The concepts and rhetoric of both old capitalism and old socialism obscure the great opportunities at hand to create a thriving and enduring way of life. A broader, longer and better-informed perspective might pre-empt unnecessary conflict among putative allies, such as accusations of being racists, or fellow-travellers of either ideology.
The need for a fundamental re-organisation of our societies in order to return them to viability within Earth’s biosphere focuses our attention on how we are organised and what our options might be. The conventional framing of our options is a dichotomy between capitalism and socialism. So entrenched is this framing it seems to be difficult for many to imagine anything else, to the point that if you criticise one you are presumed to be a supporter of the other.
What currently passes for political commentary includes excited discussions about whether the Leftist Labor dog is being wagged by a“toxic” Greens tail; why right-wing Labor is in dire straits; whether centrist Labor is resurgent; and whether the extremist Greens are doomed.
Balance, in political commentary, is supposed to lie somewhere between Labor and Tony Abbott, who often seems to be regarded as just a somewhat aggro conservative.
Such commentary reflects remarkably limited perspectives that fail to take into account two major developments over the past five decades. The first is the rise of the radical Right. The second is the manifest failure of radical Right policies.
[I have been focussing on developing some models of how money works, after the manner of Steve Keen in The Roving Cavaliers of Debt. Until I get through that, here’s a vignette.]
One John Poole has been conducting a personal defence of “capitalism” in the Letters section of the Canberra Times. His argument is basically that markets always sort things out, that a system with markets is, necessarily, “capitalism”, and that anyone who disagrees is a socialist. Here is my own letter in response.