philosophy

Why Are There No Alternatives To Capitalism?

Zizek is one of the most profound and thought provoking commentators on modern issues. From Vulture Capitalism to cultural integration he attempts to tackles some of our world’s toughest problems.

In this piece he discusses alternatives to capitalism and the institutions that are in place to stifle any meaningful change or improvement. 

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19 comments on “Why Are There No Alternatives To Capitalism?

  1. This is useless. There is a video or something playing in the background and I can’t find it to turn it off, so I can’t hear the one embedded above. Anyway I fundamentally object to dissemination of info by sound or video as it militates against going at one’s own pace, absorbing or rereading bits as required. Is there a transcript of this you can point me to?

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  2. It just needs the right mechanisms in place to redistribute wealth ore fairly ans of course the population to vote the ideas in but if the majority are doing well the there is no change, the next ten years should see a further degradation of wages but its people can be bothered to vote in the right changes, people are greedy.

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    • I would say people are easily conned into acting greedily. I believe people are inherently convivial, cooperative and content with sufficient but also capable of being selfish and accumulating in times of stress and scarcity: both strategies make sense in evolutionary terms and being able to switch one on at times of need especially so.

      Capitalism simulates those conditions irrespective of real conditions by skewing distribution and incentivising acquisition.

      As Godwin said, exchange is the most pernicious of evils.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What can be greedier than taking money you haven’t earned?

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      • Capitalism can only happen in cases of VOLUNTARY transactions; you choose to work for a company for $7 an hour, they choose to pay you $7 an hour. They choose to sell a product for $50, you choose to buy it for $5. A properly run, successful business can only succeed if people choose to work from them or buy from them. If the person at the top gets rich, it’s because people wanted his products or services at the prices he offered. He’s earned it, and he can keep it. The more you take from the businessmen, the less people take their business to America; easily seen by all the jobs we’re losing to China and Mexico.
        What have you done to earn their money? Sat around and complained?

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      • “Capitalism can only happen in cases of VOLUNTARY transactions; you choose to work for a company for $7 an hour, they choose to pay you $7 an hour”

        That is patent nonsense, as it only applies if people have plenty of alternative choices, and even then distorts all reasonable concepts of value and equity. Buyers’ and sellers’ markets exist at the best of times, but the history of exploitation, poverty and even violence directly contradict all this idealistic flimflam. In a capitalist system, rightly or wrongly, people cannot live without the means to buy things and most cannot get this unless they work in whatever jobs they can find for whatever pittance they can get paid.

        I reject the whole notion of exchange and the concept of ‘earning’ wealth as utterly inimical to human wellbeing and true productivity.

        I totally acept that at base this is all ‘voluntary’. As Monty Python reminds us, ‘supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses’. There will always come a time when the masses get a bit pissed off with getting trampled on. Sadly they are then rarely best equipped to find a sensible replacement.

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      • 1) Less than 1% of the US workforce has a minimum wage job. 2) The correlation between minimum wage increases and unemployment increases is no surprise, and very relevant. https://raymondpronk.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/unemployment-and-minimum-wage.jpg. I just put an article about minimum wage on my Alex Kromkowski for President site if you want to see my argument in more detail, but really, a minimum wage makes it harder to hire workers, harder for businesses to start, and anyway, a minimum wage job is a stepping stone of sorts into a better job.

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      • It’s not that hard to find a higher paying job anyway; Wal-Mart’s lowest paid cashiers make over $9.00 per hour, and being a janitor at my financially-bad high school pays more than $10.00 per hour. The jobs are there, you just have to look. (Side note: lowering income tax is a much more practical alternative to forcing businesses to pay what often comes to higher prices & less jobs.)

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  3. Such complicated issues, the population larger and with all the diversity. Thanks for sharing. Body language found interesting also.

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  4. Yes, capitalism has been a sacred cow for too long.

    Socialist/economist Prof. Richard Wolff likes to talk about the Worker Self-Directed Enterprise (WSDE). A great idea. It can exist alongside capitalist enterprises. Any business could choose to organize this way. Learn more at DemocracyAtWork.info.

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  5. “I agree with Proudhon that all property is theft, it’s just that I have no bloody idea what to do about it”
    [Mike Harding: The Armchair Anarchist’s Almanac, 1982]

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  6. One reason it will be difficult for America to shift to the political left is that we are a nation filled with individualism. The collective movement of the left, while admirable, will be met by angry gun owners, religious zealots and that hell bent yelling that socialist rhetoric will strip their rights forever. Ironic that we hear people say as a “God-fearing nation as Christians we must help one another.” Only if you believe exactly what the provider intends to give. You won’t find popup health and dental clinics at church centers, but you will find food pantries there. It’s capitalism at its best under the guise of social behaviors.

    Recently President Elect Trump informed Boeing on Twitter that the new Air Force One replacement was canceled or delayed due to excessive cost. Trump was misinformed of the actual cost but perhaps shed light on capitalism will shift towards crony capitalism. Boeing was informed to substantially reduce the cost of Air Force One no differently than the strong arm tactics of United Technologies of Indiana.

    I predict we may witness our first capitalism shift if Trump gets his way about Chinese currency manipulation. If China’s currency decreases then that nation will substantially increase its production. This will offset its losses mixed with dramatic price increases passed on to us. Our production is not up to date to keep up with the demand of the Chinese or other nations. If there are enhanced trade restrictions by the new administration, then supply and demands on particular and critical goods may trigger a recession and potentially a depression depending on how long it takes to recover goods. Only then may we start to seek an alternative to capitalism.

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  7. Interesting comparison with V for Vendetta. I agree with him, part II would be an interesting case study. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out like it did for the French when they dumped the monarchy… but it likely would, at least for a little while.

    I enjoy his videos, thanks for sharing them. Even when I disagree with him, I am having fun. lol.

    He seems to always be subtly promoting socialism, which I am not completely against.

    I think that his observations on the Left not having a viable model might be a little skewed. I agree that, at least for the democratic party here in the US which the left has chosen to reside, has always lacked something… and it is both annoying and inspiring. They always, always have a social conscience. They always, always err on the side of the better good, even if it means losing before they’ve lost. It’s a noble sentiment, but I think is what sent the younger generation scrambling for Bernie in the primaries. (Not that he would have really been able to deliver all those promises with a Republican controlled house and senate… but he was an unfamiliar/new face and his personality made up for everything else he might have lacked in leadership…)

    I guess what I am saying is that the Left, at least in the US, has had a model, but… let me compare it to the Unitarian Universalist Church. I joined some years ago because I was tired of the bible-thumping, telling-me-who-to-vote-for, hell-fire and damnation sermons in the more traditional churches. I mistakenly thought that the religion of many of our forefathers (Universalists) was Christian.

    Just as the democratic party became a haven for the Left, the UU became a haven for literally every marginalized social and religious community in the country (well, except for blacks… won’t see many of them there… but they had a solid culture and support system…. ugh… I’m losing my point. lol)

    My point is this… if you are flooded with 4o different religions, 6 different gender representations, and your platform is acceptance and love, and equality… HOW in the world do you respect ALL of those beliefs while expressing your own.

    You don’t.

    Look this isn’t a criticism of UU, I am only saying that they share they same problem that democrats and all left-wing parties have suffered from… They DID and DO have a focus… that focus was freedom of expression, religion, equality, and the greater good. Their focus was building a social conscience to forward all human rights.

    But, I will tell you… that UU I went to… was WAY more political than any evangelical church I attended.

    What does that say? (maybe I will just post a blog about this, I’m using up your page… lol.)

    As always… Thanks for the great videos. I love this guy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Greed is taking too much, irrespective of earned or not.

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  9. Not connected to this post per se, but I haven’t been having any views on my blog for a long time, and then you liked one of my posts and I’m quite happy so I just wanted to say thank you, and yea, that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Regarding the quote Zizek paraphrases “Behind every rise of fascism is a failed revolution,” it seems to me that the socialist revolutions only ever reach fruition in places with a homogeneous proletariat to serve as the support base, otherwise inter group competition and conflict among the poor (inevitable as living standards decline) tend to take precedence over class warfare and the result is either fascism (but our leaders are experienced in thwarting it) or preservation of the status quo. For instance this could explain why communism failed in India but not Nepal.

    Another, more recent, way revolutions tend to be “poisoned” is through hyper-individualism which is rampant among the modern left and results in a lack of solidarity and shared goals.

    (Commenting on an old post since you visited mine).

    Liked by 1 person

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