Is it really impossible to imagine the end of capitalism?
No, it is not. I just sketched it out in twenty minutes.
"To tell a utopian story in the current situation that we are in historically can be regarded as optimistic and we all know that optimism is usually synonymous with ignorance, naivety, maybe downright stupidity and pessimism, on the other hand is usually seen as very realistic and even wise. Given the world is, I mean, how can you deny it?
... Cruel optimism is useless."
If we did things right as a civilization could we live all adequacy, avoid the extinction and have all the big mamals and the rest of the biosphere, us, happy in their own adequacies?
Can that physically work for 7 billion?
You run the numbers and the answer is yes.
So then I think it's not cruel optimism to talk optimistically.
Angry Optimism - piano furioso
Kim Stanley Robinson
A pessimistic optimist. That's how I liked to describe myself as a teenager, still do. There are many reasons why you shouldn't miss this lecture, but for one: he talks about "Vampires vs. Zombies - the most obvious story of our time. If we would tell this story civilization would electrocute itself. " Two pop culture themes, I have been obsessed with in a hate/love relationship for quite a while. He gives a great analysis of Vampires (capitalism) as seducers and Zombies (the precariat = all of us) as a permission to slay people on Television. You don't have to feel guilt for shooting zombies. But right, zombies are us.
Guess his remark about him trademarking Vampires vs. Zombies was the joke of someone talking about postcapitalism. "You can take it if you want."
Here is the book he mentions:
Why Civil Resistance Works - The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth
He also talks about where the money, for the things Bernie Sanders wants but can't quite fund, could come from. Tom Moylan retweeted the talk yesterday on twitter and I checked in what context and found this wonderful article:
Here are some Excerpts :
1. The Economy is About Power
…Our world is one in which the invisible hand is clearly not doing its job—one in need of more directed and democratic control…
2. Expertise Is Not Legitimacy
…This is a good thing, as far as it goes, but our party of experts often forget that expertise is a tool. It helps you to get where you want to go. Politics is also about goals and worldviews. It isn’t enough to be smart and trained. The first question for politicians is the old union question: which side are you on? …
3. You’re Allowed to Want Economic Security
… For much of the twentieth century, mainstream liberal economists understood that security—whether in a union, in job tenure, or in guaranteed health care and other safety nets—was a widespread and perfectly legitimate goal. In fact, it was the first thing anyone should want from an economy, because it was the precondition to feeling—and being—safe enough to go on and take risks, or just enjoy life…
4. You Are More than Human Capital
…A person’s worth is not what they can earn, and “return on investment” is the wrong way to think about living, just as “networking” is the wrong way to think about relationships. These ways of valuing ourselves are cultural and psychic distortions, in which a market culture colonizes the minds of the people living under it. But they are not just mistakes or spiritual failings: they are imposed on us by all-in, all-pervading competition and insecurity. Part of the point of an economy of safety is to let people remember what else and who else they are….
5. Solidarity Is Different from Hope
…Hope may be shared, but it switches easily to a personal register: your hope, my hope. Solidarity is different: it looks around, and it acts with and for other people, because we are in this thing together. We haven’t had a politics like this for a long time; but the Sanders moment is a recollection of how it feels, and a move toward rebuilding it…
6. Democracy Is More than Voting
…Ultimately, it is about organized people deciding how money should be organized—in financial regulation, say, or campaign finance reform—rather than the other way around…
7. Not Everything Has to Be Earned
…And of course working hard and honoring the rules (at least where the rules are fair and legitimate) deserves respect. But the national fixation on people getting what they “deserve,” from meritocratic rewards in higher education to incarceration (“Do the crime, do the time,” the prosecutors say) has gotten out of hand. It locks us into a mutual suspicion of people getting away with something—pocketing some perk or job or government benefit that they didn’t “really earn”—while ignoring the way the whole economy tilts its rewards toward those who already have wealth...
8. Equal Treatment Is Not Enough
…It turns out that the American capitalism that long took for granted a subordinated race at work and sex at home will not automatically repair either historical injury. Whether your preferred redress for these problems is anchored in reparations orsocial democracy (and there are principled and strategic considerations on both sides of that question), what has to happen now to make good on both gender and racial emancipation is change in structures. The structures we have now sometimes secure personally equal treatment; they also produce persistent, predictable, inequitable results. It is these structures that need to change…
9. We Need a Fight to Make Peace with the Planet
…In short, “peace with the planet” means conflict, with the industries that do best from the current energy economy and with the laws and infrastructure that make all of us, especially in the rich world, part of the problem…
10. We Have in Common What We Decide to Have in Common
… In 1958, approaching the high-water mark of the social-democratic era in American life, John Kenneth Galbraith argued that “the affluent society” was on its way to an economy of widespread leisure, robust social provision, light workloads, and new frontiers of activity undertaken for its own sake, whether work or play. It was not the most profound vision of human liberation ever forecast, but it described early a possible path from what Marx called the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom. That vision was broken by a combination of free-trade globalization, post-welfarist domestic reform, and the global growth of inequality. Although it may not seem radical today as an end-state, steps toward making it a real and palpable possibility—and not just for a privileged plurality, but really for everyone—would be radical indeed…
Plus a great podcast I just discovered: