About Eric

An idea worth spreading

We should try to find sustainable systems for humans to operate in, not simply sustainable means of using the planet. Systems which give dignity and meaning to people's lives.

I'm passionate about

Thinking.

Comments & conversations

134889
Eric Rhoades
Posted over 3 years ago
What alternatives are there to the current economic system? Should global capitalism fail, what would be the best model to replace it?
As far as the freedom equates to capitalism, or free markets idea goes the question really breaks down to what degree does one feel free operating to achieve the goals of a group? This may be simply a case of to what degree do the goals of the group coincide with the goals of the individual. Yet no matter what system one lives in one will have to submit ones life to certain rules which have been found by the group to be acceptable, capitalism imposes certain retsrictions on how one may pursue ones life, the degree to which it may enslave people is controllable through policy, (that leash again). Still capitalism or free markets may offer more raw choices, or freedom, for how one chooses to spend ones time. It is certainly more user friendly for those less interested in group dynamics while at the same time allowing room for people to operate within groups.
134889
Eric Rhoades
Posted over 3 years ago
What alternatives are there to the current economic system? Should global capitalism fail, what would be the best model to replace it?
In terms of indigenous peoples, or small tribes, you really need to look at their interactions with the tribes which they border as opposed to the dynamics of the tribe itself. The dynamics of small close groups does not translate to interaction of larger groups, otherwise one could build an economic systme on how ones family interacts. At some point the trust people invest in each other changes, and so the rules by which they exchange.
134889
Eric Rhoades
Posted over 3 years ago
What alternatives are there to the current economic system? Should global capitalism fail, what would be the best model to replace it?
You are very correct as regards the issue of freedom, in planned economies it is still very common to have active black markets, which are essentially free markets. If one wants to construct an economic model which people will follow easily one should use their most natural impulses, and free markets represent one of those impulses.
134889
Eric Rhoades
Posted over 3 years ago
What alternatives are there to the current economic system? Should global capitalism fail, what would be the best model to replace it?
Joanne, I think free markets do some things extraordinarily well, the typical economic virtues, indicate shortages, set prices, allocate resources, etc. But they can perform these jobs too well, accomplishing their goals at the expense of environmental concerns, the ethical treatment of labor, or other areas that cause cost without monetary gain. So yes I do believe they should be regulated. Free markets are a very usefull beast that need to kept on a short leash. There are also things that every society needs which free markets will not do at all, this is especially true of things which offer little or no profit motive, let's take supplying municipal water as an example. Even if there is a potential profit motive in supplying municipal water the profit potential is likely to be so small that the 'good' money, the best resources labor or otherwise, are likely to move to more profitable areas of the economy, and this certainly isn't the kind of process one wishes to encourage when dealing with things that have a major impact on the wellfare of a society. It is very easy to see these issues in a very black and white manner, but free markets benefit from sound regulation, and the government benefits from adopting some aspects how free markets work.
134889
Eric Rhoades
Posted over 3 years ago
What alternatives are there to the current economic system? Should global capitalism fail, what would be the best model to replace it?
First off, as many comments here allude to, we need to differentiate between capitalism and free markets, since capitalism, big time capitalism is associated with who owns the capital, or means or production. It is possible to maintain free markets without big time capitalism. A farmers market is a free market, but it isn't big time capitalism. That being said it isn't necessary to destroy capitalism as it will fall of its own weight. The reason that wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few is that there is a glut of labor in the world, labor has no bargaining position when it is in surplus, and so no ability to demand a greater share of corporate profits, thus wealth concentrates at the top. The reason that there is a labor glut isn't because of globalization it is because of the productivity levels which are achievable by modern production techniques, opening new markets masks this problem by creating new demand, and so growth, but the amount of jobs created for the amount of growth created continues to lag. So the big problem with modern capitalism is that in its pursuit of profits it has relied on methods which continually reduce labor inputs, this means fewer jobs at lower wages, and we are reaching the point where the wages paid aren't sufficient to fuel demand for the products it is possible to produce. The answer to this is to de-centralize production. This may already have to occur as increased fuel costs make the shipping of goods more expensive. By de-centralizing production one can increase the need for labor and so reduce the surplus of labor, having a beneficial impact on wages. There may also be associated inflation, but we shouldn't be scared by this since by both reducing transportation costs and spreading profits we do have room to increase wages without increasing prices. There also needs to be a greater focus on community initiatives outside the normal work paradigm, to increase quality of life, and maintain meaning in peoples lives.