To start with, let’s get one thing straight here: capitalism isn’t bad. Basic capitalism isn’t the problem. People selling their goods and services for money that they can buy goods and services with is a fine way to function. There’s nothing wrong with this.
It’s the parasitic class of corporate capitalists that are the problem.
Let’s say I notice a hole in the market. I see there is a need for a product that does not exist. I form a company: Gizmo Inc. Then I make a small run of this product: The Gizmal.
The Gizmal works! I sell as many as I can make. Success!
However, I have a problem. I am not a multinational corporation. At this stage, I cannot afford to make all the Gizmals that I would be able to sell. I don’t have the capital to produce that much. But I only have a limited amount of time before other companies copy the Gizmal and exploit that market.
I have to scale up and make those Gizmals.
Well, thankfully, capitalism has developed a system for doing this. I take Gizmo Inc public to raise that capital.
The market analysts check us out and see that we’ve got something here. The numbers look good! We raise all the money we could ever need, and more, and scale the fuck up. Gizmals are flooding the market. It’s a hit!
In year one after going public, we sell ‘x’ number of Gizmals.
In year two, we sell 3x.
In year three, we sell 6x.
Our stock keeps going up and up! Gizmo Inc is flying high. With increases in sales like this, our profits are increasing at a level that makes the company very attractive to investors. The corporate capitalists love us! What could possibly go wrong?
Well, here’s the thing:
The market for Gizmals is finite. There are only a certain number of customers that need Gizmals. By year three, the market is saturated. Everyone who needs a Gizmal has a Gizmal.
Now, thankfully, we expected this, so our engineers cleverly designed Gizmals to only last for one year. They are designed to fail.
So, thanks to this clever planning, in year four we still sell 6x number of Gizmals. We also know that we will continue to sell 6x Gizmals every year until the Chinese figure out how to copy the Gizmal. But that will take them years. The profits will continue as before and we will keep churning out those Gizmals.
Good enough, right?
See, the market capitalists are in the mix now, right? 6x Gizmals sold in year four is unacceptable. This is failure.
The market capitalists, with their analytics and projections, valued Gizmo Inc’s stock with the assumption that profits would continue to increase at the exponential rate of its first three years.
Getting the same profit this year that we did the last is not okay. This is failure!
Seeking to please the market capitalists, Gizmo Inc brings out some new products. We release the Gizmole, the Gizwizzle, and the Gizwizard.
Sadly for us, none of these new products are something the market needs. They sell okay for a year, but people quickly realize the products are bullshit.
The market capitalists need to be satiated, though. They need their fucking profits.
So, onto cost cutting. We slash jobs and move production overseas.
Success! Profits are up!
However, now the Chinese are catching up faster than ever, as our foreign production facilities hemorrhage workers to the competition as fast as we train them.
As well, the quality of our Gizmals plunges, effectively erasing the difference between our product and the Chinese knockoffs.
By year eight, Gizmo Inc is fucked. The market capitalists pick over the bones a bit, chop up the subsidiaries to sell whatever intellectual property still has value to the highest bidder.
Then it is done. Gizmo Inc is over.
And the market capitalists move on to the next host.
And begin the process again.
This is our world now.
A system requiring unlimited, constant growth trying to force its will on a finite world.
The highway has to run out sometime. Going full throttle right to the end of it might not be the best choice.