Sunday, October 24, 2021

A New Capitalism: The Case for Universal Property — Peter Barnes

Excerpt from Ours: The Case for Universal Property by Peter Barnes

Capitalism as we know it has two egregious flaws: it relentlessly widens inequality and destroys nature. Its ‘invisible hand,’ which is supposed to transform individual self-seeking into widely shared well-being, too often doesn’t, and governments can’t keep up with the conse­quences. For billions of people around the world, the chal­lenge of our era is to repair or replace capitalism before its cumu­­la­tive harms become irreparable.…
Like Marx said would happen due to internal contradictions in the design leading to breakdown. 

But, as an entrepreneur friend likes to say, "Every breakdown is an opportunity for a breakthrough."

This post contains some good information relevant to the issues and also some good ideas for addressing them.

Again, Marx concluded that the problem arose fundamentally from property rights and recommended abolishing them. Peter Barnes takes a similar but different tack. It is move I suspect Marx would approve in that it is a modification of capitalism that leads eventually to the adoption of socialism.

Peter Barnes posits that property rights are institutional, chiefly legal, not natural as John Locke attempted to argue based on use. I don't think Locke's argument is convincing to anyone without confirmation bias being operative. It is based on a just-so story rather than history and anthropology, like the just-so story about barter (Robinson Crusoe and Friday).

A New Capitalism: The Case for Universal Property
Peter Barnes is an entrepreneur whose work has focused on fixing the deep flaws of capitalism. He has co-founded several socially responsible businesses (including Working Assets/Credo) and written numerous articles and books, including Capitalism 3.0 and With Liberty and Dividends For All.


Ahmed Fares said...

The Allure of Marxism … And Why It’s a Mistake —Blair Fix

Communist revolutions end badly, I believe, because they are based on faulty ideas. The problem is that Marxists misunderstand the source of capitalism’s social ills. It all goes back to Marx himself.

Marx pinned the ills of capitalism on private property. I think this was a mistake. The real cause of most social ills, I believe, is not private property. It’s hierarchy. Why? Because hierarchy concentrates power. And concentrated power is the despot’s best friend. Concentrated power, I believe, leads to social ills like totalitarianism, inequality, mass violence, and oppression. True, private property is intimately linked with hierarchy and power. But, as communist states demonstrated, we can have hierarchy without private property. This is Marx’s fatal error.

So here’s what goes wrong with communist revolutions. Distracted by private property, Marxist revolutionaries make the problem of hierarchy worse than it was under capitalism. They abolish private property, thinking this will solve the problems of capitalism. But to achieve their goals, Marxists create a vanguard party that eventually becomes a single-party state.

So in the name of creating a more just and equitable society, these revolutionaries concentrate power. They replace capitalist hierarchies with an even larger communist hierarchy. Yes, private property is gone. But the problems of hierarchy are even worse than before. It’s an ironic twist. Marxist revolutionaries aim for a socialist utopia. But what they get is a totalitarian nightmare. And it’s all because they focus on private property and neglect the problem of hierarchy.

Tom Hickey said...

Prince Peter Kropotkin, an anarchist, warned about this in 1910.

“…To hand over to the state all the main sources of economic life…as also the management of all the main branches of industry…would mean to create a new instrument of tyranny. State capitalism would only increase the power of bureaucracy and capitalism” in Kropotkin, Peter. The Essential Kropotkin. (Eds.: Emile Capouya & Keitha Tompkins.) NY: Liveright, 1975, p. 109-110.

The Marxist Paradox: An Anarchist Critique

This is a reason I have said that actual socialism and genuine democracy is not feasible without a rise in the level of collective consciousness in the direction of greater appreciation of universality.

Absent this, abolishing private property involves wagging the dog's tail.

At the same time, Marx's political agenda must be distinguished from his theoretical writings, in particular his positing that a current historical moment must run its course and in the process of doing so make way for its replacement by the next moment.

Marx would not take responsibility for what happened in Russia and China since they don't fit his paradigm of a transition to socialism when capitalism has exhausted its potential. Both Russia at the time and China also were pre-capitalist. So it can be assumed on Marx's analysis that revolution there would be unsuccessful. The jury on China is still out though and they are doing a lot better than the USSR did likely because they have had better leadership.

Matt Franko said...

“Like Marx said would happen due to internal contradictions in the design leading to breakdown. “

This is bullshit Tom design process wasn’t even defined before that fat pos commie finally croaked..

Matt Franko said...

“ likely because they have had better leadership.”

They have had access to western technical education that the Soviets never had..,

mike norman said...

"State capitalism would only increase the power of bureaucracy and capitalism."

Yet the prevailing view is that government should be run like a business.

Elect a successful business person for mayor, governor, president, etc.

Total disaster.

Tom Hickey said...

design process wasn’t even defined before

Marx pointed out that the design is in the institutional structure and arrangements that are chiefly underpinned in law. Marx studies law and was aware of this, although most contemporary conventional economists are not aware of it. The MMT economists are, and one of the bright lights of the coming MMT generation is Rohan Grey, a law professor that specializes in this area of law, which is emerging as an important field owing to the work of Christine Desan and others like her.

Marx held that the conceptual apparatus was built on the material conditions of the society and not the other way around as Hegel would have have it, although Marx admitted an interaction between the two that led to changes in the superstructure built on the material infrastructure.

This is pretty consistent with MMT as far as I can see.

Peter Pan said...

Bill Gates is a successful business person, wasn't elected to anything, yet there he is... involved in public matters.