Good and Bad Capitalism: Re-thinking Value, Human Needs, and the Aims of Economic Activity | Giorgio Baruchello (2009)

The world is experiencing a twofold crisis. On the one hand, the global, virtualised economy is collapsing and, in its fall, it is bringing down significant sections of the real economy. On the other hand, the environmental collapse of the planet is also marching on, and there is no clear sign that this may stop soon, for the most commonly discussed paths for economic recovery seem to rely upon further spoliation of the Earth’s life support systems. In this book chapter, the reader is to encounter an account of this twofold crisis in light of the deeper axiological grounds that are causing it. To this end, the present author refers extensively to the theory of value developed by Canadian scholar John McMurtry, according to whom: “[F]inancial crises always follow from money-value delinked from real value, which has many names but no understanding of the principle at its deepest levels.”

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A Manifesto

In the capitalist system, the prime directive enshrined in law is to maximize profit for the shareholders, and not to optimize benefits for all stakeholders, inclusive of workers, customers, communities and our planet.  These are treated as externalities so as to privatize the gains and socialize the losses.

In this system, workers are seen as a cost (a liability) and if the capitalists can automate what workers do, and thus bring the cost of “labour” to zero, they would do that readily to maximize profit gains.  Also having a bumper stock of unemployed people keeps the price of labour low (according to market supply-demand principles), hence the manufacturing of poverty and economic refugees, which can be stopped in a heartbeat if there is the local and global political will to end tribal “wars” and destabilizations within and without……

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