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Forum Post: Can Capitalism Ever be Reformed Enough to Take Us to Where We Want To Go?

Posted 2 years ago on April 5, 2012, 3:04 a.m. EST by Odin (583)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

A few days ago I commented on our fellow forum blogger pewestlake's post, "Move to Amend http://occupywallst.org/forum/move-to-amend-david-cobb-part-2-american-creation-/ David Cobb...," which was about repealing Citizen's United. We went back and forth, and although our beliefs are very close, we differed on whether capitalism could be reformed enough to meet the expectations of perhaps most of us at OWS. Basically, he thinks it can be reformed, and I am not so sure that it can as we don't have a good history of that being so.

I had thought about making that comment a post as I thought it would be an interesting debate, but I wanted to ask shadz66 what he thought of it, and he suggested that I should. I urge all of you to return to pewestlake's original post to see how we got here. Anyway, here is that comment with a few small changes reincarnated as a post.

"Yes, but capitalism is based on never-ending growth, needing infinite resources on a finite planet...with little regard for anything else. Even when it was working well for us...at what cost to us, our loved ones, and others in the world, or to the earth itself? We have been conveniently able to close our eyes to the wars...all the innocent people who were maimed or killed with the most sophisticated, horrific, lethal weapons...cluster bombs that kill indiscriminately, bombs made with depleted uranium causing babies to be born with deformities, and unprecedented cancer rates possibly for generations to come. Since we don't see any of the effects of this...it's like these people never existed..it never happened; Then there's our support of brutal dictators, and the fear that their people have to live with on a daily basis; and finally the degradation of the enviroment which causes health problems to our family members and so many people....and threatens life itself. And for the most part...all this because corporate and banking profits reign supreme.

When does all this shit come to an end? Will it ever? We seem to have been able to compartmentlize our values, our morals. Is it because, if it is not an American life, it doesn't count? The injustices that we have perpetrated in the world are being brought to light more and more, but maybe not here so much....with a corporate owned media that acts more as an accomplice than anything else....and probably because it's just kind of uncomfortable to think about all that human misery. These suppressed people have awoken though, much like we have, but to a much bigger degree through social media and even the mainstream media like Aljazeera. So now we are embarked on a war on terror...giving little or no thought as to why they are so angry at us. It's really just blow-back for all the injustices that we have wreaked on them... which we choose to ignore their struggle by substituting a feigned justification for it, ie. "They are jealous of our freedoms," as President George W. Bush so ignorantly proclaimed.

We fear getting pepper-sprayed and getting arrested for standing up to a corrupt system. They feel it is worth risking their lives, rather than to live like the way they have any longer. We cannot deny our culpability in their plight. They will not stand for this any longer. I don't blame them, and I have empathy for them.

I remember talking to a friend who lived in a repressive regime. It was while I was in Guantanamo Bay in 1994-1995 during the Haitian and Cuban refugee crisis. For much of the time we were there, we were alongside a Ukranian cruise ship that was being used as a hotel for the military and all the different government agencies that were there in support of the operation. Unbelievable to me at the time, the ship's crew was Russian..some of them former Soviet military in GTMO! Anyway one night after being there for several months, one of the ship's engineers whom I befriended opened up to me...and yes it was over a bottle of vodka..on what life was like in the Ukraine. He was literally in tears telling me how you could not trust anyone, including family. Can you imagine that? And that is only one facet of what it is like to live under that type of subjugation...and we have and still support brutal dictators who force their people to live under similar circumstances, and worse.

I feel that our country has an important role to play in the world, but the role of holding on to or expanding our hegemony...our Empire is not one of them, as we are going the way of the fall of the Roman Empire. As I have said before, it is bankrupting us both financially, and maybe more importantly spiritually. Most the world knows this, but we seem to continue to live in denial. Anyway, our victims will no longer put up with this abuse. The people of this planet want a different world. Our leaders seem oblivious to this fact. We need new solutions. We need to take a new path, and we need new blood, and I just don't think that we should discount a different economic system....just because either new things are scarey, and we have never lived under anything else except capitalism. That's all." http://billmoyers.com/episode/moving-beyond-war/

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118 Comments


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[-] 6 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

We have a mixed economy and we live under a limited republic which allows corporations with limited liability, PACs, and other large Interest Groups to influence our federal and maybe state governments. Businesses and Investors have think tanks and cambers of commerce that influence government regulators and laws that have to do with safety, air and water pollution, labor laws, monopoly powers, and unionization. But we are schizophrenic. We deny that congressmen, some state government workers, and military retirees have socialized medicine. Propaganda is so effective, most Americans don't realize that the total Federal Budget short fall (deficits) goes back to war and defense spending of Vietnam, and that the cold war was never paid for (let alone that Georgie W. ran us off a cliff). Schizophrenic that half of us think the deficit is Obama's fault. War spending put us into Debt as well as created misery around the world. Schizophrenic that an enemy in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, could ever be a real threat to our national security. Schizophrenic that we could be involved in people death in Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua.

What would we call capitalism if we had transparency? Would it be neocapitalism or reformed capitalism...

What would we call our capitalist system, if we allowed:

1) Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Socialism medicine.
2) Low 3% Loans for Education at College and Tuitition Caps/Freezes. 3) Low 3% Loans for houses. 4) 5% Loans for small businesses.
5) Transparency over all taxes with Flat Federal Rates for all allowing only 5 deductions and no fancy catagories for rich individuals and businesses.
6) Outlaw War beyond 500 miles from Continential USA.
7) Disband CIA and allow military inteligence to take over stations at embassies and around the world.

Having a Mixed Economy means that we have some Socialism with our capitalism. But we are so Schizo we can't even say it on the tv news. We are afraid to tell the emporor that he has no clothes. It is like we don't have people with the character to say what is going on, what our CIA does, What War Does, How many Iraqi's were injured or killed over 20 years of Bombing Iraq, how many Vietnamese were affected by toxins we sprayed, how many Land Mines in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam have killed and wouned and are still killing today and still in the Ground.

A drunk told me the other night that we actually use battlefield nukes in Iraq or Afghanistan based on reports that they have been loading them on fixed wing aircraft for deployment.... I don't have any info, but that will make people sick.

So We have a mixed economy of socialism and capitalism. it is not a democracy, it is a republic. Everyone wants money, so that they can live a funner, easier life. There are limited resources. Obviously we give all the oil to the oil corporations for free and they pay to get it out of the ground. Subsidies are another form of socialism.

8) Do away with subsidies for oil exploration,...we have over 1600 subsidies in the Federal government. Let's get rid of most of the agriculture subsidies and Health and Welfare let's look at them as the biggest group and see if we are just making some businesses rich or lazy.

Social Safety nets are good. Just look this year we are facing a new wave of foreclosures for homes of middle class people of prime mortgages. not subprime. The next 2 years we will need food stamps and social programs. And our elderly. They lost their pensions. many elderly dont have savings and need their social programs.

Fix our domestic problems and stay out of Foreign policy except to cut back the Bush doctrine, first strike doctrine, right to invasion of failed states, help bankrupt states with money grants not loans with 8% interest rates through the IMF or ECB or World Bank or whatever. PIGS are still in trouble and banks are winning.

9) Glass Steagall reinstated. Break up TBTF Wall Street Banks. Think about limits to Bank Profits. Banks use Fractional Reserve Lending system to create money out of thin air - so why not consider this a national or federal or State Function to create money.

10) Federal or State Created money will prove that we can make 3% Loans to Students, Mortgages, and Small Businesses. Fractional reserve Lending is a privilage not a right of US Banks. (Bankers just think they are special).

How about we call reformed capitalism - Americanism. Most of us have an idea already of what Americanism should stand for!!

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Your synopsis of our condition is extensive, and I agree with most of what you say, including your ten point solutions. Once again though, I just don't know if capitalism can be reformed enough. The battlefield nukes that you referred to are those depleted uranium bombs. They are essentially the same as dirty bombs. Aside from causing death and immeasurable harm...birth defects, cancer etc. for generations, they can cause huge swaths of land to become unusable for who knows how long.

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Darn it. This guy is a Neoliberal, but he has a couple of good ideas and wanted to end the FED. (won Nobel Price too)
Milton Freidman (Neoliberal) states in an interview on DVD Corporation by Zeitgeist that we have a 50% socialism government due to 40-50% of all income going to government. It doesn't seem that the US is socialist, but that is because it is so inefficient.
In economics, an externality, or transaction spillover, is a cost or benefit not transmitted through prices [1] that is incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit. The cost of an externality is a negative externality, or external cost, while the benefit of an externality is a positive externality, or external benefit.

In economics, a negative income tax (abbreviated NIT) is a progressive income tax system where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government. Such a system has been discussed by economists but never fully implemented. It was developed by British politician Juliet Rhys-Williams in the 1940s[citation needed] and later United States economist Milton Friedman combined NIT with his flat tax proposals.[1]

Neoliberalism is a contemporary political movement advocating economic liberalizations, free trade and open markets. Neoliberalism supports the privatization of nationalized industries, deregulation, and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society. It is commonly informed by neoclassical or Austrian economics. The term neoliberal today is often used as a general condemnation of economic liberalization policies and advocates.[1][2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman#Honors.2C_recognition.2C_and_influence

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Like you, I am putting all the pieces of this sordid puzzle together. I am still working on whether it was neoliberalism alone, capitalism, or the combination of the two that got us to this point. I strongly suspect that is was the combination of the two, and we should start thinking of something to replace it.

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Yes, it is both. The Capitolist loved what the Neoliberals had to say, then they sent the Lobbyist to work on K Street. Well, also I heard the banks hired a bunch of engineers, scientists, or mathmaticians to work on financial schemes.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

My niece's husband is a lobbyist, and a partner in one of the most powerful law firms in the country, based in DC...but with branches throughout the country. I don't know where that kid went wrong.. :-)

[-] -2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Neo/Con, Neo/Lib, blah blah blah....

Its all just bombing people so you can set up your corporations there.

Keep the dollar in circulation through force.

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Yes, Agree, but also.... think it lead to the $600T in derivatives and the casino Banking and criminogenic behavior.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Yep. I'm not feeling good about any slow slog to make changes in Civil Rights. The last Century made good gains, but Obama and Georgie W. don't use the US Constitution. The Neocons want to cut social programs, make war, destroy people in foreign lands.

I saw a T-shirt one time in a shop. It was for Special Forces. Something like join the army, go to foreign lands, meet foreign people, and ...kill them.

I think that is the Neocons vision of the world. I've looked around at some defense contractors and federal employees...and well they are just doing a job, but they are part of the system. The war machine. They want the money. Maybe the jobs is okay because people treat them with respect, but whatever. They want the money.

I actually don't know much about depleted uranium in war. I have read stuff in the media. I assumed the depleted uranium helped to penatrate armor and that would help penatrate bunkers too. Also I have an idea that depleted uranium becomes like hot metal under high pressure, so that even the pressure of a round or bomb would kill in a tight space. What you said shows me I need to learn something. I must be thinking about a round vs. a bomb.

But yes, I have heard cancer rates have gone sky high in Iraq. I don't think I have heard about afghanistan. I think NPR had a story about cancer rates within the last month.

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I can't see how these people can go to sleep at night knowing that they ordered thes depleted uranium bombs dropped on people. It's really sad. You can google up all this and see the terrible short and long term effects it has on these poor people. Bush and now Obama have made a mockery of both domestic and international law.

Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex three months into his presidency...and then again on his last speech before leaving office. That came from a man that was the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces In Europe during World War II.

Last week I was invited to a recital at a friend's kids school. Earlier in the day they had military people there with there Humvees, and an army truck I think. Then at night the recital...probably 75% of the songs were patriotic or military songs. I don't think it bothered most people like it did me. I just couldn't help but think to myself, are they really fighting for our freedoms? It just seemed like a glorification of something that for the most part is quite tragic.

We are all learning here. In the past six months, I have probably learned more than I have in a very long time. We all knew that things were screwed up, but here is where a lot of us found the common denominator...neoliberal economics. So I soon realized here, it was more than the banks being in cahoots with our corrupt politicians...oh so much more. I urge you to look at life through young people's eyes...perhaps your kids, as I have learned to do. The word 'sustainability' was a word that was somewhat foreign to me...but no so anymore. We are on a destructive path, and the money pouring into political campaigns from the fossil fuel industry is helping to slow the innovation and implementation of alternative energy.

There are many good sources of information, both written, and documentaries. I have also learned, and have been reinforced in my long standing beliefs by the contributors on this forum. People like Gypsy King, pewestlake, shadz66, shooz, GirlFriday, April, underdog, DKAToday, and BigHead1883 are all very good. I do sometimes have slight differences of opinions with some of them, nothing major though. I also know that I have left some people out, and I feel bad about that. If you need to know where to go for more info, let me know.

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Thanks. I appreciate the insight and community.

Yes, I can see how campaign funds and subsidy are unsustainable. I think that was your point. Big money is flowing and going. But you don't get the economic multiplier effect from Bakshee or donations and payoffs from the taxpayer funds. Big money is just going into rich peoples bank accounts. And rich people don't need to buy a lot of things. They have what they need. There is no trickle down effect.

So we have irresponsible corporate executives sacking their corportions through complicated compensation packages. In return they lie or produce propaganda while scheming to sack anouther company, get a government partnership, tax abatement, weasle a new consulting contract with the government and set themselves up as the industry monopoly for a government solution.

One thing that struck me this week is building financing or business project financing. It seems that you can't go to a bank and get all the money you need even if you have a down payment. Finance has gotten so complicated and seems like it relies on betting in bed with other players like the city, county, federal government, civic organizations, and even medical or insurance groups. I don't have enough info on this subject. I know that my impression is that simple projects with clear relationships appear to be above board, legal, and valid. Corruption comes with all the relationships.

Tax abatement deals and subsidy deals are suspect, though loud voices will protest it is the only way to attact businesses and complete projects (whoa as me, I'm poor walmart and I can't compete with mom & pop stores!).

I also agree about international laws of war being abused and broken. We in the USA stood for those laws after WW II. Laws against land mines should be applied to smart bombs in bright colors that kids pick up in fields. Laws against torture are well know by veterans of all ages. You can put a man on his knees to cause him to break down and look for a new confidential friend. you don't need torture.

Military families are impressive. Many families in the US join the service through generations. Active service fathers that I met seem to understand how to love their kids and value them. I think patriotic songs fall a little flat for me also. But I think patriotic songs offer people some kind of support like a church might (if that is okay to say that). But patriotic songs are part of the dogma, and there is no questioning or reflecting when those songs are played.

I was going to write something this year about a common culture of American Citizens and the lack of agreement on a common culture. I never wrote it and published it, because I am thinking too big. I wanted to compare legislation of this country and add historical pieces and maybe highlight the fact that politics completely confuses and obscures truth and our common values.

I did spend some time looking at neoliberal economics in February. The Wikipedia info was not really complete or detailed or sufficient. Forum post was better. But aren't the corporations the biggest beneficiaries. Why don't we talk about corporatism, fascism, or natzi ism. I'm thinking those words are too edgy and sound like a conspiracy. But if we are losing the war on words against the system... aren't we forced to start using edgy words like corporatism?

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Trickle down has not worked for a long time, if ever. That's how we got to the point of the super rich holding 28% of the wealth.. approximately....the same figure as in 1928, right before you know what. The per centage was just under 10% before Reagan took office, and instituted what people called Reaganomics, or the other word for it is neoliberal. Check it out, but I know I am not off by much if at all. I think corporatism is quite accurate, and even acceptable. Facism is just around the corner though.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Yes, I agree. Trick Down/Supply Side Economics/Reagonomics was always just propaganda. And they don't pay for war, but want to lower taxes on the rich. The worst was under Reagan... I think it was $3T in national Deficit due to cold war spending. No one ever paid the money back... And they never paid the money back to Social security Trust and Highway Trust which they stole to pay for Vietnam.

But look at Loans today for Homes and Small businesses. They are not lending. There is more money in subprime loans and just investing in government securities while borrowing at zero interest from the FED.

I think shadz66 posted this link on information clearinghouse a few weeks back on Michael Hudson:

The Germans actually faced a big problem after WW I, where they ended up on the cutting edge of lending to develope the industrial base. German Banks sat on Manufacturing company boards and helped the manufacturing capability grow.

"German banks, by contrast, paid out dividends (and expected such dividends from their clients) at only half the rate of British banks, choosing to retain earnings as capital reserves and invest them largely in the stocks of their industrial clients. Viewing these companies as allies rather than merely as customers from whom to make as large a profit as quickly as possible, German bank officials sat on their boards, and helped expand their business by extending loans to foreign governments on condition that their clients be named the chief suppliers in major public investments. Germany viewed the laws of history as favoring national planning to organize the financing of heavy industry, and gave its bankers a voice in formulating international diplomacy, making them “the principal instrument in the extension of her foreign trade and political power.”

Too Big Too Fail/Too Big Too Jail Banks don't seem to help anyone but themselve these days.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30367.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply-side_economics

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I just lost my several paragraph reply to you....damn! I am aware though of some of the differences from Germany to this country. Briefly they have a whole different approach...investing in their mid-size, or Mittelstand companies in particular....having a more healthy relationship between banks (where unlike here, they invest for the long term), trade schools where students are groomed for specific companies, and their mid-size companies where they once again look long-term.. Hence they generate the largest manufacturing export surplus in the world, even out-pacing China, and Japan. Whether we stay in our system or not, we have a lot to learn from them.

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

Thanks. Yes, I admire the German Education System with it's three tracks 1) University 2) Trade School 3) Gradutation from High School (I think that is right).

I'm just reviewing DVD called "Corporation" by Zeitgeist. Some good stuff always worth reviewing. For the first half or so I kept thinking that international compettion is the reason government and corporations will not allow tighter regulations or any big changes. For instance we don't want to let Germans, French, or even UK corporations get ahead of us interms of market share, or pure wealth and power.

Maybe if we hammer home the message of sustainable manufacturing growth, opportunities, and health environment like with correct banking support....then maybe we can get some jobs, skills for our people, and health manufacturing base.

The DVD states that the city of Arcata, California, capped the number of chain restaurants to nine, and banned future developement.

Also DVD states that two communities in Pennsylvania passed ordinances prohibiting the definition of a corporation as a person. Licking and Porter Townships eliminated corporate rights to claim constitutional rights as a "Person".

DVD is made up mostly of interviews, but flows nicely. There is even a second DVD that is just interviews I guess. Good stuff.

There is one section where people riot in Bolivia because Betchtel claimed rights or ownership of the water (Privatization of the water in Bolivia) that even included the rain water. Thus outlawing collecting water or rain. People were forced to pay a quarter of their income for water. The government had to crackdown and shot people in the streets seemingly siding with the corporation.

In India the corporation Monsanto tried to prevent people from collecting seeds (Illegal).

A guy named Ray Anderson was a carpet CEO and he turned around to speak for sustainability (or so it seems). He says he is convinced that all corporations are not sustainable. The resources taken from the earth just can not be continued. For instance somewhere in the DVD they claim in 2025 a large percentage of the people of the earth (maybe 50%) will not have access to clean water. In the End the People of Bolivia won Democracy and Public water ownership. (6 dead, 175 wounded, 2 childeren blinded)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechtel
the 5th-largest privately owned company in the U.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechtel#Bolivia


This is just another case I've been wanting to put on the forum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_carbide_disaster#Previous_warnings_and_incidents

A total of 36 wards were marked by the authorities as being "gas affected", affecting a population of 520,000. Of these, 200,000 were below 15 years of age, and 3,000 were pregnant women. In 1991, 3,928 deaths had been certified. Independent organizations recorded 8,000 dead in the first days. Other estimations vary between 10,000 and 30,000. Another 100,000 to 200,000 people are estimated to have permanent injuries of different degrees.[5]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_carbide_disaster#The_leakage

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I knew most of the things you mentioned here, except some of the f...ed history of the Bechtel Corp., as I saw that same doc. The other good DVD is called The Yes Men...Fix The World which although presented in a almost comical way which was evidenced from the cover....there is nothing comical about the injustices that they expose, including Union Carbide's explosion in Bhopal.

At the very first demonstration/march that I took part in NYC in late October, I was asked to hold this long pole, with another guy holding another one, and a banner in beween. We went outside of the different banks, and delivered letters to them from people who were either going to be foreclosed on, or had already been. Anyway the guy who asked me to do this is one of the stars of this movie...and I supect is one of the real core people in this movement. As a thank you...he gave my friend and I each a copy of the Yes Men DVD. I didn't think so at first because of the cover...but it is definitely worth seeing.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

I'm checking out the on line movie Addendum by Zeitgeist right now. It seems to back up what you were saying about being backrupt. So far it is an introduction to the FED and the banking System. He is saying that the real con is that the Interest we pay on money/debt ensures that we and our government will always be in debt. he also says since the FED was set up we have had 94% devaluation of the Dollar. Now he is going into Economic Hitmen with John Perkins.

Ah, he says abundance, affordability, and sustainability are the enemy of profits. The corporation and other busnesses must ensure scarcity to keep profits high. Reminds me of early corporate monopolies. Can you believe he says companies actually burn diamonds to keep diamonds scarce. Destroying earth resources just for profits.

http://archive.org/details/Zeitgeist.Addendum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Venus_Project

http://www.thevenusproject.com/

[-] 2 points by AlwaysIntoSomething (42) 3 months ago

As long as the combination on both sides of the money are A) multinational corporations and B) consumers who aren't aware of their purchasing consequences.. Then it doesnt matter what system we institute, it will be quickly taken over and exploited to get us right back here.

Was reading some Goodman the other night, and he was talking about specializing of labor. and the huge corporations, and how when you take humans- humans are by nature workers- and seperate them from the whole process, you dehumanize the process.

He then stated that it has gotten so bad now that we have humans that are making things that they dont even know what its for.

People's finished goods going far far away, removing even more sense of community.

Pretty much just robots.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 1 year ago

Before WWI Americans fervently supported neutrality (and there were neutrality bills proposed before WWII), so we weren't always like this.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 1 year ago

Yes I kind of knew that, and it was the reason that we delayed getting into those wars for as long as we did. We sure have devolved since then though. Wasn't there a concerted campaign by the government to change people's thinking back then? The beginning of gov propaganda perhaps.

[-] 1 points by Frank (19) from Washington, DC 2 years ago

"Yes, but capitalism is based on never-ending growth, needing infinite resources on a finite planet...with little regard for anything else."

Resources aren't finite. I was told in 1970 as a kid we would be out of water, oil, the world would be barren and over populated by 2010. Didn't happen. The entire earth is a resource for heavens sake.

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

That's optimistic, and I hope you are right. We have paid a big price enviromentale-wise for the world we live in. Waterways throughout this country heavily polluted...kids getting asthma from carbon emissions...huge swaths of land polluted in Alberta from the oil sands. The list goes on and on. We have gotten accustomed to this...but should we be? Vast sections of the Amazon rain forest are being cut down. Your teachers were just off by a few decades. That's all.

[-] 1 points by RobertHod (1) 2 years ago

Is it not the greed that should be addressed, . . . rather than the system that accomodates it? I mean really, how far is this behavior going to be allowed to go?

What is humanity thinking, particularly where GATT and NAFTA were popularized for globalism in Amersica?

Do we have a choice to discount the historical one in favor of a "different economic system"? Perhaps after making the other so attractive and proving out that it's silly to be a capitolist?

Then, is unconditional capitalism that is the problem? The "I'd rather die than not profit." Or is the militarism that is parasitic off of the capitalistic society?

Methinks good questions to answer before trying to gain support for a "different economic system". Perhaps its not a black and white world after all and the intents underlying the system are more important than the system.

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Yes, you do "thinks good questions to answer before trying to gain support for a different economic system." That is why I put this thread up as a question. I don't know the answer for sure. I do understand that we have enjoyed a high standard of living overall, and that any new system would have to incorporate the things that make humans 'tick,'...for lack of a better word. I do believe though that we are at a crisis point mainly because of the enviroment, but also because of the awakening of people throughout the world. Simply put, they do not want to live in chains anymore, and I don't blame them.

[-] 1 points by RobertHod (1) 1 year ago

Yes, we have to consider our instincts if we are going to approach sustainability.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 1 year ago

"Consider our instincts," yes perhaps me more than the young people, as I believe they have a better idea of what needs to be done. In any event, we don't need a lot of old geezers maintaining, and promoting the destructive status quo, and that is coming from a grandpa.

[-] 1 points by RobertHod (1) 1 year ago

Conditioning invokes different instincts. A lot of old geezers know the old ways, before the destructive status quo, and they know what I N D E P E N D E N C E is.

The better instincts need that.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 1 year ago

So I guess that we have more to offer than I thought. In any event I do view this as their revolution. I am here to help mostly. I do believe that you can learn a lot from history, but the answers to our many problems will have to be new, and ...

[-] 0 points by RobertHod (1) 1 year ago

Unfortunately the educational system was hijacked by an agenda that does not really promote independence, so the new answers have little functional details. The educational system forgot to educate them into the law of the land, and how to use it for change.

They're trying to make a new system without first testing the old one properly to make sure it doesn't work before moving on. This results in a division because lots of people still believe in the constitution.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 1 year ago

I think most people here are ready to see if this system can be cleaned uo enough to accommodate the changes we need, but I have my doubts. In any event when we get there, we as a people can decide. The extremes are always what drives the rest, but it does not mean we have to go all the way there.

[-] 0 points by RobertHod (1) 1 year ago

Rip Van Winkle posting here. Not sure Americans understand their own system well enough to know it can be cleaned up by them if they can unify. I was reviewing the forum the other day and found a meaningful effort with an online petition. Starting with routing the frauds out of the woods is a logical move.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/action-petition-alec-to-make-a-statement-about-the

These con jobs are working in the dumbed down environment to make people afraid of what they need. First they didn't know. Then they didn't want it, now they're afraid of it.

The right to alter or abolish was established with the Declaration of Independence, or with the Magna Carta before it.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/action-petition-alec-to-make-a-statement-about-the

[-] 1 points by rickMoss (435) 2 years ago

There's No way that capitalism could meet the demands of OWS. There's going to be a lot of pain before most people even realize it. You can protest and cry all you want. Nothing’s going to change except the amount pain that will continue to crush the 99%. The 1% isn't our real problem. It is the ignorance of the 99%.

Wake up! Then learn how to fight back.

FIGHT THE CAUSE - NOT THE SYMPTOM Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

I know you think you know everything. You might want to reconsider after you read this:

"We Are Free!"

http://WeAreFree.osixs.org

www.SaveTheWorldNow.osixs.org The Revolution has started!!!

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

No...I hardly think that I know everything, and for you to say that, it shows that you did not read my post or comments..So i will not bother reading yours.

[-] 1 points by rickMoss (435) 2 years ago

That statement wasn't just directed at you. It was directed at everyone. What gets me the most is that if it didn't apply to you then why get so defensive. I mean you no harm. It''s about being set in our old ways. As OsiXs would say "Our ignorance is compounded by our arrogance". Do as you please. I've done my job.

FIGHT THE CAUSE - NOT THE SYMPTOM

OsiXs (The Nuclear Option)

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

OsiXs, "purpose to unleash technology for the masses...." I'll have to bone up on that. I'll look at the link. Thanks.

[-] 1 points by nobnot (529) from Kapaa, HI 2 years ago

NO!

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Yes

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

Capitalism can be fixed with a small correction .. place a CAP on Sales Profit mark-up. This will fix capitalism ..and create an even tide of wealth.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I'm not sure if I can see that as being a fix.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

When we have a fairness in wealth distribution we will than discover sustainability. A cap on profits will create that " content, I have enough feeling"

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

OK, obviously I am no economist, but I do understand that wages of CEOs and other board members are way out of line compared to the workers, and the top 1% or something hold 28% of the wealth which is comparable to 1928....and that figure was a little under 10% before Reagan took office and instituted or promoted the neoliberal agenda big time. Hence, I can also understand the need to empower unions, and raise the minimum wage quite a bit. All this though will not do anything for sustaibility, but it will go a long way to creating "fairness in wealth distribution."

Capping "sales and profit mark-up," I fear will may have negative implications in the short term at least....I just don't know. Sustainability is very important to me, and I realize to achieve it we need some real forward thinkers, with what might be termed 'out of the box' solutions. I am not thinking along those terms right now, but yes in the future, you may be right. For now we have to start taking baby steps in the right direction.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

The first baby step we can take , would be profit mark-up transparency.. this changes absolutely nothing in terms of wealth, but it provides the public with an actual account of where the money is going. You see, right now the problem the economy is having is not a shortage of money, but a uneven distribution of money. Money is being accumulated in the hands of a few through profits. While many people are running short of their daily needs. There is no other way to fix this except a "profit cap" regulation. The middleman trys to tell us the market decides the final price .. but even so that doesn't make it a fair and reasonable price , after all the buyer / consumer eventually has to buy necessities . The rich man can hold his price longer than the poor man can go without necessities. so the rich man always wins when the market decides the profit.

Think of economic laws vs traffic laws. We had to develop speed limits, stop signs, signal lights, brake lights, and many other traffic regulations to ensure safety of the public. And with the economy we also need to protect the public.. from greedy profits. As you can see in the world today there are many wealthy , but very many poor .. and this is directly related to buy and sell profits .. the rich are the sellers , and the poor are the buyers .. because the rich have no greed limits.. they can charge the highest price and hold out longer than the poor .. sure some say if it is too high than don't buy.. but that causes problems in the manufacturing and job sector.. when the consumer doesn't buy , than sales go down and manufacturing layoff workers .. it's a compounding problem . With the cap on profits sales will increase, the consumer dollar will go further, manufacturing will be busy, jobs will be created, with the dollar value increase the consumer will have to work less to maintain the same standard of living, and the wealthy middleman will not be allowed to take as much as he wants without concern for the welfare of the people. constitutionally speaking the government has a resposibility and right to regulate a sales profit cap to protect the welfare of the people.

Most importantly , the sales cap directly involves the "fairness principle." An even distribution of wealth is fair.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Thanks...I will reread this, more than once..until it all sinks in...promise. Gotta go out now.

[-] 1 points by zoom6000 (430) from St Petersburg, FL 2 years ago

Socialism Democracy that what we need just like europe

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

That's basically what is in Sweden and Norway, right? Thanks.

[-] 1 points by zoom6000 (430) from St Petersburg, FL 2 years ago

yes

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Cool...my dad is from Sweden..went there last summer...nobody sleeping in parks...no demonstrations...everyone seemed happy! :-)

[-] 1 points by PopsMauler (182) from Chicago, IL 2 years ago

No, I don't think it can reformed enough, at least in it's current incarnation here in the states. I'm leaning more and more towards some form of socialism.

At the end of the day any form of economics is a man made system. I don't see that it really matters what the system is as long as it works.

It bothers me that so many rank and file folks get hung up so readily on words, e.g. giving "socialist" etc. a negative connotation without question.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

No I don't think capitalism can be reformed enough either...not if we don't want to ignore the suffering it causes around the world, and if we value the enviroment that we leave our kids. For the former, if we continue on this path it would mean having to increase our support of brutal dictators, because those people are determined not to be subjugated any longer. And on the latter, it would mean the continuation at probably a more rapid pace of destroying our planet....and that conclusion is coming from a person who had a career in the marine petroleum transportation industry, me.

[-] 1 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

Industrialism has no place on the soil of the Native Peoples. Capitalism in terms of small, non-corporate, family business may be appropriate if America looks at itself honestly and atones for itself in the face of its history. Remind any court judge that the pledge of alleigence does say "liberty and justice for all" -- get America to live up to it.

Otherwise, I personally would like to see all of America turned into a great garden (national park): population naturally reduced as people are no longer just bred for labor pools (in addition to their re-connecting to their homelands), with small communities of nature-lovers who respect the Native ways.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I agree that we should live up to the ideals, and the tenets that this country was founded upon, and also we should live up to the morals that we think we have, but have so conveniently been able to compartmentalize. "National Park" though....I don't know...

[-] 1 points by dreamingforward (394) from Tacoma, WA 2 years ago

(re: National Park) I know, my idea is like 1000+ years in the future...

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

At least that long....but I love your dream.

[-] 1 points by blinxwang (25) from Johns Creek, GA 2 years ago

No. Capitalism and the State must be completely abolished if inequality is to be put to an end. Voluntary associations, collective ownership of the means of production, and "to each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need" is the solution. In short, Anarchist Communism is the only way.

[-] 4 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

And how, pray tell, do you propose to implement that in a nation where a lot of the people piss themselves and go for the shotgun at the mere mention of communism in America, and between 30 and 50 percent of the population knee-jerks away from any attempt to regulate ownership and use of the means of production as evil communism to be stamped out at any cost? You're not going to be able to abolish capitalism without the government, and even if you succeed if you're not incredibly careful you wind up with an authoritarian bureaucracy with all the ethics of Monsanto's board of directors. Try abolishing the government first and you get a corporate dream come true (which as far as I can tell is the exact opposite of what you want), and the only way I can think of to abolish both at once is an induced catastrophe that would create Lord of the Flies, and that is so far off limits it's not funny.

If you really want change then you have to look at driving our government and our economy into something beyond simple capitalism or simple communism, you have to commit to putting in the effort to do that no matter how long it takes, and you have to start off with measures that are fairly conservative in scope and can be made obvious to the majority of the populace as good old-fashioned American common-sense solutions. That solution is in fact quite workable (and I would argue central to our nation's development) in the long term, and I believe I discussed the matter more above you.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

"...the only way I can think of to abolish both at once is an induced catastrophe that would create Lord of the Flies, and that is so far off limits it's not funny"

lol.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

has that ever worked well in any country, and does it, or has it ever fostered any form of totalitarianism?

[-] 1 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

"and I am not so sure that it can as we don't have a good history of that being so."

Never forget that there is a first for everything so the evolution of capitalism can't really be judged by its history. Even if capitalism could not be reformed, how would you propose that this ingrained system be discarded? It's not as simple as throwing an object away.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Yes i agree there is "a first for everything," so just as the 'evolution of capitalism can't be judged by its history," neither can the solutions to capitalism's detrimental effects be found in the past. We are living in unprecedented times. Things are coming to a boiling point, and hence new extraordinaryly different appoaches to the most important issues/problems that we face may be...no 'may be'..are DEFINITELY necessary. ...and I know that this will not be easy.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

Theoretically, fixing capitalism is very simple.
Not esay,
But it is simple.


ELIMINATE CORPORATE PERSONHOOD


Corporate personhood is not a real thing; it’s a legal fiction - a judicially created abstraction. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. Corporate personhood has been legalized by corporate power using the _ activist courts for over a century to do what corporations do best – to make profits. To paraphrase a line from the movie Terminator “Listen, and understand. That corporation is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely - will not stop - ever.” It was made to make profits and making profits is what it does.

If corporations no longer had a 1st Amendment right of free speech, we could prohibit all corporate political activity, such as lobbying and contributions to political candidates and parties. All advertising and product labeling could be required to be honest. The main roadblock to single-payer, national health care or Medicare for all - has been the enormous amount of 1st Amendment protected lobbying and campaign contributions from those corporations that profit from the current system.

If corporations no longer had 5th Amendment “due process”, corporations could be legislatively redesigned. A corporation might only be allowed a single hearing when their actions effect an endangered species, rather than the current system where they can spend millions of dollars of their own money, and of taxpayer money, and of the non-profit environmental groups that oppose them, in an unending series of appeals and diversionary legal tricks.

If corporations were not protected against search without a warrant under the 4th Amendment, then corporate managers could not turn OSHA and the EPA inspectors or the local fire department away if they make surprise, unscheduled searches.

If corporations were not protected against discrimination under the 14th Amendment, corporations like Wal-Mart could not force themselves into communities that do not want them.


Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.
After World War II, when historians asked hundreds of German people, how could a well educated, modern people let Nazi insanity take over and destroy their country – the almost universal answer was – “SLOWLY”.
Sound familiar ?.......................................Is 221 years slow enough ?


This solution is the KEY to unlock EVERYTHING
If gets corporate corruption out and disarms our greatest opponent to progress,
the anti-education, pro-prison, anti-medicare, pro-war money
WILL BE SILENT


Theoretically, fixing capitalism is very simple.
Not esay,
But it is simple.


....................................................................ELIMINATE CORPORATE PERSONHOOD


Join us ! nycga.net/groups/restore-democracy groups.yahoo.com/group/NYCRDWG bit.ly/vK2pGI

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I agree that eliminating corporate personhood should be one of our first goals. I also understand that despite its many faults that capitalism has brought a good life to most of us, and I also realize that change is scarey, but...I am just sick and tired of the almost perpetual state of war that we seem to have to be in for capitalism to thrive. Together with being on an 'unsustainable' course...enviromentalwise, where our chidren..our grandchildren will have to suffer the consequences for the world we leave behind...well I just think that we may need a totally different approach. So my question remains, 'Is our crony form of capitalism worth reforming into a more pure form of capitalism, or should we think of something else that works for the benefit of the people both short, and long-term?' That's all.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

This just came up in a video. Seems to indicate the US Government has to have war, perpetual war, to justify or validate it's existance. It seems if there are budget cuts to defense plants, bases and installation, then people will start to whine, complain, and panic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Report_from_Iron_Mountain

http://www.teachpeace.com/Report_from_Iron_Mountain.pdf

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

War is a huge money maker for the financial elite. It all fits in beautifully for them as it helps serve the same goal for those who want to maintain, and expand Empire...not realizing that we are living in a different world. We are now in the midst of what is commonly called "imperial overstretch," or in layman's terms....we are going f...ing bankrupt man...and it is not unlike the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. We have a choice to make, and if we don't make the right one...we are screwed.

The basic conclusion of the Iron Mountain link which basically says that we need war to have a healthy economy presupposes that we have to have a capitalistic system. And if that report is correct...that is all the more reason we should look for alternatives. What would happen if we unleashed the MID... restructured...transformed... of course on our own country...and geared it up to fixing our crumbling, aging infrastructure??

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Depends on how we define capitalism ... but in it's current form, hopefully not.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

You're right...this is crony cap or crap..., isn't it? If it were true capitalism, then could we keep ourselves from having to feed the MID beast, and could we keep ourselves from destroying our enviroment, or at least slow it down a whole bunch, and pursue other energy alternatives at a faster pace than we now are? I just want to see us make good choices, both for the near term and long term, and never in my life up until fairly recently did I question this system, but I do now.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I don't even know if I like staying tied down to the term capitalism. It seems so subjective, I'd rather just avoid trying to sum up what our economy should look like with a single word. I can sum up what I hope for with a few phrases I guess. As few power relationships/structures as possible, participatory democracy (to the maximum extent feasible), and maximum economic participation for as many people as possible.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

That sounds something like what struggleforfreedom mentioned a couple months back. I was thinking about either asking him about it or looking back at old posts. Anyway, I do believe that we need something else too. A bunch of people here think we should have something like the Scandinavian countries have. Like I have said before, my dad is from Sweden, and I was over there last summer with one of my daughters...and they seem to have a real good life. From a post that shadz66 had up a couple of months ago, I learned the system that was implemented was hard-won in the 1920s and 1930s. We need to start with a representative democracy I think, and then go from there.

[-] 1 points by Recycleman (102) 2 years ago

We have to think outside the box. We are living in a historical country and reality. There is no comparison to all the propaganda titles (democracy, capitalism) that refer to our position. We are alone. There has been examples but none have ever faced our structure.

You don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Corporations are not evil or even have feelings. It is the board of directors that direct the actions. Stop blaming the process. We have to stop the greedy people that use corporations as a tool to achieve wealth at the expense of other Americans.

We the people have to vote for change. If we don't get change then vote them out until we get the change desired. We have a major political race approaching and that is the start.

Not the presidential race. The house and senate. We can use small elections to group together and win repersentation that will lead the direction. That is enough to change the world.

Americans don't understand why we are the envy of the world. It's not all the personal possessions. It's the right to vote. Everything else is hot air.

Occupy the vote...

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Four years ago, i probably would have agreed with most of what you said, but for better or worse, my thinking has evolved. I just don't agree. We are well past the point of voting for meaningful change. The sea change we need will only come from outside the system, and only then when they feel the heat will we be able to achieve our goals.

[-] 2 points by Recycleman (102) 2 years ago

you see how the Tea baggers have made a change in a short time with the the Rep party. They show up at all political meetings and vote. Now the candidates bow down to them.

OWS should be occupy the vote.

Other forms of change take to long to wait on. We need to start the change now.

We need a contract tied to guaranteed votes from The Occupy the vote and the candidate. If either party fails to uphold the contract then they accept termination of contract and the position.

This we can start now. If we wait the tea bags will have already made the changes that will prevent us from this opportunity.

[+] -4 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Many of the people here in OWS have worked hard on political campaigns, and others like me belonged to good-government groups like Common Cause and Public Citizen. From all these efforts that we put forward...nothing has changed, it has even gotten worse as we now still have a political and economic system that is in the sewer. The case could easily be made that OWS has done more in six months than these altruistic groups have done in all the years of their existence, As an indication of that, you can see that we have changed the dialogue, and we have moved the whole political spectrum to the left for the first time that I can remember. I think the differences we have is that you are looking at this as an election cycle movement. I am not, as I know for the real change...the sea change we need, will take longer, but that is not to say that we cannot get incremental change by raising a lot of hell along the way, and that is what we are doing now.

That is also not to say though that the people in OWS should not be showing their anger or recalcitrance to this system in a myriad of different ways including getting good NEW people....if there are any...elected to offfice. I just think that most of us feel like dupes for having voted for the people that we did in the past, and because of that, we are very leery.

I would not want to see OWS endorse any party as that would sully us. For me and most others here this is simply about returning the rule of law to our country, having a political system that is more representative of its people, and probably most imortantly...having sustainability.

[-] 1 points by Recycleman (102) 2 years ago

The election cycle movement is where you have to get change. We have to use power to get candidates that will represent our agenda. The occupations have great promises but results are less then needed. OWS shut down ports and the news was silent.

Occupy the elected officials and their campaigns. Occupy voting centers with votes.

OWS is a movement that has been suppressed by news shows to keep it out of the hands of the general public.

When i ask random people about OWS they do not have a clue.

As shown by Arab spring you have to get the attention of the public.

Lets have a 10 million person march on the Whites House and Senate and House. Occupy the lawn of Washington monument with 10 million and you will lead the news. Although they will spin it different, the representatives will take note.

Occupy the vote with 100 million and we will have change.

Occupy commercial time at the Super bowl or American Idol to reach the public. They will accept the money regardless of the content. Get Movie stars to advocate the cause on TV.

We occupy the people that are suppressing the movement.

Did the slaves of the south stay in the south and Occupy. They went where they could be heard.

We are the people, lets vote like it. This election and the next. Elections happen every day and we need to be there. The elections for most positions are decided but less then a few thousand votes. If every mayor of our cities was elected with OWS votes then we would have a voice.

If you represent 99% of the people then elections will be won. The 99% have to know you represent them, they don't. If they dont see it on TV then you do not represent them. They are to busy working low wage jobs.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

"10 million people march on the White House and Senate....," OK now we are on the same page! It's good to see that you got that fire back in your belly with that post. :-). For a while, I had thought you were going to ask me to call my congressman up and plead with him to do the right thing. Our differences are few, I think.

I agree that reaching out to the timid is very important. For a while, a couple of people in NYC and I were working on getting up a web site, and the whole purpose of it was to reach out to the timid and uninformed mainstream by connecting their plights and/or anxieties to ours. It was to be called occupy 4 sea change. Unfortunately we never got it off the ground and running. No problem though, and no big egos...we just attached ourselves to another OWS affinity group that had the same goal, in a slightly different way The group is called Occupy Town Square...on facebook. Every couple of weeks or so they have events in the parks in NYC, and in one case a church because of the cold weather. They have had four of these, and they have been very successful, so much so that OWS is now promoting these on this web site. They will be in Central Park this Sat. the 14th, but this time they will be with their more rambunctious :-) OWS brothers and sisters.

My job with OTS is wide ranging as is the case for all of their members. I send out invitations to these 'pop-ups to' nearby university poly sci and economic departments, and we encourage them to have their own events which we would gladly help them to do. Like I implied though...no job is beneath me or any of the others in OTS from talking to people, lugging tables, to cleaning up dog shit. OTS is not the only affinity group doing this kind of thing either.

I forgot to mention that OTS is also now putting out a newspaper called MetrOccupy and they needed help. I feel very good that I was able able to have linked one of the good forum posters here with a long background in that field... with them. It should work out well. So don't despair....we and many others are working on yoour concerns, and there is a lot you can do too either on an individual basis or a group one including joinng a credit union (don't forget to chastise your bank either)....calling your congressman up....no pleading though..just tell him that you blame him for the sewer that DC has turned into and that you regard him as irrelevant....then there's letters to the editor that you can write... etc., etc. The objective to all this is to keep the heat on high, very high!

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

Wall said! I'd have to agree with every thing you have written.

[-] -2 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

thanks

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Capitalism as a whole is definitely salvageable, and we do have to admit that it does get one whole set of things right; the profit motive isn't going to go away entirely anytime soon, and I don't think we really want it to do so because I don't know of anything that might replace it on a national scale. Such a thing may indeed exist, but as long as we cannot identify it we cannot structure our society in a manner that fosters it and therefore its existence is a moot point if we're going to talk application rather than theory. Greed is not good, but in a particular set of situations it can in fact be quite useful.

The problem with the system we currently have is less about which "ism" we choose to call it than it is about how we choose to implement it. I'd argue that a strictly top-down, hierarchical form of capitalism is going to be no more efficient or functional or mindful of the needs of the people in general than any other authoritarian system. I say this because capitalism is not much different than any other system of government in which decision-making is delegated upward; if the chain of command goes upward only and doesn't loop back around at some point the group at the top will eventually divorce itself enough from the people at large that it starts making decisions that work for its members at the expense of everyone else.

I would argue that American capitalism has not always been as authoritarian as it is now, and in fact we managed to have almost a loop of command instead of a chain for some time; as much as individual corporations still had strong hierarchies there were institutions at multiple levels such as labor unions representing the people near the bottom with enough clout to hold management accountable, and the fact that most companies' workers and consumers were the same people meant that wages and benefits had to be high enough that even low-level employees could afford a given company's product at any given time. Finally, a strong public sector and robust corporate taxes ensured that private firms reinvested in the nation as a whole and kept corporate overhead to reasonable levels.

The past thirty or so years has seen the stripping away of many of the old channels of accountability that forced upper management and CEOs to support their communities and country. With the advent of outsourcing it became possible for companies to completely separate the markets in which they shopped for employees from the markets in which they sold their products, meaning that they could treat employees in other countries how they chose. Further, they were able to put the squeeze on their employees over here, breaking unions and extorting all kinds of unacceptable concessions from workers with variations on the line "If you won't do it for this much I can find an Asian or a Mexican who will do it for five percent of that."

A massive spate of deregulation over the same time frame actively slashed corporate accountability to the people of this nation, and at the same time rulings like Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United allowed large corporations more power over the same people (when you have only two parties and the populace is unfamiliar enough with the issues that whoever has the most (expensive) ad campaigns wins, then the ability to throw money at races matters. Massive lowering of corporate tax rates and the establishment of all kinds of obscure deductions and loopholes made matters worse because it dramatically slashed the amount of investment that corporations were required to put into the country and communities in which they operate, further putting the people out in the cold.

Finally, the massive long-term trend of chopping up and privatizing enterprises that the government used to be responsible has left private industry in general without any long-term competition to keep them honest. We watched the UK try this under Margaret Thatcher with the privatization of British Rail, and instead of providing the increased efficiency she was promised she wound up paying massively increased subsidies for less frequent, less extensive, poorer-quality service. If it didn't work with the BR then, then what makes people think it will work with Medicare or the post office now?

What we need to focus on isn't getting rid of capitalism but on finding means of ensuring the people at the top of the corporate heap adequately invest in and take care of employee, community, and country (which means restoring all of the old checks and balances on out-of-control corporate behavior). We need stronger unions, real protectionism, money out of elections, public works and infrastructure overhauls on a national scale, and a restored public sector to provide fair competition in industries that naturally tend toward monopoly or oligopoly, and I firmly believe that such things can be implemented without compromising those parts of capitalism that benefit the people of the United States.

The natural long-term conclusion of such measures would be something that I can best describe as "community-run democratic capitalism," in which institutions such as banks and corporations continue to exist and prosper, but are owned outright by their communities, whether through municipal governments (which I would argue is possible but not the best way of doing things) or by reorganization of corporations and private firms into a more democratic model in which a company's employees are also its shareholders and its managers. That day will be a great one, but I'd say that it's something that can't really be rushed and is best left to evolve on its own. In the meantime, though, taking more conservative measures to restore the accountability of the top of the corporate food chain to the rest of us should have a strong positive effect on society in the medium and long term.

[-] 2 points by forourfutures (393) 2 years ago

This is a great thread, Odin bringing a pewestlake's issue together where bensdad can post in it.

I agree with ARod1993 and the position that capitalism is not going away any time soon. This agrees with pewestlake's position but not how pewestlake would gain the needed control. pewestlake says amendment, I say congress won't and we need Article V. pewestlake is afraid of it and generalizes saying "Opwning up the constitution" and the notion of preparation evades pewestlake completely as a safeguard against any runaway convention. bensdad is the same. Wants to end corporate personhood but cannot define a way to gain the authority to make the needed changes.

Much of the problem of the issue rests on the fact no one has integrated time into the change from capitalism to whaever will replace it. If we survive the current attack of it, we'll realize that the practiced form of capitalism will have to change quickly.

I envision a form of "spiritual capitalism", where money actually has a purpose of helping humans with living, including protecting the environment they depend upon.

In that vision is a division of humanity. Those that serve humanity through working in a corporate world on one side, and those who serve humanity by working with humanity in a spiritual way with knowledge and wisdom. They are the only ones trusted to define the purposes of humanity. As soon as a corporate employee starts with that in a way consistent, they just changed sides and they are encouraged to do that as many times a day as they like.

That's years down the road but we can start now with losing all fear of Article V and focusing on preparatory amendment as a peoples mandate for election of delegates.

After the abridging of free speech is ended and campaign finance is reformed with voting systems secure, we can use free speech to define exactly how corporations are going to loose their individual rights through amendment. We can decide how to deal with the mess the last 100 years of unconstitutional government can be dealt with and the federal reserve debacle dealth with by amendment.

This proposal should illustrate exactly the kind of reserve and patience with legal process and cahnge through constitutional amendment that will make the skeptics back off, if they are reasonable.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I have no problem with an Article V convention assuming that we walk into any such convention with a preset agenda and series of amendments to be considered, that we develop a populist process closed to any and all for-profit corporate entities and 501(c)(4) lobbying entities for originating amendments (and a process for weeding out particularly unpopular and/or frivolous proposals early on). Such a convention would also require a means for selecting delegates from localities and districts across the nation as well as some sort of arrangement for getting the delegates in one place and supporting them long enough to get something hammered out. As far as I'm concerned, the NGA and the 99% Declaration makes a pretty good dry run for this sort of thing.

[-] 1 points by forourfutures (393) 2 years ago

ARod1993, what TruthRightsFreedom is saying last week was right on. Information needs to get to the people. Freedom of speech and of the press are so far abridged we don't even know how far. I've been researching the preparatory amendments and find that there is a profound draft of a revision for the First Amendment. Now I see whats behind the articlevconvention.org thread and the "ending the abridgement of free speech".

It's an ancient doctrine of natural law that was broken up at the formation of the Declaration of Independence, then partially reassembled for the First Amendment of the Bill of rights in 1792.

http://algoxy.com/poly/meaning_of_free_speech.html

REV. Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; Congress shall see that nothing abridges the freedom of speech and the primary methods or systems of it shall be first accessible for the unity of the people with its possible greater meaning through understanding one another in; forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance, respect, trust, friendship and love protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Congress shall see that nothing abridges freedom of the press in its service to the unity of the people; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances or defense of this constitution.

EXISTING: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


This is unity, "shall be first accessible for the unity of the people with its possible greater meaning through understanding one another"

[-] 1 points by TruthRightsFreedom (259) 2 years ago

I think that is exactly what's proposed here.

http://articlevconvention.org/showthread.php?33-Amendment-By-Layers-Of-Priority-Amendment-Package-Making-CONST.-Inten

In some ways the NGA represents gathering delegates, in another sense, there is not enough appreciation for the task they have chosen from a standpoint of legal process.

The general assemblies are more like a townhall meeting. Which are very important.

Also here I've seen many proposals for direct democracy online. I like this idea but those proposing are always applying it on a grand scale right away. I could logically defend such online opinion forming as an efficient method to democratically refine perceptions and information about proposed amendments and the impacts of ratification.

At the articlevconvention.org forum there is a preset agenda which basically returns America to a nation that can make constitutional decisions. At which point, America need to deliberate upon its condition and how it arrived there. I feel that such and action would be astounding.

We would discover that our constitution is actually far more adequate than many would think, and that ENFORCEMENT of it is the problem. Or, the framers of the constitution and the people of the day were far more atuned to what freedom means than we are.

However, with freedom of spech allowed to have its potential meanings for our republic, democratically, a few small adjustments will perfect it a little more. I would suspect they would have to do with enforcement or the peoples capacity to do so easily.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

It looks interesting, but as far as I can tell it's pretty much empty.

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I'm going to go check out the website; thanks.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I can understand that we do not want to take away the profit motive as this is what spurs innovation, job creation, and the chance for the most ambitious among us to excel. While I am not up on what.... if anything should replace capitalism, many contributors on this forum have suggested that we pattern ourselves after one of the Scandinavian countries...Sweden and Norway seemingly the most commonly mentioned. Although I am sure that neither of those countrys' systems are perfect, I do know that in Sweden they enjoy a good life, as my dad is from there and I was there with family last summer. They have a high standard of living, and in particular they have more second homes, mostly summer cabins, per capita than any country in the world. However, I also know they are the eighth biggest arms dealer in the world.

I also understand your loop analogy in how the loss of labor unions to counter balance the top down hierchal form of capitalism is one of the major reasons we are where we are at today. This undeclared war on unions all started in the early 80s with the election of Reagan, and in the late 80s, I was a victim of this. Recently I heard someone say, "it is not capitalism that made this country great, but it was the democratic struggle against it that made this a great country." that would support your analysis, I believe.

Certainly, if capitalism can be saved, you have covered much of what has to be done to reform it. I agree also, if we get to the point of reforming capitalism as you have laid out here, all things may then be possible, and something may evolve at that point that is totally new and more beneficial to us all. Still though the unlimited, constant growth that capitalism needs to be healthy doesn't seem to fit in with the needs of the people in terms of the enviroment...limited resources, and the degradation of the planet...the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Then there is the neocolonialism which has been instituted and maintained by the different free trade agreements, and an assortment of trade and monetary organizations. The people of the world have awoken as I said in my post, and although I know we have been practicing these policies in one form or another beginning with Teddy Roosevelt's gunboat diplomacy, and going from bogeyman to bogeyman, and from war to war. I just don't see this as a desired workable paradigm for the future, nor do I or I think most people want it to be. As I said in my post, we need new way of looking at things. thanks

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

No problem; I'm glad I was able to contribute. I agree with you that the Scandinavian countries represent a pretty nice example of what we should be striving for. Whether or not they're exactly in line with what we need to become is less important than one might think; America is different enough from the Nordic nations that we're probably going to wind up at a somewhat different place and take a very different path to that place that they did, but that doesn't matter as long as what we have works for us.

The main implementation issue I can see with this is how to present this model to the people without spooking them. Most Americans are quite patriotic, and will always believe that the American way is the best way even if that is not necessarily the case at any given point in time. If we try to sell this as the Scandinavian way then it will be met with derision by large segments of the population, so the question then becomes how exactly we can sell this as being an American project based on good old-fashioned American values (which in many senses it is if you define "American values" as a combination of the old-fashioned Puritan ethic of hard work and charity and the go-getter "pioneer spirit" that sees no difficulty as insurmountable). Assuming such a defense can succeed, then implementation would not necessarily be impossible and in fight might well occur naturally with the will of the people behind it rather than it being imposed from above.

Assuming that such an implementation were to be successful, the result would be an economic system that would bear a relationship to classical capitalism analogous to the relationship between the current United States of America and the original thirteen colonies; many of the core values, certain central doctrines, and many cosmetic and minor to moderate structural features would remain the same, but the sum total would be fundamentally different from what we have now. This would, as far as I'm concerned, be perfectly respectable and in fact would be a necessary step for the continued evolution of this nation.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I agree about "spooking" the public. There are five lobbyists for every law-maker in Washington now. My niece's husband is a partner in one of the lobbyist/law firms in DC. Anyway they will work hard to make us, and any proposal that does not support the current screwed-up status quo look anti-American, and radical. We should examine their methods, and use some of that same modus operandi that they used..... against them, ie. Never mention the word capitalism without preceding it with CRONY, as well as coming up with a list of simple talking points...phrases...that we all have become so accustomed to, and keep pounding away with them. It worked for them in promoting their dishonest agenda...hence, it can work for us in forwarding our honest one.

First it should be our goal to convince people how the neoliberal agenda which has been mostly promoted from the right, has not and still doesn't work for the majority of Americans...the 99%. President Obama, although a supporter of the current corrupt system is inadvertantly doing a lot of that work for us. He is using us.... and vice versa. In any event, we are on the same page as to the importance of using good strategies in promoting our noble cause.

Our success, as you suggest will entail having a good PR campaign, and depends a lot on how we define ourselves, and how we frame the issues, ie. "old-fashioned Puritan ethics of hard work..charity and the go-getter pioneer spirit," (very good!) This will not be easy though as we are going up against a biased corporate-owned media, so along the way, we should continue admonishing the CORPORATE OWNED media itself..in the hopes that people go elsewhere for the truth. While that is being accomplished..we can start taking baby steps..incremental steps in proposals towards a better more representative, accountable form of capitalism (w/o the 'crony' before it) ;-), ....and then...who knows.

[-] 1 points by rbe (687) 2 years ago

I think the biggest threat to capitalism is technology. It has reached a point where it is eliminating more jobs than outsourcing is. Here's a post I made several months back that contains many links to articles that I think are worth reading:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/jobs-are-becoming-obsolete-due-to-advances-in-tech/

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

They were good links, and it has made me realize that since technology is outpacing or replacing the need for people and jobs, we are in a dilema. We have been able to adjust up until now with our current system, no matter how corrupt it is. This problem is not only one for capitalism, but one for any sytem of government, I would imagine. In any event our whole economic system and the way we do things will have to change. The promising thing is there seems to be enough for everyone. It's a toughie, and really requires some thought, and it is getting late for me. Thanks.

[-] 1 points by rbe (687) 2 years ago

No problem! I'm glad you liked the links. A lot of people on here don't think too highly of them, but I think they are pretty straight forward and from enough credible sources to validate them. You're right! We are in a dilemma, and until we start having a public conversation about this, we will probably keep unraveling. It seems to me that we are transitioning to a new system. Probably some sort of "sustainable" system. The market is guiding us in that direction, and it will be a very rough and painful transition unless we (as a society) are in control of it.

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

yes..we are in a state of multi dilemas, and they require totally new approaches, and I believe new younger blood. Unless we choose to face these problems head-first, they will become very painful, perhaps insurmountable. "Sustainability"...a relatively new word for me, but like you said should be our long term goal, and that requires at the very least, a lot of baby steps in the right direction, starting NOW...not later.

[-] 1 points by rbe (687) 2 years ago

I agree. I mentioned in another post that I thought OWS should make "Sustainability" their demand. One word that should encompass the bulk of the grievances you hear about it. Also, the UN's already talking about it, and strength is in numbers. I know conspiracy theorists don't like the UN, but sometimes I feel that's just due to propaganda thrown out by the wealthy elite. Here's a link to the UN's website on sustainable development.

http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/

Also, if you've never heard of the Venus Project, I'll post a link to their new youtube movie. It's not perfect, and is a little far fetched for most people, but I think they do have some pretty good ideas overall. At least they stir the imagination.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KphWsnhZ4Ag

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

OK...finally saw the Venus Project while I workded out. It's a lot to think about, hard to imagine at this point in time, but as Albert Einstein said in that doc, "We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Yes it is that kind of out of the box thinking we need.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

'Sustainability' is on the top of my list too, and we should keep pounding away and raisng awareness of that, but in order to get 'there', we have to strive for smaller goals first, ie. Repealing Citizens United, etc. I will have to get back to you on the links. I usually work out with my little weights in my garage at night while watching docs or links. I also know that the UN is criticized a bit, and rightly so to a point maybe, but there is also a web site that is affiliated with them called The Global Policy Forum that has writers from all over the world that contribute to it, and I suggest you check that out. Like everything though, you have to read or watch it with a grain of salt or a discernable eye..or a working brain which you seem to have! Congratulations :-)

[-] 2 points by rbe (687) 2 years ago

Thanks! Likewise. All of this reminds me of the quote that has been attributed to Henry Kissinger:

"You have to understand. Future wars will be fought by capitalists and anti-capitalists as society polarises. When that happens, control of information will be as important as control of territory used to be in conventional conflicts. If you can stop your enemy from destroying your information, then you have a good chance of winning the war."

Seems like we're already there. Most people that support OWS are anti-capitalists even if they won't admit it. There's been so much propaganda thrown out over the years so that if you say anything bad about capitalism, you're akin to a Commie. Once that rhetoric changes, things will heat up tremendously.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

That is why everytime, we refer to the media in this country, we have to precede it with "corporate-owned." The timid or uninformed will eventually start to realize how slanted, and cheer-leaderlike they are for the corrupt status quo. Then he/she may then be able to connect their plight to our cause. I was not anti-capitalist when i first came here, but yes now, i do believe that something else is necessary.

[-] 2 points by rbe (687) 2 years ago

I agree. My views on capitalism have changed over the past 6 months as well, so I know what you mean in that regards too.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I have learned so much since I have been here, and I have really enjoyed it too. Still want to check out that link tomorrow. Will comment then.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

If the general populuation can pull their heads out of their asses, then yes.

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

You sound somewhat doubtful...me too.

[-] 0 points by JuanFenito (847) 2 years ago

I stopped reading at "capitalism demands infinite resources".

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

So you didn't read the end...."on a finite planet."

[-] 0 points by JuanFenito (847) 2 years ago

No, I read that also. It is hyperbole to say the demand for a finite good is infinite. Cost rises to reflect supply, and demand. If demand for any resource was truly infinite then the cost would be infinite also, or priceless.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

like insulin

[-] -1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Yeah I was just trying to be a smart-ass.

[+] -4 points by slammersworldwillnotbecensored (-184) 2 years ago

Where YOU want to go....probably not, but, then again.....NOTHING will take you to the Utopian Fantasy that you believe is possible....NOTHING

[-] 4 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

So we should settle for what we have?

[+] -8 points by slammersworldwillnotbecensored (-184) 2 years ago

nope...you should cast off the losers in your life bringing you down with their defeatist philosophies and get to work (intelligently) bringing about your own successes, through trial and error, effort and adjustment....

Set goals and see them through....

It's up to YOU as an individual, NOT others....and what other's are doing is NOT holding you down, in almost every case the person being held down is being held down by the person reflected in the nearest mirror....

You get what you're willing to set your mind upon and work unfailingly towards....and if you doubt that, you haven't really tried to achieve it.....

[-] 6 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I've done my thing in life...not finished though. I have given much more than I have received in life, and I do not need a lecture from you, son.

[+] -8 points by slammersworldwillnotbecensored (-184) 2 years ago

hmmm? Ok......but, I'm not your "son"...nor am I young enough to be called that......

Funny, I notice a great lack of desire in the type drawn to OWS towards education.....any idea counter to those they already believe is a "lecture" and to be dismissed out of hand, immediately.....

The problem with that obstinate philosophy, is that without education (in the original etymological sense of the word) you stagnate, and wither.......if you aren't doing everything you do, better today than yesterday, and more efficiently then you are failing and loafing through life.....

It appears, by your comments above that you DO need a lecture and some education on natural law and human nature....and how capitalism actually works.....

[-] 5 points by factsrfun (10721) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

But a lecture from someone who can't do fith grade math? I don't think so. You are a hoot though.

[+] -6 points by slammersworldwillnotbecensored (-184) 2 years ago

all you do is parrot the ideas of others, and make incorrect assertions......

why don't you go finish your mac and cheese in the grandma's basement......

[-] 1 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

All you do is suck the cock of the 1%. Let us know when you leave your occupation of cum guzzler.

[-] 4 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Your comments continue to be personal assaults on people, and on OWS in general. So if you get back what you dole out...you should not be surprised....when people like me dish it back.

[+] -7 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

I very much agree with what you have written. It's interesting to note that our country was built on people who had drive and determination. I am not hearing this from the younger generation.

All I hear is complaints and gripes. By acting this way, it is a true indication of their lack of drive. They think that because they can't get a job it's someone elses fault.

If I lost my job tomorrow I guarentee you I will get another job at the same pay rate if not more. It takes a vision, goal and determination to succede.

They complain about businesses having all the money but I wll be willing to bet you that probably less then 0.01% of the people in the OWS movement have ever been involved in not only owning a businesses but operating it and managing it.

This kind of inexperience shows when you listen to how businesses are continually criticized.

We are becoming a country of "subserviant individuals" who want what they want to be easy for them to get.

The other question that has to be asked is why are there so many younger people out there working who are successful? You don't hear about them - the ones you do hear about are the ones who complain because they are just making it by and think it's someone elses fault.

It takes time to build not only a persons job skills but the wealth to go along with it. If they think it can happen in 5 or 10 years they don't have a clue.

[+] -7 points by slammersworldwillnotbecensored (-184) 2 years ago

those who look to government for EVERYTHING, and are at the vanguard of the "living wage" argument don't believe in t building skills and wealth, they think they are "due" those things for existing....which is why they don't have them, wealth is earned and accumulated, and not amount of wealth, no matter how large (excepting lottery winnings) was ever gained without accumulation....even those who receive inheritances are getting money accumulated by others.....there is no "free ride", but they have been taught to believe in one, and drastically hold on to that belief, even in the face of reality....and instead of giving up that false idea, they instead complain and protest....

It is a sad existence, but they refuse to see that, and instead will complain all their lives, instead of using that energy to move forward...and all mankind is lesser for it....

[-] -3 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

And that concerns me because 10 years down the road from now where is this country going to be?

One other thing that concerns me about the younger generation is they have no idea on how to solve problems and I'm not talking about math problems.

If you read the vast majority of posts on this site you will begin to understand and realize that all they do is complain. There is no call to action on how to solve the problem other then protesting or disrupting meetings or getting maced and complaining about it.

Protesting is fine and it may bring awareness of an issue up to a certain point. After that thinking that continued protesting will solve the problem is ludicrous.

Look at how the Tea Party got what they wanted - they protested and then took action at the voting booth. In addition they talked directly with representatives and voiced their concerns. They didn't disrupt town hall meetings nor did they disrupt city hall meetings.

What they did and what they accomplished they did in an orderly decisive way focusing on what they wanted to accomplish.

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 2 years ago

I would Posit that we live in a Distopian Society. (see above my long comment)

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I'm not sure if we live in a dystopian society yet, but many of the the countries that we meddle in certainly do, thanks in large part to us.