An alternative future

inkognitoJune 19, 2012

When people talk about the failure of Capitalism the immediate response is the false equivalency of state Socialism and any useful examination goes out the window. John Maynard Keynes wrote an essay in 1930 in praise of Capitalism because he thought that once people had enough they would enjoy the fruits of their labours in social activities.

Keynes thought that the motivational basis of capitalism was "an intense appeal to the money-making and money-loving instincts of individuals." He thought that with the coming of plenty, this motivational drive would lose its social approbation; that is, that capitalism would abolish itself when its work was done."

I have linked to an article about this essay, this quote continues with a puzzle it says

But so accustomed have we become to regarding scarcity as the norm that few of us think about what motives and principles of conduct would, or should, prevail in a world of plenty.

Here is a link that might be useful: in praise of leisure

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

It's artificial scarcity due to Capitalism. Capitalism is the cause of the scarcity we have today, rather than the solution to it. Capitalism might have brought mass relief but of course was used instead to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, with enslavement of the many often being undertaken to achieve this aim - as that is what has happened repeatedly throughout human history, regardless of which system was in operation at a particular time or in a particular place.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 3:15PM
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lionheart_gw

The authors presume that everyone's motive is to work less (or fewer hours) and that leisure time is the benchmark for success.

I suspect they do not understand human nature. The concept that perhaps many people derive pleasure from being productive seems to be foreign to them.

Lots of people work for more than money. They work because they like to build something or they are inventive and want to see their next idea materialize, so they create something. If you're really good at what you are doing and people want to pay you for that, it is an added benefit.

I suspect that their ideas of what constitutes leisure time are equally as rigid as their notion that people derive nothing from work and, therefore, should devote less time to it.

It is human nature to be productive, to gravitate to doing things that suit their natural aptitudes, and that accomplishment brings satisfaction. We also like a modicum of structure, discipline, and stability.

We are fortunate to live in a civilization with a stable economic system that allows people the opportunity to pursue the type of work they enjoy and/or excel at. Or, if they don't have something they want to do, to invent something that will please them.

It's been on ongoing evolution but until the 19th century this was nothing more than wishful thinking for most people. Now opportunities abound and no one with basic aptitudes and abilities needs to be tied to any one path or profession.

That Keynes was very short-sighted and rather impractical in his vision of the future is not surprising. Most people are. You just need to watch those reruns of the old Twilight Zone that foretold that machines, especially computers, were Teh Ebil and would render humans irrelevant. They did not and could not predict the explosion of technological advances that require smarter humans and the inventions that were borne of this new Great Leap Forward.

This idea that it's some sort of nirvana to be without motivation or direction sounds like pure hell to some of us.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:19PM
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inkognito

It is always good to compare your own understanding of an idea with someone else but when that other understanding is the reverse of your own it is very challenging. Lionhearts conclusion that This idea that it's some sort of nirvana to be without motivation or direction sounds like pure hell to some of us couldn't be further from my own it it tried because I don't think that is being suggested at all and I don't get this message from the piece. In fact I think this is covered in the short quotes in my OP.

I do think that there should have been some clarity on the meaning of 'work' however as much as this is possible in such a short piece. Others have separated 'work' from 'labour' and it from 'leisure' which I think is important especially for we gardeners as a lot of lionhearts needs for creativity and production can be satisfied there.

The motivation that keeps people on the treadmill long after they have enough material wealth is what is being examined here I think and then how to behave when not consumed by accumulating stuff.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:09AM
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jodik_gw

I would concur with Bboy, and add that greed and selfishness and a distinct lack of ethics have corrupted the system of Capitalism. How much IS enough? Is there such a thing for some? I think not.

It's easy to philosophize on something when your coffers are full enough that worry about every day living is not an issue... but for those that struggle every day, the system we have is not working so well.

The entire idea of money and banking the way it's done, the way it's been done since the invention of money, or chits as payment and how interest and debt fit in... the idea of money lending and all of it... it only benefits the money changers. It's a scam.

I once read an excellent article on the history of money and how it was all designed to work... and it's like playing a game that only a few can win. Avarice has always been the motivator.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:40PM
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