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Author Topic: Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end of Raw Capitalism? [opinion]  (Read 4708 times)

Offline Matt Emery

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Those of you who've been following world news of late will undoubtedly be familiar with the recent collapse of several large financial institutions - the essential  causes of which (in my opinion) have been greed and misinformation.  And although this is a terrible saga, perhaps what is more interesting is the revealing fact repeatedly emerging amongst all this; in a modern capitalistic society we privatise the profits, and socialise the losses.

As a result of this paradox,  people may start to lose faith in the idea of individualism.  Additionally,  we will probably see contractions in the world economy that could dramatically change the tenets of modern culture... perhaps we'll cherish sufficiency and intrinsic pleasures, rather than material abundance, keeping up with the jones' (status anxiety), and utopian visions of prosperity.

Perhaps now is a good time to think about the free things in life - you know, the things that have stimulated mankind for tens of thousand of years, such as kinship, breeding, developing new skills, etc.

To quote Time magazine:
Quote
"...we come out the other side of the true collapse of this dominator culture, the one that eliminates the phenomenon of super-richness, we will be older and wiser. Maturity will again rule the house and we will have earned the right to live within our needs. Abundance will become synonymous with sufficiency. Community will eclipse the illusion of rugged individualism."

Perhaps that's not such a bad thing.
"Be true to your biology"

Offline LAChick

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Re: Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end of Raw Capitalism? [opinion]
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 01:15:53 AM »
Greetings Matt...& all the other Cavemen (& women)  ;)

Well, it's been a while since I stopped by Caveman Power & I'm glad to see that things are staying as topical as ever. This is a subject so close to my heart that I couldn't help but make a little comment.

Sure, we're gonna see the end of raw Capitalism, but Conscious Capitalism is really what's on the rise. Yay! Making a buck from doing & making things that are good for society & our planet grows in strength each day & it's make me very happy.




Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end of Raw Capitalism? [opinion]
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008, 12:38:00 PM »
Hi LA, good to see you again.

Sure, we're gonna see the end of raw Capitalism, but Conscious Capitalism is really what's on the rise. Yay!

I think that "Conscious Capitalism" will only rise so far as the government (or ruling authority of the day) allows it to, because Homo sapiens (like most organisms) display altruism in proportion to the amount of perceived reward, and are incapable of displaying the amount of empathy required to sustain the harmonious co-existence of large populations, hence the need for government.

British anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggests that our brains are incapable of comprehending (in a functional group) more than 150 people, see Dunbar's Number.  There has been a lot of research into this peculiar "cognitive limit", and I also think that this peculiarity partially explains why the science of sociology is so ethereal - humans seem to be void of a biological mechanism that enables us to coexist within large populations.

We do have biological mechanisms that cause us to be altruistic to close relatives - J.B.S. Haldane said "I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins" when he spoke of kin selection -  yet this is a genetic link, and although theoretically we are all related, we've evolved to be so genetically diverse that we're effectively unrecognisable to each another, thus; little altruism.  However, there is a backup, and it's a trait called 'Reciprocity'.

The science of 'Reciprocity' tells us that people will act altruistically, relative to the probability of reward and the value of such reward.  Reciprocity is a trait that human beings (and other animals) possess, and differences in individuals vary wildly Eg. humanism to genocide - such varying degrees of reciprocal behaviour could arguably be explained by the individual's psychological interpretation of "reward".  But in a group context, there exists a vacuum... which we attempt to fill with a mechanised version of altruism, perhaps you could call it culture, or foreign policy, or law... whatever, the point is; extrapolating the vectors of individual altruism into a large social context is rather an art than a science, evidenced by the astonishing variation of political systems and ideologies that have been implemented over the ages.

The idea of "Conscious Capitalism" is appealing, but if it emerges as a social framework, I think it will be initiated (and possibly maintained) by fear and/or self-interst, rather than altruism.  And, as previously mentioned, it will require authoritarian management because human beings are cognitively ill-equipped, and biologically ill-suited to give a stuff about so many people at once.

In relation to what is happening at the moment in the global economy, I think we're going to see poignant changes in our culture, although i'm not entirely sure how it will play out... it could manifest as World War III (Sarah Palin comes to mind) in lieu of paying foreign debt, or it could be a time when free markets sober up and do the proverbial equivalent of an AA program.

And if we don't manage to nuke ourselves into a modern tragedy, I'd love to be around in another 100-200 years to see what happens.  Personally, i'm optimistic that the next few generations will progress towards better social frameworks.  And as retarded as i've made humans out to be in this (long-winded-over-worded) post, we're generally pretty good at learning from our mistakes... after exhausting every other possibility.

We live in interesting times :P
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Phanatic

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Re: Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end of Raw Capitalism? [opinion]
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 06:40:22 PM »
Yeah....in my opinion we function better in smaller societies.

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end of Raw Capitalism? [opinion]
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2008, 09:58:09 PM »
Making a buck from doing & making things that are good for society & our planet grows in strength each day & it's make me very happy.

LA, you might be interested in the new ISO 26000 standard being developed.  Here's an intro;

"CI (Consumer International) is currently at the forefront of the drive for a new type of ISO standard; one that looks beyond product safety and reliability to consider the social impact of production. The aim is to give consumers more information about the impact of their purchasing choices, whilst holding corporations to account for their actions.  This new standard is very important because it will set out how organisations that claim they are socially responsible in their working practices give feedback to consumers."

More info here: Consumer International
"Be true to your biology"

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end of Raw Capitalism? [opinion]
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2008, 07:29:19 PM »
I don't see much changing outside people just doing the old things smarter.
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...