Capitalism is not about supply and demand according to a billionaire.
That’s quite a statement. Not to say it is wrong, but it is quite a statement.
This billionaire, Nick Hanauer, also believes a nation’s economy cannot grow without a strong Middle Class.
According to him, supply and demand are not the foundation of an economy – but rather, human innovation and the ability to reduce our ‘problems’ in society.
[link to article here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/why-capitalism-has-nothing-to-do-with-supply-and-demand/]
The question that came to my mind was: what are these ‘problems’ he speaks of?
I believe we have to separate problems into three categories: individual & collective, and a combination of the two: IC.
The individual (who believes it or knows it) respects prosperity as the sum of individual innovation and poverty as individual failure.
The collectivist respects prosperity as the sum of sharing resources.
The moderate respects prosperity as the sum of sharing resources in order to correct fallacies in human choice and to maintain a state of social equilibrium that permits individuals to compete and feel fulfilled.
Here is an excerpt from the article highlighting the author’s emphasis on the importance of a thriving middle class:
So middle out economics is essentially a 21st century way of understanding how an economy works – not as this linear mechanistic system — but as an ecosystem, with the same kinds of feedback loops. The fundamental law of capitalism is if workers don’t have any money, businesses don’t have any customers; that prosperity in a capitalist economy is a consequence of a circle of feedback loops between customers and businesses, which means that a thriving middle class isn’t a consequence of prosperity. A thriving middle class is the source of prosperity in capitalist economies, which is why a policy focused on the middle class is and has always been the thing that drives prosperity and growth — not pouring money into rich people, which simply makes rich people richer.
The first question that pops into my mind is – don’t people want to get ‘out’ of the Middle Class?
Perhaps not everybody – the argument here is that some people are content living average-income lives as long as their minimum requirements are met.
For me, personally, I thrive on my ambition to be financially fulfilled as much as spiritually fulfilled…in the mind of a conservative; whose primary focus is money (and not perhaps fulfilling his spirit; expressing himself), this Middle-Out Economics theory would seem nothing short of communism – an attempt to keep individuals where they are at in an economy.
In the eyes of the heroic libertarian, there is always a conspiracy against the individual, his enterprise, his intellectual property, and his ambitions in life to achieve success and fortune.
Perhaps the source of this paranoia is the potential for human beings to desire ‘vanity’ – that is, to desire to be regarded as exceptional beyond standard human capacity to such an extent that freedom and happiness are only awarded to those exclusive human beings.
At the end of the day, in a functional democracy – human necessities are met; but unfortunately, capitalism does not serve these means. Just as communism concentrates wealth at the top preventing individuals from obtaining a level of freedom; so to does fundamentalist capitalism.
So it goes to show that Mr. Hanauer is not far off in his critique of the dogmatic model of capitalist economics. A mixed economy, or a Middle-Out Economy, as he calls it, respects individual ambition, competition, as well as the dignity of human beings by assuring them of healthcare, housing, and a decent wage.
Wages are largely determined by supply and demand with minor interference from public factors; and the assumption in capitalism is the man who strives can create his own wealth. But this assumption is grounded in a human fear: there aren’t enough resources for all of humanity to live ideal lives; some human beings prefer to be slaves to power and economy-control; originality will be compromised.
Why must we rely on money to survive? This system has convinced us that it is the only rational one – that capitalism and supply and demand and the exchange of currency is the natural mode of human affairs; scarcity, that is, is the reason why capitalism is necessary. The USSR told us that the lies and shortcomings of capitalism vindicate the necessity for communism as its replacement.
But why is it always one or the other? Why must we worship concepts? DEMOCRACY. COMMUNISM. CAPITALISM. These are not my gods. These are the gods of the extremists; the fundamentalists; the hypocrites; the power-grabbers; the usurpers of freedom; the IMPERIALISTS.
In the East, they don’t believe in God. In the West; they believe they are God.
Somewhere in the Middle (the Middle East), are those who trust in the Infinite. The Infinite the God which we worship; permitting us to take from concepts like capitalism and communism without becoming hostage to any one of them entirely – allowing for a mixed economy so to speak.
So what does that say about the course of history as taught in the East and West? What does that mean about the twentieth century narratives? How have the East and West successfully torn apart the Middle East? How have they used these extremities to divide individuals all across the world? How have they been able to secure their empire at the expense of a moderate individualist-collectivist hybrid sovereignty?
The enemy is imperialism and its symbols and gods are evident. Its enemy is the golden rule – the straight path – the anomaly – the infinite. Instead of a mixed economy, and a national boundary – these guys want ISMS and expansion.
They succeeded in the Middle East by creating a new version of Islam which can be more appropriately labeled as wahhabism, salafism, etc. and by introducing self-idolatry and paranoia into our societies. The establishment of a zionist state in 1948 only furthered this objective by further implanting a power-house of fundamentalism, religious exclusivity and imperialism in the center of the Middle East, crashing any hopes for sovereignty, independence and prosperity for the Middle Eastern people.
Who are the victims? All the moderate secularists, liberals, and moderate monotheists who are struggling to secure their peace.
How does this translate into our tangible reality? The House of Saud and Israel as well as every other monarchy in the Middle East have allied themselves together with every brand of islamism and zionism and have secured a support system with the West (US, UK & EU) as well as the East (Russia, India & China).
There are two forces at war: imperialism (hubris) and sovereignty (equality). Choose your side.