I never really got the Commies – they seemed to want to drag everyone down to the lowest common denominator with, what were once, very good intentions. The milder form, Socialism, seems to be mostly about spite. Capitalism seems to be the obvious way that humans work together and it pretty much delivers what most people seem to want.
When the Berlin Wall came down twenty years ago, the cry went up, “Capitalism has won!” And indeed, it seemed as if it had. Only militant Islam has risen against it since. Capitalism has run amok, given free rein ever since, and we are now facing the consequences.
But I think that this recession is just a warning sign. Capitalism works on the basis of the free-flow of capital. Capital is what pays our pensions. Once, the banks were there to facilitate Capitalism, to help cash move more freely, and to lend and invest in projects that will make a profit, provide work and put food onto the workers tables. Capitalism relies on a free market to work smoothly.
But the basic flaw of capitalism is human nature. There have never been free markets and there never will be. The person in charge of the market is always going to skew it in favour of his pals for the sake of a quick bung.
Since Big Bang, when the markets went electronic, the profit has been in playing the casino, not in owning it. The casino players, (traders) have the technology to know the numbers before the market (the casino owner) can read the cards. You set your computer up to do battle with another computer to see who can trade the fastest. Today, milli-microseconds give the advantage. Trades are done so quickly that as you, a mere mortal, place an order, computers analyse your order, buy stock low and sell it to you high before you have even received acknowledgment of your order. You never get the chance to buy at a fair market price. Penny by penny, they leach your profits away.
When you see bankers getting fantasy bonuses, way beyond any real measure of compensation, you have to ask yourself, “where is all that money coming from?” The answer is simple, from your pension fund! Bank bonuses are slowly leaching out the money from pension funds that are supposed to pay the pensions in the future.
Whereever there is a pot of gold (and that is how a trader sees a pension fund) someone will be planning to steal it. Once, those funds were put into solid company shares. The companies were expected to grow and provide profits. Shares are now meaningless. They are divorced from what they represent – they are traded within the blink of an eye, with no care about what that company or it’s workers mean. Now, a public company has one duty, to make as high a quarterly return as possible. No thought for the future. No thought for sustainability, employment or solid, long-term growth.
Capitalism is eating itself from the inside. When it reaches the outside it will reveal itself as the hollow shell it has become. What can take its place? Don’t ask me – I’m just predicting the cataclysm to come, but be prepared for the new dark ages – your Porsche wont help you then!