I’m continuing my reporting on the current installment of Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.
Yesterday Mr. George showed how the Myth of Capitalism distorts our notions of economics and social relations.
Today, he finishes his account of the the Myth of Capitalism, which is the last of the Major Myths, and suggests some possibilities for a post-capitalist economic system.
Let’s amble over the elegant orangeries to see what he has to say.
Mr. George begins by noting that the baby boom generation, because it grew up in an era threatened by Communism and Socialism, is psychologically attached to Capitalism. For many of them, a major component of their mythology is that Capitalism, by “beating” communism and socialism, has “proved” itself the victor on the field of economic battle.
This is, of course, simplistic thinking, as is the thinking that doesn’t let them conceive of any other alternatives than Capitalism, Communism, and Socialism.
But there are alternatives.
Just as there were other economic systems before capitalism (which earlier systems, unfortunately, depended in large part on indentured servitude or slavery, and are therefore no longer acceptable to decent people), there can be other economic systems after capitalism—if that time ever comes.Mr. George goes on to say that the time needs to come soon. The baby boom shows no signs of a capacity to think beyond their mythology. They will continue to fight over taxes versus spending, religion-based morality versus reason-based morality, entitlements versus austerity. They will continue to do so because they cannot see any other alternatives. And they cannot see any alternatives because they are constrained to think along the lines of the Major Myths that they accept mostly uncritically. Continuing to be uncreative, however, always leads to disaster.
The future, therefore, will have to be saved by the younger generation.
If young people are to have a future that is worth living, a future in which they can pursue their dreams, raise their families, and pass on even more opportunity to their children, they themselves will have to define the new economic realities. They cannot expect the previous generation, sunk deeply in the delusions generated by the Major Myths, to find the way out for them.To make change, however, requires a new vision. And the vision must be sufficiently clear to enable people to see it and head toward it.
This means that young people have to be clear about what they want. It is not sufficient to be clear about what you don’t want. It’s easy to determine that. We all have our list of complaints: I don’t want to be out of a job, I don’t want to mortgage my life just to get an education, I don’t want to live next to a toxic waste dump.Mr. George then asks a list of questions that can begin to make the vision clear:
But to be clear about what you want requires some thought. It requires you to decide positively what you value, and to imagine positively what you want the world of the future to look like.
Would you like to see a world in which preferences for social goods have at least as much weight as preferences for individual goods[?] . . .Only by answering questions like these and forming them into a positive vision will the young generation be able to create a goal that they can strive toward.
Would you like to see a world in which people paid the same proportion of their income for the same items[?] . . .
Would you like to see a world in which broad-based, decentralized cooperative decision-making replaces the top-down organizational structures[?] . . .
Would you like to see a world in which people are rewarded for their creativity . . . rather than for their skill at making profit?
Would you like to see a world in which cooperation replaced competition [?] . . .
This is how revolutionary change happens: first, the creative vision; second, the desire to see the vision realized; last, the reality. And this is how the successor to capitalism will depose capitalism. When enough people clearly see that another way more desirable, then they will bring it about.You can read the whole post here.
With this post, Mr. George has finished his consideration of the Major Myths that beset Conservatism and far too much of America.
Having spent the last few months delineating the warped world view of the Major Myths, Mr. George will turn in tomorrow’s post to suggesting ways in which the younger generation can begin to overturn the Myths and create the new future they, and the world, so desperately need.
I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.