The Pain You Feel Is Capitalism Dying
I know it hurts — but what you are feeling (alongside millions of others) is the natural consequence of late-stage capitalism.
The Pain You Feel Is Capitalism Dying
By Joe Brewer / medium.com
May 24, 2016

It can be very confusing to know that you won’t find a decent job, pay off student loans or put in a down payment on a house in the next few years — even though you may have graduated from a top-tier university or secured glowing references from all those unpaid internships that got you to where you are today.

Even if you are lucky enough to have all of this going for you, you’ll still be one among hundreds of applicants for every job you apply for. And you’ll still watch as the world becomes more unequal, with fewer paid opportunities to do what you feel called to do in your work or for your life path.

What’s more, you won’t find much help from your friends because most (if not all) of them are going through the same thing. This is a painful and difficult time that is impacting all of us at once.

There will be people who tell you it’s your fault. That you aren’t trying hard enough. But those people are culprits in perpetuating a great lie of this period in history. The standard assumptions for how to be successful in life a few decades ago simply do not apply anymore. The guilt and shame you feel is the mental disease of late-stage capitalism. Embrace this truth and set yourself free.

To see how broken things have become you’ll have to think systemically. Take note of the systems built up to create this situation and understand how it came to be — so you’ll see why it cannot possibly continue on its current path.

First, a diagnosis of the problem:

Global Architecture of Wealth Extraction has been systematically built up to rig the economic game against you. This is why a tiny number of people (current count is 62) have more wealth amongst them than half the human population. Decades of those using tax havens to hide their wealth, unfair trade agreements designed to extract wealth from poor countries, banking regulations and austerity measures meant to destabilize entire economies so massive transfers of wealth can go from everyone else to a tiny financial elite, and election rules that all-but-guarantee only those who become whores to these financial pimps will ever sit in high office.

So yeah, it’s okay to feel restless as capitalism winds itself down from these system-level harms to society.

Why do I say that capitalism (in its corporatist, wealth-extracting form) is dying? There’s a long, detailed story that could be told about this. For the sake of brevity, I will answer with two essential pieces that show how business-as-usual is finished. It is physically impossible for it to continue much longer.

Reason 1: There Are No More Profits to Extract.

As eloquently described in the writings of Jeremy Rifkin and Paul Mason, the primary motivator for capitalists — to extract wealth from consumer exchange in the form of monetary gain — is crippled by the fact that the science of wealth extraction has become so advanced that every new wave brings diminishing returns. What is called “marginal cost” by economists, the difference between how much it costs to produce something and what people are willing or able to pay for it, is nearly zero now for everything we manufacture or provide as a service. This zero marginal cost trend is breaking capitalism down by the unexpected outcome of its own spectacular success.

Add to this that most of the growth in the global economy in the last 40 years has been in speculative finance. The money system grows faster than the productive “real” economy — with the predictable outcome of market crashes, financial collapse, and structural adjustments (wealth extraction) when the mismatch grows too large. What we end up with is bloated debt too large for everyone to pay back. Combined with the end game of wealth hoarding mentioned above, this is a death knell for capitalism as we’ve known it in the last 100 years.

Reason 2: Damage Built Up in the Natural World

There is no such thing as an economy that exists without the physical world. The delusional idea that markets are separate from nature has guided mainstream economic policy for a long time — and now we are seeing the consequences in mass extinctions, loss of topsoils, climate change, collapse of fish stocks in the world ocean, rising levels of pollution, and more.

Physicists would describe this as increasing entropy, which simply means the rise in social complexity of human economies comes with a corresponding deterioration of the larger natural environments they are embedded within. And we have crossed the unprecedented watermark of history in the 20th Century — with exploding population growth, and the crossing of several essential planetary boundaries (any of which, if passed, will place our civilization in jeopardy). At current count, we have passed four of them.

So the nails are in the coffin for capitalism. What remains to be seen is whether this will take down our globalized civilization as well. I am hopeful, yet sober about our prospects. It’s going to be a very turbulent time (for the rest of our lives) but I think we can make it through this restlessness by acknowledging that it’s real, naming the architecture of wealth extraction that created these systemic harms, and dismantling this globalized system to release vital monetary resources for the emergence of a new, life-affirming paradigm for economic development.

But before we can begin this great work of our times, we must acknowledge the pain that a dying capitalist system creates in our personal lives. I know it hurts. It is quite natural to feel ashamed when you try really hard and do your best, yet still are unable to succeed. You’ll need to change the rules of the game (a few of which I have outlined here). And doing this is going to require going through a healing process internally for yourself and with your friends.

You are not alone. All 7.4 billion of us alive today are going through this. We are doing it together. Now is the time to become fully aware of the systemic nature of what we are going through. The future will not be like the past. It is going to be painful and confusing at times. Yet the prospects for getting through this struggle are nothing less than a thriving planetary civilization that is inclusive and nourishing for all people while at the same time remaining in harmony with our home planet of Earth.

Onward, fellow humans.

4.6 ·
5
Trending Today
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 15,876 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 6,419 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 1,869 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,715 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 482 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 404 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 350 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 346 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 329 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 325 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 293 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 290 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Introversion Is Not a Personality Fail
Cat Elz · 277 views today · A few years ago, I got into an argument with my now mother-in-law over my supposedly “backwards” ways. My transgression? I did not attend a party of my now husband’s (then...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 272 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Political Elite: Idiots... or Criminals?
Michael Emero · 239 views today · I've been seeing a lot of people convinced that the DNC and all establishment Democrats are total idiots. How could they not be, when they sabotaged an easy win (Bernie) to...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 239 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 229 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Here's How We're Going to End Factory Farming
2 min · 229 views today · Factory farming is a huge problem. But the solution is simple, if you'll join us. Watch this short 2 minute video to see how... Help make a kinder world possible...
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine · 194 views today · “…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” —Arthur Young; 1771 Our popular economic wisdom says that...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 190 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
The Pain You Feel Is Capitalism Dying