to bite it, in spite of its inherent strengths.
(The mystery, for me, is why the poor continue to elect the rich to rule over them, thereby prolonging and intensifying their own oppression. Both Thailand and Australia are cases in point: Thaksin and Howard have a lot they could chat about.)
A capitalist, for the sake of this article, is a person who is already wealthy enough to earn income merely by manipulating and investing capital. On the other end of the scale, a person who ‘works’ for a living, a wage-earner, doesn’t qualify. In reality, these opposites form a continuum, given that mums and dads (like us) can dabble in small-scale investment.
Capitalism’s supply-and-demand model is text-book perfect. Simply supply what others need, and you get rewarded. Capitalism has already successfully supplied core needs (food, water, shelter, health-care) to most western countries. Now there are too many goods chasing too few needs. Yet, in the words of Benjamin Barber, whose ideas I have nicked, Capitalism requires us to need all it produces in order to ensure its own survival.
Given this crisis, Capitalism has two basic options (apart, obviously, from the logical and preferred one of reducing production). It can either:
[a] ...continue to try to sell its warehouses full of stuff to EXISTING wealthy customers by advertising and artificially creating wants… as opposed to needs. After all, it seems logical, even simplistic, to target people who already have money available to spend;
[b] ...find NEW and genuinely needy customers.
So Capitalism busies itself with propagandizing frivolous and wasteful wants for the existing wealthy, while ignoring the core needs of the poor. Global inequality means that the wealthy have too few needs, while the needy have too little wealth. We (the wealthy) still work hard due to the cursed protestant/catholic work ethic, but only so we can pay for the nose job, mag wheels, nutritious Pringles chips, or those extra cable channels we're told we need:
while someone else's children starve
Gosh, why hasn't anyone thought of it before?
Dick Cheney used these to get rid of those inconvenient email printouts from Karl Rove! You too can be just like Dick!
Your Moggy craves mental stimulation too, just like you.
This realistic Radio-controled Mouse will build his intellectual cat-pacity and physical fatness too!
It (the mouse) squeaks pitifully when pounced on!
You'll never know how you got by in the past once your house has a Telephone Sheep tethered in every room.
This Tricycle-Mower is the solution to reducing your family's carbon footprint.
This useful piece will enhance your Quality of Life and PERSONAL STATUS enormously!!
(Rich people and film stars all own these, of course)
Is it POSSIBLE to re-direct Capitalism’s strengths to a more moral end, the satisfaction of real human needs for the majority, rather than artificially-inflated wants for the few? Is it possible for the mice to bell the cat?
If just a handful of visionary Corporations could lead the way and demonstrate to Wall Street the massive long-term profits to be made from a little co-operation and patience, Capitalism just might survive. There are literally BILLIONS of potential customers out there in (so-called) "developing" countries. Here's one such simple invention to ease the daily chore of carrying water-drums on the heads of millions of people:
More ideas like the Q-Drum are needed.
There's an excellent article in the International Herald Tribune here.
Hey, lackey, peel me a grape...