To end capitalism, which I agree would be a very wise, important and increasingly pressing direction to take, will require a multi-pronged approach, and a different emphasis of approach in different parts of the world. Here are some possible components that could be combined into different transformative forces to bring about that change:
1. Disrupt the status quo. There are countless ways to do this, but essentially we need to make “business as usual” unprofitable for corporations and shareholders, while at the same time reducing access to commercialistic distractions that have medicated consumer-workers into a sort of reflexively compliant, self-gratifying infantilized state. The choices here are things likes hacktivism, boycotts, disruption of commercial transportation and communication, etc.
2. Educate the consumer-worker. The neoliberal propaganda you see reflected in many of the answers in this thread must be countered with both facts about our current reality (i.e. the consequences of capitalism that are destructive to civil society, nature, human health, etc.), as well as a new vision about how we can move forward.
3. Educate the owner-shareholder. There are plenty of wealthy people in the world who understand the problems inherent to our current form of capitalism, and who see the wisdom of moving away from it. We can provide them with resources, information, alternative proposals, etc. to allow them to help enable such a transition.
4. Empower the consumer-worker. We can return democracy to the people, removing it from the hands of corporations and their wealthy shareholders where it is now. One way to do this would be to follow Switzerland’s implementation of direct democracy to counterbalance our corrupted legislative processes. In the same way, all institutions and organizations can shift away from owner-shareholder control to consumer-worker control; this has already been successfully modeled around the world. Essentially, this is just implementing direct democracy in all enterprises and institutions, and can be accomplished via any number of mechanisms, from consumer-worker organizing to legislation to the philanthropic acts of the owner-shareholders themselves.
5. Decentralize political and economic institutions and controls. In the words of E.F. Schumacher, “Small is Beautiful.” Every business, institution, process, etc. can orbit around community-level decision-making. This reflects the principle of “subsidiarity” and is essential to preventing the inefficiencies and disconnected abstraction of decision-making that occur through larger central government controls - or via large corporate monopolies. This process of decentralization can also be accomplished voluntarily - once enough consumer-workers and owner-shareholders have awoken from their consumption-medicated sleep.
6. Make rational, world-tested choices about which services and products should be generated via not-for-profit mechanisms. For me this is a pretty long list, and includes things like healthcare, mass transit, energy production, public safety, education, water, roads, communications infrastructure, credit unions, etc. I call these “essential infrastructure and services,” and see them as falling under common ownership and management (i.e. all of society).
7. Institute a system of social credits that moves us away from a money-based economy. It will take time to accomplish this, and it could happen gradually in conjunction with an exchange economy, but the valuation of goods and services would be based on a more multifaceted assessment (inclusive of a more comprehensive array of externalities) via direct democracy. I call this “holistic value.” Ultimately, I also think the concept of private property also has to be relinquished for humanity to gain true freedom, but that process may take a few generations.
8. Encourage moral maturity, and hold everyone accountable. This is probably the most challenging aspect of transformative change. As individuals, as cultures, as a society - perhaps even as a species - we really need to grow up. The materialistic individualism that capitalism reinforces works mightily against this maturation process, keeping us fixated on lust for stimulation and stuff, childish power trips, competing with each other and so forth. So the dismantling of capitalism alone (if it is done in a compassionate, inclusively democratic and orderly manner) should help people nurture a sense of civic participation and communal identity that capitalism destroys. But we probably also need to encourage moral maturity - looking beyond I/Me/Mine - through various culturally encouraged practices. My own approach to this is Integral Lifework. In terms of accountability, social credits could be accumulated for actively participating in civil society, and earning those credits could at a minimum provide access to higher quantities or qualities of “essential infrastructure and services.” In the opposite direction, there could be social credit penalties (less access to services, lower quality services, social debits, etc.) for not participating in civil society or violating its agreements. But really direct democracy itself creates an excellent self-regulating means of accountability: when government is authentically by the people, the people come to recognize their own responsibility.
Unlike many revolutionary radicals of the past, I do not believe that forceful expropriation of property or persecution of the elite is a wise course; in fact I think violence begets violence, and the methods of any revolution will taint the new systems and institutions that follow from that revolution. I also disagree with those who would encourage the hastening of capitalism’s “natural conclusion,” or letting everything crash and burn to see what arises from the ashes. The problem with this approach is that humanity has become far too powerful - and its society and infrastructure far too complex - to permit a constructive catastrophic reset. Higher-order solutions require a solid foundation of civil society, technological stability and peace. Like any other form of suicide, our options become rather limited after we make a self-destructive decision. In the same way, we will want to move forward on all of the components discussed here, rather than just a few of them; all of the pieces are required for any transformation to sustain itself over time.
As to proposals of what a post-capitalist political economy could look like, I’ve written a few essays and a book on that topic.
My 2 cents.
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