4/14/12

The spectrum of capitalism

Binghamton University - Fernand Braudel Center: "At least at the level of explaining large-scale social change over time, we find that it is not very meaningful to distinguish between a humanistic and a scientific approach. We wish primarily to explain systematically and coherently what is fundamentally a single occurrence, the development of the modern world-system."


At root capitalism means the capacity of resources to generate resources
If you have ten apples can you parlay them to twelve or twenty
It assumes the primacy but not the extent of ownership
As a social reality Braudel saw capitalism as a spectrum
It could be cautious
It could be adventurous
Today capitalism seems to have become a good word
Generally synonymous with growth and expansion of potential
And less synonymous with the acquisition of concentrated wealth
But that is problematic
Capitalism today is  mainly arch-conservative and unadventurous
Its concern is to maximize profit
It acquires profit for those in a hierarchy of wealth traders most shareholders less
The actual rewards are minimal since there is a diminishing differential
in what constitutes actual wealth
Tawdriness tastelessness comfort and lassitude
characterize the current rewards of wealth

In any case adventurous capitalism now remains
a potential to be unlocked
It needs to become a counter-force to the greed and timidity
of the current oligarchy
How to do that is a conundrum but it favors the approach of the President
who appears to be birthing a sort of people's capitalism
while his opponents merely play the caution game
Whether it embraces the movers and shakers of cyberspace
is as yet unanswered
The signs I have seen bode no leap beyond oil and sprawl
the existing signs of what capitalism of the cautious sort has wrought

So the risk of Romney and the GOP is not that they will do much
but that they will stifle what life there is
and push us back in the direction of the cliff



Please feel free to circulate this image


Charles Sanders Peirce - Thinking in Threes

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