This post will discuss my set of Continuum of Capitalism infographics which were added to my post: The Cancer of Capitalism and Its Antidote. I want to explain this idea more because, in that post, I just plopped those two graphics there and did not explain them nor did I explain my ideas on these economic systems, so they are just kind of hanging there as a part of the flow of my thought process and exploration while writing/updating that post.
If you have NOT read my Cancer of Capitalism post linked to from above, then please go read it NOW so you know what I am referring to!!
Keep in mind, that this post (and those infographics) is speaking in very simplified and very broad and sweeping terms and I do not cover every single aspect of economics – not even close. Just enough to get my point across and to explain my thought process.
To start this conversation you will need to understand how I am framing the conversation and how I am using these economic terms. My definitions will be different, because I am framing the conversation different than the base thoughts on economic systems which concentrates on who controls industry.
Here is a quick overview of the contemporary definitions of two of the relevant economic terms that we will work with:
- emphasizes private ownership of businesses and production; Examples: United States, pretty much all of Europe and most other countries
- its ideological definition centers around ownership of businesses and production being relegated to the people too, but concentrating not on managers and CEOs, but the workers themselves. This is great ideologically, but almost all manifestations of Communism have resulted in government control. Examples: USSR, China, Cuba which were/are historically authoritarian and poor.
New Definitions for Reframing the Economic Conversation
For the purposes of this conversation, it does NOT matter who controls the industry or production whether its CEOs and managers or if the workers do. In either case, if the masses (or Humanity in general) does not benefit from that control or ownership, or the business or production, then the label of ownership bears no real use. What really matters, when it comes to economic systems, is who benefits the most from all economic matters. Ownership is merely a meta-detail between business and production and who benefits from it.
What really matters, when it comes to economic systems, is who benefits the most from all economic matters.
With that being said, because I am reframing the economic conversation to not be about who controls/owns businesses and production but to be about who benefits from it.
Now, I will show you how I redefine these economic terms based on this new context and discussion:
- All societies that have an economic system whether it be the use of money, trading, bartering, gifting, or whatever else is a form of Capitalism. Period.
- Communism is an authoritarian form of capitalism where those in charge (the government) have the power and the money – and the masses do not.
- Socialism, as is contemporarily referred to as Democratic-Socialism, is where the money and the power benefit the people as you see in the Nordic States such as Finland, Norway, Sweden, Holland.
Continuum of Capitalism
Ok, so here is the the first of the two infographics I created to which I was referring to in the introduction where I use these reframed economic terms (you can click on it to enlarge it):
Given how I have reframed the definitions above you may already understand this infographic, but let me walk you through it because doing so is the very reason for this post. =)
Part 1 – Capitalism
So, first we start at the center with Capitalism which is any form of economic system, especially ones that have money, such as the economic systems for pretty much the entire world.
Part 2 – Forms of Capitalism
Then we go into the base forms of Capitalism which is broken down into 3 basic types which are based on which demographic benefits:
- Authoritarian Capitalism: Here you will see that Authoritarian Capitalism results in Communism which is where the government and those in charge benefit the most from economic activity while the people suffer.
- Unbridled/Unrestrained Capitalism: Here you will see that the unrestrained and out-of-control form of capitalism results in the formation of a Corporatic-Oligarchy where the rich and the corporations have the money and the power at the expense of the environment and the non-privileged masses. The prime example of this is the US where the rich and the corporations get richer as they write policy and control the government while people suffer greatly to fund the elite’s luxury.
- Restrained Capitalism: Restrained Capitalism results in what we call Democratic Socialism where the people greatly benefit from economic activity with high levels of high quality socialized services from education, health care, daycare , etc… as well as promoting and embodying eco-humanistic social, political, and environmental ideals. Prime examples of this, as mentioned above, are the Nordic states.
Part 3 – Socioeconomic Evolution
Then, once you get through Corporatic-Oligarchy/Communism, and Democratic Socialism, we look at the next evolutionary steps.
- Environmental Destruction: Passing through Communism and Corporatic-Oligarchy results in a climate destroyed world of Mad Max due to economic systems which prioritize profit over anything else especially the environment.
- Environmental Reverence: Then, passing through Socialism, results in Star Trek/Resource Based economy. I will go into these ideas a little more below, since that was the focus of the second infographic.
The Choice is Yours Infographic
OK, so here is the the second of the two infographics I created where I use these reframed economic terms (you can click on it to get enlarge it):
note: This infographic builds off the previous one. I should probably adjust this one to be a little more like the previous one by including Authoritarian Capitalism.
The results of Unbridled Capitalism and Authoritarian Capitalism is war, poverty, crime, violence, exploitation, pollution, climate change, etc… and this is where most of the countries of the world are, especially the United States which stands as a shining example of this massive failure of the capitalist economic experiment. Also, we have the various second and third world countries which are primary victims of colonialism and the predatory capitalistic methods of other first world countries (such as the US).
This merciless form of capitalism which cares not for the people or the environment results in untold environmental destruction through:
- pollution due to a lack of stringent environmental policy and embracing, if not demanding, fossil fuels and pollution to cut costs
- as well war and other large scale violence (due to a corporate control and demand for ever increasing profits)
… in order to ensure the economic engine keeps these industries and the banks rich. To ensure that Unbridled Capitalism runs, this also requires untold poverty of the majority and severe biopsychosocial effects due to massive income inequality, pollution, war, crime, exploitation, etc.
If such a complete disregard for our environment or our fellow human beings is not completely brought to an end then the socio-environmental end will be a wasteland world much like as is found in the Mad Max series.
A primary focus of restrained capitalism/socialism/democratic-socialism is an eco-humanistic ideal which cares a great deal for the masses of people as well as the environment, for it is recognized that we are intertwined and interdependent upon each other and for one to survive the other must not only survive, but thrive.
Stringent environmental policy as well as a powerful drive towards sustainable energy has broad ranging social and environmental implications such as energy independence, reduction in pollution with an accompanying reduction in environmentally created diseases such as depression and respiratory problems; high quality socialized health care and education, high quality of living, low poverty, as well as a government that actually listens to ad serves the people.
The next stage in evolution for this would be to shift to a Resource Based Economy which would be right inline with their eco-humanistic view, and would lead to the unification of humanity and their resources, as well as result in the coming of a world such as is presented in Star Trek.
As advanced as the Nordic states are, they are the closest thing we have to a transition point towards a Resource Based Economy. Their model is where the rest of the world needs to aspire to in order to help unify humanity and to bring peace to it. Even with as advanced and as great as they are, even they are not able to eliminate poverty due to the requirements and limitations of Capitalism. This will eventually necessitate a shift to a Resource Based Economy in order to eliminate that significant ethical shortcoming.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of these infographics as well as see why the reframing of the conversation is necessary. At the end of the day, it does not matter who controls businesses and production. What matters is who benefits from the production. Do those in power or the elite benefit from it the most? Or is it the people at large who benefit? If the people and the environment do NOT benefit, then that economic system and its ends will be harmful to all of Humanity and to our planet of origin, Earth.
Because a Resource Based Economy demands the protection and healing of the environment and all of humanity as a whole interdependent entity, it embodies the eco-humanistic ideals which are required to save humanity and the planet from mutually assured destruction, and is the next step in our socioeconomic evolution.
If you want to read more, here are some more of my posts that go over many topics that would be of interest:
- Policy Solutions
- Resource Based Economy