There are elections taking place all over the world right now, which always makes me think about the political systems we live under. There are a lot. And I do not intend to go into all of them here. Instead, I am going to have a look at the two heavyweights which tend to dominate the discussion: Capitalism and Communism.
There are only 5 functioning communist states left in the world: Cuba, China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. All the others have changed course for one reason or another. Wikipedia lists 30 countries that used to communist and includes most of the republics of the USSR (and the five above).
After The Wall Came Down…
People like to point to this erosion as proof of the idea that communism has failed and that it did not work, does not work and will not work. I think this is an over-reaction. Many, many states, particularly in Europe, still practise democratic forms of socialism where the state looks after the citizens with some form of social net and may even intervene in business.
On the other hand, the global economy is increasingly drifting towards forms of Capitalism. A development which has led to supporters of the system to trumpet it as the ONLY solution that worked, works and will work.
You are what you buy
But there is a lot to capitalism that is not great and in fact, perpetuates imbalances and inequities. There are aspects of capitalism that are morally bankrupt as it requires an underclass of producers prepared to work for next to nothing to create the volumes the privileged middle-class buys. Simply put, without mass-produced, cheap goods from under-developed countries, capitalist countries would not be able to use their banking systems to generate wealth.
How much longer can we pretend that market-driven capitalism has any moral high ground when we all know that it is driven by economies of scale, internal invoices and straight-up exploitation of the economically vulnerable?
Be the change you want to see
This entire argument is a waste of your time. This kind of binary thinking is not only incorrect, but it is also maliciously deceitful. Just because the extreme opposite of one system does not work does not imply, in any field of logic, that no other solution is possible.
But this is the polarised world we live in: if you’re not for me, you must be against me.
However, the truth is very different. There are other solutions. As we lurch from one economic boom to another economic collapse and round again, it is time to start developing new options and new ways of doing things.
Be More Human
The largest human endeavours crying out for overhauls are our economic and political systems. Both are based on polarising, binary splitting that is inefficient, unrealistic and damaging to both humans and the planet. If we’re going to survive in the coming centuries, we need to fix this. Not just in or for the elites but across the board. ALL human beings need to exist in a situation where they can explore their full potential.
Wouldn’t that be a mission for the planet: to get every single human being into the apex of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where we can all worry about being the best version of ourselves instead of fighting for shelter, food and work.
The best way for us to get what we need is to make sure more people get what they need. A rising tide lifts all ships and right now, we are all in danger of sinking.