Greed is not good after all

One of the fundamental things capitalism got right was marketing. It has spread the illusion that everybody or at least most of us can rise up and be rich. The reality is that a tiny proportion of people do.

Sadly it can't be true that all 6 billion of us can afford the good things in life, being rich is all about having more possessions than the average person. Somebody has to lose somewhere in the end, there is ofcourse some truth that overall increased economic activity raises all boats, however for the most part we have become more unequal societies, and while hard working people should be rewarded and those not working shouldn't this should not be taken to extremes.

In short in the last 40 years the things we sacrificed in order to afford more status symbols and cheap consumer goods are:
  1. Real friendship and family relationships and community because of an increasingly transactional and competitive nature in the way we relate to other people because of the way we "consume" others as products. This mentality harms our emotional health.

  2. Safety: No good quality pensions in our old age by removing the state from the pension system.

  3. Safety of good quality healthcare in our old age by removing the state from healthcare.
For some people this tradeoff may make sense, although i suspect this is only because most think that their "investments" will mean that they will not need the state for the above as they will be rich...

The market turmoil shows that certain things should be left to the state which is the only institution that can have the long term horizons, the necessary balance-sheet and the incentives necessary to support pensions and healthcare. It has proven impossible to align the interests of business/shareholders and their customers.

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