Forum Post: America Beyond Capitalism: An "Evolutionary Reconstruction" of the System Is Necessary and Possible
Posted 5 years ago on July 13, 2012, 9:42 a.m. EST by PeterKropotkin
from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
By Gar Alperovitz
The first edition of "America Beyond Capitalism" was published a few years too early. Although it argued that the nation already faced a systemic crisis in 2005 (not simply a political or economic crisis), the financial break-down and Great Recession that began in late 2007 had not yet occurred—to say nothing of the political outbreaks that began with the Wall Street "occupation" in late 2011. The book's message seemed distant to many readers. To some, its argument that fundamental institutional rebuilding was necessary—and, on the basis of the evidence, possible—seemed odd. Nor did large numbers take seriously the conclusion's prediction concerning emerging political-economic realities:
The first decades of the twenty-first century are likely to open the way to a serious debate about these and other systemic questions... The prospects for near-term change are obviously not great–especially when such change is conceived in traditional terms. Indeed, although there may be an occasional progressive electoral win, there is every reason to believe that the underlying trends will continue their decaying downward course...
On the other hand, fundamental to the analysis presented in the preceding pages is the observation that for precisely such reasons, there is likely to be an intensified process of much deeper probing, much more serious political analysis, and much more fundamental institutional exploration and development...
And only a few readers were willing to accept the book's central judgment that "beneath the surface level of politics-as-usual, it is by no means clear that the public is or will remain quiescent forever—especially if social and economic pain continues, if political elites continue to overreach, and if new directions begin to be clearly defined." Although such an understanding of the emerging historical era no longer seems unusual, the primary theoretical and strategic argument of "America Beyond Capitalism" has yet to be widely confronted—nor its conclusion, that an "evolutionary reconstruction" of the system is not only necessary but well within the range of long run possibility. The argument rests on three challenging assessments: The first and foundational judgment is that (quite apart from other considerations) with the radical decline of organized labor as an institution from 35 percent of the labor force to 6.9 percent in the private sector (11.9 percent overall, and falling), a new progressive politics must ultimately build new institutional foundations to undergird its fundamental approach, or it will continue to remain in an essentially defensive and ultimately declining posture.
The second judgment is that a new longer term institution-building effort—one that at its core is based on the democratization of capital, beginning first at the community and state level and then moving to larger scale as time goes on—is both essential, and also that it is possible.
Read the rest at the link
Alperovitz video below
Capitalism is incompatible with Christianity