2020s >> 2021 >> no-1399-march-2021

Cooking the Books 2

Capitalism cannot be reset

After the ‘Great Reset’ was proposed last June the only people to take any notice were conspiracists who saw it as a plan by a cabal of world leaders to impose a ‘New World Order’ with the ‘plandemic’ as the first step. This is nonsense but the proposal to ‘reset’ capitalism is not much better, as is explained in the same way as we would in this extract from a podcast by Peter Joseph on 20 January (tinyurl.com/y2omdvzm).

The great reset was put forward by Klaus Schwab, the head of the World Economic Forum, if I remember correctly. He started talking about this around the beginning of COVID-19 in early 2020. Here’s what it says on their actual website, ‘To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country from the United States to China must participate, and every industry from oil and gas, to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a great reset of capitalism.’ Yes, the great reset of capitalism. Which makes no sense at all since capitalism is actually the fundamental problem, affecting sustainability and all other such issues that this great reset professes to address.

I suppose it’s good to see more conversation, especially when it comes to the environment, but the very fact that the limits of debate have been set and that this is really about preserving capitalism, even though they want to create some idealized version of it called stakeholder capitalism, all this simply reveals another well-meaning pro-establishment spasm in the end. No different than all the climate conferences and biodiversity conferences that accomplish nothing because everyone refuses to look at the system structure as the actual problem, the economic system. It’s actually quite comical if you think about it, ‘We want to change the world, but not capitalism.’

And of course this notion of stakeholder capitalism is one from a long line of nonsensical, qualifying adjectives that people amend before the word capitalism to try and pretend like some sub distinction would ever make a meaningful difference. You see all over the place, crony capitalism, responsible capitalism, vulture capitalism, the social entrepreneur. My favorite is conscious capitalism, as if it ever could be given the very nature and incentives of the structure, once again. It doesn’t matter who’s in the positions. It matters what the structural incentives are.

Just to be clear here, this stakeholder capitalism is defined as ‘a system in which corporations are oriented to serve the interests of all their stakeholders. Among the key stakeholders are consumers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and local communities. Under this system, a company’s purpose is to create long-term value and not to maximize profits, and enhance shareholder value at the cost of other stakeholder groups.’ I’m not even going to address the insurmountable idealism in that vague description other than to say, you can never take the core incentive out of the system if the system remains in any respect or form. It is nonsensical to say that somehow corporations are going to orient themselves respecting everybody in this kind of stakeholder environment and the ecosystem without maximization of profit and hence, exploitation. You can’t have capitalism without exploitation and profit and hence, exploitation. If those things are removed, then you’re in a completely different system by default.

So this great reset thing is just another spasm, a well-meaning joke, a ploy in fact to sort of pretend like we can make capitalism better when all empirical evidence shows that we cannot.

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