A response to Elle Griffin's A brief history of capitalism (& socialism & communism)
This is one of the most sensible things I’ve read in a long time. Well done, and totally without personal attacks, which I found really admirable.
👍👍👍 People constantly make it out like capitalism is an evil monster when it’s literally the thing responsible for improving everyone’s lives all over the world.
A sensible, well written, and enlightening primer about the way economic systems work that offers the view that capitalism is the most “organic” among them. I enjoyed reading this very much. As a little nit, I’d say the last few paragraphs restate what was already said so elegantly. I’d be curious to hear what Mr Baker thinks of the “socialized” capitalist societies in Scandinavia. I’ve always had the opinion, based on zero research, that they’ve achieved the best possible social/political system so far. Thanks for the great post!
Yes I agree that capitalism arose naturally, and socialism and communism were intentional attempts to correct inequities with it. Those attempts didn’t wind up being any better, but regulating capitalism was. It produced a much bigger middle class and greatly reduced poverty (which I did mention in my piece.)
I think we are still trying to understand the right amount of regulation that will make capitalism work best for humanity. And you perhaps took issue with my use of the word “fix” as a way of describing how we can make it better, as well as the fact that it is the middle class attempting to understand how to do that, but I certainly don’t understand how that makes it a “dangerous” goal to pursue.
Why shouldn’t we figure out how to make capitalism work better for humanity?
I have had a love-hate relationship with capitalism, as much as you can have affection (or not) for a natural phenomenon. I am a businessman, but I have also spent much time with the truly poor (as poor as anyone in America can get.)
On one philosophical hand, having spent much time in the crypto world, I've seen every form of libertarianism under the sun, not without at least a little agreement on my part. On the other, I've also seen that many of these clever theories fail spectacularly, either because the automated cryptoeconomic system is not beyond the control of its human beneficiaries, or because it *is* beyond the control of its human beneficiaries. Alas, neither we nor the works of our hands are perfect.
I fear the whole realm of economic theories reeks of a reduction to simplistic first principles, when the world is too complicated to be even figured out *within* one of said theories. If we can all agree on what money actually is (crypto or not) then maybe we could figure out the rest of it. I'm not holding my breath.
In regards to my own fiction, the titular City of the City and the Dungeon is perhaps capitalism in one of my more idyllic visions, where no one really minds what anyone else does as long as peace is maintained, and nearly every Dungeon-going party is its own business. The titular World of Wishes from The World of Wishes is a world without any law, the only regulation being what AI-powered contracts the Djinn-Human Interface Commission permits. It is my own nightmare of a capitalistic society without restraint, ultimately leading to the mass enslavement of most of its population. (After all, if you are your own property, there is nothing stopping you from selling said property to someone else.)
Both, in the end, are true depictions of my feelings on capitalism. I think, perhaps, it is better to be conflicted about an issue than to charge in with The Truth® to smite the Wrong People.