We’re in a post-capitalist, post-socialism world. I have just come back from the G8 protests in Belfast and it occurred to me – at this point; we’re post both capitalism and socialism – and this point needs to be made clear, but we also see some vestiges of both systems in a new, emerging economy that has yet to be named.
I agree with the G8 protesters in Belfast that capitalism – as it’s been iterated in the West in the post WWII era has run its course. The main cause for its demise, as I see it, is that during the 1980’s; thanks to deregulation, futures and options speculation and leverage migrated over to the burgeoning field of ‘financial futures’ and the price discovery mechanism associated with supply and demand and the ‘invisible hand’ – over the ensuing few decades – completely broke down. Money itself lost any anchor to value as futures traders speculated with virtually no risk on contracts worth many billions that had been willed into existence by financial engineers not by dint of any underlying economic activity.
And there’s no going back now. You see, financial futures are trading on prices that are based – not on any underlying economic reality – but rather a series of assumptions based on academically-concatenated theories and theorems which in turn generate a new set of prices. The result is that capital flows into destabilizing ‘malinvestments’ all hidden by the outsized returns of intermediaries like hedge funds who make billions mining what has become essentially a broken system of monetizing fraud.
Since the rising unemployment and social unrest these financially engineered malinvestments produce is ignored, because hedge funds have been making lots of money, nobody is willing to step forward and suggest that making money at the expense of a sound market might be a bad thing. The fake prices are never questioned and the fraudulently garnered riches are always celebrated.
Prices for all commodities and securities have permanently lost their connection to a functioning economy. Once a pickle, never a cucumber. Financialized capitalism is now in its death throes.
What about socialism?
As that term is generally understood – it has also burnt out. Central planning, hierarchical governments, and doctrines guaranteeing ‘fairness’ simply don’t work; primarily because all centrally planned systems of markets and governments fail the ‘naturalness’ test. Nothing in nature works for long that is so rigid and unadaptable as man made experiments in central planning except for a few parasites and cancer.
Today we have hybrid models that contain bits from the previous schools that are racing ahead to fill the vacuum left by collapse of both capitalism and socialism.
Crowdfunding is an emergent idea. It owes a debt of gratitude to socialism. It’s part of ‘social networking,’ a phenomenon of leveraging the ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ idea. Keep in mind that Google’s multi-billion dollar valuation is driven by billions of individuals donating their time and creativity to the collective. So too for ‘open-source’ software and p2p file swapping. But there is also a necessary component of competition associated with free market capitalism in crowdfunding. A platform like Kickstarter allows for ideas to compete in a free market – where the funds flow where the market goes; not where a central planner wants funds to go.
Bitcoin is also a post capitalism/socialism hybrid. It’s growth is driven by a hard coded, centrally imagined algorithm while it’s adoption is possible via the free market activities of users who are rejecting centrally planned, bogus fiat currencies like Pounds, Dollars, and Yen and using Bitcoin instead.
The collapse of the current bankster regime is upon us. This means a whole new set of winners and losers. The point is that it’s not all grim. The future is being imagined and implemented as we speak.