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Is the existence of an economic system superior to capitalism possible?

  • Of course it's possible

    Capitalism is a terrible system. It's just better than anything that mankind has come up with before or since then. There are a number of flaws that economists have pointed out, such as the tendency for monopolies or cartels to rig markets. It's possible that we might be able to find a better system in the future. It won't be easy, but it is possible.

  • Capitalism requires scarcity.

    Once, and if, we are ever able to render scarcity obsolete or near-obsolete - then the very metric by which we assign and recognize value, and by extension price, and by extension money, will likewise become obsolete. The degree to which inequality exists in society is directly related to the surplus that society is able to produce and how that society chooses to distribute it. So let us say that one day we come by the means to provide clean, free, sustainable, and near-limitless energy to the world (solar, wind, geothermic, geomagnetic). At present energy costs are a cost of production because it is derived from a scarce resource - costs that often trickle down and are passed on to the consumer in the form of price. What happens to market price if the producer is able to dramatically reduce his/her production costs thanks to free energy? What would happen to overall productivity itself and the market price of those goods that theoretically could be produced cheaper and more abundantly? Could they be produced so abundantly and cheaply that whatever profit the producer may earn from their sale becomes slimmer and slimmer? Simultaneously, let us also assume a quantum leap in the improvement of those technologies needed to produce goods and services. Is it possible to automate and therefore replace every form of labor or service currently undergone by human labor? If so, what jobs would be left for people? What would these jobs pay? And if whatever jobs exist end up being so easily automated how would that affect wages? A perfect storm begins to take shape. Hyperautomation drives wages to near-minimum while at the same time, and helped by near-free energy, produces and abundant amount of goods and services at rock-bottom prices (which are the only prices you could have if you have rock bottom wages and record unemployment). It's at that crisis junction that a paradigm shift would be possible. Why are we still using price to measure value if everything we could possible need could be produced at near-free prices? Why are we still using money? No "real" prices will lead to no "real" money (or the absurdity of money). No "money" would inevitably lead to no "inequality" since inequality itself is based on the unequal distribution of society's scarce resources. The justification for such a distribution scheme would evaporate. The only way it could stay in place is if those who benefit from that scarcity today block or prevent that technological leap from happening in order to maintain the status-quo. It is precisely that scenario which would invite conflict. When a better world is possible but a small group is not allowing it to happen.

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