What too few remember is the main reason socialist experiments have failed was because capitalist governments purposely undermined them, they were CAUSED to fail so as not to become future models for other nascent economies trying to create more egalitarian economic systems.

Defining the future by studying the past is mere opinion and completely indeterminant of outcomes.

Expand full comment

Like most religions, the hypocrisy of the capitalist ideology creates a system of belief which reinforces the status quo at a horrible cost to humanity.

Expand full comment

Seems inadequate to point to the few new rich techies that make the front pages without acknowledging the hidden mountains of old money that pull most of the structural strings via finance and global corporate governance.

Expand full comment

While I agree with Catlin's assessment of the current state of the corrupt ruling class (political and business), and agree the corrupt actors need to be delegitimized, I don't agree with Catlin's take-it-for-granted assertions that humanity is in an "existential crisis".

Like all philosophies underpinning a "solution" to human societal order, there must be an evil boogey man. In Caitlin's view, that boogey man is capitalism, and its manifest impact on the world, leading to ultimate destruction. Personally, I think accepting the view we are in a existential crisis, anymore than humanity ever has been, is, ultimately, accepting the intellectually dishonest propaganda being fed to Western societies by the very capitalist class that Caitlin rails against. Is it not self evident the promotion of climate crisis, as well as "solutions" are universally being driven by the corrupt political and business class? The fact humanity has to adapt to the issues of climate is no different than any other epoch in history...since humanity has always had to constantly adapt to survive...and has always faced extinction from forces that can't be controlled. If humanity could have absolute control and make a perfect world order, sure, it'd be great...but, ain't gonna happen.

The reason it ain't gonna happen brings up my biggest issue with Caitlin's take-it-for-granted assertion that "capitalism" is a "thing". It is not a discreet entity. It is not like a pair of shoes...take off the capitalist shoes, but on the communist shoes, and BOOM, problems solved. It doesn't work that way...hence a key reason socialist experiments, as in China, USSR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and North Korea have all failed to unchain humanity from slavery.

Societal orders, be it capitalism, socialism, what have you....are not a "thing" . They are a reflection of the nature of humankind. Capitalism, as an expression of human instincts, is, in my opinion, the only philosophy that makes any sense for humanity, because humans ALWAYS are motivated by self interest. In fact, the entire order of all living things on the planet operate on the same principle...self interest. I know many will objective to this assertion...I can hear protests about people's altruism...like the first responders on 9/11 running into the towers...countless examples like that. But, even those apparently selfless acts are, ultimately, based on the individuals core concept of self interest. There are times when one is willing to sacrifice life itself, to fulfill what one sees as necessary, based on perceptions of self interest.

So capitalism is not a "thing". It is an order based on the reality people make choices based on self interest. That is the fundemental basis for any human to human transaction. It is what fuels Caitlin's blog....both her motive for doing it, and the motive of supporters giving money or using the product. It is what fuels what professions people choose, what "things" they wish to acquire , etc.

The idea society can ever be "collaborative", and people will just "do" things, with no expectation of reward, or self interest is, in Caitlin's word, silly. I have to wonder if Caitlin ever spent weeks or months digging ditches....or working in blazing sun to frame houses...or endured the brutal residency requirements to become a doctor, or faced down an unknown motorist during a traffic stop as a cop.

No one is going to do unpleasant things like the above "just because". Socialist experiments have had perfect success at failing precisely because they are based on the idea human self interest needs to be controlled by.....? Ah, and there it is....by who? Who gets to determine and regulate what is "correct" behavior, since by definition, individual self interest is inherently evil? Caitlin's view that the collective trumps the individual is, ultimately, identical dogma underpinning all systems of subjugation of the masses. The slavery Caitlin objects to is about control of the masses. She doesn't like billionaires controlling the masses....but has no issue with a "collective" controlling the masses...as long as the collective agrees with her vision for humanity. Pretty much like a run of the mill religious dogma.

I agree big tech, the corrupt political and billionaire class are a major problem, and huge change is needed....but thinking that capitalism is the problem is misguided. Capitalism is the perfect system because it is based on self interest. That doesn't mean self interest should not be managed or regulated. There is no doubt the big tech revolution has brought an inflection point where too much power is in the hands of the wrong people....I agree, that needs to change...but blaming capitalism isn't the solution.

Expand full comment

I wouldn't worry Caitlin. The earth will have the last laugh! I mean, if the capitalists think that that which goeth up and goeth up can keep going in that direction ad infinitum, then they're even more deluded than I thought. They, the billionaire class, and the ecocidal companies run by anthropocentric demagogues will simply blow a hole so big in our ecosystem that no amount of wealth or flights to Mars -- they can all f* off as far as I'm concerned -- will save them. As to socialism, it might be topical in the US and we've had and still have our issues in the UK (I wish Labour would get its act together) but the lexicon doesn't really matter. It's what we do together in a village-minded way that might, just might, save us. Anyhow, thanks for sharing. Julian

Expand full comment

Hope Johnstone's having a great week off and left her phone and laptop home.

Saying collaboration is the answer is correct. Saying it has never been tried is not. We are the moral, collaborative animals we are because we learned cooperation. Had we not, we'd still be hiding in the trees like our primate cousins.

Cooperation built the human brain, gave us language, taught us to hand down skills and knowledge to our young.

Violence involving stone tools and weapons leaves an unmistakable forensic record in fossilized human remains. Before ceramics made it possible to store agricultural surplus, evidence for murder in the fossil record is scant to nonexistent.

Strongly suggest Mithen's "After the Ice" for an accessible look at the archaeological evidence.

Expand full comment

This a great article Caitlin. But for the sake of open and balanced discussion I will mention few important points. Capitalism is epitome of greedy, psychopathic mentality - no doubt about that.

Yet, before we jump to bandwagon of thinking if one is evil then the other must be right, we should truly understand all pro’s and con’s and be willing to peel deeper under simple ideological organization of society.

Generally speaking - socialism was tried in very few places. Yugoslavia was one (I grew there). Also maybe few S. America countries. Let me tell you - didn’t have a stellar record. If you think of China, USSR and other Eastern Europe countries - that was Communism. A completely different beast. Anyone who mixes those two has some serious homework to do. Perhaps Sweden some 20-30 years ago was more appropriate example of socialism.

Your argument why capitalism never worked is spot on and it is true - it will never work. But also the same can be said for socialism (God forbid Communism).

Now the true question we ought to explore is “Why?”

The simple answer (that needs further elaboration - article of it’s own perhaps) is: Current Level of Human Consciousness.

Under current level of our collective consciousness, Capitalism and Communism are logical byproducts and only possible outcomes.

Capitalism grew of entrepreneurial spirit of human being, hijacked by unscrupulous. Communism is natural metamorphosis (under current circumstances) of socialist ideas hijacked by the same unscrupulous.

So, to move forward meaningfully we really need to address our collective consciousness and spirituality. Without the later, the former ain’t gonna go anywhere but to the same spot we’ve been before as species whether into capitalism or communism and in both instances failed miserably.

Expand full comment