Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beyond Capitalism

All things we know of in existence have a beginning, a middle and an end. This as far as we can tell is an inescapable fact of the ever-evolving Universe we find ourselves in. For humans this reality can at times be a challenging truth to come to grips with given our understandable desires to seek continuity & stability in our lives, environments, social relations as well as beliefs.

In the sciences this tendency for life systems to seek stability is referred to as homeostasis. Though usually thought of in the context of how our bodies regulate themselves at a basic biological level, homeostasis spills well past that point and into the very nature of what our minds value, believe and by consequence into the social structures we collectively construct, maintain and defend. As a result, and like a hidden puppet master pulling the strings, the forces of homeostasis have wired into us primal emotions to place higher value on what we currently believe – no matter what that may be – while instinctually leading us to distrust that which falls outside of what we deem "normal" and by reflexive assumption label "correct".

Capitalism – for those of us in the United States & much of the West our cultural identification with this particular economic arrangement – our "homeostatic normal" – runs deep. It so permeates our society's mindset that the thought of this institution ever coming to an end seems an almost inconceivable notion. One must ask though, is the thought of Capitalism one day reaching a conclusion really such a far-fetched idea when taking in the long view and considering the myriad of economic, technological & governmental transitions our species has undergone over the ages and especially in the light of a future that is bringing exponentially increasing change that far outstrips anything we have experienced before?

With that question in mind, this next stasis-challenging presentation from Economics Emeritus Professor Richard Wolff turns an expert & critical eye to the dominant economic system of our age and asks the question: Can we do better than Capitalism?

Capitalism and Democracy at Work

For more excellent presentations from Professor Wolff see Capitalism Hits the Fan and Private Versus Public.

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