Last week, a friend of mine whom I love so so so much omg asked me a question that I realized is likely to become a question asked by many, especially if the more progressive side of the Democrats continues with its current momentum. Basically she asked me this:
"Could Elizabeth Warren fix capitalism?"
Essentially, the question is whether a progressive candidate/president implement reforms that would make capitalism work in a way that I or others would find acceptable. It's a really interesting question, and to get into it, we need to break down some of the assumptions and concepts that go into it.
The first step, I think, is to ask ourselves: "Is capitalism broken?"
Any economic system is going to have problems. No system is immune to corruption. But here's why I'm an anti-capitalist. To me, capitalism isn't broken. It is the very nature of capitalism to create the exact kinds of situations we have right now. Capitalism is about growth. Eternal growth. If capitalism stops growing, it comes under threat. It could die, like that weird myth about how sharks will die if they start swimming.
Think of it on a smaller scale. What is every company concerned with under capitalism? Growth. Profits. Making more, building more, acquiring more, more, more. It's not normal for a company under capitalism to be okay with breaking even. They need to be doing better than that, because that's what capitalism is about. Capital. Capital is good, more capital is better. It's only by human choice that a company would stop growing and just sustain itself, and everyone would find that weird, right?
This is why we have monopolies, and manufactured shortages, and climate change, and layoffs, and mass human suffering. And when capitalism hit a wall with actual physical money, the only way it could survive was to create a system of imaginary money. We call that the stock market. Now, companies must join the stock market to continue growing, but that makes the problem worse. A company that isn't growing in the stock market isn't making money for shareholders, and so said shareholders will ditch the company, sell off the shares, and the company dies. If a company doesn't grow, then without substantial human intervention, that company will die.
We have tried to fight against the constant pull of capitalism to grow, but we've failed miserably. We can try to pull back on the reins again but as long as capitalism exists, the powerful will continue to try and amass more money and power by rolling back regulations and putting us in literal doomsday scenarios like the one we're in right now.
Can you fix that? Is it broken? It's kind of like when a rich white person "adopts" a cougar cup (yes this happens) and then it grows up and mauls them to death randomly one day. Is that cougar broken, or is that just its natural instincts kicking in when its dinner was a little late one day? How is a cougar acting as a wild apex predator broken?
I don't think it's a good idea to have to struggle against the nature of capitalism forever, especially when we haven't done a good job of it so far and we're already facing down a possible apocalypse. At least the intended nature of socialism is about society, as in people. Yes, it can be corrupted and become shitty, but at least you could actually call that system broken and try to fix it.
Could Elizabeth Warren fix capitalism? I would say no, because capitalism isn't broken. It's just being capitalism. Can she maybe drag the beast back a little, beat it down, chain it up, and try to contain it? Sure, but capitalism is a bigger force than a cougar. It would be better compared to a dragon, and have you ever heard of even a fictional situation in which chaining up a dragon worked out well for humans? Me neither.
And that's why all the candidates are wrong and why my mental health is so fragile! Happy Tuesday!