17 April, 2007

Capitalism ("Freedom") is headed for a train-wreck UNLESS...

Capitalism’s one inherent weakness will come back
to bite it, in spite of its inherent strengths.

Capitalism works really well for Capitalists. But one small detail seems to have been overlooked: ..the majority of people aren’t Capitalists.

In fact, most people are Workers (aka “Human Resources”) employed BY Capitalists. This little detail is why the Rich are getting richer at the expense of the Poor: it's a deliberate strategy. Hard-nosed and greedy.

(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.

Unfortunately for the billions of the world’s poor, Capitalism has chosen [a].

By doing so, it is allowing a worm to slowly eat a hole in its own heart. It’s a fatal worm called Short-Term Thinking. Examples? Annual Profit/Loss Report to shareholders, contract horizons, The State of the Union speech, fixed-term elections, etc. For the Capitalist, results must be forthcoming in the short term: there’s no incentive for long-term thinking. Gratification cannot be delayed. The obvious extreme example? Bush and his pet arse-licker Howard stubbornly continue to prioritise Corporate Profits over Global Warming, threatening our whole planet's very existence.

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:

A useful day's work packing Barbie dolls in plastic wrapping
while someone else's children starve

FunkyPix2 will now showcase a range of our INCREDIBLY USEFUL all-new products, tempting you well-heeled layabouts to assist the even better-heeled Capitalist CEOs to survive. Bugger the rest - they should get real jobs.


Credit available no matter what your age or rating!!

A combination wardrobe-coffin saves you money!
Buy one, get another one FREE! Useful!!

Gosh, why hasn't anyone thought of it before?

This Backscratch Instruction Kit will assist your friend to locate THAT precise itchy spot.


Vital for your office. Shredding Scissors for when the electric shredder is on the fritz.
Dick Cheney used these to get rid of those inconvenient email printouts from Karl Rove! You too can be just like Dick!



The 42-string internally-illuminated Pikasso guitar.

Rude-olph, the ideal Xmas gift for the boss.

...or maybe John Howard (but why not add a few non-chocolate ones too?)


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.


Children have so much energy it's a pity not to put it to good use AND prevent global warming at the same time.
This Tricycle-Mower is the solution to reducing your family's carbon footprint.



Now there's NO MORE WAITING for your noodles to cool. With this fabulous Noodle Fan, your quality of life will be enhanced beyond belief.

Comes with one FREE chopstick AND a packet of noodles for your convenience.

Need to go? The Porta-Loo offers instant relief from Bangkok's traffic-jams!
(click here to see more useful toilets at the Bangkok International Toilet Expo)

Every lifestyle-conscious house now features a Day Clock.
This useful piece will enhance your Quality of Life and PERSONAL STATUS enormously!!
(Rich people and film stars all own these, of course)


As Benjamin Barber says, the easiest targets for advertising propaganda are children. Children can be empowered as shoppers by legitimising and channeling their un-formed tastes, then subtly detaching them from their "gate-keeper" parents and teachers. Toddlers can often recognise brand logos before they can talk:

They are baby Einsteins who, via consumption-directed play, can shop before they can walk. The strategy: first create the addiction, then provide the coup-de-grâce… easy credit. Vast shopping malls are environments designed to be ALL about consumption, whereas in the old days the town square used to have a library, a corner shop, a park, a school, town-hall, pool, church, art gallery and homes.

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?

Yes it is (in theory), but Capitalism must first learn to defer profits and take steps to empower the poor and needy. How can people be good customers if they earn less than a dollar a day? Billions of people need help to become customers. In this way, Capitalists could regain a lot of much-needed goodwill. But that will require Capitalism to temporarily defer profits, defer gratification, to bell the proverbial cat.

Micro-credit is one small way into this minefield. With a pump, for instance, villagers can get sufficient clean water to drink and avoid the human (and financial) costs of worm-borne diseases. Pharmeceutical companies should be thinking about how to sell inexpensive retro-virals to Africans with HIV instead of pushing Botox to the “forever young” customers they are trying to create in LA or London. And parents could refuse to relinquish their gate-keeping role (Ah, if only they could recognize their own victimhood first!).

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

Otherwise WHOA, baby, put on your seat-belts for Capitalism’s fast-approaching train wreck... it is so incestuously focussed on itself that it will continue to go round in ever-smaller circles until it vanishes up its own arse.
The next question: What will replace Capitalism? We suggest benevolent World Dictatorship by the staff of FunkyPix2... with appropriately huge salary, stock options, company car fleet, gold bath-taps, etc).
Hey, lackey, peel me a grape...

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