Has Western capitalism become too efficient and ruthless?

Nov 2014
412
ph
Simply put, can the culture of productivity in Western economies actually be a bad thing, was the pre-80s version of Western capitalism better in terms of maintaining social stability and providing a better quality of life, even at the cost of lower efficiency and mediocre productivity?
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Globalism and out-sourcing overseas is the worst part of modern capitalism, not any type of "culture of productivity". Also, the quality of life is dramatically higher in almost every first-world capitalistic country now than it was decades ago, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.
 
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Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
Globalism and out-sourcing overseas is the worst part of modern capitalism, not any type of "culture of productivity". Also, the quality of life is dramatically higher in almost every first-world capitalistic country now than it was decades ago, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.
I agree with you about Globalism and Out-sourcing being problems, but is quality of life really so much higher? Perhaps I am too pessimistic, but I am not convinced it has increased so much for the majority of people in the West...
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
Western Capitalism is the cult of the market.

"The market will decide" = the capitalists control the surplus. Globalization may have lifted paupers into a state of not-much-better- than poverty, but in the West a rise in populist discontent has occurred. It isn't all about immigration and culture clash. In the 1950s and 60s, public spending helped to improve living standards funded through tax revenues, and there were benefits for the entire social/economic pyramid. Since the 1980s the top of the pyramid no longer wants to share. No one enjoys paying taxes, but many at the top (and far too many corporations) do not pay much, or anything, at all.

The past several decades have improved substantially for that top of the pyramid (the "1%"), but most others have been treading water. That gets to be very exhausting.
 
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Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
I agree with you about Globalism and Out-sourcing being problems, but is quality of life really so much higher? Perhaps I am too pessimistic, but I am not convinced it has increased so much for the majority of people in the West...
There are less people in poverty now than ever before in history in Western countries, and many of these countries have also adopted things like universal healthcare and government-paid university (granted, these come with the consequence of enormous taxes, but still).
 
Jun 2016
1,861
England, 200 yards from Wales
There are less people in poverty now than ever before in history in Western countries, and many of these countries have also adopted things like universal healthcare and government-paid university (granted, these come with the consequence of enormous taxes, but still).
I suspect your point would have been more true 30 or 40 years ago, basically for the reasons in Pikeshot's post above.
I can't speak for other countries, but I have read in the UK news of many of these indicators seeming to go the wrong way again - things like child poverty or people in work but still reliant on benefits (or even food banks). Also many public services are struggling with funding.
At the moment I am having treatment for a couple of quite serious problems. The local NHS is doing a grand job for which I am grateful (keep your hands off it Farage), but I often hear staff talking about being short-staffed or short of money, which confirms news reports.
How much of this is simply a changed economic situation still hungover from the crash of 2008 (itself arguably caused or exacerbated by under-regulated capitalism), how much is UK governments' response to that crisis and policies re taxation and spending?
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
One measure is life span, which has continually improved contiguously with the rise of capitalism.
Twice as long – life expectancy around the world
As for the "quality," that is a more subjective measurement. To me, people moving away from some traditional institutions and organizations that bonded communities and societies together can explain some of the unhappiness. People seem more isolated and alienated in general, at least in the U.S. Moreover, many people can't seem to find happiness because their expectations are, quite frankly, too high and unrealistic. Perhaps one's parents had it slightly better in some areas in the 1960s or 19070s, but that should not be cause for disillusionment. In other areas, such as technology and medicine, things have never been more advanced.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
I suspect your point would have been more true 30 or 40 years ago, basically for the reasons in Pikeshot's post above.
I can't speak for other countries, but I have read in the UK news of many of these indicators seeming to go the wrong way again - things like child poverty or people in work but still reliant on benefits (or even food banks). Also many public services are struggling with funding.
At the moment I am having treatment for a couple of quite serious problems. The local NHS is doing a grand job for which I am grateful (keep your hands off it Farage), but I often hear staff talking about being short-staffed or short of money, which confirms news reports.
How much of this is simply a changed economic situation still hungover from the crash of 2008 (itself arguably caused or exacerbated by under-regulated capitalism), how much is UK governments' response to that crisis and policies re taxation and spending?
Universal healthcare means that there will almost always be a shortage of necessary staff, because, by definition, if it's universal than everyone gets it, and so demand is very high and there is basically no way for supply to keep up with it. You can't expect to get something for 'free' but for there to also be a very high quantity of it, as well as quality. It has nothing to do with "under-regulated capitalism" - what do you want, the government to force people at gunpoint to become doctors and nurses, as if we're in the Soviet Union or Maoist China?