Thursday, February 23, 2012

The paucity of definition...

"Capitalism" is described in part by Wikipedia thusly:

There is general agreement that elements of capitalism include private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit or income, the accumulation of capital, competitive markets, voluntary exchange and wage labor.[3][4] The designation is applied to a variety of historical cases, varying in time, geography, politics and culture.[5]

Does this sound like the current or any former system that ever existed on this planet? It does not to this humble blogger. Private gain is inextricably aligned with public systems, especially with those of security and property rights. Arguing how powerful "Capitalism" is a model strikes me as silly. Its utility is ensconced within a context.

Capitalism, like "the rule of law" is a wonderful idea that is a useful fiction, and the Occam's razor that eviscerates these concepts is simply put: Power.

The transition from agrarian systems where wealth was based on territory to modern industrial systems accounts for all of the present changes we have seen (from use of violence, to technological advancement, governmental expansion, etc.) in the past 1000 years.

But technology moves quickly, which produces one of the ironies I see as a probable outcome for the next 200 years: The Internet and instant connectivity eroding sovereign nations and the globe reverting back to more "familiar" historical models for Power: that of Religion.

Religion holds the MASSIVE advantage over modern governments of not needing (as much) force and threat of force to coerce its members. It also does not need arbitrary geographical lines to exert influence. A perfect match for modern connectivity and it will compete very well against the sovereign nation-state dominance of the previous 300 years.

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