Does the best idea always win? Is what is popular in a capitalist society necessarily good? Is what is good necessarily popular? George Carlin spoke well about the "illusion of choice." The notion that we have any real choice in the modern marketplace is a fallacy; people are intentionally led to believe they have a choice, when in reality it's all a business model. It may be that what is "good" about capitalism is merely what is most profitable. So I have to wonder about the assertion that the free market is a "good" thing, or necessarily generates good things. It looks more like a money machine to me, giving people what they think they want, or what they are told to want, that will not necessarily make them happy, and very probably won't.
I suppose my main problem is that I don't have anything to sell. It somewhat nullifies my presence and calls me into question here in modern America.
The capitalists -- specifically the rich -- believe that everyone deserves to be exactly where they are. I think it is quite obvious that this is not the case.
It is very hard to be successful when one has no desire to be or to do anything. I wouldn't call it laziness; just a total lack of desire, a lack of any interest in any avenue potentially available or station theoretically attainable. (Not that I am that concerned, in principle, with success -- quite the contrary).
It is the nature of capitalism that people hit veins and unleash gushers. Does that mean that it is really appropriate to have billionaires? Should any one person have that much money?
Does existence really boil down to goods and services? Is all that is worthwhile to be found in these categories?
This system of ours may just not be a fit for some people -- individuals who may be as much or more worthy than the majority. In other words, it's a good thing we have these people.
In the end, success really does come down to whom one knows. I've personally never known anyone willing or able to offer a meaningful opportunity. Most people don't.
Dogs are a much more successful species than chimpanzees. However, it is not because they are smarter. It is for other reasons like docility, loyalty and similarities to humans. Analogously, the rich in the world are much more successful than the majority. But it is not necessarily because they are smarter or better.
Economists are great at analyzing what has already happened, but they never really seem to know what's happening right now, in truth, and moreover they never seem to be able to predict crashes or recessions ahead of time with much accuracy -- and on the rare occasion that someone does, he is not able to do anything about it. I think it's wonderful that economics exists, so that we can understand the bigger picture and understand the past, but let's face it, economic realities are invisible and what will happen cannot be predicted. That's not an invalidation of economists, by any means.
There was never really a door that I wanted to walk through, and along the way none opened of themselves or by happenstance. The good news is that I'm not beholden to a career that I hate. I'm not sure what the bad news is.
I once heard a story of a young man who didn't know what to do with his life. He came from a family with some money, so he had every opportunity to find something and succeed. But he couldn't become interested or engaged in anything. His family encouraged him to try things. He went on an archaeological dig, did a medical internship, studied philosophy, thought about the law, considered being an artist. Nothing worked. He couldn't find a direction. One day he went camping with some friends, and while they were on a hike, he walked into a nearby pond and drowned himself. The lesson is that our civilization may not always have things to offer that everybody would be inclined to accept. Some people might choose "none of the above." And such people, many of whom are quite precious, simply fall through the cracks -- through no fault of their own, or anyone else's. A healthy society would have a place for such people. Ours doesn't. There are reasons for all of this.
It would appear that money is not always an appropriate yardstick for artistic achievement. We of course hear of many "starving artists," and many if not most famous painters, writers, poets and composers were not rich during their lifetimes. And, moreover, money is not a yardstick at all for scientific achievement. Other than marketed practical applications which come considerably later, the most prestigious prize for scientists is the million-dollar Nobel Prize -- hardly anything too impressive monetarily today. It begs the question where our interests and values lie as a society, and how perhaps we don't put our money in all the right places.
Nowhere is it written in stone that one has to pick a career and make a lot of money to be a valid human being. This is the cultural narrative, at least for Americans. Seemingly this is our single barometer for a person's worth. Truth is, you don't have to do anything to be really worth something. Forget all that bullshit.
Truth is, we can't solve the world's economic problems by simply taking the rich's money. That doesn't mean we shouldn't take a lot of it, probably.
The powerful don't so much control the powerless as they exclude them.
It seems to me that it is by virtue of the fact that most people are pretty well behaved, and cannot afford to deviate from their routine, that society is relatively orderly -- not because they are being diligently controlled by the ruling class.
Business is the art and science of stealing legally. The broader sweep of capitalism is really institutionalized theft. And the thieves only get richer as everyone else watches helplessly.
Because I am a generalist, there is no field in which I am so completely interested that it would be appropriate to pursue. I am fine with this. I would rather have some wide though appreciable knowledge of many areas than to be imprisoned in one narrow, exclusive one. This makes a well-defined career difficult to acquire, but I seem to manage.
Policy and public opinion diverge on most of the important issues, and they get away with it cleanly for some reason. As long as the 'masters of mankind' get to execute their agenda with impunity, and there has to date been no one to challenge them, I'm afraid the meaningful changes people talk about will most likely not come to pass. I can't see it happening without real changes at the top. The real top.
A given society cannot be functioning properly if there are people in it who are able-bodied and competent but are not given the chance to succeed.
Marx made some decent points, but communism isn't the answer. In theory, it looks pretty good, but in practice, it most often doesn't work. Marxism indeed posits that a communist society must start out on the right, and that, therefore, it must be authoritarian to get things in order for a move to the left. The ruling elite do move the economic structure toward the left, but the governments themselves have tended to remain on the right, as the ruling elite or a single dictator do not wish to give up their power. Theoretically then, a communist society is to begin on the right and end with a popular government that exists totally on the left. But the politburos never give up their power, and true Marxism is never realized. This is the basic malfunction.
People tend to demonize the rich, and that can get taken a little too far. You're not necessarily a bad person if you have a lot of money. But the type of person that makes it to the status of "extremely wealthy" is generally the type of person who steps on throats to get to the top. To treat the very rich as normal citizens is essentially to deny that corruption exists, and it also denies the fact that this type of person is a shark, nine times in ten. After all, business is not a pretty enterprise.
It's hard to contend that scarcity is artificial when three billion people don't have enough food or clean water, and most of the world doesn't use a modern toilet. The theory is that we have the means right now to end all of that, but an awful lot of people have been waiting an awfully long time, and the situation has only grown catastrophically worse. It's almost absurd to argue that scarcity is artificial when you look at standards of living and imbalances of consumption across the globe. We're a long, long way from utopia, in a material sense or in any other.
Just because conditions are stable does not mean one is in control of them.
Is a billion dollars really proportional to any conceivable accomplishment a person can make in the workplace? The only reason that much money is ever made is that it is in the nature of capitalist economies to unleash gushers in auspicious niches; the actual qualitative worth can scarcely match the quantitative value we ascribe to a given product.
To say "Free Tibet" is exactly the same as saying "Free Navajo Nation."
Capitalism theoretically ought to generate robust choice in the market. It really doesn't.
As a buddy once told me, our economic system serves the greedy, the immoral and amoral, and the already wealthy. It very rarely serves anyone else, for any reason.
It seems that, in modern capitalist societies, the best a smart and decent young person can hope for is upper-middle class, and nowadays they can't even reasonably expect that, and the income level is sinking, anyway. Not a pleasing prospect.
In this, "the best of all possible worlds," despite the calls to end it, poverty could not be more necessary. The ownership class must preside over a class of poor- or middle-income persons who generate the wealth that the rich then apportion. To add insult to injury, these lower-classes then put whatever money they manage to get back into the system in order to secure the goods and services they need in order to survive. Wealth inequality is perfectly necessary in any capitalist society; if the third world did not exist as it does, the first would not have its profits.
To make it in business you have to slit throats and break backs. To argue otherwise is naive. Same with climbing the political ladder. There are of course exceptions, but not too many. Can someone name for me three compassionate billionaires and prove it? Citing donations doesn't count. The type of individual it takes to become a billionaire is fully at cross-purposes with the type of person you'll find serving soup at a shelter. Good people tend not to make it too far in these areas. When there's blood in the water, sharks arrive before anyone else.
If one's vocation determines who one is -- at the level of personal character and self -- then one is not in an enviable position as a human being. One's work does not define who one is. What one is, maybe.
As a generalist, one's interests are so broad, varied and eclectic that it's impossible to be totally and obsessively interested in one subject at the expense of all the others. This precludes specialization, and obviously can make it difficult to find good work in today's economy. As a young man, I was interested in a wide variety of subjects, but no one so passionately that I could be enthusiastic about pursuing it as a profession. As it happens, I have turned to writing, but not yet arrived at success doing it. But I don't really care. I'll do it as long as it's fun, and see where the chips fall later.
It seems that most people would like to be a billionaire. What they don't realize is that there are only about 1,800 spots. Seems pretty much like a scam to me.
Modern commerce is primarily about fabricating wants.