The introduction to this series is here.
This post looks at Capitalism.
Okay, so what is capitalism? My go-to dictionary (SOED) defines it thus: ‘The possession of capital or wealth; a system in which private capital or wealth is used in the production or distribution of goods; the dominance of private owners of capital and of production for profit.’
Capitalism is at the very heart of the American Dream. But is it sustainable? The basic need of a capitalistic system is that of constant growth. Any ten-year-old child can tell you that physics makes it clear constant growth is impossible in a finite environment. The Earth, the place we live, is a finite environment. And this simple fact is becoming increasingly evident as we use up rare resources and fill the atmosphere with unnatural chemicals and an excess of carbon derivatives. Has the American Dream now become world’s nightmare?
So, what does the future hold for such a system? As it is clearly unsustainable, it cannot continue in its present form. It will either destroy the very essence of its existence through the depletion of essential resources and the excessive use of polluting energy, or it will be marginally modified, creating a slightly less destructive model that will still eventually destroy either humanity, itself, or both.
What forces do you see as movers in making changes to this system? Will disaster be the only catalyst to improvements in the world’s financial system? I understand not all states employ capitalism, but the world’s banking and financial systems are essentially capitalistic in nature, which is why many socialist systems fail to prosper.
Will the majority of the general population finally understand that capitalism is simply bad for us? Will increasing inequality, an inevitable consequence of capitalistic thinking and activity, cause worldwide rebellion, even revolution? Or will those in authority employ harsh methods to quell such unrest, controlling access to information and resources to prevent activity that might disadvantage the elite, wealthy and powerful?
Will individual leaders emerge to overthrow the current unequal system of resource distribution? Is it likely that wars will increase as valuable commodities become increasingly rare? Will people begin to understand that constant, often annual, ‘improvement’ of many technical products is unsustainable and is positively harmful to the world they inhabit? Or will greed, the need to keep up with the Joneses, the false sense of status derived from ownership of the ‘latest’ trend, all combine to prevent meaningful change until the fast-approaching natural disasters occur, leaving Nature to determine the fate of any remaining human population?
These are some suggestions I make for consideration if you’re including capitalism and/or its effects in your story. I’m sure you can think of many more. Please feel free to let us know your ideas, using the comment space below the post.
Part 1, Introduction and Accommodation. Part 2, Activism. Part 3, Advertising. Part 4, Agriculture. Part 5, Artificial Intelligence. Part 6, Animals, as Pets. Part 7, Art. Part 8, Authority. Part 9, Banking. Part 10, Beauty. Part 11, Blasphemy. Part 12, Business.