“Reinventing Capitalism”

I recently responded to one of Paul’s offerings with comments about the need for something beyond capitalism as we know it. I think this article says it better. Paul, see how you toss a pebble in the pond and the effects continue forever. Thanks. I am ever more convinced that there is no viable alternative for humanity other than a sea change transformation from the inside out.

Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul in the Machine
A Quick Re-Vision of Western Civilization
by Howard Bloom

The early part of the twenty-first century gave the Western world one skull-cracking slap after another. The downing of New York’s World Trade Center; the battle with militant Islam’s holy warrior; the crash and scandal of major corporations like Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Andersen; and the growth of China to superpower status—these were wakeup punches. They handed us what may be our greatest opportunity and our greatest responsibility since the Great Depression and the Nazis threatened to topple the Western way of life in the 1930s.

Osama bin Laden’s threats against America and against the “false religion” of freedom of speech, secularism, spiritual eclecticism, human rights, women’s rights, and gay rights have the potential to nuke us into a new dark age. As you read this page, over ten thousand Wahhabi madrassas, “suicide bomber factories,” salted on every one of this planet’s continents, are teaching children to make holy war against you and me. The West, these kids are told, has nothing left to give the world but immorality and decay. The teachers in these madrassas peddle passion brilliantly. They feed the hunger for meaning with the junk food of emotion—violence and righteous fury. But could the madrassa teachers be right? Do we in the Western system have nothing worth struggling for? Do we have nothing that’s worthy of idealism and belief?

Please read the rest here

Reprinted here with permission from EnlightenNext magazine,
Issue 28, March-May 2005
(c) 2005 EnlightenNext, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.enlightennext.org

Your thoughts?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to ““Reinventing Capitalism”

  1. You pickin’ a fight or what? Haha, sorry. When confronted with a long article I skim it first to catch his tone of voice, and a few key lines will stand out because the rhythm change around them and there is your quote. Then I go back and look how he thinks he gets logically from one place to the other. That is my Western Philosophers training. Thank goodness I found Taoism, Wayne or I wouldn’t have time to do anything but think. Any attempt to reinvent Capitalism will be met with stoic resistance from this side of the fence. Have a look around, it doesn’t matter how logical his argument appears. The world as it is now is the evidence of what happens if Capitalism exists. Trying to humanise it, or think of how it might work without economic slavery is just putting a pretty face on an ugly monster. Anywhere capitalism exists, poverty and suffering going with it. You can have Humanistic Capitalism in the US but that will just mean a continuation of the suffering in Africa or somewhere else. The flaw is its archaicness. It is a model useful only if there is still some valuable stuff unowned. Otherwise it is an avaricious monster.
    What we need to do is say these old words are dead. Let’s not use them any more. Let’s invent a new world as if none had ever existed. Desperate times, Wayne.
    I am off for a beer and some nice fish and salad by the river. You are a fantastic human type creature and I hope you are having as much fun as I am.
    Rock On!

    • Ha! No fight with you at all, friend. I’m wrestling with these ideas, so I need perspectives, and certainly hoped for yours and am glad to have it. Yes, I’m having fun.

      I think I hear you clearly. If I may attempt a summary of your view in the words of Einstein, “You cant solve a problem with the same thinking that produced it.” Does that quote represent your core thinking about this?

      It does represent mine, and I suspect that it may be your and my main common ‘approach vector’ regarding these things. For so long I was thinking exactly like you have expressed so well. But some things happened inside me that relaxed my certitude about it. No, I did not become wealthy and claim ‘survival of the fittest’ nonsense, nor did I go bankrupt and sulk off scorning the sour grapes. I just seem to see it differently now, but my view has not crystalized. So I’m hoping that a discussion that pulls and pokes at the issue might help me out and maybe help somebody else too.

      If I may paint a picture with slow drying paint, I used to think of so many of the atrocities in the world as derived from capitalism. I had an image of capitalism in my mind as ‘The Man’. My initial solution to the world’s problems was to cripple or behead ‘The Man’, giving real people an opportunity to work together in peace and safety. Capitalism was to me then a dragon or a monster that needed slaying. I was adamant about it. I was as strident about this as is a fundamentalist Christian hoping for a huge bloody war in the Middle East to become Armageddon, so that Jesus will come back. But these mythic-type images have dissolved for me.

      It seems to be that human problems and atrocities have existed with or without captialism. It seems to me now that the primary common factor that is found at the scene of inhumanities, is humans. So I’m trying to apply some home-made systems theory to help me adjust my understanding.

      In place of ‘the Man, the Dragon, or the Monster’, I’m seeing a grape arbor or vineyard. The vineyard has been highly productive, but to sustain it’s productivity and accessibility it has to be pruned and nurtured every year, otherwise it sprawls all over and gets sick. The foilage gets so thick that fungi infests the vine, only the outermost clusters are usable, and the fruits are hard to get at for picking. And many other problems. It’s a mess. I’m considering capitalism in this way.

      Another, analogy is a traffic system. I’ve seen those time-lapse aerial views of city traffic where you can watch the pulse of it. It’s pretty cool. We agree to systematic limitation of action in order that we can all reach our destinations. It works. But in monetary or market systems if we move to add lines or traffic signals on certain roads, the cry of “FREE MARKET” often squelches the effort, leaving uneven access to economic traffic.

      My concern is that we should consider that we not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Perhaps we can share and systematize the pruning rather than pulling up the vines by the root. Maybe we can insist on better economic traffic systems rather than flying jets into the Man’s trade centers.

      I’m increasingly Pogo-ish about these things: “We have found the enemy,…. and they is us.” How do we transform our thinking? How do we stop playing the futile game of finding God by eliminating the non-God.

  2. Hello Wayne,
    Not even by reinventing an alternative to capitalism and related “isms” can we hope to shift how we live on Earth.
    Perhaps, just perhaps, by first reinventing the human in ways which sees the global human community adopt a cosmologically based value system that sees true wealth being defined as “life enhancing (all life communities)” we can then set the stage for an abundant future.
    Your friend,
    Tim

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