The Resource Based Economy and the Foundational Assumptions of Capitalism

I have finally found something intriguing to write about.  Admittedly, there were some instances where I was not looking hard for something to write about, but with a recent essay I am going to write I am reading an intriguing book.  I am not finished with the book quite yet, however Capitalism 4.0 The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis by Anatole Kaletsky, is quite an interesting read.  I will write more about the implications of his ideas once I finish the book, but his main thesis is that capitalism is an ever-changing over-complex system, whereby after this most recent financial crises will bring about another version of capitalism as a requirement of survival.  He correlates capitalism as quite literally a living system;  one that is constantly evolving and fights for survival.

But at the beginning of one chapter, a very basic but profound statement was written.  And I quote:

“The word capitalism in its modern sense is only 150 years old.  But the two human characteristics on which it is founded are universal, stretch back into the mists of history, and explain why efforts to replace the chaos and injustice of the markets with more rational or moral systems have always failed.  These two basic human qualities are the competitive spirit (ambition) and the desire for sensual gratification and mastery of the material world.”  (page 41)

And honestly, I feel that.  I feel a desire to master the material world.  However, I also feel that the constant bombardment of advertisements on a constant basis might justify this feeling.  What would happen if we grew up in a society where material gratification wasn’t the key to success and happiness?  A part of me thinks that we would value what that particular society would value at the time, like for example, contributing substantially to society in general.  Therefore, I think the above quote is an accurate statement with regards to our current system, but does not necessarily pertain to all of human nature.

There is no doubt that ambition is rewarded in capitalism.  It has to be!  That one ambitious small business could be the next Apple, or Google.  But essentially what I am asking is, is this due to human nature or from the system promoting certain values and behaviors?  I feel that any given society would have a large impact on imprinting a core set of values and principles into anyone.  I view the human mind to be malleable with a set of certain instincts.  With that said, a new economy could be written and implemented with the understanding that those values would be eventually imprinted onto the populace.

The Resource Based Economy is an economical school of thought that I am excited for.  It is vastly different from the current system that we have, which would make it difficult to implement due to high invested interests in our current system.  But I feel the quality of life for the majority of citizens would be increased, due to the removal of currency (there’s no bartering) and thus the removal of the extreme gap of income inequality.  With current technology, a computer system could be constructed to basically run a national, or global, distribution system of resources.  Resources would only be distributed at or less than the rate of replenishment, ensuring worldly resources for everyone.  The values of this society isn’t about material gratification or self-maximization, but rather care for others, society, and the planet.  Everything would be provided to everyone assuming there is enough resources (which means there may have to be some drastic changes on how we consume on said resource) allowing people to push for intellectual or physical endeavors that interests them.  The suffering of poverty would be eliminated from this planet, as basic living quarters are provided to everyone.

There would still be entertainment.  There would still be markets even, allocating a certain amount of food for the city’s populace.

The fact of the matter is, our infinite growth paradigm is constantly consuming more and more resources.  Eventually, a worldly resource will not be there for the world, greatly impacting our economy as a whole.

Fiat currency, and maybe even tangible backed currency, provide an environment of constant instability.  Depressions followed by economic growth followed by contractions, or in other words, the business cycle, is the result of currency in general.  We can provide a society and thus a state of mind, that does not strive for individualistic growth and constant material gratification.