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Oligarchy is more efficient than monarchy and a capitalist oligarchy of thousands is more efficient than any handful of leaders communism will supply. But increasingly oligarchy may not be efficient enough to meet the needs of a world at 7 billion and climbing.

Capitalism relies heavily on bureaucracy for order and to enforce income inequality for the oligarchy. Much has been written about the resulting bureaucracy being unpleasant

The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so. For when asceticism was carried out of monastic cells into evervday life, and began to dominate worldly morality, it did its part in building the tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order. This order is now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production which today determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this mechanism, not only those directly concerned with economic acquisition, with irresistible force. Perhaps it will so determine them until the last ton of fossilized coal is burnt. In Baxter’s view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the “saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment.” But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage.
But, in an increasingly modern world, oligarchy is both unpleasant and miserably inefficient. A well ordered hierarchical bureaucracy might work just great for mining and factory work. For software development, financial work, healthcare and scientific research it is a disaster.

One can see this problem immediately in software development where startups and open source projects vie for funding with dinosaur bureaucracies that who can only slightly compete by buying startups or open source projects to squash them.

In financial work where bureaucracies dole out funding without conscious and the resulting profit comes with crushing systemic risk and corruption.

In health care the inefficiencies are too great to even list.

In the sciences the average researcher is reduced to almost full time paperwork in order to achieve funding.

If America and, eventually, the rest of the world will be employing more and more people in fields that are less and less suited to oligarchy, then we will have eventually have a problem achieving any return on investment from our labor at all.

Even worse our children will spend longer and longer in school preparing for the challenges of an oligarchic society, even as oligarchy / bureaucracy is less and less able to create productive modern employment.

In the end our economic system will have to change because it is too wasteful compared to alternatives. Flatter systems of governance must prevail. More regulated, especially when that regulation is automated by computers, forms of bureaucracy will exist. The unpleasant worker suppression we tolerate our entire lives must eventually end because its just not productive enough.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As economics this is excellent (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    disrael, GDbot, NoMoreLies, Alhambra

    The problem, though, is that those oligarchies aren't there because of anything involving Adam Smith-style invisible hands, or even anything comprising intelligence from the world's captains of industry.

    "Capitalism", like everything else, has an alternative meaning for conservatives.  In the right's reality, "capitalism" is defined as a system that produces outcomes consistent with conservative ideology.  A real capitalist free-market system would never tolerate today's globalized corporations.  The United States, supposedly the great utopia of free market capitalism, has a lower than average rate of new business formation (and a lot of those businesses are either laid off white collar employees becoming consultants or service businesses).

    The assumption of capitalist economics is that an efficient market will do a good job of improving productivity and redistributing the gains.  It is a progressive ideology.  What it isn't is laissez-faire anything.  Even if you ignore all of the places where markets fall down (generally these are in the area of maintaining the integrity of the monetary system and of efficient markets, enforcement of things like contracts, externalities -- nowadays we call this socialization of private risk -- and systemic risk.

    But conservatives simply do not think this way.  Everything in conservative ideology is a morality play.  Anything inconsistent with this is (a) a failure in whatever ideology they've chosen to appropriate, (b) a failure of individual responsibility, and (c) an indication of divine favor.  This is usually but not always theocratic (in neoliberalism, it is usually attributed to an undeserving and overaffluent middle class.   Furthermore, everything in conservatism is deterministic and individual facts or observations do not, by definition, have any connection to any other facts; they are manifestations only of some higher set of "moral" principles.

    Thus, to cultural conservatism, the inefficiency of oligopolistic capitalism is a feature, not a bug.

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