was more intense than what we see, that culminated in the Great Depression. However another Depression was not possible anymore since the elderly at least had Social Security and could pay for their food and shelter; and the unemployed would be tided over so many months on their benefits. That way the intensity of the busts would not occur.


It’s difficult to imagine a world without capitalistic endeavor, as it always seems to emerge. The latest failed efforts at a centrally planned economy with the states owning the means of production, the communist endeavor in Russia and its satellites, all developed black market (capitalist) economies.

I took an economics class with Professor George Vixnens (hope I spelled that right), formerly of Georgetown University, and who ran the central bank for one of the Baltic nations right after their independence.

He often stated that capitalism would be over in the United States when the Chicago Board of Trade closed its doors. That would only happen if the price of commodities would no longer be driven by market factors.

Seems like a pretty good sign to me.

A hard to envision scenario.

So, do you mean the collapse of all Capitalist economies or the end of Capitalism as a viable economic system? The two are very different concepts.

The first case could trivially be accomplished by any of your major civilization-ending disasters. World War III is the `traditional’ scenario, but a huge asteroid is equally capable of ruining the world so badly that no large-scale economy can survive. (A simple barter economy among scattered bands of survivors would not count as Capitalism per se, but you could see it as a market economy nonetheless. Certainly, nothing approaching State Socialism would survive.)

The second case could only realistically happen if we enter a `post-scarcity economy’, where all of life’s needs are so common that they no longer need to be distributed via traditional channels of exchange (Capitalism) or coercion (Socialism). In that scenario, people presumably work for social accolades or luxuries. The only place this has really happened is in fiction, however, and it is unclear how it will occur in the real world. (Some gift cultures have come close, but only on a limited scale and only among members of the upper class. I refer to the pre-Columbian tribes of the American Pacific Northwest, the upper class of which held potlucks where the richest members would give away gifts in return for social prestige. The gentle climate of the region and the plentiful food allowed for social norms that would have been quite untenable in, say, the American Desert Southwest.)