Saturday, June 30, 2012

Richard Wolff — Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism

There is no alternative ("Tina") to capitalism.
Really? We are to believe, with Margaret Thatcher, that an economic system with endlessly repeated cycles, costly bailouts for financiers and now austerity for most people is the best human beings can do? Capitalism's recurring tendencies toward extreme and deepening inequalities of income, wealth, and political and cultural power require resignation and acceptance – because there is no alternative?
I understand why such a system's leaders would like us to believe in Tina. But why would others?
Of course, alternatives exist; they always do. Every society chooses – consciously or not, democratically or not – among alternative ways to organize the production and distribution of the goods and services that make individual and social life possible....
Capitalism thus entails and reproduces a highly undemocratic organization of production inside enterprises. Tina believers insist that no alternatives to such capitalist organizations of production exist or could work nearly so well, in terms of outputs, efficiency, and labor processes. The falsity of that claim is easily shown. Indeed, I was shown it a few weeks ago and would like to sketch it for you here.
Read the rest at The Guardian (UK)
Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism
by Richard Wolff
In short, MC worker-members collectively choose, hire and fire the directors, whereas in capitalist enterprises the reverse occurs.
Interestingly, a very similar distinction is manifest in religious denominations — between "low" churches that are congregational and "high" churches that are hierarchical. In the congregational modle the congregation chooses the minister, and in the hierarchical model, authority is centralized and imposed from the top, with parishioners required to be subservient and to conform.

4 comments:

Andrew said...

I would like to see much more of a mixed economic system. Say 1/3 public owned, 1/3 cooperative and 1/3 capital owned.

Large infrastructure monopolies like utilities and rail public owned. Personal banking, mortgage and insurance through credit unions, a good state bank for business development, supermarkets as non profit member coops, most service industries as coops. Free market capitalism seems only to work well in small business, E.g. Micro retail and restaurants. I'd restrict private ownership to those areas where there is a low capital barrier to entry.

Unforgiven said...

Dig the sour grapes in the comments. These guys are actually making it work, are multinational and growing. What's not to like?

Andrew said...

Multinational banks have been a roaring success for us all right.

Unforgiven said...

Banks had sociopaths LONG before they became multinational.

More on the Basque:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/european-business/basque-region-stands-strong-despite-shaky-spain/article4378633/?cmpid=rss1

Of course, not every country can be a net exporter, but they seem to be a going concern.

Maybe we can break up the Merkel-jerk by slapping Angela in a bikini and having her raffle off export rights from a limited pool to EU countries. Top exporter the previous year gets what's left over. Until they straighten out monetary policy, that is.