Saturday, October 06, 2007

Life after capitalism

"... Beginning with Adam Smith, market theory has been quite explicit that market efficiency results from small, locally owned enterprises competing in local markets on the basis of price and quality for consumer favor. By contrast, what we know as the global capitalist economy is dominated by a handful of gigantic corporations and financial speculators with billions of dollars at their disposal to reshape markets and manipulate prices. If we consider the gross sales of a corporation to be roughly the equivalent of the GDP of a country, we find that of the world's 100 largest economies, 51 are economies internal to corporations. Only 49 are national economies.
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Ironically, the global victory of capitalism is not a victory for the market so much as it is a victory for central planning. Capitalism has simply shifted the planning function from governments--which in theory are accountable to all their citizens--to corporations--which even in theory are accountable only to their shareholders.
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It will take more than protest to save us from capitalism's destructive powers. We must work together to create a positive vision of the world that can be. I believe we stand at a defining moment in our own history and in the evolution of life on this planet. The time has come when we, as a species, must accept conscious collective responsibility for the consequences of our presence on the planet.
[ ... ]
I want to focus here for a minute on the central importance of an ethical culture. One of capitalism's many myths is the idea that by some wondrous mechanism the market automatically turns personal greed into a public good--because Adam Smith said so. In truth, the market has no such mechanism and Adam Smith never said it did. ..."

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