Saturday, December 23, 2017

Why choose socialism?

If socialism is so great and capitalism is so terrible, should we dismantle capitalism and implement socialism?


We cannot. A social system such as capitalism is not like a building that can be torn down, cleaned up, and something new built in its place. It's not even like the ship we must rebuild a piece at a time as we are sailing. Capitalism isn't something that we live under, it is what we are. You, her, I, we are capitalism. We have jobs, bank accounts, homes we rent or pay a mortgage for, superiors, subordinates: capitalism is that web of social and economic relationships.

The argument for socialism is not that we (who?) should replace socialism with capitalism. The argument for socialism is that capitalism will eventually fall of its own accord (with perhaps the occasional nudge here and there), and we should fill the resulting void with socialism.

So long as capitalism does not fall of (mostly) its own accord, we will have a capitalist society. However, we know that at the technological level of the railroad or higher, the capitalist class is unable to reproduce capitalism. The only reason that capitalism limped into the 21st century is that the professional-managerial class ran it for four decades. The capitalist class couldn't stand it, took back state power in 1980, and today we have Donald Trump. 'Nuff said. In the next decade (perhaps as soon as next year) everything is going to collapse 1929-style, and the PMC will be unable to save capitalism yet again.

After capitalism, we have two choices: fascism (or something very much like it) and socialism. I prefer socialism.

If you like capitalism, if it works for you, and you want to try and save it, by all means, try to save it. But I argue you should hedge your bets. If you do lose, which way do you want capitalism to fail? I urge the supporters of capitalism (who are not themselves fascists) to really see that they are doing worse by holding up socialism, not fascism, as the chief threat to capitalism.

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