Hot Marxism take:
The tendency of capital to accumulate in a shrinking ruling class is only a special case of a more general tendency for *all* forms of social power to accumulate.
On historical timeframes, societies where capital is the dominant form of social power are only a blip.
There are pre- and post-capitalist societies which are both better and worse than capitalist societies. Some much worse.
Do not assume that by defeating Capital, you will automatically create a better society.
@natecull I grew up in USSR and life was pretty good all things considered.
I had free education and health care, free housing, and functioning public transport.
The society I grew up in was rationalist, and it placed a lot of emphasis on science and technology. Kinds wanted to grow up to become mathematicians, physicists or engineers.
There were equal rights for men and women, and half the work force was women at all levels.
All in all, I'm very happy with my childhood there.
@natecull it wasn't without problems obviously, and I agree that you can have worse systems than capitalism, but I think people in the West have an incredibly skewed idea as to what life in USSR was like for a most people.
I'm currently reading "In the first circle" by Solzhenitsyn which gives a first hand account of what life was like for many people in USSR. It ain't pretty.
Just because you have nostalgic memories doesn't mean it was a just society or something worth pursuing or emulating.
I grew up in Apartheid South Africa. I have very fond memories of my childhood and yet I'm sure you'd be rightly horrified if I were to use my happy childhood to justify or excuse Apartheid.
I recall a book, "The Power Paradox", where the main thesis was that people gain power in groups due to behaviour that favours the group's well-being (i.e. more altruistic behaviour), but that the feeling and effect of power is to make the powerful person unsympathetic and indifferent to others (i.e. less altruistic), which has a corrosive effect on their power (and can likely cause their fall from power).
@jcbrand @yogthos I feel sure that something like this must be the case, otherwise (like a universe with gravity but no electromagnetism) all power would long ago have concentrated far beyond the wildest dreams of tyrants.
What's worrying is that it looked like power WAS decentralising, in my lifetime, and then... it went in reverse since the 1980s.
Piketty says that it was basically the two world wars that decentralised (economic) power last time, which is not especially promising.
@jcbrand @kimreece @natecull wars are also incredibly profitable for those who fund them. Take a look at Iraq as an example. Trillions of tax dollars have been siphoned into the pockets of companies owned by people like Cheney. They sell the weapons, the fuel, and the reconstruction contracts.
People get incredibly rich off wars. The way US became a super power is by profiteering from WW2 while Europe bled.
This reminds me of another book which I can highly recommend.
"The 4th Turning" by Strauss&Howe.
The thesis is that in free societies history is cyclical. One full cycle is a long human lifetime (~80 years) and it has 4 stages.
At the end of the cycle, a great crisis happens. (WW2, American Civil War).
We're currently entering the end of the current cycle (WW2 is 75 years ago).
The 80s was stage 3. People didn't want order (associated with authoritarianism) and the system didn't supply much either.
We're now in stage 4. People demand order, but there is still very little, which is why authoritarians are becoming popular (e.g. Trump, Bolsonaro).
When stage 1 comes around after the crisis, people will have and appreciate a more orderly society with more authoritarian tendencies... only for the whole thing to repeat again.
The end of the period between geomagnetic reversals was supposed to be around 2012.
Some supervulcano's eruption period was also supposed to elapse recently.
Now you're telling me some other kind of catastrophic event is supposed to repeat soon...
Why are all these periods elapsing around the same time...?
Well, for the Fourth Turning theory, it's pretty simple: big wars tend to happen when the living memory of those wars fades away. So once every full human lifespan or so.
Also that generations tend to rebel against their parents and adopt opposite values, so one generation becomes community-oriented, the next individualistic, and so on.
It is a theory that has some problems, the biggest one that it breaks down for the US Civil War.
It's just that it's funny how all the "happens every X years" are supposed to happen around the same time, no matter if they happen every 80 years or every 800 000 years.
(And I know it's a selection bias - there are other periodic events that are gonna happen in the next century but not in this one, it's just that we don't talk about them.)
Well, the main reason that all the disasters are happening at once is that we are entering the CO --kssshhrt-- NIGH -hsslkIK- PURP --ksdhrt--
I'm sorry. The. Entity. You. Are. Attempting to reach. Has. Been. Unavoidably. Detained. Due to. The. Exospheric Powers Act of 2017.
Have a nice day.
It's quite clear to me that we're entering a crisis phase.
Climate change, environmental destruction, global species collapse, ocean acidification, rising nationalism and fascism, trade wars, financial crisis, out of control debt and panopticon technologies being developed everywhere.
One big problem is EROI of fossil fuels. The low-hanging fruit has been plucked, and we have less and less energy available to feed a still growing population.
The question is whether we can find a way out of this somehow.
The rate of population growth is slowing everywhere and is below replacement rates in certain countries already.
The population should peak at around 9 billion at around 2050 AFAIK, if we don't run into hard limits before then or if we don't kill the entire planet in a nuclear war.
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