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I'm sorry to break it to you, but American Capitalism is unsustainable.  Deep down, I know you already know this.

How do I know you know?

Because what Utopia does American Capitalism offer?  

iPhones and fancy cars and flat screen TVs and private jets and personal trainers, dieticians, therapists, interior decorators, and gardeners.

It is ever-increasing population consuming an ever-increasing amount of resources.

Isn't that what American Capitalism tells us to strive for?  Isn't that what all of our economic metrics measure?  More junk for us and our kids--that's progress.  That's a higher standard of living.

How is our tiny planet Earth going to survive this?

Do the problems of illness, poverty, crime, homelessness, depression, and hunger exist because everyone doesn't have enough material possessions?  What about racism and homophobia?  Does American Capitalism solve these ills?  Is it because everyone doesn't have a high-def TV in their 5,000 sq foot house?  Or lack of health care?

What is it we're working for?  What is it you're working for?

Perhaps the problems isn't we're not working, but we're working too much.  What's the point of technological advances if I still have to work 40 hours a week?  

And remember, for 99.99% of Homo Sapiens’s existence on this planet we had none of our modern day "improvements".

This post is more of a question, though it lays out a simple, undeniable, concrete fact.  American Capitalism--our lifestyle, our American Dream--is unsustainable.  It is a fundamentally flawed dream to work towards.

So what are we going to offer up to replace it?

Originally posted to pacified on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:09 AM PST.

Poll

american capitalism is fundamentally flawed

75%54 votes
15%11 votes
9%7 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  No ridicule (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orj ozeppi, pacified, AbsurdEyes

      You're perfectly right.  All signs point to a coming end to gluttonous American consumerism.  

      Our 850 billion dollar trade deficit reflects ~400 billion dollars of cheap, low-quality, sometimes poisonous food and goods.   As a result of losing millions of good paying factory & mill jobs, we make less and less.  To obfuscate this, corporations give us more and more cheap junk as proof we're doing better than ever.

      The problem is twofold.  First, we're slowly turning into a third world police state.  When the world increasingly looks to the Euro as The standard, our country will see increasing unemployment, debt, and desperation.  After watching the Repug youtube debate last night I'm afraid to think about how that desperation will play out.

      Second, our gluttonous and irresponsible consumerism is killing the planet.  Instead of paying more for higher quality items that generally last much longer, we opt for cheap crap from Wal-Mart which we feel less guilty about throwing away.  After all, that broken socket wrench set/blender/VCR only cost 3 dollars, so just toss it and buy another.  

      Globalization is not sustainable.  

      Separate is -not- Equal

      by pkbarbiedoll on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:55:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism is like fire. (9+ / 0-)

    Useful if strictly controlled and regulated.

    Deadly and destructive if allowed to run amok.

    American capitalism is taking the latter course and we're all getting burned by it.

    I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.>> RFK

    by Rex Manning on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 12:14:28 AM PST

  •  Capitalism is a theoretical abstraction. It (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AbsurdEyes, Spoc42

    requires free markets to work. That means equal access for everyone to the market, equal access for everyone to needed capital.

    When the market isn't free a handful of people control the system and we end up with what we have.

    Tons of stuff we don't really need, unaffordable health care, pockets of obscene wealth coupled with pockets of deplorable poverty.

    The only way capitalism can approach its theoretical promise is by either creating totally free markets, which we have never been able to do or by regulating capitalism, which is something K Street won't let us do.

    Inevitably when situations get like this the people revolt

  •  Consumerism has created the super- (4+ / 0-)

    capitalism. Until people stop wanting and buying all the crap the money makers will never curb their growth or greed. Why should they stop? When the demand stops then capitalism will slow down.

    As with all solving of problems it has to start at the bottom-oneself.

    Attacking the top is wasted energy. They are too big, too entrenched and you, we are too small.

    Start with controling your own buying bad habits, encourage the people around you to do the same and so on and so on.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones"

    by roseeriter on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 02:49:00 AM PST

  •  We are not really a capitalist society. As long (0+ / 0-)

    as there is a tax of any sort, we are a socialist society. A tax is simply the people's labor going to the state to be redistributed and that is the very definition of socialism. Rather than capitalism, what we actually have is fiefdoms of ownership within a socialist construct. One could consider large accumulations of property, the means of production, and the ability to prevent upward mobility within those spheres of control to be fiefdoms. Most of us are serfs. The socialism is not applied uniformly which ensures serfs will remain so. The heritage of medieval atrocity is maintained by ever more sophisticated deception.

    "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

    by java4every1 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:10:05 AM PST

  •  Capitalism is not good by itself... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter

    like everything else, it needs balance. Corporate regulations and some social programs need to be part of the mix. Social programs are essential to a healthy nation; without them, we will become the nation of the extremely rich and the extremely poor.

    "The only people I fear are those who never have doubts" - Billy Joel

    by leftbird on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:44:05 AM PST

  •  Unregulated capitalism will never survive... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    java4every1

    All it creates is the yawning divide that we see now, between the haves and the have nots.
    We need to look at the damages done since the Nixon and Reagan disasters, and turn things around ASAP.

  •  A capitalistic society has to have enforced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter

    regulation.  It seems we had enough regulations to stop the subprime fiasco, but the regulations were ignored and the regulations didn't cover all lenders. Why the regulations didn't cover all lenders is a good question.  

    A smart, honest government would enforce regulations.

    There should be non-political advisors that are honest with people when the stock market is becoming overbought.  It is amazing how great and underpriced the market is according to many of the financial shows up to the point where it starts falling.  

    It used to be important that people were as good as their word, but this government gets a kick out of tricking people.

    True capitalism would give us access to prices overseas that would compete with our jacked up prices here.  I suppose the lower dollar will make them expensive too.

  •  Most taxes go to help businesses (0+ / 0-)

    The highways get their 'products' to their destinations and their workers to the plants.  Schools turn out educated students that can read, write, type.  Some even have training for jobs in their area. The justice department protects the 'elites' riches and their businesses.  The same with those who regulate the stock market.  

    The ordinary American doesn't have wars with those overseas, those are started by the elite to get more businesses started overseas after the chaos and even during the chaos.

    It is the war 'machines' that are doing a lot of pollution.

    Now they want private toll roads, private schools and to do away with Social Security to make us depend on the stock market for retirement.  

    I don't see things like flat screens as a problem. How many TVs can a family buy or want?  We have several because we have different age groups and different likes.  Only one of these are flat screen. The rest are inexpensive TVs.

    One problem is the outsourcing and insourcing of jobs.

    The biggest problem is not enough tax paying at the top.  The top 5% benefit from 95% of what taxes go for, but don't want to pay any taxes.

    People should be able to have a job that will pay enough to live a standard life, with some left over to save or invest and some to spend on what they enjoy whether it is golfing or having a big screen to watch movies on.

    If our businesses don't want to hire our people, then we shouldn't buy from them.  If you think about it, most of our money goes back to them anyway from our spending.  It is recycled.  Capitalism can only work if people get good incomes.

  •  American capitalism need very strong regulation (0+ / 0-)

    and effective enforcement of the strong regulation. Today, we have a deregulated capitalism in America. That is helping very few (less than 1% of American population) to accumulate tremendous amount of wealth (and consequently power) at the expense of masses and environment. This is leading to tremendous wealth/income gaps between the American society.

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