Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Can Civilization Survive Capitalism?

Posted 1 year ago on March 24, 2013, 3:51 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

by Noam Chomsky, March 5, 2013

The term "capitalism" is commonly used to refer to the U.S. economic system, with substantial state intervention ranging from subsidies for creative innovation to the "too-big-to-fail" government insurance policy for banks.

The system is highly monopolized, further limiting reliance on the market, and increasingly so: In the past 20 years the share of profits of the 200 largest enterprises has risen sharply, reports scholar Robert W. McChesney in his new book "Digital Disconnect."

"Capitalism" is a term now commonly used to describe systems in which there are no capitalists: for example, the worker-owned Mondragon conglomerate in the Basque region of Spain, or the worker-owned enterprises expanding in northern Ohio, often with conservative support -- both are discussed in important work by the scholar Gar Alperovitz.

Read the rest here: http://chomsky.info/articles/20130305.htm

75 Comments

75 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by gsw (2603) 1 year ago
[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Wolff's awesome. Link bookmarked. Thanks.

btw, here's Moyers' interview with Chomsky if you're interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJU2c7YfQTE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjKwdWJsTk0

[-] 2 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago
  • The problem with Capitalism is that we have allowed ourselves to rely on it...
  • We have allowed Capitalism to control our every day lives...

  • Why ?

  • There are many, many of us... who value our desires for knowledge, for happiness, for free time, for quality of life.... far more than our desires for monetary wealth...

  • There are many, many of us who pride ourselves in only taking what we need...
  • There are many, many of us who would be far happier if we never needed to touch a dollar...

  • Why have we allowed money to control us ?

  • Because we have allowed Capitalism to control our only source of capital... and w/o capital we cannot participate..

  • Why do we allow the "Federal Reserve Note" to rule ?

  • Because it has no competition ...

  • Why not some good ole fashion competition ?... an additional "Social Reserve Note" that cares more about the Social Wealth and Prosperity of Society ... than the economic...

  • There is no reason we can't have both...

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

What we must do is work to create a society in which the resources are controlled democratically by the workforce and the communities. We need to establish a participatory democracy in which people are in control of their own lives; a libertarian socialist society:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-libertarian-socialism-is-the-best-way-to-organ/

And here’s how we can get there:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-do-we-fight-capitalism-the-1/

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

What we must do is work to create a society in which the resources are controlled democratically by the workforce and the communities.

I agree that would work... how-ever, how difficult to implement ? Direct Democracy is on it's way for governing... but for economic competition ? ... I don't see that soon.... I will look at the links... but imo trying to dismantle capitalism would be like trying to drink the ocean ... best we can do is simply side-step it,,,, and eventually it will become an antique thing of the past...

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

It’s going to take time to dismantle capitalism, but it must eventually be done, because it’s destroying the environment and shuffling more and more wealth into the pockets of the financial elite.

As you can see here there are examples of libertarian socialist/libertarian socialist-like systems working just fine.

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

;) I've been on many communes ... w/ Hippies in the blue ridge and with the Mennonites in Pa/Md ... they work fantastic ... but ... they really don't do much in the way of medical support/research ... energy development ... technology ... etc

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Please watch the videos, and then tell me what you think.

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

ok... will do.. tonight

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

capitalism and socialism are both equally bad.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Could you elaborate? And what do you mean by "socialism"?

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Socialism=communal control

Capitalism=oligarchic control

I dont really want either. both denigrade individuality and humanity.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

What do you think about libertarian socialism?

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I dont think the focus should be on economics or money. Not they arent important to some people, but i dont think yellow brick road always leads to the emerald city.

people shouldnt care about their economic status as compared to others. poverty is something to be embraced, not shot down.

ashrams werent gandhi's greatest idea.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

You didn't answer the question.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

yes, I did. You asked "what do you think about libertarian socialism?"

I answered: it is a bad idea.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Please elaborate on why you think it's a bad idea.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

See above, "I dont think the focus should be on economics or money."

It is a bad idea because it is an irrelevant idea.

Why do "things" matter so much to you?

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Forget “things”. This is about the economy that affects us all. Who controls the resources, how are things produced and distributed and so on. These are important questions.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

"how THINGS are produced"

What is this obsession with THINGS?

Economics is irrelevant.

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

Does money really matter that much?

I need to pay for food, rent and healthcare

now and in my future

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Why put a price on life?

Shouldn't thing like food and water be universal free?

70% of this planet is water, yet our government's focus is on murder and war rather than figuring out better ways to de salinate sea water.

Money is irrelevant.

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

Is "politics is always about getting people jobs" opinion or fact?

If fact, Does it have to be?

an observation

jobs is the presented solutions to economic woes.

but money distributions is not anchored to jobs alone

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Why does money matter so much? Money is nothing but a fetish.

Everyone wants MORE; the poor want to be rich and the rich want to get even richer.

Does money really matter that much?

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

politics is always about getting people jobs

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Is that opinion or fact?

If fact, Does it have to be?

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

what is this obsession with jobs ?

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I don't have an obsession with employment status of other people.

Do you? Or Did I miss something?

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Any talk of an alternative currency to the petrodollar usually results in a "rebel force" oustering the govt, and a rather public execution of the leader of that nation.

It's taken a lot of time and effort to set up the US hegemony.

[-] 2 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

maybe,,, but as more states begin to establish state owned banks... the next step is for the states together to establish a Social Reserve Bank....

I believe the capitalists will support this... because it would not rely on taxing them for the capital

[-] 0 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

So where would the capitalists spend their petrodollars?

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

with other capitalists with petro-dollars.... ;)

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago
  • "A dream you dream alone
  • is only a dream.
  • A dream you dream together
  • is reality." ~ John Lennon
[-] 2 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

  • Henry David Thoreau
[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Prof Wolff has a good approach. (W/ Goodman on Democraccy Now!)

http://truth-out.org/news/item/15295-detroit-police-officer-accused-of-shooting-7-year-old-will-go-to-trial

We will survive capitalism if we can change it enough.

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

eventually "Capitalism" will be Obsolete ... simply because machines will do everything for us...

in the interim ... answers lay in the ...creation of new job/economic opportunities in a world where everyone is not needed to make the system work...

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 1 year ago

Yes this is a great point. We need to keep automation of labor in mind (moving forward) and create meaningful Wolff-style employment on a global scale.

The finite, life-sustaining world cannot support corporate capitalism much longer.

No system based on money has worked for the people.

As more jobs are lost to automation, capitalism may turn into something far worse.

We need to keep capitalism alive just long enough for the people to gain control of it, united against the elite. We can consume capitalism and transform it before abandoning it, because we are better than it.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Id like to think someday that people will stop caring about how much money they have as compared to others.

Pipe dream I know, but............

[-] -1 points by RoccoXXX (8) 1 year ago

I am beginning to doubt that human civilization as we know it, regardless of the monetary or social "isms" that prevail, is sustainable. World priorities seem out of sync with actual needs. The single best current example is the US exploration of Mars. How does all that money spent help one homeless person? It would appear that human civilization is totally FUBAR.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

World priorities seem out of sync with actual needs because we don't have good enough systems established. If we work towards creating a real democratic society with a participatory democracy and workers' self management, we'd be moving towards a just and sustainable society

[-] -1 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 1 year ago

If a capitalistic nation is not controlled by a constitution that recognizes human and civil rights, no one may survive. Chomsky does not recognize the accountability created with the Magna Carta also carried in the US constitution.

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

If civilization doesnt want to participate, it cannot survive any "ism" because people act in self interest, and very power hungry people will always be around.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

What we need is a system that encourages participation and that decentralizes power. This is often referred to as libertarian socialism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y8_2BBlar4

[+] -5 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Can civilization survive without capitalism?

No.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Capitalism is immoral, dehumanizing, unsustainable and tyrannical; it must eventually be abolished and replaced by a free and sustainable democratic society in which the workers and the communities control the resources in society.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/abolish-capitalism/

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

In other words you want "communism"?

You want central/communal control, not individual control.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

I want individuals to be able to control their own lives, work and community. A libertarian socialist society is where real individual freedom is achieved.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

There shouldnt be communities, only collegia.

The focus should never be on the 'greater good'. The 'greater good' is the enemy of freedom.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Honestly, how are cellphones advancing so rapidly in capitalism? It's a fair question.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Technological development is not happening because of capitalism; it's happening because of increased knowledge and so on.

Also, lots of technology has not been developed in the private sector.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

So Samsung ISN'T trying to outcompete apple?. Hilarious.

Naive

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

No, what’s “hilarious” is you defending a system you obviously haven’t studied well enough. Let me ask you something: Are cooperatives unable to compete with one another?

Private ownership on the means of production is not why we have technological development.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Please answer my question. Avoiding offers no insight. Why is Samsung building cellphones to compete with apple?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

The answer to your first question is: yes, they're competing. The answer to your second question is: for many reasons, including because they want to make money.

Now answer mine.

[-] -2 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Now we are getting somewhere. Thank you. So capitalism does create and allow for innovation and profit and we, in this narrow example, are all the better for it.

Can you articulate the other reasons, that dont include profit? I think it's profit entirely.

Yes I would guess cooperatives are able to compete with each other. Why would they do so?

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“So capitalism does create and allow for innovation and profit and we, in this narrow example, are all the better for it.”

That’s not what I said. And again, you don’t need private ownership on the means of production in order for there to be innovation.

“Can you articulate the other reasons, that dont include profit?”

Depends on which individuals you’re talking about.

“Yes I would guess cooperatives are able to compete with each other.”

So then you agree that we don’t need capitalist organization in order for there to be competition, right?

[-] -2 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

If they compete, they are engaging capitalism. Not entirely, but ultimately there is a profit motive.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

When there’s no private ownership of the means of production, it’s not capitalism. An economy with worker-managed businesses competing in a market would be some kind of market socialism etc.

Capitalism is unacceptable because it allows some individuals to have undemocratic control and power over others. Capitalism should be abolished and replaced by a society where the institutions are controlled democratically be the workers and the communities:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/abolish-capitalism/

[-] 2 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

Capitalism should be abolished and replaced by a society where the institutions are controlled democratically be the workers and the communities:

  • well... why throw out the bad kid ... just because he is the black sheep... he can still help with some of the chores ...

  • Why not a duo system... one that focuses on fairness, sharing and social prosperity & growth ... and one that focuses on speculation, incentives & materialistic growth ?

  • The primary problem with Capitalism as is... is that it stagnates artistic creativity, promotes the creation of trash, pollution & the accumulation of wealth for the few...which ultimately stagnates economic growth & job opportunities....

  • The primary problem with Socialism as is... is that it stagnates materialistic creativity, invention and the expansion of overall world capital....which also stagnates economic growth & job opportunities for the impoverished nations....

  • Until the world is united without borders, we truly need both....

  • Currently, the primary reason both systems do not work well together in the same jurisdiction or country, is that one or the other controls the financial end... and therefore one or the other is taxed to support the other...

  • The immediate solution is simple ... support both a "Federal Reserve Bank" for supporting Capitalistic ventures... and a "Social Reserve Bank" for supporting the Art's and the needs...

  • New job creation would flourish ...

  • Then... we can move towards building a system that protects the earth and needs no borders or war...

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

There will be lots of growth, creativity and fairness in a libertarian socialist society. We don’t need capitalism to build a decent society; in fact capitalism is one of the main obstacles to achieving this.

[-] 0 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 1 year ago

I argue... that not all people are driven by fairness & the noble idea of sharing ... their loss... but ours also...

so why cut them out of the game ? ... that is what Capitalism has been doing to us...

better to use them... just not let them control us anymore... thru their monopoly of the control of the capital ...

we need our own source of capital... and all will fall into place

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

Do you beleive in 'self ownership"? or absolutely no private ownership whatsoever?

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

I believe individuals have the right to control their own bodies and lives. It is private ownership of the means of production that must be abolished. Your personal possessions that has no affect on others, like your CD-collection and Ipod are yours to keep.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

i think that 'private ownership' of all kinds should be embraced. Especially Self-ownership.

End: state capitalism, socialism and communism.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

I believe in individual and collective rights. This video explains Libertarian Socialism pretty well, and might answer some of your questions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8J_UKKa-c

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

I didnt say "rights", I said "ownership".

Do you beleive in 'self ownership"? or absolutely no private ownership whatsoever?

Ive seen that video before. he wants delegative democracy, as opposed to direct democracy. He says it cant work with more than 150 people.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Who says? Immoral? Why? Go into a cellphone store and tell me capitalism is dehumanizing.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“Immoral? Why?”

Because it allows for exploitation, the destruction of the environment and tyrannical control and domination.

“Go into a cellphone store and tell me capitalism is dehumanizing.”

Products are the results of human hands and brains, not by x profiting on y. Production does not stop if private ownership on the means of production is dismantled.

[-] -3 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Innovation does. Capitalism yields innovation. Or, why does Chomsky sell books at retail?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

We don't need private ownership on the mop in order for there to be innovation (cf co-ops f.ex)

[-] -2 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Why does Chomsky sell his books at retail? Please offer an answer.

[-] 1 points by gsw (2603) 1 year ago

And you were told by? Please see video http://billmoyers.com/segment/richard-wolff-on-capitalisms-destructive-power/

Or from post

There have been serious debates over the years about whether capitalism is compatible with democracy. If we keep to really existing capitalist democracy – RECD for short – the question is effectively answered: They are radically incompatible.

It seems to me unlikely that civilization can survive RECD and the sharply attenuated democracy that goes along with it. But could functioning democracy make a difference?

Let’s keep to the most critical immediate problem that civilization faces: environmental catastrophe. Policies and public attitudes diverge sharply, as is often the case under RECD. The nature of the gap is examined in several articles in the current issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Researcher Kelly Sims Gallagher finds that “One hundred and nine countries have enacted some form of policy regarding renewable power, and 118 countries have set targets for renewable energy. In contrast, the United States has not adopted any consistent and stable set of policies at the national level to foster the use of renewable energy.”

It is not public opinion that drives American policy off the international spectrum. Quite the opposite. Opinion is much closer to the global norm than the U.S. government’s policies reflect, and much more supportive of actions needed to confront the likely environmental disaster predicted by an overwhelming scientific consensus – and one that’s not too far off; affecting the lives of our grandchildren, very likely.

As Jon A. Krosnick and Bo MacInnis report in Daedalus: “Huge majorities have favored steps by the federal government to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated when utilities produce electricity. In 2006, 86 percent of respondents favored requiring utilities, or encouraging them with tax breaks, to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. Also in that year, 87 percent favored tax breaks for utilities that produce more electricity from water, wind or sunlight  [ These majorities were maintained between 2006 and 2010 and shrank somewhat after that.

The fact that the public is influenced by science is deeply troubling to those who dominate the economy and state policy.

One current illustration of their concern is the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” proposed to state legislatures by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobby that designs legislation to serve the needs of the corporate sector and extreme wealth.

The ALEC Act mandates “balanced teaching” of climate science in K-12 classrooms. “Balanced teaching” is a code phrase that refers to teaching climate-change denial, to “balance” mainstream climate science. It is analogous to the “balanced teaching” advocated by creationists to enable the teaching of “creation science” in public schools. Legislation based on ALEC models has already been introduced in several states.

Of course, all of this is dressed up in rhetoric about teaching critical thinking – a fine idea, no doubt, but it’s easy to think up far better examples than an issue that threatens our survival and has been selected because of its importance in terms of corporate profits.

Media reports commonly present a controversy between two sides on climate change.

One side consists of the overwhelming majority of scientists, the world’s major national academies of science, the professional science journals and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They agree that global warming is taking place, that there is a substantial human component, that the situation is serious and perhaps dire, and that very soon, maybe within decades, the world might reach a tipping point where the process will escalate sharply and will be irreversible, with severe social and economic effects. It is rare to find such consensus on complex scientific issues.

The other side consists of skeptics, including a few respected scientists who caution that much is unknown – which means that things might not be as bad as thought, or they might be worse.

Omitted from the contrived debate is a much larger group of skeptics: highly regarded climate scientists who see the IPCC’s regular reports as much too conservative. And these scientists have repeatedly been proven correct, unfortunately.

The propaganda campaign has apparently had some effect on U.S. public opinion, which is more skeptical than the global norm. But the effect is not significant enough to satisfy the masters. That is presumably why sectors of the corporate world are launching their attack on the educational system, in an effort to counter the public’s dangerous tendency to pay attention to the conclusions of scientific research.

At the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting a few weeks ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned the leadership that “We must stop being the stupid party … We must stop insulting the intelligence of voters.”

Within the RECD system it is of extreme importance that we become the stupid nation, not misled by science and rationality, in the interests of the short-term gains of the masters of the economy and political system, and damn the consequences.

These commitments are deeply rooted in the fundamentalist market doctrines that are preached within RECD, though observed in a highly selective manner, so as to sustain a powerful state that serves wealth and power.

The official doctrines suffer from a number of familiar “market inefficiencies,” among them the failure to take into account the effects on others in market transactions. The consequences of these “externalities” can be substantial. The current financial crisis is an illustration. It is partly traceable to the major banks and investment firms’ ignoring “systemic risk” – the possibility that the whole system would collapse – when they undertook risky transactions.

Environmental catastrophe is far more serious: The externality that is being ignored is the fate of the species. And there is nowhere to run, cap in hand, for a bailout.

In future, historians (if there are any) will look back on this curious spectacle taking shape in the early 21st century. For the first time in human history, humans are facing the significant prospect of severe calamity as a result of their actions – actions that are battering our prospects of decent survival.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I think the way crapitalism is going - that it would likely do better under a dictatorship/puppet government - hence we see the battle on-going today to completely take over the government - not just of the USA - but all world governments.

[-] -2 points by Perfectcast (-168) 1 year ago

Baloney. Here is capitalism: I need to upgrade my smartphone. The number of selections was mind boggling. Iphone5? Galaxy 3? Galaxy note? HTC? Droid? Razor ? There are engineers fighting to create a better phone entirely in my benefit because of capitalism.

I had to buy a car. The engineers at Subaru made me a terrific car because they wanted my money.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 1 year ago

If that is the case, then why would I want civilization in the first place?