Saturday, December 12, 2009

On the Changes of Capitalism, and its Problems and Discontents

For anyone who is independently-minded, and who bothers to look, the economy apparently goes through changes. At one time, historians, intellectuals and economists thought it was an "industrial" economy.

Is it smoke-belching factories that characterize capitalism? Is it the production of large numbers of identical goods? I guess not because then it changed. It changed to the "service economy" and then it changed again.

Some people want to get away from it all. But you can't get away. Capitalism seems to be synonymous with life. It changes but doesn't change. Should it change? Should it stay the same? These are the question philosophers have always grappled with. Is capitalism just some kind of naturally occurring "thing" that should just stay the same forever? Probably not; and most persons do not actually believe it. Still, there is always a permanent fire sale for free market fundamentalism going on.

Capitalism may be everywhere, --- But there is a problem with the economy and the problem I'd like to mention --- is that it is too passive -- for all you need do is follow the herd to get your share. Everyone want you to buy gold? You should probably buy it. Everyone likes to put money in the stock market? You should.

It is kind of bone-headed. Banks play their part, no doubt. They generate the illusion that the bank is lending money, instead of mentioning that what they do is create it. That is done, should the gentle reader ask, when they make loans. Money is literally created. (Because even after they loan money they still have it because of the nature of banks as the prime depositories for a civilization. It is all there to figure out, apparently, and quite amazing!) The implications are deep and far-reaching. It is not a minor matter. Still, I would like to return to my point about making the money passively. This is to say that they don't actually do anything. Now I knew this a long time ago! This is so obvious, and it is embarrassing to think of someone challenging me on the point: what do I say to someone like that? What if the questioner is a member of the media or something? (Yes! I fear Fox News.) Children can figure this out, it is so simple: it's direct, it's simple and it's intuitive, but we are basically being swamped with simultaneous information. We are enmeshed; we are embedded; and we are confused. Anyone can figure this stuff of for his or her self. They make their money passively. Children know this; adults forget.

Eventually, as this blog gets popular -- as I assume it ought to -- it may enter the stream of public discussion. Certain things are not reaching the public, whether intentionally or not -- that's hard to discern. I can't change the way the basic structures of human civilization or society work. I do not think so. If I am to enter the mainstream and all that, that's OK, but I have to phrase everything carefully. Which, by the way, I am already working on, you know.

This is how it works. We have to do things in a helpful way. I have in fact, and believe it or not, no interest in destroying anything. The precursor of this blogging activity (of my intellectual activity in general) is that I have had, or sort of been graced with a few original ideas in the vein of capitalist culture studies. And these original ideas open up a rich area of theoretical exploration. OK.

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