Well if you take Marx's view of what perfect capitalism would mean then it never really got off the ground.
And so he sets the stage. We enter a world of perfect capitalism: no monopolies, no
unions, no special advantages for anyone. It is a world in which every commodity
sells at exactly its proper price. And that proper price is its value -- a tricky word. For
the value of a commodity, says Marx, is the amount of labor it has within itself. If it
takes twice as much labor to make hats as shoes, then hats will sell for twice the
price of shoes. The labor, of course, need not be direct manual labor; it may be
overhead labor that is spread over many commodities, or it may be the labor that
once went into making a machine and that the machine now slowly passes on to the
products it shapes. But no matter what its form, everything is eventually reducible to
labor, and all commodities, in this perfect system, will be priced according to the
amount of labor, direct or indirect, that they contain.
Well that is interesting, actually what we have seen is something else entirely.
The rise an rise of the Multinational Corporation.
What have we seen since WWII:
1] The number of companies working in the same field has been greatly reduced, thus reducing competition. Virtual regional monopolies now exist, exerting great economic pressure wherever they are based. Hence too big too fail.
2] The use of labor prices on a global scale, thereby assuring only the cheapest is used. China for example where labor costs are now 4 times as expensive as it is in Cambodia. So there will be outsourcing in this direction. The result of which has been to reduce the earning power of the middle class at any given time or location. Insecurity within different countries ensures that labor costs are driven to a minimum, hence the destruction of the Unions in the West over the last 40 years.
3] Globalization whereby corporations now have greater buying power than many first world countries, and are less in debt. Corporations have also been able to migrate headquarters to where taxation is less of a burden, many are given tax right-offs to relocate to a given region. Often when this tax honeymoon is over the company then relocates to another more 'friendly' local. Although this practice is in essence illegal other methods may be used. Setting up a rival production facility hence taking the existing facility into loss, thereby justifying closure due to economic factors. Where unions exist; tactics to incite union resistance can be implemented, once again economic hardship can be used as justification for plant closure.
4] Labor prices in the industrialized world have stagnated and indeed regressed. The tax base has shrunk since many corporations now profiting from these effectively lowered costs do not pay local taxation. Hence the government in place has less access to resources from taxation to call upon and thus runs up a deficit. This situation changes where financial power remains but does not contribute except to destabilize democracy; as economic decisions are now removed from elected officials since they are global in nature and are in fact in the hands of corporate executives.
5] The vast wealth generated is now in fewer hands and is moved around freely to wherever conditions are most favorable. Executives flit between boards, and indeed many are on multiple boards within the same industry at any given time. There is hence collusion; amply shown by industry lobbies around the world. Standards that pertain to product performance and consumer safety are negotiated by companies with the same basic interest, profit. This has also been highlighted by the recent fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico.
6] The unprecedented public bailing out of many companies within the same business area. This immediately negated any pretense that competition was indeed possible or even desired. Once again insecurity was used to justify such an undertaking. The precedent has been set and will be used again no matter what legislation has been put in place, the dire consequences of inaction will once again be trumpeted. There has been no fundamental shift in either fiscal or political philosophy, hence it is impossible that the reaction will be any different in the future.
7] Information is controlled by a small number of corporate entities, the internet if this continues will also be reined in to conform to business requirements. Technically its quite easy to prioritize certain segments and indeed censor content. The only challenge is the ever increasing speed and subsequent data transmission, yet once again this again can be confined. Information is the life blood of our high-tech society and the battle for its control is all but over. Again data transmission standards will involve the corporations concerned before they are even in the public domain.
8] Political destabilization, it is good business practice to polarize your competition; hence we have seen funding by the corporations of so called AstroTurf movements. This renders effective political oversight all but irrelevant. The idea is to have continually changing governance, yet it remains in the hands of the same people. By financing many of these functionaries in their daily quest for reelection they can in fact be rendered ineffective. Priorities are not given to what is right but what is possible, if major social decisions are rendered incomplete or toothless then business can benefit. Where elected government fails to provide business can step in to fill the gap. We can see this happening as a result of the current fashion of austerity programs. We can also clearly identify the the danger of the recent SCOTUS decision; now it remains to undermine the political will thereby effectively negating the undermining of this legal precedent.
9] The us of and the use by the Military Industrial Complex in driving 'diplomatic' and economic decisions. The need of the Oil Corporations [and other sectors] for their primary material has driven much of the decision making in global diplomacy; if indeed you can call it diplomacy. Threats, menaces and economic embargoes all backed by a threat of action drive negotiations. Decisions such as global warming have taken a back seat to our immediate needs. Indeed the decisions have not been in our hands at all, public opinion first poisoned enough to allow military action, then ignored to allow it to continue are par for the course.
10] The more we are at conflict with each other; both domestically and internationally, the more a few profit. We always have to have an enemy, and funnily enough one always seems to present itself for consideration. At the moment we seem to have a war on just about anything imaginable. Xenophobia is always a plus since this also reduces communication and eventual understanding. Creating a climate of, they want to take our jobs here, when in fact the corporations have taken jobs here and but them there is almost risible, yet it is effective when used for political destabilization.
11] Stirring up of religious tensions, bigotry and distrust, this is always a fertile ground for those willing to sow dissent. One of the best ways of highlighting cultural and sometimes racial divides. Intolerance of the other can be used effectively, and because of the passions involved volunteers are readily found.
We have now been rendered incapable of facing our greatest challenges.
1] Climate Change
2] Equitable distribution of resources.
Poverty, hunger, disease and lack of access to shelter are common in the Industrialized world and rampant in the rest.
We have been successfully divided both nationally and racially; and if you believe people have different basic requirements around the world, then the propaganda has indeed been effective. Religion also comes into the divisive category, not for its beliefs but from its use.
No Capitalism is not dead.
Something that never existed cannot cease to exist.
What we have is something entirely different.
An Oligarchy is about as close as I can come, Corporate Feudalism perhaps another. A Democracy? Not even close.
Just where we are going, who knows.
Sorry no great sweeping theory with a thousand links spanning 2500 pages like das Capital, just some rambling mid week musings.