CMV: Capitalism in it's current form moving into the future isn't going to be possible

Thorough rebuttal, courtesy of u/VikingCoder:

> Only when technology destroyed 90% of the jobs that existed at that time there wasn't a class of persistently unemployed people left behind. And every time it happened since, when farmhands were mostly replaced by machines or when paper work became computerized, we came out with the same number or more jobs. As near as we can tell, technological unemployment isn't a thing.

This is the graph we should be talking about.

It's not that jobs have disappeared, it's that real wages of jobs have remained steady, even though productivity has exploded. See how before 1970s, real wages used to go up? That's over, and that should terrify you.

Want more? The Consumer Price Index, the best measurement that we can almost all agree on, which measures the cost of a basket of goods. See that blue line? Since 1970, it's exploding. Not just luxury goods, but essential goods, too.

You would think that with exploding productivity, that prices would drop, wouldn't you? Supply should relatively go up, and Demand should remain roughly the same, so the cost should go down... So where has the money gone?

Right here.

It's hard to find how much profit is earned, specifically for essential goods, but that's as close as I can get you. Regulatory capture has definitely made it worse, but here's one of the main culprits:

The SEC gave up, and allowed mergers and acquisitions of huge corporations. The corporate consolidation now is unbelievable.

Cable Oil. Autos. Airlines BANKING.

But the other thing that stops competition? Barriers to entry. If you've invested heavily to automate, I have to invest heavily to automate, too. If you've been doing that investing for 50 years (every time there's a damn Liberal in control, who wants to tax your profits!), you have huge amounts of automation that a new company would have a hard time competing with. If you've been investing all of your profits into the automation market, then you're diversified, in case some genius figures out how to automate and profit from their industry better than you can do in yours.

> This almost always included lowering the sale price of the good, why? Because with the lower cost you can sell more of the good with the same profit per unit sold. Therefore you make more money by selling more of it at a lower price

Let's say there are a relatively constant number of people, buying necessary goods - the stuff they need to live. Let's say you lower the price. Are people going to buy more essential goods than they need to live? Are you going to buy more water? More food than you can eat? More homes than you can live in? More gasoline than you need to drive back and forth to work, and on the two vacations you can afford per year?

So, no, that's not always true. They don't sell more of the good at the same profit. They instead try to maximize the profit of the goods they do sell.

> Unfortunately, selling more of the thing generally requires hiring more people for managing than you expected original, and more maintenance people, and more marketing people, and more sales positions.

Yeah, another reason to not sell more, but just sell the same at a higher profit.

> The income effect is an interesting thing, you see when things that I buy become cheaper I become functionally wealthier.

Go ahead. Look at the Consumer Price Index of goods. You know what's cheaper? Computers. Other than that, everything is getting more expensive, or staying the same. Everything.

> If the price of food drops by $1, and I eat three meals a day, then it's just like I got a $1,095 raise.

Yes. Except it doesn't drop. IT'S GOING UP. This should scare the hell out of you.

> Sales of something is going up, maybe not by the whole eleven-hundred dollars but someone is getting sales that they wouldn't have gotten.

Emphasis added. A vague assertion. One that is not correct, as I've shown.

> If enough pass it along and the price of goods falls significantly then whole new industries that couldn't have made money in the past (because people didn't have the cash to spend on it) are now suddenly profitable and they hire people instead.

Price of goods is increasing. As I've shown. Look at CPI breakdowns, it's terrifying.

You're also ignoring how much dramatically more people are spending for, A) HOUSING, B) EDUCATION, and C) HEALTHCARE. Those numbers alone should scare us all shitless. Why are those things so expensive? Well, think about it - what's actually expensive is how many hours you have to work to afford them. How many hours. As in, a human, doing work. And the point is it's taking more and more human hours to afford things that are hard to automate. Why? Because automation is kicking your ass in that competition.

> We have much higher workforce participation (more people work than they used to) and an unemployment rate at long term averages (those who are looking for work find it at rates similar to what they did in the past).

You're fixating entirely too much on UN-employment, when you should be looking at UNDER-employment. (Or just, you have to work a ton of hours, at lower wages, than you used to have to, in order to provide for yourself.)

It's not great that more people have jobs. I would love it if my wife didn't have to work, and could stay home and watch the kids. SHE HAS TO WORK. She works 12 hour days. Look back 70 years ago? Is the fact that MORE PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYED actually a good thing? If my wife wants to work, then I'm all for it. But she shouldn't HAVE TO. I should be able to provide, like generations from before could. But I can't. And I have a Masters degree, and I work at increasing automation! I'm not unemployed, I'm under-employed. My wages are nowhere near what my father's were.

> Basically, this has happened before.

No. Not the graphs since the 1970s. Those are brand new.

> People have said every couple decades for almost three hundred years that "this time is going to be different". Only, they never really explain why it'd be different.

Corporations owning automation, combined with low taxes (OR NO TAXES. OR SUBSIDIES). Put those three things together, and we've never seen it before. Oh, also, it doesn't help that the fourth estate shut its doors. If it had kept open, it would have been blasting Wal-Mart from the highest mountains. People would have boycotted that job-killing shit till they were blue in the face.

Oh, and under-investment in infrastructure. Government has lost the tax revenue, so has cut on infrastructure. You spend more on car maintenance, because the government can't fill potholes, because they stopped collecting tax revenues from corporations.

> Additionally, it's important to note that the "survival of the fittest" thing isn't a capitalist thing

There's no way to politely say it, but BULLSHIT.

Corporations are driven to maximize shareholder value. Corporations murder each other, eat each other, sue each other to death. Corporations are the ultimate embodiment of capitalism.

> Major universities, hospitals, libraries, and a whole slew of other public works are what capitalists do

Yes, and the brutal tyrants of monarchy did the same. Literally the same. I'm not equating the two, but you can't congratulate capitalists for inventing the concept that the poor masses should get something to keep them at bay.

I'm all for philanthropy. But corporations, almost by definition, are the sole remaining capitalists, and they almost exclusively care about philanthropy more for marketing than anything else.

There are exceptions, but they prove the rule.

> The "robber barons" of the late 1800's were ruthless and cunning businessmen, but also believed "He who dies rich dies in disgrace".

Corporations are immortal. Unless they are killed, they can live forever. They invented a way to never die, so they never need be disgraced.

> I don't see how "Survival of the Fittest" is the prevailing mindset among the most successful capitalists.

Corporations believe in Survival of the Fittest.

Oh, and many of those charities that the rich are donating to? Tax dodges, so they can keep more of their wealth, and pass it on to their kids. Do you need me to cite references saying that the new Swiss Bank Account is a charity that doesn't really do much with the money, than pay the people who founded them, and their kids?

/r/changemyview Thread Parent