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View Diary: Morning Feature: 'Free' Markets, Part III - A Different Narrative (Non-Cynical Saturday) (207 comments)

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  •  Opportunity vs. capitalism (7+ / 0-)

    Remember, most poor countries are poor because they were robbed by rich countries.  Tribal communities were not poor, they became poor when people looking to get rich messed up their environment.  Even now in India, many tribals and rural farmers resist "development" that makes them poorer.

    Once a country starts industrializing, it displaces people from their usual ways of making a living, leading to rising poverty.  When that happens, they go elsewhere in search of opportunity.  The poor country cannot provide jobs for everyone in the modified environment, because job creation takes capital in an industrialized world (job creation in a non-industrialized world takes zero capital!).  Unemployment is a unique child of the industrial revolution.

    The poor unemployed will go anywhere to get a job and survive, even in exploitative conditions (such as being labelled an "illegal immigrant" and being denied access to healthcare, or being put in POW camps).

    E.F. Schumacher wrote a book decades ago ("Small is Beautiful") on the folly of committing to economic systems where job creation requires such a high level of capital that a country cannot provide that for each citizen.  He said that developing economies needed to control the adoption of industrial age technologies, because they would result in a few employed people who became richer, while impoverishing the rest.

    Of course, the World Bank and other free market champions knew better, and they forced developing countries to industrialize and adopt free markets.  With the result that huge numbers of people became displaced from traditional ways of life, and had to sell themselves as cheap labour anywhere where they could find opportunity.  Hence urban migration, illegal border crossings, unemployment, exploitative wages...

    We have created insane economic systems that are creating enormous human misery, even as they pump up production of goods to incredible extents.  Fortunately, much of the world is increasingly waking up to the stupidity of capitalism, particularly the modern version, financial capitalism.  With luck, this stupid economic system will collapse within the next decade, much the way communism did, and we will start to work our way towards saner next generation economic thinking, based on quality of life rather than standard of living.

    Outlawing corporations (wage slavery) would be a great start - no person should own the value created by an activity they did not participate in.  The sole return for investment should be interest, not ownership.  Financial institutions should be used to eliminate risk associated with "investment", not steal money.  We will get there, to a sane economic system, the only question is how long will it take, and how much damage will occur first?

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