Wednesday, July 24, 2013

$, greed, power and what to do about it

See andrew's post in the IPS anti-capitalism thread. My response follows.

From this post and the two following Dawlabani notes that capitalism’s earlier history was one of hard work, healthy competition and equity. But both corporations and consumers abandoned this sustainable path into unsustainable and greedy Wall Street speculation and individual overconsumption, a devolution, as it were. He further notes that the problem was not money per se . Heretofore money “served as a function of productive output. Alan Greenspan and the geniuses on Wall Street sought to alter that role by making money productive output itself. A classic and grossly misguided case of the tail wagging the dog.”

As to your possible solutions andrew, I enacted one of them by retiring from my insurance underwriting career due to how that industry went downhill ethically and morally after so many years of being the opposite. I just could not longer support its greed and the resultant social decrepitude no matter how much money they paid me. Now I work for the government doing anti-trust, helping to prosecute the very same activities in which my last company gladly participated. That business is no longer about healthy competition but about hostile takeovers politely called mergers and acquisitions. They just want to consolidate their wealth for the top executives and stock holders and to hell with everyone else. And they most assuredly do not want healthy competition, which would still provide ample profits but not to the point of the kind of greed and lust for power we now see rampant.

And I'm with you too on reducing consumption, living according to needs instead of craving and overconsumption. I've participated in voluntary simplicity for all of my adult life, even when I was making a hefty salary in the insurance industry. Hence I saved a lot of it and can afford to 'retire' at a relatively younger age for that. Also with you on not supporting companies that are abusive to labor and/or the environment, like Walmart and I-I. I've changed my diet and drastically reduced red meat consumption though not completely eliminating it. I bought an energy efficient car, recycle, etc. etc. But for me the most important and needed action is political, trying to change public policy on these matters. Hence my repeated and often obnoxious yammering on forums like this, hoping to get others involved to change the law and create new ones conducive to the emerging paradigm.

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