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Redefining Capitalism

Reading this great article in the New York Times about Capitalism after the fall immediately made me think of my friend Jeb’s blog howtomatter.com, where he explores new meaningful ways of life beyond consumerism.

In Houston, Texas
By Detlef.
Let’s face it: up to now the world is relying not on the American consumer, but on blind consumerism as such. My own country, Germany, is one of the big exporters of goods and heavily depends on consumerism abroad, as does the People’s Republic of China, as do Japan and Korea – you name the countries with a current account surplus.

Surplus is good, isn’t it? Sounds so much better than deficit. But one country’s surplus is another country’s deficit as things stand at the moment. It’s one world.

In capitalism you have to consume. The redefinition of capitalism might include the answer to the question: consume what kind of goods? Consume to do what? The market doesn’t answer this question. The market uses marketing to sell the things it can produce easily and at a maximum profit. That’s OK. That’s what markets are for.

But politics has to guide the way: what kind spending do we want/ need? If it’s one world: can we implement a market economy that benefits the world as a whole?

There is a huge demand for ecological technologies around the world, for health care, education and even the satisfaction of the most basic of human needs. To meet this demand would probably be beneficial for the system as a whole, yet currently this demand is not endowed with the proper economic means.

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Categories: Politics Tags: , ,
  1. April 20, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Hey DC,
    That NYT’s article was interesting, thank you.

    Very interesting concept you point out about the market using marketing the sell the goods it can produce easily/for profit. It makes sense, but doesn’t it just rub you the wrong way?

    In our household, we don’t watch much TV, but when we do, commercials are completely banned. Muted at the very least. The idea of being manipulated by companies/the market through advertising/marketing has always been a huge concern of mine…quite a visceral issue. I feel like it is largely responsible for this culture of lack of personal responsibility and never being content with what we have.

    But yeah, capitalism, such as it is, require it. I’m hopeful Obama’s big thinking translates into big change. It’s an opportunity to make critical changes that will lead us all down a better path. I hope he doesn’t falter.

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