zeborah: Four zebras and their reflections in the water they're drinking from (reflective)
[personal profile] zeborah
Of course I'm not a polsci expert so this may be old news or it may be bunk or it may be both. But my theory goes:

Every possible political/economic system has its strengths and its weaknesses, its virtues and vices. They're each good for some things, terrible for others. This includes capitalism, and communism, and totalitarianism. (I don't say that they each have equal proportions of bad and good.)

So a pure capitalist society can't be perfect. No more a pure communist society, no more any society that's purely one system because humans are too complicated for any one solution to cover all the problems.

If you try to solve all the problems with one system, things start to fall apart (kind of like now). At some point people look for a new system. When things fall apart enough, people actually try to implement it, and it does really well at solving the problems with the first system. So they idealise it: this is progress, this system is our future.

The problem is that part of the reason it works so well is that the old system is still solving a lot of problems too.

Capitalism is fantastic! Competition! Efficiency! Choice! Opportunity! But those things only work to any extent for as long as we retain the old-fashioned safety nets of social responsibility. When we pursue capitalism as if it can solve every problem, cracks appear and people fall through them.

Whatever the solution after capitalism, I bet it will be eventually be the same. But if it was possible to find that sweet spot in the transition period and -- not stop there. A two-solution system is hardly perfect either. But if we could, instead of racing forward past that transtion point into a new one-solution system, hover there and reach sideways to add a third, and fourth, and fifth solution into the system, getting a happy medium of systems without getting all competitive about the ideologies....

(Except maybe totalitarianism. Certainly a very little totalitarianism goes a very very long way.)

Date: 2017-03-24 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] karinfromnosund
Yes, I like totalitarianism best when it isn't there. And on the whole, I think that a patchwork society is better than just one patch.

Date: 2017-03-25 11:25 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
There's quite a lot of useful totalitarianism out there; no dumping radium in the ground water, for example.

The other part of this is how "works" gets defined. It usually gets defined as "benefits me", rather than via the sort of statistical expectations appropriate to public policy and keeping the actual system running. You can always do better by cheating until the system collapses. (This is widely studied in breeding populations in an evolutionary context and it's never stable, always cyclical as the utility of cheating changes over time.)

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