Has Western capitalism become too efficient and ruthless?

Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
China hasn't been remotely communist for decades. Today the best term for it is "fascist".
For the Left, no Communist regime can be repressive; whent it becomes such, it turns into Fascism. From my perspective, economic liberalization ended when Deng died. Most of the biggest businesses are owned by the government or government cronies, like Huawei. Xi will jerk this back into government hands when it suits him. Meanwhile, the “nomenclature” and their children are able to enjoy great wealth and privilege.

Not what I would descibe as capitalism.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
34,593
T'Republic of Yorkshire
For the Left, no Communist regime can be repressive; whent it becomes such, it turns into Fascism. From my perspective, economic liberalization ended when Deng died. Most of the biggest businesses are owned by the government or government cronies, like Huawei. Xi will jerk this back into government hands when it suits him. Meanwhile, the “nomenclature” and their children are able to enjoy great wealth and privilege.

Not what I would descibe as capitalism.
Well, it ain't communism either.
 
Aug 2014
277
New York, USA
Well, wait a minute and perhaps a century ...

deficit spending increases the GDP. US can increase its deficit spending without problems [China can say everything, but Chinese owners of US public debt will do nothing]. So that US government has got economical room to increase military and healthcare expenditures [in the same time]. In EU it's different: in Italy in the 80's we were "Americans" ... we increased our economy thanks to a giant increase of the public debt [someone in US would have called this a "stimulus"] and we were able to surpass UK becoming the 5th economical power of the world.

Until US$ will be The Money at world lever US will enjoy such a freedom, but if US$ loses that condition ...

This is what I mean: in EU we haven't got the "room to move" that they've got at Washington. I wish to UK to find again this room to move after Brexit [even if today the Pound is a minor currency unit at world level].
Keep in mind that even today Italy's debt to GDP is higher than the US.
US is also a much more dynamic economy, with bigger population growth, so running deficits *up to a point* may not be a problem. If US government runs a $400 billion+2% a year budget deficit indefinitely, US debt to GDP ratio will go down over the long run. Our problem is we are running deficits at double that level.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,113
US
I'm glad to hear the vast majority of the world realizes that communism is a failure. Who's left then? Cuba?
Which gets us back to the OP. The golden age of capitalism in the U.S. was the Gilded Age, following the Civil War until about the presidency of Teddy "bully!" Roosevelt. So, at least in the U.S., capitalism today is moderated. It is not as efficient, but that also makes it less ruthless. When I took economic courses at the university many years ago, social responsibility was discussed as a counter to pure capitalism. I think that is evident in most corporations today.
 
Oct 2010
5,175
DC
Which gets us back to the OP. The golden age of capitalism in the U.S. was the Gilded Age, following the Civil War until about the presidency of Teddy "bully!" Roosevelt. So, at least in the U.S., capitalism today is moderated. It is not as efficient, but that also makes it less ruthless. When I took economic courses at the university many years ago, social responsibility was discussed as a counter to pure capitalism. I think that is evident in most corporations today.
I can see an argument that social responsibility make the capitalist product more competitive in its' market (of ideas and products, to say the least)
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,113
US
I can see an argument that social responsibility make the capitalist product more competitive in its' market (of ideas and products, to say the least)
The market can still dictate things. But those in charge can choose to give bonuses for the productive or fringe benefits such as reasonable healthcare premiums and extra paid days of vacation, or a nice break room equipped with refreshments, etc. And of course, any corporation can donate to worthy community causes.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,496
Athens, Greece
Which gets us back to the OP. The golden age of capitalism in the U.S. was the Gilded Age, following the Civil War until about the presidency of Teddy "bully!" Roosevelt. So, at least in the U.S., capitalism today is moderated. It is not as efficient, but that also makes it less ruthless. When I took economic courses at the university many years ago, social responsibility was discussed as a counter to pure capitalism. I think that is evident in most corporations today.
I beg to differ. In my opinion, the golden age of Capitalism in the US was the post-WWII era up until the 70's. FDR's regulations and social policies after the '29 Crash and the Big Depression led to a smoother and more moderate Capitalist model. After the late 70's and the deregulation that started with Carter and climaxed with Reaganomics, it begun returning to its wilder form. Today's capitalism is more regulated only in comparison to 19th - early 20th century capitalism.

Why I consider the regulated model a more successful one? Because if a vehicle can run with 250 km/h and it does so until it crashes no matter the consequences, it is not running efficiently and successfully in my book. It is much more preferable if it is driven at safer speeds, delivers the journey without accident, and has more room for passengers than a flashy Ferrari. In other words, the "gilded" Capitalist model is a race for the few, impressive, fast, but guaranteed to end in a Crash, a soon-to-burst-bubble, with millions of casualties amongst the onlookers (see the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism and WWII, the 2008 crash and the resulting multiple recessions). While the regulated model might run slower, but it is much safer and without severe accidents, the benefits are more equally distributed, and society is more stable and satisfied.

Plus, the resources and the durability of the planet are finite, and we have to start contemplating what we will use them for, in which way and to what degree. We have already reached and exceeded the limits of growth with acceptable impact on the environment. In my opinion, frenzied growth that ends in billions tucked away in offshores and tormentingly inefficient trickle-down benefits for the greater society is the last we need, a very high price to pay for inadequate results. What I think we need is sensible growth, the benefits of which are more directly and evenly distributed throughout societies via a regulated capitalist model and the welfare state. Less growth perhaps, but making the most of it. And to continue with the car metaphor, it might be a good idea to start thinking about Eco Vans, not Ferraris.
 
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