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Is Capitalism Humane?

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Questions & Answers (Milton Friedman)

Interview: Capitalism and a Free Society (w/ Margaret Thatcher)

Discussion 55 Comments

  • Eisenhower's Shotgun 23rd Oct 2018

    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 23rd Oct 2018

      Hippies. They're everywhere. They wanna save Earth, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad. Help.

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018


    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018


    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018


    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      “As this culture of decommodification emerges it becomes increasingly self-supporting: one household
      is liberated from the market economy to some extent by practising voluntary simplicity
      , allowing more time to gift skills and resources outside the market; but as other households do that too, the benefits and rewards of the gift economy return, reducing reliance on the market economy and making voluntary simplicity
      increasingly viable, which further supports the gift economy in a symbiotic loop of mutual support. Paradoxically, then, financial frugality

      enables generosity, solidarity, sharing and redistribution
      (Gibson-Graham et al. 2013)” (Degrowth in the Suburbs)

      Can we call it something else...not an economy...just sharing or gifting or giving a hand...the economy has much to do with so much other complicated stuff rather than sharing shit already produced...too many flicking economies...

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      “These critical reflections should not be interpreted as undermining the strategy or importance of retrofitting
      suburban households in the manner and spirit outlined in this chapter. It only points to the complexity of the predicament. Certainly, access to housing
      and land
      can be expensive, sometimes prohibitively so, but there are many suburban houses owned by their inhabitants. In Australia
      , as noted, approximately 65% of people own their own houses. While relatively marginal social movements
      for structural
      change are endeavouring to broaden such access, existing owners can get to work building new forms of life within existing structures, and, as this chapter suggests, there is a huge amount that could be done in that space. The household
      may not be the world economy, but changing the world will require changing the household
      economy.” (Degrowth in the Suburbs)

      Household economy
      Sharing economy
      Gift economy
      Stigmergic economy
      Peer economy
      Commoning economy
      Doughnut economy
      Solidarity economy
      Viking economy
      Local economy
      Regional economy
      State economy
      National economy
      Global economy
      Plural Commonwealth economy
      Steady State economy
      Simpler Way economy
      Economy economy
      Economy economy economy
      Economy economy economy economy



    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018


    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 27th Oct 2018

      7H3_M4RK37 // TRADES'N'SHARES


      Capitalism is a system of gradual parasitism: 


      Nobody is free from guilt;

      except at the very bottom;

      facing brutal slavery;

      which is also systemic. 


      The machine works that way;

      There's no such thing as;

      humane capitalism.  


      There are two ways you can deal with it:


      Go for it;

      hope and struggle;

      fight for your rank 

      in the food chain;


      Or realize that;

      this system;

      has to be overcome. 


      There's nothing in between. 


      Capitalism needs profit;

      and profit needs misery.


  • Eisenhower's Shotgun 23rd Oct 2018

  • Eisenhower's Shotgun 23rd Oct 2018

    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018

      Planting Seeds of the Future in the Present with Michael Albert

      Michael Albert talking in Glasgow from Stuart Platt on Vimeo.

      Michael Albert is a founder and current member of the staff of Z Magazine as well as staff of Z Magazine`s web system: ZCom.

      Albert’s radicalization occurred during the 1960s. His political involvements, starting then and continuing to the present, have ranged from local, regional, and national organizing projects and campaigns to co-founding South End Press, Z Magazine, the Z Media Institute, and ZNet, and to working on all these projects, writing for various publications and publishers, giving public talks, etc.

      With Robin Hahnel, he has developed their ideas around participatory economics based on the key values of Self-Management, Justice, Solidarity, Diversity, Efficiency and Sustainability.

      This talk took place on 10th October 2018 at The Pearce Institute, Govan, Glasgow

      For more info on the Centre for Human Ecology : che.ac.uk



    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      None of this is true

    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018



      The Truth shall make Ye Free; more or less.


    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      “This book has been about the origin of capitalism. What does that origin tell us about the nature of the system itself? First, it reminds us that capitalism is not a natural and inevitable consequence of human nature, or of the age-old social tendency to ‘truck, barter, and exchange’. It is a late and localized product of very specific historical conditions. The expansionary drive of capitalism, reaching a point of virtual universality today, is not the consequence of its conformity to human nature or to some transhistorical law, or of some racial or cultural superiority of ‘the West’, but the product of its own historically specific internal laws of motion, its unique capacity as well as its unique need for constant self-expansion. Those laws of motion required vast social transformations and upheavals to set them in train. They required a transformation in the human metabolism with nature, in the provision of life’s basic necessities. Second, capitalism has, from the beginning, been a deeply contradictory force. The very least that can be said is that the capitalist system’s unique capacity, and need, for self-sustaining growth has never been incompatible with regular stagnation and economic downturns. On the contrary, the very same logic that drives the system forward makes it inevitably susceptible to economic instabilities, which require constant ‘extra-economic’ interventions, if not to control them then at least to compensate for their destructive effects. But the system’s contradictions have always gone far beyond the vagaries of economic cycles. We need only consider the most obvious effects of English agrarian capitalism: the conditions for material prosperity existed in early modern England in historically unprecedented ways, yet those conditions were achieved at the cost of widespread dispossession and intense exploitation. These new conditions also established the foundation and seeds for new and more effective forms of colonial expansion and imperialism in search of new markets, labour forces, and resources. Then there are the corollaries of ‘improvement’: productivity and the ability to feed a vast population set against the subordination of all other considerations to the imperatives of profit. This means, among other things, that people who could be fed are often left to starve. There is, in general, a great disparity between the productive capacities of capitalism and the quality of life it delivers. The ethic of ‘improvement’ in its original sense, in which production is inseparable from profit, is also the ethic of exploitation, poverty, and homelessness. Irresponsible land use and environmental destruction are also consequences of the ethic of productivity for profit –as we have seen most dramatically in recent agricultural scandals. Capitalism was born at the very core of human life, in the interaction with nature on which life itself depends, and the transformation of that interaction by agrarian capitalism revealed the inherently destructive impulses of a system in which the very fundamentals of existence are subjected to the requirements of profit. In other words, the origin of capitalism revealed the essential secret of capitalism. The expansion of capitalist imperatives throughout the world has regularly reproduced effects that it had at the beginning within its country of origin: dispossession, extinction of customary property rights, the imposition of market imperatives, and environmental destruction. These processes have extended their reach from the relations between exploiting and exploited classes to the relations between imperialist and subordinate countries. But if the destructive effects of capitalism have constantly reproduced themselves, its positive effects have not been nearly as consistent since the system’s moment of origin. Once capitalism was established in one country, once it began to impose its imperatives on the rest of Europe and ultimately the whole world, its development in other places could never follow the same course as it had in its place of origin. The existence of one capitalist society thereafter transformed all others, and the subsequent expansion of capitalist imperatives constantly changed the conditions of economic development. There is also a more general lesson to be drawn from the experience of English agrarian capitalism. Once market imperatives set the terms of social reproduction, all economic actors –both appropriators and producers, even if they remain in possession, or indeed outright ownership, of the means of production –are subject to the demands of competition, increasing productivity, capital accumulation, and the intense exploitation of labour. For that matter, even the absence of a division between appropriators and producers is no guarantee of immunity. Once the market is established as an economic ‘discipline’ or ‘regulator’, once economic actors become market-dependent for the conditions of their own reproduction, even workers who own the means of production, individually or collectively, will be obliged to respond to the market’s imperatives –to compete and accumulate, to let ‘uncompetitive’ enterprises and their workers go to the wall, and to exploit themselves. The history of agrarian capitalism, and everything that followed from it, should make it clear that wherever market imperatives regulate the economy and govern social reproduction, there will be no escape from exploitation. There can, in other words, be no such thing as a truly ‘social’ or democratic market, let alone a ‘market socialism’. I vividly remember –though the historic days of the Communist collapse now seem very distant –how idealistic democrats in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe responded to warnings about the market from the Western left (at a time when there still seemed to be an anti-market left in the West, and still some chance of dialogue between that left and more progressive forces in the former Communist countries). When people warned that the market means not only supermarkets with vast quantities and varieties of consumer goods but also unemployment, poverty, environmental destruction, the degradation of public services and culture, the reply would be, ‘Yes, of course, but that’s not what we mean by the market.’ The idea was that you could pick and choose what you want from the self-regulating market. The market can act as a regulator of the economy just enough to guarantee some rationality, some correspondence between what people want and what is produced. The market can act as a signal, a source of information, a form of communication between consumers and producers, and it can guarantee that useless or inefficient enterprises will shape up or be winnowed out. But we can dispense with its nastier side. All this no doubt seems as naïve to many Russians and Eastern Europeans now as it did to some Western Marxists then, but the irony is that many on the Western left today are inclined to think that the market as an economic regulator is amenable to choice between its beneficent disciplines and its more destructive consequences. It is difficult to explain in any other way the notion of ‘market socialism’, that contradiction in terms, or even the less utopian conception of the ‘social market’, in which the market’s ravages can be controlled by state regulation and an enhancement of social rights. This is not to say that a social market would be no better than unchecked free market capitalism. Nor does it mean that some institutions and practices associated with the market could not be adapted to a socialist economy. But we cannot refuse to confront the implications of the one irreducible condition without which the market cannot act as an economic discipline: the market dependence of direct producers, and specifically its most extreme form, the commodification of labour-power –a condition that places the strictest limits on the ‘socialization’ of the market and its capacity to assume a human face. 1 No one would deny that capitalism has brought with it historically unprecedented material advances. But today it is more obvious than ever that the imperatives of the market will not allow capital to prosper without depressing the conditions of great multitudes of people and degrading the environment throughout the world. We have now reached the point where the destructive effects of capitalism are outstripping its material gains. No ‘developing’ economy setting out on the capitalist road today, for example, is likely to achieve even the contradictory development that England underwent. With the pressures of competition, accumulation, and exploitation imposed by more developed capitalist economies, and with the inevitable crises of overcapacity engendered by capitalist competition, the attempt to achieve material prosperity according to capitalist principles is increasingly likely to bring with it the negative side of the capitalist contradiction, its dispossession and destruction, more than its material benefits –certainly for the vast majority. There is, if anything, a growing disparity between the material capacities created by capitalism and the quality of life it can deliver. This is visible not only in the growing gap between rich and poor but also, for instance, in the deterioration of public services in the very countries –such as the US and UK –where the principles of the capitalist market are most uninhibited. It is true that parts of Continental Europe enjoy better public services, to say nothing of their often more congenial urban environments. But these advantages (which are, in any case, at growing risk) owe far more to the legacy of absolutism or to pre-capitalist burgher cultures than to the logic of capitalism. 2 Capitalism is also incapable of promoting sustainable development, not because it encourages technological advances that are capable of straining the earth’s resources but because the purpose of capitalist production is exchange value not use value, profit not people. This produces, on the one hand, massive waste and, on the other, inadequate provision of basic necessities, such as affordable housing. Capitalism can certainly produce and even profit from energy-efficient technologies, but its own inherent logic systematically prohibits their sustainable utilization. Just as the requirements of profit and capital accumulation inevitably drive production beyond consumption and beyond the limits of use, they also compel destruction long before the possibilities of use are exhausted. Whatever capitalism may do to enable the efficient use of resources, its own imperatives will always drive it further. Without constantly breaching the limits of conservation, without constantly moving forward the boundaries of waste and destruction, there can be no capital accumulation. As capitalism spreads more widely and penetrates more deeply into every aspect of social life and the natural environment, its contradictions are increasingly escaping all our efforts to control them. The hope of achieving a humane, truly democratic, and ecologically sustainable capitalism is becoming transparently unrealistic. But although that alternative is unavailable, there remains the real alternative of socialism.“(THE ORIGIN OF CAPITALISM A Longer View, ELLEN MEIKSINS WOOD)

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      “Some hard-nosed political economists will be quick to dismiss such ‘lifestyle’ changes as being of little consequence, not recognising that the structural changes that are certainly needed will never arrive until there is culture that demands them. Practising energy descent at the householdlevel is an indispensable part of that cultural r/evolution, representing a prefigurative politics that is necessary to any post-carbon or post-growth transition. The rest of the householdactions reviewed in this chapter should be judged in that light also—not as direct, consumption -based ‘solutions’ to the problems of overproduction, but as necessary groundwork for creating the new culture of sufficiency that will need to precede any new politics or macroeconomics of sufficiency.” (Degrowth in the Suburbs)


  • Eisenhower's Shotgun 23rd Oct 2018

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      “Some hard-nosed political economists will be quick to dismiss such ‘lifestyle’ changes as being of little consequence, not recognising that the structural
      changes that are certainly needed will never arrive until there is culture that demands them. Practising energy descent at the householdlevel is an indispensable part of that cultural r/evolution, representing a prefigurative politics that is necessary to any post-carbon or post-growth transition. The rest of the householdactions reviewed in this chapter should be judged in that light also—not as direct, consumption -based ‘solutions’ to the problems of overproduction, but as necessary groundwork for creating the new culture of sufficiency that will need to precede any new politics or macroeconomics
      of sufficiency.”

      Beyond direct and indirect energy considerations, the emergence of a contracting degrowth economy ‘from below
      ’ would obviously require a revaluation of values and practices in other domains of life too. Any consumerist
      culture is going to require a growth economy to meet its demands for ever-rising material living standards. The flip side of that coin is that a degrowth
      economy will depend on and require a material culture of sufficiency that embraces a post-consumerist
      existence of relative energy and resource scarcity. The dual value of embracing this strategy is that it both moves the culture of consumption
      in a more sustainable direction, but it also prepares the household
      for disruptive and unstable economic times in which reduced consumption
      is enforced rather than voluntarily chosen. That is, downshifting
      prepares the household
      for times of crisis
      or unplanned economic contraction, and thus increases resilience
      , even if the primary or initial motivating goal is sustainability. By voluntary simplicity
      we are certainly not just talking about shorter showers, turning the lights off, and recycling. A degrowth
      culture of consumption
      must assume a far more radical form of downshifting
      . According to the ecological footprint analysis, humanity would need four or five planets if the Australian way of life were globalised. If the growing global population
      by 2050 had attained Australian living standards then humanity would need 10 planets—even more if Australians expect rising material living standards
      (Trainer 2010).
      Few analysts of the global predicament seem to appreciate the magnitude of this challenge: it requires a 75–90% reduction in ecological impacts compared to living standards in the wealthiest regions of the world, even if sustainable living will always be a context-dependent practice. Given that efficiency
      , technology
      and the decoupling
      strategy are failing to bring the global economy within sustainable bounds, it follows by force of logic and evidence that globalising Western-style material living standards is a recipe for catastrophe—both ecological and humanitarian. A just and sustainable world necessarily involves some radically transfigured practices of consumption
      and production compared to the ecocidal forms which have emerged in the West, and that means, amongst other things, embracing the all but forgotten wisdom of frugality

      , moderation, and sufficiency (Princen 2005; Westacott 2016).
      The reader is justified in being sceptical here, but it is no good critics dismissing this call for simpler living in the suburbs as ‘wishful thinking’. We are neither oblivious to the obstacles nor so deluded as to think the revolution
      in consciousness this cultural transformation implies will be easily achieved. But when the full magnitude of ecological overshoot
      is recognised on a full to overflowing planet, there is absolutely no alternative but to abandon high-impact suburban affluence as we know it today and radically downshift average energy and resource demands in wealthy nations
      (Fleming 2016). This is both an ecological and a social justice
      imperative. Thus, it is not ‘wishful thinking’ but ‘clear thinking’ that informs our suburban economics
      of sufficiency

      , and any theorists who dismiss the logic of sufficiency are themselves fantasising by ignoring this necessary dimension of any coherent sustainability transition
      . As the slogan from Paris ’68 goes: ‘Be realistic—demand the impossible!’

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      The above is from Degrowth in the Suburbs by Alexander and Gleeson.

  • Bat Chainpuller 24th Oct 2018

    I’m at a loss. Cannot reconcile approach one with approach two.

    1. An actual vision to head for, like Parecon, or Inclusive Democracy’s vaguer economic vision or Christian Siefkes’ embryonic and much ignored P2P vision,
    2. Pluralist Commonwealth/Commoning/Degrowth/Simplicity/cooperative/Partner State/non-monetary stigmergic emerging paving the path as we go.

    You can’t do it anymore really. You advocate Parecon and you will be cut down, or worse, just ignored as some sort of archaic nutter with their head in the sand. It’s about degrowth and commoning and co-ops and shit. Sharing, non-monetary, gifting localised living, oh, and spirituality and love. Local economics because that’s where we all have to withdraw. And if we do not we are fucked.

    So yes, it is fucking depressing reading Degrowth in the Suburbs A Radical Urban Imaginary, Samuel Alexander and Brendan Gleeson’s book, because I do not feel paving the path as we go is at all sensible. I think it deluded groping in the dark stuff. But what the fuck would I know. The whole left seems this is the way and so that is that. And they may be right. How would a I fucking know. I just read all this fucking shit and it sits in my head causing all sorts of flicking angst.

    Or actually maybe no one knows at all and so this approach just seems like the easiest to go down because you can join or create a co-op or grow stuff or stop driving your car and decarbonise your life in the burbs as long as everyone else does too, without having to embrace and understand something awful like Parecon...yuck!

    See, once I get to this point I am at a loss. I still think something like Parecon is an absolute necessity...we need to think about economic destination and it needs to be coherent and clear but I do not see this within the Lefts growing love affair with paving the path as we go methods locally...and the truth is, all the advocates are all so fucking vague on the future...they really just don’t fucking know what a future better economy will look like as if that provides me with fucking confidence...”well, maybe markets won’t look like markets we have now, they may be better.” Well, THEN THEY AIN’T FUCKING MARKETS THEN ARE THEY.

    See, I have no confidence in anything anymore.

    AND I THINK THAT IS WHY THIS PLACE DIED. Because no one really knows what to do, where to go or what to embrace as a vision. You embrace a Parecon then you get hammered. You embrace the pave the path as we go method and you can’t tell anyone outside of the choir where you are going because no one really fucking knows....really...you have no idea...just hope and guesses...it will all just self emerge, self organise...in other words, how things just fucking are.

    So fuck it all...give up...what’s the point...let it all go...

    I think the Left has no idea what it is doing really...but there are lots of people giving themselves lots of things to do in their lives by writing, talking, joining orgs, and organising shit, symposiums, talks, conferences and the like which at least keep them busy and make themselves feel good...and some/most perhaps, are doing good things, but it does seem like groping in the dark...

    It’s not very coherent the paving the path as you go method...it’s just fucking easier to sell and do. I feel like all I should do is build or join a co-op or something, or get chickens and grow stuff...Jesus fuck. I can hardly bend over anymore and my shoulders fucked. I really do not know why I keep reading this shit and hang around here...no idea...

    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018

    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018


      Patrick: "Well, we have to end apartheid for one. And slow down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, and oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal rights for women. We have to encourage a return to traditional moral values. Most importantly, we have to promote general social concern, and less materialism in young people."


    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      “Even the most radically downshifted suburban households, however, are probably still overconsuming on a global scale, so the practice of sufficiency is an ongoing creative process, not a static destination to arrive at or achieve once and for all. This also points to the systemic
      , since it can be very hard, and at times, impossible, to consume less within societal structures
      that have been created to promote limitless growth and unbounded consumerism
      . Nevertheless, as we have argued, the structural
      transformation will never transpire until there is a post-consumerist
      culture that is prepared to embrace material sufficiency, so the individuals and households exploring radical forms of downshifting
      are pioneering a more mindful and pared-back culture of consumption
      than the mainstream sustainability movement seems prepared to acknowledge as necessary. Again, that blindness is largely a result of techno-optimism

      , which assumes technology
      can solve the problem of overconsumption
      by decarbonising
      and dematerialising production. [perhaps also, but no doubt I am wrong, because no one is preferring a new coherent possible actual economic system as well...just a thought...everyone is making it up as they go hoping something will just materialise]

      The main weakness of the voluntary simplicity
      movement to date has been a tendency to be apolitical, in the sense of advocating individual lifestyle change within capitalism
      , rather than thinking through how downshifting
      practices can be leveraged to transcend and transform capitalism through collective and collaborative action and bring about the range of structural
      changes [insert Parecon here] that will be necessary for both justice and sustainability. The political significance of the voluntary simplicity
      movement is most apparent in how it can carve out more time for people to create the new (suburban) economy. The politics of voluntary simplicity
      is typically conceived of in terms of ‘political consumers’ who express their values through what they buy and where they spend. That is fine so far as it goes, but it misses the more significant matter of freedom and time. Building a new economy from the grassroots
      up will take time, and currently most households are ‘time poor’, locked into the work-and-spend cycle. By rethinking consumption
      levels, embracing frugality

      , and exchanging superfluous stuff for more free time, voluntary simplicity
      provides a pathway that can enable grassroots
      activism, while also being directly in line with the values of degrowth
      . Indeed, degrowth
      could be defined as the politics (and macroeconomics) of voluntary simplicity
      .” (Degrowth in the Suburbs, Alexander and Gleeson)

    • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018

      Q: Is Capitalism Humane?


      Batman: "I'm at a loss. Cannot reconcile approach one with approach two. And if we do not we are fucked.  It is fucking depressing and it sits in my head causing all sorts of flicking angst; having to embrace and understand something awful like Parecon.. yuck! I am at a loss. I have no confidence in anything anymore. So fuck it all.. give up.. what's the point.. let it all go.. it does seem like groping in the dark.. I really do not know why I keep reading this shit and hang around here.. no idea.. Jesus fuck."


      7H3_D0C70R: "You took too much man, you took too much, too much. Don't try and fight it. You'll get brain bubbles, strokes, aneurisms. You'll just wither up and die."



      THE BATCAVE // *1337*


    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

      None of this is true

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Oct 2018

  • Bat Chainpuller 24th Oct 2018


  • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018

    And again:

  • Eisenhower's Shotgun 25th Oct 2018