The fall of Capitalism. Is it getting close?

Being relatively new to SDMB, this topic may have already been debated to death. In that case I’d appreciate anyone’s references of web site addresses covering the debate within or out of SDMB. I have already studied all writings of Noam Chumsky, Gore Vidal, Michael Parenti, Jonathan Kwitny, etc.

Here is the issue in this grim day of the Republicans coming back to power with their motto of “Greed is Good”. Never before in the history of capitalism, such high percentage of wealth has been accumulated by such few percentage of people. And now, with the arrival of the Bush Empire, the pressure is on to increase those percentages. (If you don’t believe it, just look at the face of the rich Secretary of State in Florida as she is interviewed on TV. Isn’t her smile ugly). The Wink of the Republicans (as displayed by George W. Bush) means that it is time again for the few to go on sucking the ordinary people’s earnings dry and kick some asses (as his father used to say). Note that the $500 possible tax relief by George will hardly pay for uncontrolled rental or mortgage increase of ordinary people.

If any of you have ever tried to become an entrepreneur in this “land of opportunity”, you know very well what a struggle it is to break even, let alone making a profit. And yet, looking at the Fortune 500 companies, they seem to be making huge, filthy profits year after year. Who is paying for the Naval forces in the Persian Gulf to make the safe passage of the oil companies tankers? Why aren’t the oil companies paying the $300 billion annual defense budget out of their profits? The question is, who is paying for those profits? Please don’t give me the conservative think tank Hoover Institution line as explanation of supply and demand determining the price. Next time your landlord increases your rent or the utility companies increase your bill, and you are forced to evacuate and pay moving expenses to a slum area, you understand perfectly well the rules of “the free market” and supply and demand. Of course, you are not supposed to ask what happened to all the capital gains made by the utility companies over the past 50 years. Who paid for those gains?

In my humble opinion, under the name of “trickle down economics”, we ordinary people are all becoming a bunch of slaves under the motto of “increased productivity”, working harder and getting paid less by a bunch of greedy bastards in search of huge profits. These guys would never share or disclose their know-how or intellectual property with anyone who wants to catch his own fish, thus pushing people into the streets begging for some fish. How far are we away from the time that everyone pours into the streets. How much longer the greedy bastards can kick asses and squeeze the rope around the neck of the ordinary people?

Hey, anybody want to organize a pool on when the dictatorship of the proletariat will relieve us from all this intolerable prosperity? I got dibs on April 2.

Seriously, man, you got a legitimate question here, or do you just want to rant?

No, no, One Cell – Greed is good, and without it society would perish – or so goes the conventional wisdom

I tried to argue otherwise once and was roundly beat around the ears:

Try to make ends meet; you’re a slave to money; then you die.

Whats the alternative?

Minty Green:

It has been said that “Reality is in the mind of beholder”, and that “Let’s count the chickens at the end of autumn”.

1- Prosperity? Yeah, sure, for a few lucky ones that could afford to buy stocks and sold it when NASDAQ was at 5000. Even some of those lucky ones are taking a hard look at their 2000-year-end IRA and 401K statements, wondering what happened to their future prosperity. Lot of them will now have to extend their working life flipping hamburgers.

2- Is the “dictatorship of proletariat” or Communism/Socialism the only alternative to Capitalism? If so, we probably need different kinds of “Think Tank Organizations” coming up with new alternatives addressing the issues of the 21st century.

3- Please explain what you mean by “I got dibs on April 2”.

4- Please tell us what makes the OP an illegitimate question. Please note that I haave read the book “winning through intimidation”. In it, “illegitimization” is fully described as one of the techniques.

I see. So you won’t be satisfied until no one is wealthy, or you are wealthy. Because, you know, it cannot be everyone being wealthy.

Capitalism: private ownership of property and the means of production and distribution. Socialism: public/government ownership of property and the means of production and distribution. Communism: not an economic theory but a political one which included socialism.

So, yeah–they are opposites.

$10 because April First was already taken! :wink:

I think your question is something close to “when’s the ride over?”.

Not even close. You see, there are a lot of people doing just fine in this country. Sure, there was a nasty set back last year, but this is a new year, and things might pick back up.

Now, that’s not to say you don’t have a good point or two. I agree we should look and see if we can’t redistibute the burden of taxes off the backs of wage-earners. See if we really need all this billions in defense spending for a world which is more into terrorism than mass scale war.

But I don’t think that mere economic hardships for the masses are going to translate into Yet Another Revolution. For that, you’d have to start yanking freedoms away right and left. (Speech, Assembly, Religion…)

Well, you can’t eat tomorrows bread today, right? So how do you define wealth?

But not the only possibilities.

I don’t think that is true either.

This is the type of thread I usually just read, rather than respond to. But I wanted to ask after reading your second paragraph: why does everyone think that only Republicans are rich?

Is that where you learned how to open a discussion? You start out with “…grim day of the Republicans coming to power…” along with the claim that their motto is “…greed is good.” Sounds to me like you’re simply doing what you accuse Minty of doing.


And why does everyone think all Republicans are rich (or dupes of the rich)?

It’s a good rant; I give it three spleens out of four.

Dude, I’m sorry. Was there a question in the OP? I must have mistaken it for a rhetorical rant. If so, would you mind asking it in, say, twenty words or less?

And as arl pointed out, I took April 2 in the pool 'cause I figured you already had April 1. :wink:

Here is the OP question in 20 words:

As more wealth is accumulated by fewer people at the cost of masses, when will we reach the explosion point?

Also in response to TXlonghorn and soccerhooligan, I do not believe “only Republicans are rich” nor “all Republicans are rich”.

However, suppose we line up all officers and board members of Fortune 1000 Companies plus all Americans that have over $50 million in net worth, and ask them if they are Republicans. What are the odds that over 90% of them would say YES.

I think you’re working from a mistaken assumption here. What gives you the idea that the wealthy are accumulating wealth to the detriment of the “masses”? Yes, I know there is data showing that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is growing, but the fact of the matter is that the standard of living of the poor is rising, not falling. Unless you think that the income gap is itself unjust (which I suspect you do), the proper inquiry is to ask whether the current system is improving the lives of those at the bottom of the economic spectrum. As long as it is consistently doing so, I don’t see that we’re in the slightest danger of changing the fundamentals of the American economic system.

Note, that does not apply to places like Russia, where the kleptocrats are quite clearly gaining wealth at the expense and to the detriment of the masses. But kleptocracy is quite distinct from capitalism.

For a lot of people… it is falling.

Sure, and among those people whose standard of living is falling is Bill Gates. Hasn’t he lost like half of his net worth in the last year? Clearly, the boy needs some Marxism pronto.

Sorry, guess I should have stated that, on average, and over time, the standard of living of the poorest Americans has clearly improved.

Well… who said that Capitalism only exists in America? Not me… and I’m hoping you’re not suggesting it.
Also. Depending on what time frame you’re using, your numbers could be easily disputed.

You would think that the people who, like me, work in retail or other low-paying service jobs like fast food would be the first to want to forment rebellion. We earn diddly squat while management reaps the lion’s share of salary and benefits. Yet I never hear a peep. Why is that? Because we’re stupid? Blind? Sheep? Maybe it’s because capitalism is the worst system of all - except for all the others.

Minty Green:

I did not say the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor. I said at the expense of masses. Relatively small percentage of this country is super rich or super poor. The masses are those who need at least two incomes to make ends meet. As “Downsizing” starts to go into effect to increase bottom lines, more asses of masses are going to be kicked to increase productivity. It is the middle class standard of living and quality of life that will deteriorate, as noted by oldscratch post above.

If our plan A is continuation of Capitalism, how can we mobalize to create a plan B, just in case plan A fails.